The rolling landscape and world-renowned wineries of the Santa Ynez Valley have been drawing visitors for years. Now, thanks to the latest venture by the team behind Bell’s in Los Alamos, the town of Los Olivos has added another reason to visit. Chef Daisy Ryan and her husband/partner Greg Ryan, both of whom worked at Per Se in New York, have teamed up with chef Brad Mathews to open one of the most anticipated restaurants of the year, a European-influenced seafood tavern. The menu at Bar Le Côte flexes the team’s connections to the best fish, meat and produce from around Southern California.
“Sourcing quality seafood is the soul of BLC,” says Brad, who attributes his passion for sourcing the best product to his childhood. “My father was a butcher and I think having a full understanding of where our food comes from was something that was instilled in me from my youth.”
Brad previously helmed kitchens at Fishing With Dynamite and The Arthur J in Manhattan Beach. These experiences, along with his time as R&D chef and VP of sales for the Morro Bay Oyster Company, influenced his passion for local seafood. He beautifully conveys it in dishes like fried Pacific Gold oysters served atop hand-cut steak tartare or exactingly cooked Spanish octopus with paprika-roasted fingerlings, frisée and saffron aioli, or dry-aged striped bass from Liwei Liao served with parsnip puree, lemon preserves and chervil.
Nella Kitchen & Bar
“I think it is my responsibility as a chef to truly value the hard work of the farmers/fishers and what their day-to-day actually looks like. To me, cooking is truly the easy and most rewarding part of the journey. I feel fortunate to use their product,” he explains. In a word, Brad describes his menu as soulful. “Some are classic Spanish dishes and some are more whimsical.”
We asked the Bar Le Côte team for their favorite local places—and everyone chimed in. From coffee shops to wineries, here are some of the team’s favorite haunts.
Nella Kitchen & Bar
“Nella’s welcoming dining room embodies classic Central Coast California aesthetic. It’s a great place to enjoy a meal of locally sourced ingredients cooked with classic Italian flavors, or to wind down a busy week with a gin martini.” —Greg Ryan, co-owner
“Storm Wines is my favorite place to have a glass of gamay in Los Olivos. The tasting room is so bright and comfortable. I love spending time there.” —Brad Mathews, chef/partner
Above: Storm Wines
“There’s a great deal of comfort that comes with returning home to the Santa Ynez Valley after spending time in New York, Los Angeles and Austin. There’s a sense of style in the valley I wouldn’t trade for anything, and it starts and ends with Jedlicka’s. I’ve been coming here for clothing since I was a child, and now I shop Jedlicka’s for my son, Henry.” —Daisy Ryan, co-owner
Stolpman Vineyards Fresh Garage
“The Stolpman Fresh Garage is an excellent place to grab a glass of wine or do a diverse tasting from some of the winery’s most interesting labels. Ash and the team create a fun and celebratory atmosphere while pouring some seriously good wine.” —Grace Gates, general manager
“Husband-and-wife team David and Anna make organic wines, and if you’re lucky they have something open from their certified biodynamic deLanda Vineyard, located about a mile away from the tasting room. A must-visit for those familiar with Austrian varieties like Gruner Veltliner and Blaufrankisch, and for those who are open to new experiences!” —Emily Blackman, beverage director
Above: Carhartt Family Wines
“I stop at Neighbors Coffee, the hip mobile coffee truck parked in town, almost every day before heading into Bar Le Côte. Their nitro iced coffee is delicious. Plus, Blair and Emmy are so great, serving each cup with a smile.” —Jakob Kidd, line cook
“Community Craft is a wonderful bar that has become my favorite industry hangout spot in Los Olivos. There is a great list of rotating beers on tap and a mix of local and global wines. Every time I walk in, Erin has such great energy and is one of the loveliest people I’ve met in town.” —Luis Gomez, sous chef
Carhartt Family Wines
“The Carhartt tasting room is definitely the place to be on your day off. It’s a whole vibe and a half with their beautiful outdoor tasting area and the staff who always make sure you have a good time!” —Jose Gomez, lead line cook