D'Angelos Bakery

25 WEST GUTIERREZ STREET
SANTA BARBARA
805.962.5466
DANGELOBREAD.COM

D’Angelo's is the kind of bakery locals love and visitors are overjoyed to find. Choose a table indoors or out and enjoy freshly baked European-style breads and pastries, great breakfasts and lunches, and strong Italian coffee. Master baker Dietmar Eilbacher does things the same way his father did in his bakery in Bavaria – the honest way, using only simple, real ingredients and no additives or preservatives. Everything from the granola and roasted bell peppers to the jams and artichoke spread is made from scratch. “When you use all-natural raw ingredients and pay attention to the details, you end up with a superior product,” says Eilbacher.

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The Little Door Santa Barbara

129 EAST ANAPAMU
SANTA BARBARA
805.560.8002
THELITTLEDOORSB.COM

French expat restaurateur and partner Fréderic Meschin says that leaving Los Angeles after 35 years to open The Little Door Santa Barbara felt like “coming home.” Like the town between Bordeaux and Cognac where he grew up, Santa Barbara is also a small seaside community that attracts many visitors and has great local wines, tremendous organic produce and easily accessible just-caught seafood. The Little Door Santa Barbara captures the casual, romantic feel of a Belle Epoque restaurant. Soft light that, as Frederic says, “honors the night,” bathes the bar and the dining room in a warm glow. The walls are hung with a collection of drawings and watercolors by Belle Epoque artist Edouard Chimol. Executive Chef Oscar Ledesma offers contemporary-American fare, but includes decidedly French accents and influences from around the Mediterranean, including the Middle East and North Africa. The menu is intentionally compact to reflect what’s freshest and best today at the harbor and the farmers markets. It includes appetizers like charcuterie and California foie gras, fresh mussels and oysters. Entrées include whole local rockfish or chicken baked in the oak-fired oven, grilled local salmon and halibut, an impressive collection of steaks, and delicious, beautifully seasoned vegetarian and lamb couscous. Passionate about service and hospitality, Fréderic and companion Fatos Silan provide a warm welcome while attending to every detail to ensure that The Little Door Santa Barbara opens to a world of deep enjoyment.

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Bluewater Grill

15 EAST CABRILLO BLVD.
SANTA BARBARA
805.845.5121
BLUEWATERGRILL.COM

Bluewater Grill is the newest addition to Santa Barbara’s sustainable-fresh-seafood dining scene, and co-founders Richard Staunton and Jimmy Ulcickas are serious about their mission. Staunton works local waters in his fishing boat, the Pilikia, and the restaurant occupies the old lighthouse building that formerly housed legendary Castagnola’s Fish House, which also featured fresh fish caught by their fleet. Bluewater’s seafood is sustainably caught and managed, and the fish-origins chart will tell you exactly where it came from. As for vegetables and produce, think local, seasonal and farmers market. Chef Chanel Ducharme’s kitchen stocks a full raw bar with super-fresh oysters and local sea urchin (uni), whole oven-roasted fish, seasonally available halibut and white seabass; swordfish caught individually from the Pilikia, and a rotating collection of six seasonal specialties including bouillabaisse, seafood paella and New England clambake. At the inspiring and educational Second Tuesday Tastings, Ducharme pairs seasonal seafood with sake, beer or a local wine - the list is a deep dive into the grand cache of great Central Coast seafood accompaniments. It’s all served in the historic building at the foot of State Street, now a beautiful, airy, two-level restaurant with an upstairs bar and outdoor patio that serves up some of Santa Barbara’s best ocean views all day long. 

