Few cities in the world can boast as many restaurants per capita as Santa Barbara. There are nearly 400 in the greater Santa Barbara area, and during the summer months and holidays, nearly all are filled to capacity with diners from around the world. Our local wine industry has contributed to burgeoning number of establishments offering wine pairings along with gourmet meals.
The Lark, located in the wildly popular Funk Zone, offers monthly changing menus that are locally sourced and feature seasonal ingredients from the Central Coast. Meals are served family-style to encourage sharing. The bar serves classic and craft cocktails using artisan spirits, mixers, and seasonal fruits and vegetables. The expansive wine list showcases small Santa Barbara County producers and artisan winemakers from other regions. The restaurant is located at 131 Anacapa Street, just over block from the beach, with valet parking available. Reservations are a must at https://resy.com/cities/sba/the-lark with indoor and patio seating. Dressy casual attire is recommended and the prices are in the higher $$$ range.
Just a block off State Street, this lively and welcoming downtown trattoria has the charm of a hidden gem found on a side street in Rome. It’s especially romantic at night, and locals love it for the exceptional Italian cuisine and service. With a full bar and a great wine list, they serves lunch and dinner in a business casual atmosphere. Prices are moderate to high ($$+). Located at 37 E. Victoria Street on the corner of Anacapa Street; make reservations at (805) 884-9419.
At this downtown Santa Barbara restaurant, you can indulge in mesquite-grilled specialties, a wide selection of Mexican dishes, and delicious fresh fruit margaritas or a Mexican beer. Offering a taste of Mexico, the portions are generous ensuring you won’t leave hungry. On sunny days, the patio is the perfect spot to relax and enjoy your meal. They are open for lunch and dinner, and serving breakfast on weekends. The dress code is casual, and prices are moderate ($$). Located across from the historic Arlington Theater at 1324 State Street.
If you’re looking for a restaurant in Downtown Santa Barbara, this place is a must-visit! It’s always bustling with customers, so be prepared to wait a bit for a table – but trust us, it’s worth it. The food here is expertly prepared and packed with flavor. You’ll find them at 509 State Street, and can reach them at (805) 963-8123.
The Palace Grill is a definitive contemporary American grill with a big Louisiana twist. The menu offers unique dishes such as the “Cajun Popcorn” (fried crayfish) and the Crayfish-stuffed blackened Fillet Mignon, and don’t miss the Cajun Martini (served in a jelly jar and limited to one per person). The restaurant has a lively, high-energy, fun atmosphere with guest entertainers, making it a favorite among many, locals and visitors alike. The Palace Grill has received several accolades, including being voted “Best on the West Coast” by Los Angeles Magazine and “One of America’s best restaurants” by the Zagat Guide. The restaurant has a good wine and beer list, serves lunch and dinner, and the dress code is dressy-casual. Prices are moderate to high ($$+). The restaurant’s address is 8 E. Cota Street just off State Street, and the phone number is (805) 963-5000.
Nestled within the historic Upham Hotel, this restaurant exudes timeless charm and tradition. Indulge in the best New Zealand rack of lamb in town, along with an array of other delectable steak, chicken, and fresh seafood dishes. With a dining room featuring a wrap-around porch, you can enjoy these tantalizing flavors for dinner Tuesday through Saturday and Sunday Brunch, closed on Monday. Located at 1404 De La Vina Street, give them a call at (805) 963-7003 to make a reservation.
Located across the street from East Beach, this restaurant is known for serving up the freshest local fish entrees in town. The place gets very busy during the locals’ happy hour and the bar food menu is extensive. Enjoy stunning views of Stearn’s Wharf from inside or on the ocean view patio. Many claim that they serves the best clam chowder in town, so you be the judge. The restaurant has a good wine list, serves lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch. The dress code is beach-casual. Prices are moderate to high ($$). Located at 101 E. Cabrillo Blvd., and the phone number is (805) 966-2112.