About SY Kitchen
Opened in April 2013, S.Y. Kitchen offers fresh, modern, Italian dishes in any of the three rooms of their Italian-inspired, California farmhouse. Meals are served in the Front Room where guests are warmly welcomed, on the Porch with cushioned banquet seating and a bit of fresh air, or in the cozy Dining Room which also hosts family seating and private parties.
Executive Chef & Owner/Partner Luca Crestanelli. He’s not only extremely talented, but beyond friendly and approachable. During my first visit (since I went twice the same weekend) I went to the open kitchen to say hi and introduce myself. He and his brother (also a Chef at SY Kitchen) were incredibly nice and talkative. See my full interview with Luca here.
More about Chef & Owner/Partner Luca Crestanelli: Luca was born and raised in Verona, Italy. Fluent in Italian, Spanish, and English, and possessing a degree in Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts, Chef Luca is a modern Renaissance man. Having worked throughout northern Italy and Southern California, Crestanelli found his passion and refined his sensibilities to food through his travels around the world.
Chef Luca discovered that “ingredients, recipes, and methods of cooking can vary from each little town or village within a country, as they have their own age-old traditions which they practice.” Therein he developed his own style of creating “an enriched, authentic, local culinary experience that honors traditional Italian cuisine”.
Through his inspired dishes at S. Y. Kitchen, Luca has established himself as a standard-bearer for the Santa Ynez Valley‘s bright culinary future. Working closely with local farmers and food purveyors, Crestanelli sources his ingredients daily by visiting local produce fields and farms himself. “This concept of ‘farm to table’ is too obvious for me. Of course, surrounded as we are by all of these fresh, local ingredients, why wouldn’t we go from the field to the kitchen? There is no other way of preparing brightly flavored, fresh food; it’s my purpose in life.”
The charming bar where I sat and enjoyed dinner on my first visit. I returned for cocktails and dessert the second night!
SY Kitchen has an incredible cocktail program lead by Alberto Battaglini, Mixologist & Bar Manager (shown below).
More about Mixologist & Bar Manager Alberto Battaglini: Another native of Verona and a school chum of Luca’s, Alberto Battaglini dreamed of a restaurant career when he was still in elementary school. Attending Scuola Alberghiera, he learned the fundamentals of cooking and food service. He quickly learned that being a chef was not for him. From there he started an ardent love affair with spirits which took him to Gatwick, London where he met his mentor in mixology, Ian Slater. Alberto further honed his mixology passion and skills in Spain and Mexico before meeting up with his old school friend, Luca, at Bar Toscana in Los Angeles. Alberto is now the resident Mixologist at S. Y. Kitchen where he creates his own infusions of spirits and bitters from a local bounty of fruits, vegetables, and herbs.
The incredible cocktail I enjoyed. Check out the powdered sugar on the top of this drink. It was incredible, so good I ordered two!
The pasta special of the evening that I ordered. It was covered in truffles, and quite a generous portion at that. If you’re a pasta lover, I recommend ordering at least one pasta during your visit here as it was over the top fabulous!
A huge thank you to Chef Luca and your team for hosting me for my incredible visits to your restaurant. Your food is amazing, along with the service, the guest experience, and your team leadership. I look forward to visiting again during my next trip to Santa Ynez. Thanks again for having me!
Restaurant interior photos and Chef/Mixologist headshot courtesy of Rob Stark photography