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Santo Mezcal

119 STATE STREET
SANTA BARBARA
805.883.3593
SANTOMEZCALSB.COM

Santo Mezcal brings a welcome infusion of first-rate, authentic regional Mexican food to lower State Street. Located next to the Indigo Hotel, on the edge of the Funk Zone, the newest addition to the Los Agaves family of restaurants is a bit more upscale than its siblings, with table service, a modern interior and a full bar fronting a wall of mezcals and tequilas. Santo Mezcal continues the family tradition of great food and friendly service and even shares some menu items, like the kids favorites taquitos and queso fundito. But while more-complex dishes can be challenging in the fast-paced Los Agaves kitchens, here no one minds waiting a couple of minutes while sharing appetizers or one of the signature ceviches with a beer or a house specialty drink in hand. The food is colorful and delicious, with an emphasis on seafood. Try the tacos with grilled octopus, hummus, avocado and pepper oil; the crab enchiladas; any of the moles, or shrimp with a mezcal cream sauce. Whole fish emerge from the oak-burning oven, and there are great deals on rib-eye steak, which is served several ways, including with a cheese-stuffed pasilla pepper, a crab enchilada and beans.

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Mesa Verde

1919 CLIFF DRIVE
SANTA BARBARA
805.963.4474
MESAVERDERESTAURANT.COM

Three years ago, Mesa Verde brought a vibrant new world of plant-based cuisine to Cliff Drive. Since then, the casual spot has become a locals’ favorite for delicious vegan food blending vibrant Mediterranean and Middle Eastern flavors. Chef de Cuisine Chris Rayman talks about the need to “build flavor” in vegan dishes, and build he does. Polenta fries come with smoked patty pan squash, white beans, and za’atar, a thyme-based Middle Eastern spice mix with toasted sesame and cumin. Caramelized fried Brussels sprouts team with pickled red onions, pumpkin seeds, fava bean puree, za’atar, sherry vinegar and tamari. Zucchini “pasta” comprises strips of the raw vegetable with warm heirloom tomatoes, oven-dried crimini mushrooms, fresh basil, and Rayman’s macadamia nut ricotta cheese and grated cashew parmesan, plus gluten-free breadcrumbs. Regulars love the cheeseboard  - two kinds of nut cheese with condiments such as blackberry-red wine jelly, pickled apples and mustard seeds, local honey, and tamari almonds. The uniquely delicious desserts include a superb baklava. One local forager calls whenever he has a haul of chanterelles, and Rayman turns them into a special, and every week, another local forager delivers a box of edible flowers that adorn a wide variety of dishes. This is food with a firm modern connection to flavor and to good old Mother Earth.

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Bottlest Bistro

35 INDUSTRIAL WAY
BUELLTON
805.686.4742
BOTTLESTBISTRO.COM

Bottlest is a is one-of-a-kind destination offering perhaps the most unique entertainment experience in the Santa Ynez Valley. The Buellton complex houses Santa Barbara County’s largest winery, a critically acclaimed restaurant with modern farm-to-table fare, and a full bar with live music every weekend night.

Guests come in to taste wines available from the vast “Wine Wall,” where automated dispensers pour samples and full glasses of 50-plus wines. For those seeking more than wine tasting, Bottlest offers a full bar open, until 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and featuring cocktails, pub fare and live music, as well as an upscale dining menu from 5-9 p.m. daily.

Here’s a plan: reserve a table in the high-ceiling main dining room with views into the winemaking facility and the display kitchen. Join friends for a guided tour of the winery - you’ll begin by creating your own personalized bottle of wine, followed by tastings of three reds straight from the barrel and three whites from the stainless steel tanks. Follow that with a three to five-course dinner at Bottlest Bistro. Executive Chef Owen Hanavan turns organic produce and fruits, the freshest seafood, and the finest meats into well-conceived, beautifully presented dishes that let great ingredients shine, but with the right amount of flair. Save room for desserts like the Belgian chocolate rice tart, or California bay leaf ice cream.

