324 WEST CABRILLO BLVD
SANTA BARBARA, CA 93101
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.