For Starters

By Hana-Lee Sedgwick   |   December 24, 2020
Aperitivo is a casually inviting wine bar focused on biodynamic and organic wines – 95 percent of which are from Italian producers (photo courtesy: Aperitivo)

Giving Santa Barbarans yet another reason to venture out for wine is Aperitivo, an Italian-inspired wine bar from owner-operators Brian Dodero and Andrea Girardello – two food and beverage veterans who met while working at the Four Seasons Biltmore. 

Taking its name from the Italian tradition of gathering after work for a pre-dinner drink and snack, Aperitivo is a casually inviting wine bar focused on biodynamic and organic wines – 95 percent of which are from Italian producers – offered alongside a small but mighty menu of modern rustic Italian food. “Andrea is originally from Milan and is well versed in Italian wines, and I attended culinary school in Florence and have focused on Italian cuisine throughout my career, so naturally we looked to Italy for our inspiration,” shares chef Dodero, who adds that their partnership came about “organically” through their shared love of food and wine from Italy.

Heading up the wine list is Girardello, whose Italian-heavy wine selection showcases many unique varietals from Italy, spanning from the Veneto to Sicilia, rounded out by a few Santa Barbara County producers – all available by the glass or bottle, as well as to-go. Also on offering: local beer, vermouth spritzes, and amaro, adding to the Italian spirit of Aperitivo.  

Complementing the beverage menu is a selection of appetizers and shareable plates, each designed to highlight local, seasonal ingredients while approaching authentic Italian flavors in a modern way. “We source ingredients based on what’s fresh, in season, and with a focus on quality, which is why we get our seafood from local fishermen through The Santa Barbara Fish Market,” says chef Dodero. “Our pastas are made by hand, in-house using seasonal ingredients, and we import extremely fresh burrata from Puglia, Italy, which reaches us within a few days of being made. For each menu item, I like to highlight the main ingredient, adding components to elevate the dish while making subtle changes in texture to complement each bite.”

Though food offerings change regularly, one can always expect to find a selection of bruschetta, like 20-hour slow roasted porchetta with arugula, parmigiano, and citrus; some sort of crudo, such as bluefin tuna sashimi with capers, basil, and chili oil; and, of course, house-made pasta, such as sweet potato gnocchi with brown butter, sage, and amaretti. 

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iving Santa Barbarans yet another reason to venture out for wine is Aperitivo, an Italian-inspired wine bar from owner-operators Brian Dodero and Andrea Girardello – two food and beverage veterans who met while working at the Four Seasons Biltmore. 

Taking its name from the Italian tradition of gathering after work for a pre-dinner drink and snack, Aperitivo is a casually inviting wine bar focused on biodynamic and organic wines – 95 percent of which are from Italian producers – offered alongside a small but mighty menu of modern rustic Italian food. “Andrea is originally from Milan and is well versed in Italian wines, and I attended culinary school in Florence and have focused on Italian cuisine throughout my career, so naturally we looked to Italy for our inspiration,” shares chef Dodero, who adds that their partnership came about “organically” through their shared love of food and wine from Italy.

Heading up the wine list is Girardello, whose Italian-heavy wine selection showcases many unique varietals from Italy, spanning from the Veneto to Sicilia, rounded out by a few Santa Barbara County producers – all available by the glass or bottle, as well as to-go. Also on offering: local beer, vermouth spritzes, and amaro, adding to the Italian spirit of Aperitivo.  

Complementing the beverage menu is a selection of appetizers and shareable plates, each designed to highlight local, seasonal ingredients while approaching authentic Italian flavors in a modern way. “We source ingredients based on what’s fresh, in season, and with a focus on quality, which is why we get our seafood from local fishermen through The Santa Barbara Fish Market,” says chef Dodero. “Our pastas are made by hand, in-house using seasonal ingredients, and we import extremely fresh burrata from Puglia, Italy, which reaches us within a few days of being made. For each menu item, I like to highlight the main ingredient, adding components to elevate the dish while making subtle changes in texture to complement each bite.”

Though food offerings change regularly, one can always expect to find a selection of bruschetta, like 20-hour slow roasted porchetta with arugula, parmigiano, and citrus; some sort of crudo, such as bluefin tuna sashimi with capers, basil, and chili oil; and, of course, house-made pasta, such as sweet potato gnocchi with brown butter, sage, and amaretti. 

 “Aperitivo is designed to be a place to come together, to discover exquisite flavors and natural wines from the far corners of Italy, and celebrate new traditions in Santa Barbara,” says Dodero. “We are excited to finally see our vision come to fruition.”

 

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