Driving up to the American Riviera, also known as Santa Barbara, for a summer getaway, we stopped at the new oceanfront restaurant Caruso’s for dinner. Named after the real estate and lifestyle developer Rick Caruso, it’s a fine-dining supper club located at the new luxury Rosewood Miramar Beach Hotel.
Located below the Miramar Beach Bar, Caruso’s is in the center of the East Beach House and West Beach House where rooms look directly out to the sandy golden strand of Miramar Beach, the Pacific Ocean and the Channel Islands in the distance.
One feels as if they are dining on a luxurious yacht with teak wood plank floors, and a stylish color palate of navy blues and crisp white. A wall of interior mirrors reflect the unobstructed views and add a touch of glamour.
Sitting at a table for four on the dining terrace, we enjoyed a glass of Flowers Vineyards & Winery Chardonnay from Sonoma County, while looking over Executive Chef Massimo Falsini and Chef De Cuisine Paul Osborne’s menu. There is an extensive selection of local Santa Barbara and Santa Ynez Valley wines, plus a selection of and international wines.
It’s an ideal summer wine to sip while enjoying the tastes of Southern Italy with a local influence. We started with a Santa Barbara Farmer’s Market Salad layered with organic greens, shaved fennel, dried apricots and a blackberry vinagrette. The Tutti-frutti Toy-Box Tomato Salad is made with a variety of red and yellow heirloom tomatoes, along with double 8 Buffalo Mozarella cheese, that resembled buratta cheese, and roasted pistachios on top.
Hyper-local ingredients from the ocean include Santa Barbara prawns and uni, charred Pacific octopus, crispy Monterey King salmon, seared Channel Island white sea bass and San Francisco black cod. The Santa Barbara Harbor Cioppino has octopus, calamari, seared Ling cod, clams and mussels, spot prawns and Dungeness crab. Chef Massimo arrived at out table to pour his ethereal sauces around the fresh sea bass and black cod that we ordered.
Homemade pastas range from the chef’s signature Carbonara, pasta with Santa Barbara prawns and Uni Tagliolini. For red meat lovers there is a certified Angus filet château cut, “Steak and Potatoes…My Way” offering Snake River Gold Wagyu NY Strip with a Syrah jus, Dry Aged Pan Roasted Liberty Duck and Casitas Valley Rabbit in Cacciatora.
Executive Pastry Chef Benjamin Kunert makes an exquisite Baked Alaska and cheery crostata. While the food was exquisite, the professional service is relaxed.
After dinner we took a stroll next to the grand lawn, and two swimming pools (one for adults with a scalloped edge, and a lively family pool with yellow and white cabanas) to the East Coast Hampton-style manor house. Peeking into the all-day Malibu Farms restaurant, we noticed a wedding reception taking place on the patio next to this farm to table restaurant. Each room throughout the Manor is designed with graceful lines and furnished with formal pieces. The walls display an array of whimsical artwork.
Last Spring, actor and Montecito resident Rob Lowe told Rick Caruso and his guests at the ribbon-cutting ceremony “We have been through a lot in the past two years, and I feel the positive and uplifting energy all over this place.” I agree.
Caruso’s dinner hours are Sunday to Thursday: 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Friday to Saturday: 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. The restaurant is also open for brunch on Saturday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. 1759 South Jameson Lane, Montecito, CA 93108. (805)900-8388.
Here are my other Rosewood Miramar Beach Resort articles to learn more about this spectacular vacation destination.