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Jun 8, 2011 01:24 AM

48 hours in Solvang - favorite restaurants & vineyards?

Hi Chowhounds,

My husband just surprised me and said he is taking me to Solvang this weekend! I've checked out some older Chowhound threads on your favorite restaurants (eg. Mirabelle Inn), but would love an updated take on your latest favs.

Also, would love to know your favorite vineyards for fun tours. We're pretty knowledgable winedrinkers, but also don't mind whimsy and off the beaten track (if its tasty and worth it!)

Thanks in advance for your advice!

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  1. We always love the long country drive out to Rancho Sisquoc and their quaint tasting room - their River Red is always interesting too. Should be pretty out there after the recent rains greened things up a bit. Less than impressed with Root 246 at Hotel Corque so you may not want to put this on the top of your dining list. The drive to the very historic and charming Cold Springs Tavern is another alternative, but caution about any drinking and driving issues on this unfortunately bloody highway - a visit there may be best for lunch or Sunday brunch. We like Grapalo in Santa Ynez best for dining and have not yet tried but appreciate all the rave reviews for the Ballard Inn.

    1. The Ballard Inn is wonderful. I would say it is similar to Mirabelle in terms of menu, price, style, so choose one. The Italian restaurant is Trattorio Grappolo. You would need a reservation. I am local and eat there often, as do a lot of other locals. Call ahead: 805 688 6899. (yes I know their number by heart).
      For breakfast the best spot is Ellen's Pancake in Buellton (just outside of Solvang). Don't wait in line with the other tourists at Paula's.
      Whimsy and off the beaten track would be the Wine Ghetto in Lompoc. Lots of great wine out there, about twenty minutes from Solvang. Along the way Babcock, Melville and Dierberg/Starland are great.
      In the evening, Tastes of the Valleys right in downtown Solvang does nice wines by the glass and has music on Saturday nights. One of the few places that is open late. Closes at ten pm.
      If you go up on Foxen Canyon make sure you stop first in Los Olivos and pick up a picnic lunch. Not a lot of food once you cross 154 and head up Foxen Canyon.

      The Ballard Inn & Restaurant
      2436 Baseline Ave, Solvang, CA 93463

      Tastes of the Valleys
      1672 Mission Dr, Solvang, CA

      3687 Sagunto St, Santa Ynez, CA 93460

      1. Thank you "glbtrtr" and "ebeeeee" for these suggestions!

        1 Reply
        1. re: Lynndsey Rigberg

          It should be a beautiful weekend here! It is Old Santa Ynez Day on Saturday- a parade, food, vendors and topped with a Spaghetti Dinner at the Carriage Museum ($15.00- made by Grappolos!) with music and dancing- if you are in to Western/Cowboy- get yer boots...if not- stear clear till Sunday!

          Food- Steaks can be found at Red Barn (SY) and Hitching Post (Buellton).

          Avant in Buellton- music, wine and good food- a bit sterile- but alot of wine by the glass (serve yourself!)
          Dos Carlitos (SY) premium drinks and pricey mexican food.
          Cecco in Solvang- Italian, wine and beer. Former chef at Wine Cask in Santa Barbara doing quite well- patio and indoor seating- great wines!
          Breakfast? Ellens is great- my favorite is Mother Hubbards in Buellton- nothing to look at, delicious to eat!
          I work at Paninos- so hard to say "they are the best for sandwiches".....but they are the best! SY Solvang and Los Olivos- take your pick...

          Going out Foxen Canyon is a great idea- start at Rancho Sisquoc and work your way back!

          Best Bet- 7 miles up the 101, is the town of Los Alamos. Fri Sat & Sun evenings- Full of Life FLATBREAD. Just go- my fav pie is roasted leek, candied walnut - and I am NOT a vegetarian.

          Have a great weekend and post a report. I second getting up to Cold Spring Tavern- unless you hate dust and kerosene lamps- then PASS. Sunday afternoons are music tri-tip sandwiches, great people watching- wear sensible shoes!

          Cold Spring Tavern
          5995 Stagecoach Rd, Santa Barbara, CA 93105

          3687 Sagunto St, Santa Ynez, CA 93460

          Mother Hubbard's Restaurant
          373 Avenue of the Flags Ste A, Buellton, CA 93427

          3544 Sagunto St, Santa Ynez, CA 93460

          35 Industrial Way, Buellton, CA 93427

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