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Padaro Beach Grill

3765 SANTA CLAUS LANE
CARPINTERIA
805.566.9800
PADAROBEACHGRILL.COM

For years, the oceanfront Padaro Beach Grill has been the family-friendly spot to enjoy delicious, well-made burgers, sandwiches, salads, fish and chips, fish tacos, barbecued tri-tip and more in an unbeatable setting that defines the SoCal lifestyle. Come as you are, order at the counter from the super-reasonably priced menu, find a table on the grass under the palm trees - they all come with ocean, island and mountain views - and wait to be called. Service is fast, and while you enjoy a glass of wine, a mimosa or a draft beer, the kids can hit the big sand play area, then cool down with a smoothie, an ice-cream float or a milkshake made the old-fashioned way.
Recently, more tables and umbrellas were added, plus a pond, more tropical plants, a tiki bar that’s open on weekends and a raised brick fire-pit area that’s a prime sunset location. All the enhancements serve one purpose, says co-owner Will Ransone, “to encourage people to stay a little longer.”
With more than an acre of land, a couple of enormous grills, and a catering service, PBG easily handles all kinds of events, from birthday parties and rehearsal dinners to wedding receptions and corporate outings.

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Stella Mares

50 LOS PATOS WAY
SANTA BARBARA
805.969.6705
STELLAMARES.COM

Set in what was originally a farmhouse, Stella Mare’s over looks the Andree Clark Bird Refuge. A beautiful glass greenhouse encloses the outdoor room providing a magical ambience complete with sofas by the fire for sipping drinks. Enjoy classic French country bistro cooking with flair.

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Le Cafe Stella

3302 McCAW AVENUE
SANTA BARBARA
805.569.7698
LECAFESTELLA.COM

Le Cafe Stella features the intricacies of French cooking with an enjoyable and relaxed American twist serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. The menu includes tasty treats such as chicken carbonara and beef bourguignon to sliders, burgers, salads and sandwiches. They feature a full bar and a dog friendly outdoor patio.

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Los Arroyos

1280 COAST VILLAGE ROAD, MONTECITO
805.969.9059
14 WEST FIGUEROA ST., SANTA BARBARA 805.962.5541
LOSARROYOS.NET
 

Santa Barbara has no shortage of Mexican restaurants. But since 1999, nobody has done it better than Tony Arroyo, who serves some of the freshest, healthiest, best-tasting Mexican food in town at his two eponymous restaurants, Los Arroyos Mexican Restaurant & Take Out. And he has another in Camarillo.
Since opening in 1999, Tony has expanded the tiny (less than 600 square feet) original Figueroa Street location and added another in Montecito. The original has counter service and table delivery; the Montecito site 

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offers table service, plus a full bar with more than one hundred tequilas.
Several things unite the restaurants: the always-warm welcome, a dedicated staff (some of whom have been there since the beginning and now work alongside their teenaged children), Tony’s attention to detail and his dedication to healthy, high-quality ingredients.
Everything is made on the premises the day it’s served. The kitchen turns out ten homemade salsas each morning and rice is cooked up to five times a day to ensure freshness. Tortillas are handmade and tortilla chips cooked to order. Black Angus beef and free-range chicken are hand trimmed, cooked and shredded (or grilled) in the kitchen, where pasilla chilies are also carefully cooked, seeded and sliced. The staff roast and peel their own tomatoes. There are no shortcuts, and nothing is ever reheated.
“It’s like my mother’s cooking, but from my hands,” says Tony, who grew up in the Mexican state of Michoacán, came to the U.S. by bus in 1984 and has spent the past thirty years perfecting his trade.
“Our signature dish is quality,” Tony says. It shows up in his enchiladas, pozole, tacos, fajitas, chile rellenos, salads — everything. Wednesdays and Fridays are tamale days, but get there early because the eighty or so handmade tamales are gone by about 6 pm. On Christmas Eve last year, they set a record by preparing 1,700 special-order tamales for holiday celebrations at the homes of loyal customers.
They say you can’t go home again. Los Arroyos may convince you otherwise.


