With the economy in such a sorry state, it was bound to impact the Ventura restaurant scene. Sushi Teri on Ashwood has closed, as well as BadAss Coffee on Thompson Boulevard, and Cafe Bariloche on Main Street. The closing of Bariloche almost brought tears to my eyes- it was the first restaurant I ate in when I moved to Ventura, and such a unique little spot. And I still think about their crisp little empanadas and the Caribe chicken, which consisted of perfectly cooked chunks of chicken breast tossed in a delicious cilantro oil.
On a happier note, Sicily by Gino is due to open mid-May on Main Street in downtown Ventura. This will be the newest culinary endeavor for owner and native Sicilian Gino Milano, who also owns Gino's Sicilian Express in Santa Barbara and Cucina Isabella in Camarillo. I'm anxiously awaiting their pizza, paninis and salads. In the meantime, I might head down to Cucina Isabella (455 Carmen Drive, Camarillo). On a slightly bizarre posting on Craigslist, they claim to have a $5 lunch special, perfect for those of us who have drastically cut our dining out budget during these tough times.
Another newish spot that I'm hoping to check out (and possibly review for the VC Reporter) is Pizza Salad in Thousand Oaks. Opened in 2008, they claim to be "America's first organic pizza restaurant." Pretty much everything they serve is organic and their top priority is providing gourmet food that is good for their customers and good for the environment. What also makes them unique is that they have yummy food options for customers needing vegan, gluten-free, lactose-free and low salt options. All this and it tastes good? The menu is intriguing enough that I just might make the drive down there to check it out.