* Click here for rating key
Trattoria Mollie's Restaurant Review: Chef-owner Mollie Ahlstrand grew up in Ethiopia and learned her cooking in some of Italy's finest restaurants. Ahlstrand once made breads for the Vatican, and her expertise in baking is notable. Her beautifully designed restaurant was an immediate hit when it opened, and Santa Barbara adopted it with zest, including Oprah Winfrey, whose well-publicized raves about Mollie’s turkey meatballs sent the restaurant’s popularity to a new level. Our favorite meal starts with a bottle of Chianti and a basket of soft, handmade bread waiting to be dipped in olive oil. Caesar salad has a tasty anchovy dressing. Then comes the salmon sautéed with leeks, Cognac cream and tomato sauce. Mollie's signature dessert is her homemade gelato with Cognac and espresso, not to mention tiramisu. For lunch or a light supper, try the margherita pizza, delicately thin with a tangy layer of mozzarella with basil and tomato, a specialty of Naples. The small wine list features California and Italian wines, but at a hefty mark-up.