My husband recently attended a conference held at Rancho Valencia in Santa Fe, CA. I went with him for a weekend at the spa, and I dined in Veladora.
Coming from Atlanta--the decor was the first thing to captivate me. It was extremely elegant with attention to every detail, from the extraordinary Damien Hirst butterflies art piece, design of the rustic, open beamed space, an abundance of candles throughout, to the resort's logo tastefully etched on the crystal wine glasses. At breakfast the space is comfortable and roomy. After sunset, the very same environment turns into this glowingly warm ambiance is a cozy, inviting space that invites you to settle in and stay a while. There is no stuffiness or pretense, anywhere.
The food was excellent. It was not only delicious and cooked perfectly, it was gorgeous to look at, as well--especially the vegetable dishes, which were tiny works of art. They use interesting ingredients, such as burrata cheese, nettle pureé, beet dirt and farrow. Perhaps they are common ingredients in California, but they haven't made it to the majority of Atlanta restaurants, yet. They do their own pickling and meat curing, as well. Portions were not huge so I was able to have a starter, entree and dessert--leaving very satisfied and not 'stuffed.' As other reviewers have mentioned, their wine list is extensive and superb.
I've not had service quite like theirs at Veladora. The staff are all very friendly and genuinely seem to want to be there, proud of what they do and so pleased to you are there so they can do it. The waiters were always available if I needed anything, called me by name and were most helpful in guiding me through the menu. In fact, the waiter of the table next to me at one meal was one of the best waiters I've encountered, anywhere: He took an interest in all the details the guests stated as to their preferences for food and was very proactive in suggesting alternatives to the set menu that would meet their tastes and was overall, beyond accommodating. I'm always reluctant to re-write the menu, but he did and included items not even mentioned, and that impressed me, greatly. That in no way diminishes the service I received because by each member of the staff I encountered, service was truly excellent.
We really can't wait to go back and enjoy this place, again. It was wonderful in every way.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.