Favorite Eateries

Our suggestions below represent but a small fraction of Santa Barbara’s cuisine. See also a most complete compendium of Santa Barbara dining establishments, with ratings.


  1. Tupelo Junction: 1218 State Street. Rich southern cooking. Try the beignets and wild mushroom & truffle omelette.
  2. Hungry Cat: 1134 Chapala Street. Crab cake benedict, lobster rolls and perfect cocktails.
  3. Backyard Bowls: 331 Motor Way. Acai bowls topped with fresh fruit, granola, bee pollen and honey. Grab a coffee next door at the Santa Barbara Roasting Company.
  4. Renaud’s Patisserie & Bistro: 1324 State Street. “The almond croissant is so good it brought tears to my eyes.”
  5. Our Daily Bread: 831 Santa Barbara Street. A favorite local bakery and coffee shop. Don’t leave without a loaf of olive bread.


  1. Sojourner Cafe: 134 East Canon Perdido Street. A cozy diner with an extensive vegetarian menu and fresh juice bar. Award-winning vegan desserts.
  2. Los Arroyos: 14 W. Figueroa Street. Hands down the best Mexican food joint downtown. Try the Los Arroyos Burrito.
  3. Arts and Letters Cafe: 7 E. Anapamu. A romantic lunch spot. Local ingredients and wonderful salads.
  4. Panino: 834 Santa Barbara Street. Their wide variety of gourmet sandwiches are perfect for a picnic in wine country.
  5. Pascucci: 729 State Street. Garlic infused Italian cuisine.
  6. La Superica: 622 N. Milpas St. Renown taco shack was a favorite of Julia Childs.


  1. Julienne: 138 E. Canon Perdido. Fresh, local, seasonal fine dining.
  2. Arrigato Sushi: 1225 State Street. Hip sushi joint with a unique twist.
  3. Cafe Luck: 18 East Cota Street. Classic French Brasserie menu. Late night bites.
  4. Cadiz: 509 State St. Standout Mediterranean and Spanish entrees. Chic ambiance.
  5. Spiritland Bistro: 230 E Victoria St. Vegetarian-friendly fine dining in a cozy setting. Try the Mousaka.
  6. Zaytoon: 209 E Canon Perdido. Enjoy Middle Eastern cuisine and hookahs on the extensive outdoor patio.
  7. The Wine Cask: 813 Anacapa Street. Indulge in fine entrees featuring the freshest local ingredients and select from the best wine list in town.
  8. Carlitos: 1324 State Street. Sizzling fajitas and fresh margaritas on an outdoor patio.
  9. The Palace: 8 E. Cota Street. Ready for a unique southern-style dining experience, including singalongs? Watch out for the hurricanes.
  10. India House. 418 State St. Delicate samosas served with Bollywood flicks.


  1. Blush: 630 State Street. Farmer’s market cocktails. Large patio.
  2. James Joyce: 513 State Street. Live bands play Irish tunes. Grab a handful of peanuts from a barrel and sip a cider. A local’s favorite.
  3. Dargan’s Irish Pub and Restaurant: 18 East Ortega Street. Always a good time. Pool and hearty meals available.
  4. Blue Agave: 20 East Cota Street. Romantic bar and restaurant serving a wide selection of carefully crafted margaritas.