The new interior of the Gathering Table at Ballard Inn, photo by Tenley Fohl Photography.
The Gathering Table at Ballard Inn is the new restaurant concept from Chef Budi Kazali, who has owned the property with his wife Chris Kazali since 2004.
Ballard Inn has always been highly regarded for its romantic ambiance and award-winning cuisine, but the new restaurant and decor offers a much more fun, casual and inviting experience. Rather than a special occasion place, it feels like a more welcoming spot to gather over incredible food that’s meant to be shared.
“Modern farmhouse ambiance with Colonial influence” is how the team describes the new look—designed by local interior designer Heather Saarloos—and it’s pretty accurate. As Budi explains, “We’re lucky that Ballard Inn has been a much-loved luxury destination over the years, but we felt it was time to introduce a new level of sophistication to our atmosphere.”
The Gathering Table at Ballard Inn photo by Tenley Fohl Photography.
The Inn’s 15 guest rooms, which have undergone various updates throughout the years, will also receive a refresh to convey a sense of continuity throughout the entire space.
With a warm and inviting atmosphere, a long communal table and a menu featuring shared plates, The Gathering Table is “meant to be a gathering place for locals and visitors, a fun and inviting place to gather over incredible food,” says Chris.
Chef Budi Kazali, whose cuisine has been featured in such notable publications as Food and Wine and The Wine Spectator, and is also well known for his local TV show, The Inn Crowd, has created a menu that features a large variety of creative shared plates and signature dishes highlighting local, seasonal produce and seafood.
“Our new restaurant’s menu is much more comprehensive than before,” shares Chris. “The concept of The Gathering Table has allowed Budi to be more creative with his food.” Adds Budi, “The food is flavorful, seasonal and unique and there’s truly something for everyone.”
The Gathering Table at Ballard Inn, photos by Leslie Dinaberg.
An artistic melding of Asian, French and California wine country cuisine, the new menu features a delicious selection of seasonal, locally sourced produce, seafood and meats. We sampled a wide array of dishes, all tasty. Particular favorites were Hamachi made with avocado and soy-yuzu vinaigrette; Sesame Caesar Salad; Hope Ranch Mussels with chorizo and garlic toast; Pork & Shrimp Shumai with ginger vinegar sauce and Marinated Hanger Steak with spicy charred Brussels sprouts.
“We look forward to sharing our space with our community in hopes we can offer a place for locals and visitors to gather and enjoy the bounty of the area. We’re happy that our renovations will further enhance Ballard Inn as an exceptional destination in Santa Barbara’s wine country,” says Budi.
Built in 1985, Ballard Inn is located t 2436 Baseline Ave. in the historic township of Ballard, just 35 minutes north of Santa Barbara near Solvang. To learn more about Ballard Inn & The Gathering Table, please visit ballardinn.com.
Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on May 23, 2017.