Brophy’s has achieved an unofficial local landmark status. If you are looking for fancy plates, candlelight & a romantic atmosphere, don’t venture here. Go here if you want a fun atmosphere, crowded room, wrap-around deck, great fish, fantastic clam chowder, friendly staff & great Harbor, ocean & mountains views. There is usually a long wait, but it is worth it. 119 Harbor Way, (805) 966-4418 . Full bar, lunch & dinner, very casual.
If you’re on the hunt for a delicious breakfast in town, look no further than this cafe! For over 25 years, they’ve been serving up Southern-inspired dishes like Jambalaya, grits and chicken hot sausage gumbo omelets that keep the locals coming back for more. With three locations; downtown at 901 Chapala Street and in Goleta at 6025 Calle Real and 6831 Hollister Avenue, you can enjoy real homestyle cooking no matter which location you choose. Keep in mind they only serve breakfast and lunch, and the atmosphere is very casual.
Cold Springs Tavern
A 15 minute drive up Highway 154 brings you to this former stagecoach stop which has served up a selection of game, fish and other hearty entrees since the 1886. An amazing old rustic outpost with a freindly staff, great fireplaces, good food and about as far as you can get from the City of Santa Barbara scene; step back in time and into a tavern rife with lore. Great selection of game (venison, rabbit, buffalo), hearty entrees and fresh fish. A summer weekend afternoon favorite with the biker crowd with live music, famous tri-tip sandwiches and a wide selection of beers. 5995 Stagecoach Road, (805) 967-0066 . Full bar in the separate separate log cabin tavern, lunch-dinner-weekend breakfast; jeans casual.
La Super-Rica Taqueria
It’s a nondescript little spot, but somehow it’s become one of the most famous Mexican cafes in California. Do not expect a “typical” menu, but do expect excellent charbroiled meats & vegetables, cheeses & chorizos served with homemade corn tortillas; check out the daily specials. Covered patio eating area, very-very busy. 622 North Milpas Street, (805) 963-4640 . Lunch & dinner; very casual.
Casual dining at it’s best. This local hangout serves up “real American food” in a diner atmosphere. Do not expect linen service, but reasonable priced good food served quickly with a smile. Serves breakfast everyday until 3:00 PM, try the Turkey Benedict. Most Sunday mornings you may spot me here. 1972 Cliff Drive, (805) 966-5303 . Full bar, OK wine list, breakfast-lunch-dinner; very casual.
Meun Fan Thai Cafe
You will find the interior of the Cafe very relaxing, along with very friendly service and great traditional Thai cuisine, flavorful and fresh. A plain storefront does not detract from the great food within. The cook is not afraid to use spices liberally and each dish has a definitive flavor profile. 1819 Cliff Drive, (805) 882-9244 , Beer & Wine, Lunch & Dinner, Casual.
Enjoy award-winning “traditional Mexican food” in what has to be the most homelike dining experience of any place on my favorite lists. Serving up great Mexican food and family owned since 1947! This place just does not change. The original is located at 424 East Haley, (805) 966-3773. The “new” location (since 1980) is located at 1816 Cliff Drive, (805) 965-5513. Beer & wine, lunch-dinner; very casual.
Shoreline Beach Cafe
Looking for a spot in Santa Barbara where you can sit at tables right on the beach, wiggle your toes in the sand and soak up the sun? Look no further! At this hangout spot, you can also find plenty of seating on the enclosed deck that overlooks Ledbetter Beach. The menu features delicious options like grilled fish, burgers, salads, and shellfish dishes, making it a perfect spot to enjoy a meal by the ocean. They offer a kid’s menu, full bar, and serve lunch, dinner, and weekend breakfast. So come on down and enjoy a beach casual atmosphere at 801 Shoreline Drive, (805) 568-0064.
If you want some of the most satisfying Mexican food in town, find your way to one of these small and busy Taquerias on Santa Barbara’s Westside or the Mesa. Voted the best burritos in town year after year and with single meals big enough to feed two, this place has it all. 626 W. Micheltorena Street or 2030 Cliff Drive, (805) 962-4028 . Lunch & dinner; very casual.
Via Vai Trattoria
Tucked away in the corner of a strip mall in Montecito’s Upper Village, this place attracts a steady flow of well-heeled locals, along with very few visitors. Look for consistently great Italian food and pizzas from the wood burning oven! Linger on the patio with a cappuccino and enjoy the views of the Santa Ynez Mountains. 1483 E. Valley Road, (805) 565-9393 , Lunch & Dinner, nice wine list, business casual.