Restaurants in Santa Barbara
With fresh fish, wines from over the hills and a high-tone—and hungry—clientele, it's easy to eat well in Santa Barbara. The generally relaxed atmosphere ensures that fine dining at restaurants in Santa Barbara never feels fussy, either. Here are a few of the best restaurants in Santa Barbara:
Brophy Brothers Clam Bar & Restaurant. Located on the marina, this established seafood restaurant makes great cioppino—a staple from here to San Francisco—as well as sea bass, swordfish, guacamole and salsa.
Montecito Cafe. Located in the Montecito Inn, which was built by Charlie Chaplin in the 1920s, this Santa Barbara restaurant is a great spot for classic California cuisine. Try the grilled leg of lamb or the Mexican chicken breast with Anaheim chilies.
La Super-Rica. There's no shortage of Mexican restaurants around town, from upscale dining experiences to hole-in-the-wall establishments. This taqueria, located just outside of downtown, may fall in the latter category, but it draws long lines for its adobado (pork) and veggie pasilla tacos. It received its biggest boost years ago when then-local Julia Child called it her favorite Mexican restaurant.
The open-air trolley on State Street leads to organic lunch spot Scarlett Begonia, which serves one of the best brunches in town. Snag a table in the hidden courtyard and order the salmon carpaccio.
Santa Barbara's latest arrival is a casual breakfast-and-lunch spot whose home-style sandwiches are inspired by Ugandan street food. For breakfast, try the scrambled eggs, bacon, and smoked tomato on house-made flatbread.
This venue is closed.
"Charlie Chaplin slept here" is a frequent—and often untrue—SoCal refrain, but it's apt at the Montecito Inn, which the famous actor built in the 1920s.
This Montecito restaurant draws on influences from Mexico, Latin America, and Spain. Locals pile into the yellow-walled dining room and fill the patio for tostadas and sandwiches at lunch, as well as dishes like seafood fajitas and paella Valenciana at dinner.
The more casual option of Bacara Resort's restaurants, The Bistro serves Mediterranean and Continental cuisine in both indoor and patio settings, with prime views of the Pacific Ocean.
Since 1980, Tom White has featured local shellfish at his eatery at the end of Stearn’s Wharf, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Views have remained the same, but offerings at this fish shack-designed restaurant have expanded over the past three decades.
A steak with chimichurri sauce and a bottle of Malbec pair well on the shady patio of this Santa Barbara staple that serves South American cuisine.
Spanish surrealist painter Joan Miró inspired this upscale, dinner-only restaurant at northern Santa Barbara’s ritzy Bacara Resort. Chef de cuisine David Garwacki interprets the cuisine of Miró’s Catalan homeland through a California prism.
Amid the vintage Victorian houses on nearby Summerland's main shopping street, Stacky's Seaside stands out like a grounded trawler. Fortify yourself with its fish and chips.
Try the Greyhound Proper, a cocktail made with fresh grapefruit juice, gin, and candied grapefruit peel (or any other drink from their menu, which is constantly changing based on what’s fresh from the farmers’ market.)