Where to eat in Solvang: New restaurants offer flavors beyond Denmark

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The first courses at Ramen Kotori rival the soups. Photo credit: Matt Kettmann.

Solvang is a little Danish town nestled into the Santa Ynez Valley. It’s often seen as a Disneyland-esque tourist destination. But now it’s elevating its food and dining scene beyond danishes, bratwursts and fudge.

Matt Kettmann, Santa Barbara-based food and wine writer, recently tried out some new restaurants in Solvang. 

Ramen Kotori 

Ramen Kotori’s main dish. Photo credit: Matt Kettmann.

“Tucked behind -- no joke -- a windmill is Ramen Kotori. The ramen is fantastic. But I was actually blown away by the first course: vegetable tempura, pork gyoza and pickled vegetables. They all tasted very fresh, extremely reflective of where they were grown. They put all the names of the farmers on their chalkboard wall. Everything is hand done,” Kettmann says.

Ramen Kotori is located at 1618 Copenhagen Dr, Solvang, California 93463.

The Good Seed Coffee Boutique

Leyla Williams holds her kubana. Photo credit: Matt Kettmann.

“The one that was most fascinating was a Yemeni bread called kubana, which involved smoking a jar over olive branches, stuffing it full of butter with fenugreek in it, leaving that for like a month; and then rolling out dough, putting butter on it, rolling out more dough, putting nigella seeds on it, and then rolling it into these little pull-apart rolls. It was savory. It was a little sweet. It was amazing,” Kettmann says. 

The Good Seed Coffee Boutique is located at 1607 Mission Dr. Solvang, CA 93463.

Cailloux Cheese Shop

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Italian cheeses. Photo courtesy of Cailloux Cheese Shop.

“It's run by a woman who was actually a geologist at UCSB, decided she didn't want to go that route, and started doing cheese events around the Santa Ynez Valley. She opened this shop in October alongside Crawford Family Wine, so there's a tasting room right next door. You can do a cheese pairing with your wine tasting, you can buy some great cheese, and she teaches a number of classes every week,” Kettmann says. 

Cailloux Cheese Shop is located at 1661 Mission Dr. Solvang, CA 93460.




Kathryn Barnes