Los Olivos, a charming unincorporated community in California‘s Santa Ynez Valley, has recently become a hotspot for travelers seeking a delightful blend of exquisite cuisine and world-class wines. The opening of the Inn at Mattei’s Tavern by Auberge Resorts Collection, featuring a cafe buzzing with activity from 6 a.m., has added a vibrant touch to this 2.5-square-mile town.
With 27 wineries scattered throughout, Los Olivos offers a tasting experience within every .01 square mile. The town’s main hub, Grand Avenue, is conveniently located just two blocks away from the newly opened hotel. Los Olivos has earned the prestigious title of Travel + Leisure’s best food and culture town in the U.S., thanks in part to the culinary prowess of chef Daisy Ryan, a Santa Ynez Valley native.
Ryan, a James Beard Award nominee and Food & Wine’s Best New Chef of 2020, has played a pivotal role in bringing culinary excellence to Los Olivos. Her ventures include the Michelin-starred Bell’s in nearby Los Alamos and the establishments Bar Le Côte, a seafood restaurant, and The Other Room, a beer hall, in Los Olivos. The town’s transformation into a culinary destination has garnered attention, making it a must-visit for those seeking a unique and delightful experience.
Los Olivos, often likened to Napa 50 years ago, maintains its small-town charm and resists becoming overly commercialized. The best times to visit are in spring and fall, with pleasant weather and opportunities to indulge in alfresco dining. The Taste of Santa Ynez Valley, held in the fall, offers a delightful experience, including a multi-chef, multi-course dinner at the Inn at Mattei’s Tavern.
The town’s main attractions include its 27 wineries, offering a diverse range of world-class wines. Visitors can also explore locally-owned businesses, whether shopping for clothes, homewares, or wine. The Inn at Mattei’s Tavern, a historic hotel that reopened as an Auberge Resorts Collection property in 2023, provides a unique and charming stay, allowing guests to step back in time.
Culinary highlights include Stolpman Vineyards, known for its small-batch natural wines, and establishments like Bar Le Côte and The Other Room, which add diversity to the town’s dining scene. Los Olivos also boasts a higher percentage of women-owned wineries than the national average, with Story of Soil, owned by winemaker Jessica Gasca, being one notable example.
For those planning a visit, the town is easily accessible from the Santa Barbara Airport, a 40-minute drive away, or a scenic two-and-a-half-hour drive from Los Angeles. Whether you’re a wine enthusiast, a food connoisseur, or someone seeking a picturesque escape, Los Olivos offers a captivating blend of culture, culinary delights, and natural beauty.