Fresco at the Beach Santa Barbara
We went to the new Fresco location last night. It is in the Santa Barbara Inn where Citronelle used to be. We went with a party of 5 and had reservations. We were there at 6:30 and there were a few empty tables, those filled quickly and the place was still bustling at 9 when we left.
First the atmosphere in the restaurant and décor were wonderful. It is clean, open, and simply decorated without being too stark. The view from the many windows is outstanding looking right across to the beach. Fresco in 5 Points has always had great food, but more of a lunch atmosphere. Not so at this location. Once it got crowded it was a bit noisy.
They started us with a variety of breads served with olive oil, butter and a white bean spread which was excellent.
We were all interested in many items on the menu. Prices in the 20s. Several appetizers looked good, but we were all taken by the pistachio crusted halibut with burre blanc as a special. Four of the 5 of us ordered that dish. The fifth got the flattened chicken which we all expected to be a pounded out chicken breast, but turned out to be a half chicken, with bones.
We shared a small bite each of the tomato, basil and goat cheese on puff pastry tart appetizer. It tasted like a fresh pizza on puff dough. Yummy. Two shared the Caesar salad and thought it was good, 2 of us had the tomato and roasted eggplant soup, which was good but not earth shaking, one had a gorgonzola on salad greens which was delicious.
The main dishes were wonderful. The halibut moist and the nut crust was light and crisp, not overloaded. It came with mashed potatoes but 3 of us wanted roasted potatoes and they were happy to substitute. The roasteds were great. There was also asparagus on the side cooked perfectly.
We had 4 different desserts and all were wonderful. I had panna cotta which was perfect. My mother had the cannoli which was also great, my sister had what was like a custard crème brulee but I can’t remember what it was called. This was fantastic. Her SO had the cheesecake which was espresso flavored. All good.
The wine list was well balanced and had a lot of good choices local, and foreign, and a variety of prices. There was also a library of special wines at very special prices.
All agreed that the experience was wonderful and we all enjoyed our meals completely. The service was also very good. We will be happy to return.