Travel Koncierge: Santa Barbara page 3
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Travel Koncierge for Santa Barbara!
California is a diner’s paradise, and Santa Barbara is no different.
There are a wide range of restaurants from CPK and the
burrito/taco stand, pizza to hotel restaurants and fine dining and, of
course, everything in between. Because of the mild weather year-
round, most places offer outside or patio dining. Again, www.
santabarbara.com is a great resource. There are some menus,
some restaurant reviews, but it can be we find it a bit daunting to
Good to know: While you may not always wish to go to fancy
restaurants with your progeny, you can still order out from these
same restaurants. With our rental in Santa Barbara, we ate out on
the deck, had a fabulous set of meals (Ca’Dario and Opal) under
the twilight sky. We didn’t have to worry about other diners, getting
rushed in our meal, we could listen to our own music, and our son,
once he was finished, could be excused to play while my wife and I
enjoyed the rest of our meal. Most restaurants will serve meals to
go (unlike Napa where we were told “our chef does not serve food
to go because they feel that the presentation and quality of the
cuisine is compromised.” Really.). This is notable and convenient
- If your kids are just wiped out from a busy day and do not
have the attention span to deal with a sit-down dinner.
- You are on vacation and do not want to cook on vacation
- You still want to have a nice dinner
If you drink, bring some bottles of wine that you have been
meaning to drink. We pack a few bottles of wine (or you can buy
there, try some of the local wines, Santa Ynez and Paso Robles
are noted for their wines) so that we can have a very nice, relaxed
adult meal while our child plays after he finishes dinner.
Beach Grill at Padaro, 3765 Santa Claus Lane, Carpinteria, (805)
Just a little south of Santa Barbara at Padaro/Santa Claus lane
(not that long ago, there used to be a year-round Santa’s village
complete with a huge Santa right between the highway and the
beach). This place serves pizza, but also some downright
respectable adult bar type food including grilled seafood, tacos,
sandwiches, burgers, and great salads that you generally eat
outdoors on picnic tables nestled on a large lawn between a large
sand box with sand toys and the railroad tracks (fenced off for
everyone’s safety). When the Coast Starlight roars by it is a big hit.
Also nice is the fact they serve beer and wine for the grown ups.
Boathouse Restaurant at Hendry’s Beach, 2981 Cliff Drive, (805)
This place is out of the way (but not really THAT far away). If you
wanted to, you could ride your bike there. If you take the Las
Positas park exit off of the 101 and head towards the ocean, you
will hit a T in the road at Cliff Drive. Take a right and within ¼ mile,
you will find a little parking lot for Hendry’s beach. Also off of this
parking lot is the newly-renovated restaurant. With both patio
seating and a take-away window, they serve seafood, salads,
burgers, sandwiches, and the usual California cuisine for
Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner. The food is quite tasty and
reasonably priced. While you are eating or afterwards, you can
walk the lovely beach in either direction to enjoy the quiet, the sand-
castle-suitable sand, the two pods of dolphins that regularly play
just off shore. If your child has a sharp eye, there are all sorts of
great things to find in the sand. We have found mermaids purses
(shark eggs) and lots of crustacean bits.
East Beach Grill at the Cabrillo Pavilion Bath House, 1118 E.
Cabrillo Blvd., (905) 564-5421
At the other end of town about 100 yards from the zoo is the
Cabrillo Bath House. On the Beachside is a restaurant that serves
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner in the summer, Breakfast and Lunch
in the winter. They serve very serviceable pancakes for breakfast
and burgers and burritos and other fare for lunch right on the
sand. Their pancakes are legendary. Of course, your kids can
play in the sand before during and after their meals while you
adults enjoy the views. Also notable is that the bike path goes right
past the Bath House so this place could make a convenient
watering hole on your bike ride. In addition, East Beach beach
volley ball courts are nearby for a quick game. We have, by the
way, seen dolphins surfing in the shore break at sunset.
Shareline Beach Cafe, 801 Shoreline Drive, Santa Barbara (right
across the street from Santa Barbara City College, just West of
the Harbor), (805) 568-0064
At the end of the bikepath is a little cafe with table seating and a
carry out window. The fare is largely of the finner variety, but they
do have hot dogs, hamburgers, and serviceable coffee drinks.
They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. http://shorelinebeachcafe.
El Paseo Restaurant, 814 State Street, (805) 962-6050
Tucked into this little mall is a decent family restaurant. You feel
like you are eating on a large patio. The ambiance is very pleasant
if a little loud. The tables are large and the Mexican food
serviceable. If you are braver, the Wine Cask, 813 Anacapa Street
(805) 966-9463 on the other side of these passages is a
wonderful fine dining place with outdoor dining.
If you want a more authentic Mexican experience, head across
town to Milpas Street. There you will find the classic La Super
Rica, 622 N. Milpas Street, (805) 963-4940 which is the 31 flavors
of the taco world. The tacos are world famous as are the clientele.
