Le Cafe Stella

Searching for a true neighborhood restaurant? Look no further than the casual, welcoming six-year-old restaurant Le Café Stella. Located just off upper State and Las Positas, the café is home to a friendly bar staffed by bartenders who infuse their own liquors for cocktails, big booths that easily accommodate six, an outdoor patio with a view to the Santa Ynez Mountains, an inviting grouping of sofas in the main dining room, and a loyal, long-term staff. No wonder many regulars - who may represent 75 percent of guests at any given time - say that Le Café Stella feels like an "extension of my house." They return again and again for the genuine warmth and the complete lack of pretense. "We want people to feel comfortable," says restaurant manager Marc Lohnes. The something-for-everyone menu was just updated, although favorites like beef bourguignon, coq au vin, the unbeatable sliders (lamb, beef or pork) and the Stella burger (with caramelized onions, bacon, blue cheese and garlic aioli), and some other favorites remain. Happy Hour is daily from 4-6, and the brunch menu is served weekends from 10-3. The value-focused café began life as the events site for its fine-dining cousin, Stella Mare, and still offers a perfectly equipped space for any kind of party or celebration.

3302 McCaw Avenue