While on the road we are always on the lookout for special restaurants and boutique wines. While traveling through the breathtaking Edna Valley and spending several days in beautiful and historic San Luis Obispo we found both.

We asked locals and colleges as well to give us a “few” names to visit for our dining pleasure. One name came up from the pros and locals alike. Chef Antonio Varia’s Buona Tavola located in downtown San Luis Obispo.

Located across from the San Luis Obispo County Government Center and next door to the historic Fremont Theatre, Buona Tavola was an ideal for a leisurely lunch in our case dinner.

The menu featured a wide variety of antipasti (appetizers), hand crafted pastas, generous main courses and truly inspired desserts, such as Chef Varia’s famous

tirami su.

Chef-Owner Antonio Varia and his staff treated us well and took great care to bring us the highest quality and freshest foods prepared in a comfortable environment right off of busy Monterey Street.

For well over a decade, Chef Antonio Varia has been delighting the discerning palates of Central Coast residents with an inventive Northern Italian cuisine. Opened in 1992, Buona Tavola (meaning “good table”) is the realization of a dream. Working as an apprentice in the restaurants of his native Northern Italy, Antonio continued his training in Europe’s finest hotels. He honed his skills on the Princess Cruise lines, and as executive chef in several award-winning Los Angeles eateries.

Buona Tavola in downtown San Luis Obispo opened to rave reviews. The esteemed Zagat Survey gave it the highest ratings of any restaurant in the county, calling it “superb dining” with “great wine” in a “charming setting…one of the best between Los Angeles and San Francisco”.A decade later – responding to clamor from loyal patrons and new arrivals alike – Antonio opened a new location in downtown Paso Robles. Situated at the seat of the county’s bountiful wine country, Buona Tavola Paso Robles offers the same superb cuisine and impeccable service in a quietly elegant setting.

Dinner to us means wine as well and why not a Sangiovese from a local boutique producer. We choose the Ortman Family Vineyard 2007 Sangiovese Paso Robles . These wines are made by the father-and-son winemaking team of Chuck Ortman and Matt Ortman. Chuck brings extensive experience and artistry to the winemaking program and Matt complements Chuck with a knack for craftsmanship and a thirst for new ideas. Together, they advance the acclaimed “Ortman style,” which emphasizes richness, elegance and cuisine compatibility.

This lovely Sangiovese is from Bob Goodwin’s Algunas Dias Vineyard in the upper foothills of Paso Robles. Surrounded with with Tuscan olive trees at an altitude comparable to Chianti Classico, this vineyard is a perfect place to grow a taste of Italy and it did throughout the entire menu.

Minestrone saporito

This lovely medley of fresh vegetables and tuscan beans in a savory chicken broth with a touch of basil pesto was a great way to awaken our palates with many fresh vegetables aromas and tastes.

Pappardelle alla San Pietro

This wide ribbon pasta with sautéed shrimp, white wine, braised sweet onions, and imported prosciutto finished with a light creamy tomato sauce was a perfect match to our entree which was soon to follow

Pollo scamiciato alla Vinaggia di Parma

Boneless free-range chicken marinated with garlic and herbs, grilled and served with a rosemary mustard sauce cooked in imported Parma took 20 mins. to bake but well worth the time.This chicken dish was one of most unique preparations that we have enjoyed in sometime.

We travel often and are over joyed when we find a “jewel” that offers superb food , wine and service . Buona Tavola fits the bill and will well deserving of its accolades.

For more on Buona Tavola please visist BUONA TAVOLA