If you want more than tacos, just head towards the ocean from La
Super Rica for a large number of smaller restaurants that serve
good, authentic Mexican food.
Metropulos Fine Foods, 216 E. Yanonali Street, (805) 899-2300,
Tucked away off of Yanonali just West of Garden is this gem of a
deli. They make wonderful sandwiches and have delicious
prepared salads. This place is perfect for picnic supplies (we
always grab a sandwich and treats right before we start driving
north) If you keep walking half a block west on Yanonali, you can
find the best cookies in Santa Barbara at Montecito Confections,
121 E. Yanonali St. (805) 965-8150, www.montecitoconfections.
com. Update: Montecito Confections has wonderful sandwiches.
We had a BLT and chicken salad sandwich recently. While these
are pretty basic sandwiches, they were very well executed with
good quality ingredients.
Panino (6 locations)
1024 Coast Village Road, Montecito (805) 565-0137
834 Santa Barbara Street, Santa Barbara (805) 963-3700
We enjoy their sandwiches and salads. At about $8-9 for a
sandwich, they are not cheap. We think that they are worth it. They
have fresh ingredients and wonderful combinations.
In addition to the beach places above, check out the following:
Steve’s Patio Cafe, 3007 De La Vina St. (805) 687-3663
Steve's is off of Upper State near Gelson’s. We like this place not
only because of the name. This is one of our favorite breakfast
places. The food is very good, the vibe is unpretentious, and the
prices are good.
Esau’s Cafe, 721 Chapala St., (805) 965-4416
This place used to be on Lower State but recently moved to larger,
nicer digs up a few blocks right behind the El Paseo Mall.
Breakfasts are their forte, but they do lunches with equally facility.
D’angelo’s, 25 W. Gutierrez (805) 962-5466
Great place for strong coffee, great cinnamon rolls, and poached
eggs. Located on Gutierrez just West of State (one block up from
the 101), this bakery is a gathering place for Santa Barbara’s
coffee culture. The baked goods are wonderful (breads and
pastries alike). It is a bakery, so don’t expect much more than
coffee and baked goods, but they do have a large expanse of
tables at which to enjoy your treat indoors or out.
Jeannine's, http://jeannines.com three locations:
1253 Coast Village Road, Montecito
15 E. Figueroa (Downtown)
3607 State Street (Upper State)
3305 State Street (Also Upper Sate in Gelsons)
Some people swear by this place. We are lukewarm on it. Their
scones and muffins are pretty good (and they are famous for
them). If you are near one and want a quick bite, their bakery treats
are worth stopping for.
Our Daily Bread, 831 Santa Barbara Street (at East Canon
Perdido) ourdailybread.net (805) 966-3894
Comfortable place with a wide range of home-baked goodies on
the East side of town due east from the Paseo Nuevo shopping
center. Good coffee as well.
Marty’s Pizza, 2733 De La Vina St., #A, (805) 682-6955, www.
Also off of Upper State. This place has arguably the best pizza in
the city. There is no place to eat it there, so you should expect to
order it to go.
Crushcakes, 1315 Anacapa Street (at Arlington), (805) 963-9353,
If you are dining at Ca’Dario or are at the Kid’s World playground
(at Alameda Park between E. Sola and E. Micheltorena and Santa
Barbara and Garden Streets) and want a treat, this is the place.
They serve mini cupcakes in a couple dozen constantly changing
flavors that are a hit. Because they are small you can try a few at a
Spoon Santa Barbara Gelato, 1222 State Street between
Anapamu and Victoria
As an alternative to McConnell's, this place is terrific. Pretty good
gelato in a respectable range of flavors. Truth we told, we like this
place better and it is close to two of our favorite restaurants
(Ca'Dario and Opal)!
McConnell’s Ice Cream, 201 W. Mission St. (805) 569-2323, www.
The ice cream is OK but it IS fresh and the portions are as big as
your head. Count on sharing one portion among a family of four.
Kyoto, 3232 State St., (805) 687-12542
We have one place to recommend for sushi and one place to
recommend that you DO NOT go. DO go visit Kyoto on Upper
State. This place is very family friendly; the sushi is very well
prepared with very fresh, well-executed sushi. For your diners who
prefer things cooked, they have a full cooked menu with well-
prepared Japanese standards. Locals also like Arrigato Sushi,
1225 State (805) 965-6074 and Ahi Sushi, 3631 State Street,
(805) 687-6942. We haven’t tried them, but we will and report back.
Enterprise Fish Company, 225 State Street. (805) 962-3313
It is a chain and they serve fish. Nothing more need to be said.
The food is serviceable and the place is appropriate for children.
They also serve salads and steaks if you so desire.
