The following are capsule reviews of some of the better restaurants recently visited by our critics:
The magic at Pane e Vino is called authenticity. It's one of Santa Barbara's most successful--and most crowded--Italian restaurants. Try the bresaola con rucola , thin rounds of dry-cured beef with arugula and onions, drizzled in a delicious vinaigrette. There's a different soup and rustic risotto served every day. Pastas run about $8 to $9. One of the best is bucatini , thin strands of spaghetti with big slivers of sweet onions and a fine, very spicy sauce. The most stunning dessert is affogato al caffe-- white chocolate ice cream "drowned" in espresso and smothered in whipped cream. Pane e Vino is at 1482 E. Valley Road, Montecito. (805) 969-2274. Lunch and dinner are served Monday to Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; dinner only Sunday, 5 to 9 p.m. Lunch or dinner for two, food only, $30 to $60.
Ristorante Fabrizio, tucked away in the corner of a shopping center, can give you excellent food and dismal service. But when Fabrizio is around, which is often, you're likely to find the same excellent dishes, plus attentive service. Try the linguine Portofino or the sweetbreads Chez Maxim. 3731 Thousand Oaks Blvd., Westlake Village, 496-9033. Lunch Tuesday to Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.; dinner Tuesday to Thursday, 6 to 9 p.m., Friday to Saturday, 6 to 10 p.m., Sunday, 5 to 9 p.m. Meal for two, food only, $25-$65.