Santa Ynez Valley News
Visit renowned chef Leonardo Curti's Santa Ynez eatery27 Mar 2013 3:34 PM
It took a while for Leonardo Curti to get where he is today, but now that he has, he has earned himself a spot as one of Wine Country's most respected restaurateurs. Born, raised and trained in Italy - including a heralded period as an apprentice in Tuscany - Curti moved to the United States where he worked in many award-winning restaurants before he decided to open his own in 1997. The result, Trattoria Grappolo, has quickly become one of the most popular dining spots in Santa Ynez - not just among owners of Wine Country real estate, but of celebrities and fine-dining connoisseurs who routinely make the trek from Los Angeles to sample Curti's famous dishes.
At first glance, Trattoria Grappolo appears similar to any of the dozens of Italian restaurants that can be found in the region. Upon closer inspection, however, it is easy to see how Curti uses his unique background and decades of experience to turn traditional Italian fare into a one-of-a-kind experience.
One of the clearest examples of the difference between Trattoria Grappolo and its less-distinguished peers is its pasta selection. Dishes like Pennette con Funghi e Salisiccia and Gnocci al Gusto di Pollo are elevated to another level by their locally sourced ingredients and Curti's legendary attention to detail. Curti takes pride in working closely with local farms and vineyards to bring in only the freshest ingredients. Once he has them, Curti makes sure every dish that leaves his kitchen is carefully constructed and in keeping with long-established Italian techniques.
This devotion to culinary history, combined with Curti's intuitive sense of harmony and balance, has helped him earn a reputation that extends well beyond Trattoria Grappolo. Curti recently published a well-received cookbook based on the dishes he serves at his Santa Ynez restaurant. Written with respected cookbook author and Touring and Tasting Magazine wine editor James O. Fraioli, the book features recipes for some of Trattoria Grappolo's most popular dishes, including Grilled Lobster with Sage and Cannellini Beans.
Of course, many people would prefer to have the master himself make the dishes. For these people, a trip to Trattoria Grappolo to experience its elegant service, extensive wine list and charming atmosphere is sure to be unforgettable - whether you live in the area or are visiting specially to sample the food at this renowned Santa Ynez establishment.