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Tre Lune

1151 COAST VILLAGE ROAD
MONTECITO, CA 93108
805.969.2646
TRELUNESB.COM

Maybe the surprise here is that there are not many surprises,” says Soemi Caramel, general manager of Tre Lune in Montecito. “We have a lot of regulars, and they come because they like what we have.” For more than a decade now, carefully prepared genuine Italian cuisine has been the stock in trade at “Three Moons,” a charming, casual dining room with hardwood floors, white table cloths, and framed black-and-white paparazzi photos of celebrities adorning the walls. The food is authentic. Many of the pastas, including the ravioli, gnocchi, and lasagna, are made in-house. From the bread and olive oil to the fall-off-the-fork ossobuco, Tre Lune delivers. After regular Ellen DeGeneres repeatedly ordered a salad with grilled fish in it, the restaurant added the now-popular “Ellen salad” to the menu: tomatoes, arugula, grilled shrimp, scallops and salmon and mustard vinaigrette. Wild-boar penne, basil pesto, tuna tartare, lobster ravioli and veal milanese (a pounded, breaded veal chop on the bone) are standouts. You’ll find white truffles in winter, farmer’s market produce all year, local seafood (sea bass, halibut, stone crab) and imported whole branzino, cooked in the pizza oven or in a salt crust, plus first-rate pizzas. The all-Italian wine list is a yearly Wine Spectator award winner, and more than 40 wines are offered by the glass daily, along with negroni, bellini and other classic Italian cocktails. The restaurant also serves a largely American-style breakfast with Italian twists, and at least once, you should plan to attend the annual Opera Night in spring, when Opera Santa Barbara performers work the room while guests enjoy a four-course dinner.

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Toma

324 WEST CABRILLO BLVD
SANTA BARBARA, CA 93101
805.962.0777
TOMARESTAURANT.COM

Toma Restaurant & Bar owners Tom and Vicki Dolan know that Santa Barbara locals probably won’t go out of their way for a restaurant with an ocean view.
“They can see the ocean any time,” Tom says. Which makes it all the more notable that so many local have become regulars at the Dolans’ bright, welcoming year-old restaurant located across the street from the harbor. The draw for them, as for the many well-traveled European visitors who have also discovered Toma, is an appealing ambience, great service (Tom and Vicki have 60-plus years of hospitality experience between them), and excellent food at reasonable prices. “We don’t think of ourselves as formal, but rather as an upscale place with great food,” says Tom. Serving dinner-only seven nights, Toma gets the details right. Desserts, bread, pizza dough and pasta are all made in-house. The Mediterranean-inspired menu reflects the purity of excellent ingredients – think organic, local, farm to table – but has allegiance only to what’s good. That could be the popular appetizer of ahi sashimi with ginger, sesame, soy, chile and chives in a crisp sesame cone; ricotta ravioli with heirloom-tomato sauce; roasted-beet salad with grapefruit, lemon stilton and a pomegranate citronette; steamed clams with chorizo, butter beans, black kale, harissa aioli and crostini; a guanciale pizza with caramelized onions, arugula and a soft egg, or braised short ribs with garlic mashed potatoes, onion confit, arugula and lemon oil. Wines from Italy and the Central Coast and an array of dessert cocktails and liqueurs complete the picture. By the way, even if you didn’t come for it, the view of the harbor through the palm trees is pretty great.

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The Garden Market

3811 SANTA CLAUS LANE
CARPINTERIA, CA 93013
805.745.5505
gardenmarketsb.com

There is no one, single way to enjoy the Garden Market. This warm and welcoming spot, designed by Tammy DeMatteo and located steps from the beach on Carpinteria’s Santa Claus Lane, invites spontaneity. It’s a place to wander, indulge, and escape. Here, you can buy something wonderful, while being somewhere memorable. A lot of travelers stop in for a short break from Highway 101 and end up spending an hour or more in the garden – warmed by the sun, refreshed by a sea breeze and transported by the gentle sounds of the fountains burbling among artfully arranged succulents and natives. (Small wonder that it’s a local favorite for weddings and parties – with catering on the premises.) Others come looking for a fast snack and get waylaid by the freshest local organic ingredients presented in carefully prepared dishes that reflect Southern California’s farm-to-table sensibility. Early in the day, you might have a cup of organic coffee or a latté and a homemade blueberry muffin or a breakfast quiche. Later, it could be a glass of fine wine from the extensive collection to go with the daily cream-free soup, a seasonal salad inspired by farmers market produce, a creatively composed sandwich, or the locally famous Friday special – homemade posole verde. You can also eat inside, surrounded by appealing displays of jewelry, table linens, small sculptures, lamps, candles and other garden-related objects – think owls and butterflies – that share a homespun feel derived from wood, stone and other natural elements. It’s the perfect setup for wherever a post-prandial peregrination may lead.

