A reimagined old stagecoach stop is taking the Central Coast’s busy wine region by storm. Mattei’s Tavern has reopened as of November 18 in once-sleepy Los Olivos, located in the heart of Santa Barbara County’s wine community, bringing with it California ranch cuisine with plenty of luxury touches.
Mattei’s Tavern has been an on-and-off anchor for the Santa Ynez Valley for generations, operating as a stagecoach stop, various restaurants, a speakeasy bar, and more over the past 136 years. Initially, the property — including the restaurant and other lodgings and facilities spread across more than six acres — was a layover stop for travelers navigating the San Marcos Pass, eventually growing to become a local staple that expanded with the nearby population. The past 15 years have been much more uncertain, though, as the restaurant fell into various hands and attempted various comebacks.
This newest iteration has been years in the making, setting up Mattei’s Tavern to once again be a community gathering space as well as a travel hub, albeit now as part of the larger Auberge Resorts Collection property that will open in 2023 with 67 guestrooms. The hospitality group operates worldwide five-star properties and private residences in places like Napa Valley, Los Cabos, Anguilla, Greece, and beyond. The upscale hotel and restaurant’s arrival makes for the biggest opening in the area in decades, coming on the heels of growing tourism to the wine region and an explosion of culinary talent, mostly centered around Los Alamos, Solvang, and Los Olivos. Restaurants like Bar Le Côte, Full of Life Flatbread, SY Kitchen, Coast Range, and others have been swiftly changing the dining landscape nearby, and now comes Mattei’s Tavern.
The new Mattei’s Tavern features food from chef Rhoda Magbitang, who has cooked across Los Angeles and Las Vegas at stops like Bazaar Meat, Chateau Marmont, and Petit Ermitage. The seasonal farm focus means year-round produce from the likes of Finley Farms and Goleta’s Cultured Abalone, as well as meats from local ranches cooked over an open hearth and rotisserie. The full evening menu at Mattei’s Tavern can be found here, and reservations are now available via OpenTable.
Beyond Mattei’s (the restaurant), the property also plays host to an attached leather-bound bar offering cocktails, craft beer, and plenty of local wine; there’s the Shed for poolside dining come summertime; and Gin’s Tap Bar for smoked meats and drinks. During the day, Felix Feed & Coffee offers breakfast and lunch with espresso drinks, pastries, and lighter fare before venturing out and about. Expect the entire property to be fully up and running by February 2023.
Mattei’s Tavern is now open at 2350 Railway Avenue, Los Olivos, CA 93441.