While we are on the subject of seafood, if you go to the harbor (a
sort walk from West Beach and a good place to rent sea kayaks),
there are a number of seafood places with patio dining and a
range of qualities. Brophy Brothers, 119 Harbor Way, (805) 966-
4418, www.brophybros.com is the place that most people want to
go. If you do go, plan on either a huge wait (not conducive to
children) or call ahead for ressies. Right next door is another
seafood restaurant, Chuck’s Waterfront Grill (805) 564-1200 and
the Endless Summer Bar Cafe, (805) 564-4666. The food is fair,
but not bad. You can order from both menus at both places. The
kids can get fish or a burger (as can you) and the folks can grab a
beer. While you are there, watch the boats at twilight as many will
be offloading their catch at sundown. It is a wonderful experience
to watch the fishermen unload and the buyers swarming around
examining and negotiating. When we were there, the catch was
sea urchin which made for a fascinating lesson in how it is eaten,
At the upper end of the scale
Four Seasons Biltmore, 1260 Channel Drive, Montecito, (805)
We love the Four Seasons in Santa Barbara. It is perched on the
bluffs overlooking the water in Montecito. When you sit on the patio
at the Bella Vista restaurant, you feel like you are in a different
world. After breakfast walk the beach (one of our favorites) or walk
up the hill and check out Ty Warner’s mansion. Who is Ty
Warner? He made a fortune with the Beanie Babies and bought
up all the signature properties in Santa Barbara (the Biltmore, the
Casino, and the San Ysidro Ranch, among others). If you are
staying here, don’t forget that the hotel has a great pool and one of
the best kids programs in the business (this coming from
someone who used to run a hotel kids program). The Four
Seasons grounds are lovely to explore. There is a large lawn in
front and in back that the kids can run on.
Bella Vista is your main patio restaurant. They serve Breakfast,
lunch, and dinner. Yes, the Four Seasons seems to charge just
for the name. Still, you do get what you pay for. The breakfasts
there are wonderful and the service is impeccable. The buffet
(Mon-Sat) and Sunday Brunch are pricey, but on the par with the a
la carte menu. Kids eat at half price which is nice. They also get a
little goodie bag to occupy them while you enjoy the warm
sunshine and the amazing view. It is not something you want to do
every day (then, again, maybe you do), but it is nice for a treat.
Cava, 1212 Coast Village Road, Montecito, (805) 969-8500, www.
Cava is on Coast Village Road in Montecito. It has an eclectic
lunch and dinner and weekend brunch menu with a south of the
border accent. The food is modestly priced but it is a good place
for the family.
Ca’Dario, 37 E. Victoria Street, (805) 884-9419, www.cadario.net
Ca’Dario is the best Italian restaurant in Santa Barbara. Located
one block east of State at Victoria We love this place and make a
point of eating from here every time we visit. The tables are small,
so this is one that you might want to order from. We have not been
disappointed on anything from the menu and we have eaten here
regularly. We have enjoyed their bruschetta, soups, grilled
asparagus, pappardelle de la boscaiola (an amazing blend of
porcini and pancetta in a tomato cream), spaghettini con fasolari,
and their steaks and lamb are outstanding. A block up the street
(towards the mission) is Crush Cakes, a great cupcake bakery. It
is definitely worth a visit
Julienne, 138 East Canon Perdido (at Santa Barbara Street East
of State), (805) 845-6488 restaurantjulienne.com
We love this place. The food is exquisite and follows all that trendy
local, organic blah blah without getting too obnoxious with it. That
being said, they are serious about their food in a good way. We
have yet to find a weak link in their menu. It may be a little rich for
young palettes, but they would not be out of place. You can always
get a plate of pasta and cheese. We enjoyed their charcuterie
platter and duck duo. The wine list is top notch.
Opal Restaurant and Bar, 1325 State Street (near Victoria) (805)
Opal is another upscale restaurant about a block away from Ca’
Dario right on State at Victoria. We usually order out from here, but
we recently sat down here for the first time and found the tables
large enough to accommodate kids. The food may not really be to
their liking, but most places will give you a plate of pasta and
cheese if you ask. As for us adults, we like their grilled chicken
pasta with chipotle cream. Honestly, almost everything that we
have ordered (and again we have been here a lot) has exceeded
Wine Cask, 813 Anacapa Street, (805) 966-9463 www.winecask.
This place is a standard in the city. We have not tried the place
since they reopened this year after temporarily closing. Their wine
bar and cafe serves solid flatbreads and salads that you can wash
down with a wide range of local and imported wines. The
restaurant serves what they call "American Riviera cuisine".
Paradise Cafe, 702 Anacapa, (805) 962-4416 www.paradisecafe.
This place is average at best. Their chili is OK, their burgers are
pretty good, the service is glacial, but in a pinch, it will do. It is
Travel Koncierge Santa Barbara
Updated July5th, 2010
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