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The Black Sheep

36 EAST ORTEGA STREET
SANTA BARBARA, CA 93101
805.965.1113
THEBLACKSHEEPSB.COM

The world needs more places like The Black Sheep, the colorful, friendly, innovative restaurant that opened in spring 2015. Convivial owner, Ruben Perez, loves to share and talk about good food and wine, and in the kitchen, his father, Chef Robert, brings passion and decades of haute cuisine experience to a menu of shareable plates featuring Latin and Asian accents. The thinly sliced scallop crudo comes with a candied carrot purée, frisée, scallions, ginger-chili mirin and “white” soy vinaigrette, while the beef bone- marrow bruschetta features the rich marrow balanced with a parsley-shallot salad, whole-grain mustard and a red wine sauce. Tender meat slides effortlessly from wild-boar ribs to combine with Asian cabbage and a unique blend of Asian fish sauce with ginger and sriracha. The buratta salad is a benchmark of its kind that also includes fresh in-season fruit, and the daily-changing risotto makes a great shared dish. The shoyu ramen with slow-roasted pork belly and roasted shiitake mushrooms provides a tantalizing surprise for noodle lovers. Larger dishes include sea bass with chorizo and a braised New Zealand lamb shank with Indian spices. Nearly forty microbrew beers are available by the bottle, as is a well-considered list of primarily California wines.

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Sly's

686 LINDEN AVENUE
CARPINTERIA, CA 93013
805.684.6666
slysonline.com

Focused on simple and delicious food, owner James Sly has been behind the stove for over forty years and has had plenty of time and experience to refine his art. Sly’s re-creates classic dishes using top-quality ingredients serving only hand-cut, aged prime steaks and a fabulous seafood menu, including local abalone. You can order a classic crab and shrimp louis or the house specialty, an iced seafood tower. Pasta options range from macaroni and cheese and linguini with clams to the more exotic spaghettini caruso, prepared with chicken livers in marsala. A variety of vegetable dishes are available for vegetarians and over 2,000 French and California wines grace their list. The decor is both comfortable and intriguing. Located in downtown Carpinteria.
 

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Santa Barbara Shellfish Company

230 STEARNS WHARF
SANTA BARBARA, CA 93101
805.966.6676
sbfishhouse.coM

Hungry patrons crowd the casual and eventful restaurant where hefty crab and lobster are dropped into boiling cauldrons while award-winning chefs frantically work the open kitchen serving up signature dishes that rival any four star restaurant. The postcard views of the glistening Pacific and nearby Channel Islands are equally intoxicating. The Shellfish Company’s extraordinary menu includes luscious crab cakes – one of their specialties that has been sought after and until now a well kept family secret; New England style clam chowder and a hearty Italian Cioppino served in fresh bread bowls; jumbo shrimp, mussels, scallops and market squid sautéed in white wine, garlic and herbs; marvelous lobster tacos served with homemade salsa; and a kaleidoscope of spectacular oyster dishes from the best cold water oysters served on the half shell, to Oyster Luckyfeller (their version of the timeless favorite Oyster Rockefeller) and mouth watering colossal-size Oyster Poor Boys.

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On the Alley

117 HARBOR WAY
SANTA BARBARA, CA 93109
805.962.6315

7038 MARKET PLACE DRIVE
GOLETA, CA 93117
805.845.8096
ONTHEALLEY.COM


On the Alley began as an overflow place for Brophy Brothers. Locals especially like its casual feel, the reliability of its “simple, honest food” and the ease of grabbing something good to eat at the beach, on a bench by the sea wall or at the wood picnic table right in front. 

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