Hi again! To all you UCSB students, I am known as the Hungry Gaucho. To all of you new readers, I’m visiting a new restaurant every week and reporting the highlights of my trip. Last week, I tried Takenoya, a local sushi stop. It’s located off of Fairview on Calle Real — you can’t miss the topiary adorned with Christmas lights.

I’m dedicating this article to all the poor people still stuck on campus. I know that most of you are just itching to get back home to family, friends or maybe just the great Thanksgiving food, but because you faithfully attended class today, you’ll reap the benefits of my experience. Before you venture home this weekend or when you return to school, make sure to check out Ca Dario. This small Italian restaurant is usually packed with hungry customers, despite its easily overlooked location on the corner of Anacapa and Victoria Streets. It’s also conveniently within walking distance of the Paseo Nuevo shopping center.

I’ve heard nothing but good things about this restaurant and have had wonderful experiences the two times that I have eaten there. One of the appetizers — roasted figs stuffed with goat cheese, wrapped in prosciutto and drizzled with balsamic vinegar — was almost life changing. I definitely will be ordering it again. The pasta dishes at Ca Dario are great as well. The pappardelle pasta, or thick ribbon pasta dishes, are cooked to a perfect al dente.

The last time I went there, I ordered their Bolognese but with papparadelle pasta. By no means was it the most attractive dish, but it was absolutely delicious. The sauce is a far cry from your average creamy Bolognese, and I welcomed the change from the traditional basic tomato and meat pasta topping. I’ve also ordered the pappardelle alla boscaiola: ribbon-style pasta with porcini mushrooms and pancetta with a tomato cream sauce. In my opinion the two pappardelle dishes are both excellent options. My friend raved over the lamb at Ca Dario, so perhaps I’ll try that next. During my last visit, I brought my mom, and we shared the restaurant’s famed tiramisu. The portion wasn’t too filling, and the perfect finish to a great meal.

Ca Dario can be a little on the expensive side, with dishes ranging from $20 to $30, but it’s the perfect place to take your date out for dinner. It’s also a great place to have your parents cover the bill.

If you’ve been to a restaurant that you think other gauchos would like, e-mail me at hungrygaucho@dailynexus.com.

Eating well,
The Hungry Gaucho