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Dinner with Dog in Santa Barbara?

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Taking my Lab up to Santa Barbara for the weekend, and looking for a nice restaurant at which she'll be welcome. Doesn't need to be fancy; just reasonable prices, tasty chow, and pooch-friendly.

Thanks in advance.

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    1. I see dogs sitting quietly under many of the outdoor seats in restaurants along STATE STREET, but have never seen them indoors like one does in Europe. As long as the dog is quiet or compact and contained, it appears we do have a live and let live attitude, regardless of any official prohibitions.

      Hendry's Beach (Arroyo Burro) is the location of the BROWN PELICAN restaurant with a large outdoor patio right at the edge of the beach, which is also known as the "dog beach" as once you pass beyond the "city line" into the "county" along the beach going north, you can let your dog run off leash. One often sees dogs at the outdoor tables.

      The BROWN PELICAN is very much a local spot, few tourists go out here. You can find it taking the Las Positas exit from Highway 101, go towards the ocean and turn right and there it is to the left. Free, but crowded parking.

      1. glbtrtr is right...

        The Brown Pelican is a good call, though slightly remote (it's a few miles from the downtown scene and there's nothing there except the nice beach) and the food, while reasonable, is not particularly "chowish."

        In addition to the various places along downtown State Street that have patios, there are a few outdoor tables at Ca Dario on Anacapa Street and Victoria, one block from State Street. Ca Dario has excellent Italian. I've seen folks eating outdoors at Ca Dario with their dogs. Not the most comfortable outdoor eating situation, but the great food makes it worth considering.

        1. I live in Santa Barbara, Goleta actually, and have 3 labs. It is not the most dog friendly place in California. There are laws forbidding dogs in restaurants and at the outdoor cafes. Some places may be stretching the rules, but you can't count on it. I was at an outdoor Cafe, at a table on the sand, at Ledbetter Beach with one of my dogs lying quietly under the table. I was asked to put her in the car. Health regulations. Good Luck.

          1. I live in Santa Barbara also. It's true that we are not a really dog-friendly restaurant town ... and that's too bad. Because the restaurants are blaming it on the "regulations" when in fact, the owner of restaurant is the one who sets the rules regarding dogs. According to a spokesperson from CDHS, Food and Drug Branch: "(pet) dogs are allowed throughout California at any outdoor dining areas unless they have to walk through the inside of a restaurant to get to the outdoor seats." It does not matter if food is served outside or taken out by the customer, or if the seats are located on a patio, sidewalk, or in a fenced area as long as there is access through an outside gate or opening. In addition, the CA statute forbids counties or cities from making these codes stricter. However: it is still the prerogative of a restaurant owner to choose whether or not to allow dogs; the choice lies with the owner not the city or county. SB Public Health Dept. has continuously told restaurants and the public that dogs are not allowed at any outdoor seating areas. Don't let the restaurant blame it on "health regulations." It is the restaurant. Look at Carmel and one can see an example of a town incredibly pet-friendly at both its hotels and its restaurants.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Anne_rizzoli

              Louie's Restaurant is in the Upham Hotel, a few blocks from the Ground Zero downtown restaurant zone (1200 block State Street area) and near a large city park where rover can roam, but not off-leash.

              Louie's is a sleeper - intimate setting, good food, good variety, nice service. Sometimes I forget about it but when one asks what is a real Santa Barbara dining experience you certainly can do well in this very historic old hotel setting that has been lovingly refurbished. Thanks for the reminder.

            2. This is a letter I sent to www.dogfriendly.com about our stay in Santa Barbara, November 16-18, 2006. We will not be going back any time soon... Carmel awaits us in December!

              To DogFriendly,

              I would like to offer feedback about our long weekend
              trip to Santa Barbara with our 2 retrievers, Cisco and

              I had made reservations at the Best Western Beachside

              This was a very good choice. We were treated very
              well. We would go back to this Best Western again.
              It was clean and patron quiet although you could hear
              street traffic and Amtrak whistles when you have the
              windows open.

              We thought we might want to try the Fess Parker
              Doubletree Resort, however after going there for lunch
              on Friday November 17th, we decided that we would
              never stay at the resort. Their idea of "pet
              friendly" and ours is on different ends of the
              We went to the resort with our retrievers for lunch.
              It's pet friendly, right? Well, we were told we
              could NOT sit on the outdoor cafe patio with our pets.
              We were escorted to the bar patio and told we could
              lunch there. After we ordered our lunch, the wait
              person came to tell us "if anyone complained about our
              dogs, we would have to tie them outside of the patio
              wall". This amazed us! At a "pet friendly" resort,
              we could not dine on the outdoor patio if someone
              complained! Needless to say, we will not stay at this
              Note: Our dogs did not bark, at all! We were "allowed"
              to eat in peace.

              Quite frankly, we ran into numerous rejections when
              attempting to eat out with our "boys" for dinner. We
              tried several outside patios in Santa Barbara and were
              told that dogs were not allowed unless they were
              outside the patio area, on the public sidewalk.
              Meaning, my husband and I could sit inside a fenced in
              patio, however our pets would have to sit out on the
              public thoroughfare, alone.

              We found the most wonderful restaurant next to the
              Best Western that welcomed us with open arms. The
              restaurant was: Emilio's
              324 W. Cabrillo Blvd.
              Santa Barbara, CA 93101
              805-962-2011 fax

              The food was outstanding and we were treated like
              honored guests. The restaurant set-up a table
              specifically for us and reserved it. They were so
              very, very nice. We had take-out Thursday and ate
              there Friday and Saturday.

