Santa Barbara Restaurants

Santa Barbara Restaurants

Given that Santa Barbara wineries have such a reputation for good taste, it follows naturally that that good taste is shared by the chefs of Santa Barbara County. Santa Barbara is steadily becoming known as a city with a diverse collection of restaurants, each of which seem to achieve the highest level of excellence in their chosen styles of cuisine.

Santa Barbara restaurants are renowned for using only the freshest of ingredients—and of course in seafood this makes a huge difference—and perhaps because of the healthy lifestyle of southern Californians, many of the restaurants stay heart-healthy as well, of course without sacrificing taste.

Seafood restaurants abound in this town, the food prepared in a worldwide variety of styles. Purists might want to try the sushi at Arigato, the popular and mid-priced sushi restaurant in the heart of downtown Santa Barbara. Diners can enjoy the cosy and romantic brick interior while sipping one of their collection of 20 sakés, or, on warmer nights, enjoy the outside dining. With the freshest fish in town and a no-reservation policy, it’s good to get there early.

Restauranteur Pierre Lafond has three restaurants in Santa Barbara, one of which is the reasonably priced Bistro on State St. The business enjoys a symbiotic relationship with the Santa Barbara community, as they rely mostly on local farmers and purveyors for their ingredients, keeping the menu a lively selection of seasonal dishes. Grilled asparagus and artichoke salad, grilled ahi on a scallion potato cake with mango salsa, a selection of panini sandwiches and gourmet pizzas round out the menu; the bistro also boasts a great selection of wines and a variety of pastries and desserts.

Vegetarians young and old flock to the Sojourner Café, colloquially known as the “Soj”. Back in 1977, the Sojourner was pretty much the first vegetarian venture in Santa Barbara, and they are still going strong. With their eclectic menu of hearty soups, vegetarian lasagna, mouth-watering rice-and-veggie bowls and scrumptious home-baked desserts, you don’t have to be a vegetarian to enjoy the food there. Located on E. Canon Perdito (Santa Barbara St.), it is a great place to dine, reasonably priced and hip, among the Santa Barbara restaurants downtown.

Square One is another Santa Barbara restaurant that loves its produce, meats and seafood as fresh and organic as possible. At the other end of the spectrum from the Sojourner, Square One emphasizes sustainably-grown, organic produce and wild-caught seafood. This kind of attention to ingredients does push the price up, but their refreshingly minimalist dishes are worth it. The menu features, among other things, a Kobe-style beef burger with shoestring pommes frites. Their desserts have an eclectic blend of flavors: Hawaiian pineapple tartare with wild mint tea, beet granita and whipped Créme Frâiche. However you spend your vacation days, the Santa Barbara restaurants will provide a fantastic dining experience.

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