Good food is what you will find at the Brewhouse ranging from Bratwurst, seared ahi, salads, excellent burgers, steaks and the house specialty: mashed potatoes. Very laid back with a blue-collar-pride vibe. 229 West Montecito Street, (805) 884-4464 . Live music most evenings, full bar (they brew many of their own beers), lunch & dinner; very casual.
Brophy’s has achieved an unofficial local landmark status. Go here for 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.
Serving one of the best breakfasts in town for nearly 25 years from Jambalaya to chicken hot sausage gumbo omelets, this cafe’s Southern flavor really packs the locals in. Offering real home style cooking in numerous locations; 1924 De La Vina (the original), 901 Chapala, 1925 De La Vina, 6025 Calle Real and 6831-A Hollister. Breakfast & Lunch only; very casual.
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 1886. An amazing old rustic outpost with a friendly 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 log cabin tavern, lunch-dinner-weekend breakfast; jeans casual.
You would not know it by the location hidden in a shopping center, but you can tell how popular this place is by the lines of people. Small breakfast menu, full lunch menu + amazing specials and a short dinner menu. A cafe of surprising elegance given its fair prices, it is famous for its scope and quality. You will not be disappointed! 3987-B State Street, (805) 967-6037 . Open from 8-8:00, closed Sunday. Beer & wine, casual.
It’s a nondescript little spot, but thanks to Julia Child’s recommendation, 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 house-made 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.
Located upstairs from the famous Harbor Restaurant on Stearn’s Wharf, this place sports patio dining with one of the best views in Santa Barbara, free peanuts with peanut shells all over the floor, numerous TV’s, a Surf theme and music. 210 Stearn’s Wharf, (805) 963-3311 . Good food at reasonable prices, full bar, lunch & dinner; casual.
Casual dining at its best. This local hangout serves up “real American food” in a diner atmosphere. This is reasonable priced good food served quickly with a smile. Breakfast served 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.
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. Two locations: 1819 Cliff Drive, (805) 882-9244 and 5664 Calle Real (805) 681-0588 , Beer & Wine, Lunch & Dinner, Casual.
Enjoy award-winning “traditional Mexican food” in what has to be the most homey dining experience of any place on my favorites list. 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.
The only place in Santa Barbara where you can actually sit at tables on the beach, dig your toes into the sand and work on your tan. Ample seating is also available on the enclosed deck overlooking Ledbetter Beach. Freshly grilled fish, burgers, salads and shellfish dishes make this a real beach hangout. 801 Shoreline Drive, (805) 568-0064 . Kid’s menu, full bar, lunch-dinner & weekend breakfast; beach casual.
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, 2030 Cliff Drive, (805) 962-4028 and in Isla Vista at 6527 Madrid Rd., (805) 770-3806 . Lunch & dinner; very casual.
Tucked away in the corner of a shopping and business center 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 #20, (805) 565-9393 , Lunch & Dinner, nice wine list, business casual.