              We had read a recommendation for the Brown Pelican,
              however when I called for reservations, I was told
              that again, our dogs would have to be tied some
              distance from the patio at a park picnic table.

              On to wine tasting.

              Thursday, November 16th, my husband Don and I went to
              the Stearns Wharf Vintners of Santa Barbara.
              217-G Stearns Wharf
              Santa Barbara, CA 93101
              805-966-6605 fax
              They have a second story tasting room with an outdoor
              patio that faces the water. I asked if we could bring
              our retrievers up to taste with us. They said
              "absolutely"! We had a marvelous time tasting Santa
              Barbara County wines and hanging with our "boys".

              We attempted to go to a tasting at Whitcraft. The
              small office-like space was empty on Friday afternoon.
              We were told we could come in, but not our dogs. We

              Please post this information to your web-site. We use
              it extensively.
              In December, my husband and the "boys" are taking me
              to the Cypress Inn in Carmel. We dearly love the Inn
              and Carmel. This is a town that really knows how to
              treat our very furry friends.

              Happy Holidays!

              1. You were forewarned, yes?

                1. Hi, any updates here? Going to SB with hounds this weekend...any tips most appreciated. Thanks

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: jessejames


                    Was in Santa Barbara beginning of the month. Most places the dogs were tied to "outside" fence of the patio area, which does not work with our dog. We took our dog and ate dinner at Ca Dario, had to sit on the sidewalk, no alcohol service (hint - ask for a plastic cup) and he was able to sit next to us. Food was tasty and the service was friendly and good - it was a nice evening out.

                    Stopped by for wine tasting (you can bring cheese and munchies) at the Santa Barbara Winery (dogs are welcomed).

                    For breakfast ate at Esau's Cafe in Carpinteria, again ate on the sidewalk and people watched.

                    FYI - This was a recent post, wished I had this when I visited. This post should help you. Enjoy your weekend with your "lab".

                    Brewhouse on Montecito Street near the train station is the dog friendliest place in town (dogs on the patio). They even bring your pup water w/o you asking for it, and if you are lucky enough to be there after prime rib night, your babies might get a beef rib to gnaw on while you enjoy home-made potato chips with gorgonzola. Great beer, good wine list, full bar, and great food. The happy hour rocks, 4-6:00 every day of the week.

                    Also, Pierre LaFond on lower State Street allows dogs on their patio, as does Holdren's and also Pascucci. All have good food. The Minnow Cafe at the breakwater is a local funky spot, also very dog friendly. Mesa Cafe on the Mesa allows dogs at their outside tables - it's a local spot that's especially popular for breakfast. Sharkeez on lower State also allows dogs on the patio, but depending on your age, it may or may not be your style. Food is OK at best. If you want to stop in Carpinteria on your way south to WeHo, the Padaro Beach Grill is very dog-friendly. Lots of room to play for dogs and kids. I believe their new owners, Pizza Mizza, are also dog-friendly at their outside tables at La Cumbre Plaza in SB.

                    Shoreline Park is very dog-friendly and offers great views of the city and the islands.

                    Downtown, the following store allow dogs and some have treats as well:
                    The Territory Ahead
                    Juicy Couture
                    Pierre LaFond (clothing)
                    Lulemon (sp?) at Paseo Nuevo

                    I used to work downtown at a dog-friendly company so my buddy and I had this down!

                    Have a great time here.

                    | Permalink | Report | Reply
                    sbgirl Jun 17, 2008 08:37PM

                    1. re: liwasaki

                      thanks for such a helpful post. looking forward to having fun in santa barbara with my chowhounds.

                      1. re: liwasaki

                        It sure helps to do your homework.

                        We took our Cavalier King Charles Spaniel to Santa Barbara with us, this weekend and stayed at The Doubletree Resort. He was treated like a king! They had a gift bag ready for me when I got there. It had treats, a poopie bag (empty of course) and a Fido Friendly travel magazine...oh and a tennis ball! We had a blast. They let him everywhere on the resort but the restaurants and the pool. They even had menu items to order from room service especially for dogs. We took him out to eat at Emilio's on Cabrillo (close to the pier) and The Brewhouse at Montecito. We went hiking (lots of dogs were offleash cause they were allowed to be, but not Princeton) at the Douglas Family Nature Preserve. There are even some shops on State that allowed him.

                        Thanks to you we were well-prepared!

                        By the way, we're planning on returning on a regular basis.

                        1. re: lalaric

                          I'm glad to have helped. Our beloved dog Timmy went as many places with us as possible so we really learned the town. He's in dog heaven now (oh the tears get in the way of typing), but we plan to take whomever is next in our life to all the same fido-friendly spots..

                          1. re: sbgirl

                            When we visit SB with our 2 dogs we stay at The Secret Garden Bed and Breakfast on Bath St. Pet friendly in the cottages with decks.


                            They feed you breakfast so you have one meal covered already.

                            Dinner and wine at Intermezzo on the outdoor/sidewalk patio (this is attached to the Wine Cask).


                            Of course, nothing says SB like a picnic from Pierre La Fonde and sitting down at Alice Keck Park or Alameda Park for a lazy afternoon lunch. There's also the Mission of course...

                            1. re: Ewilensky

                              I'm surprised to hear that Intermezzo allowed your pups, but glad to hear it. Maybe the new owner is more relaxed about it, because we were specifically told NO when we wanted to dine al fresco with Fido a few years back.