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Favorite Santa Barbara Restaurants

I am looking for more good restaurants in the Santa Barbara, Montecito, Goleta area. So far, these are my favorites. I particularly like Italian with fresh ingredients, Southeast Asian, Indian, and bakeries. If it came from a can or otherwise falls into the category of heat and serve, I probably dislike it.

La Super Rica for Horchata, Jamaica, and anything with their handmade tortillas, especially the taco con rajas.

Olio e Limone for fresh and upscale Italian food.

Via Vai for their amazing thin crust pizza and some of their pastas.

Via Maestra 42 for the gelato and pastries.

Saigon Vietnamese Restaurant for the curry noodles or curry rice.

El Baijo for the aguas frescas and handmade gorditas.

Lazy Acres Market for their awesome bakery section and overall selection.

Tupelo Junction for Chocolate Turtle Beignets and sweet potato fries.

Cold Spring Tavern for breakfast.

Carlitos for an amazing tostada.

The Andersen for pastries and iced mocha.

D'Angelo Bread Company for pastries and lemonade.

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  1. El Sitio on either Salinas street or Fairview location, and I always order Tacos de Pasilla. Pork carnitas with sauteed mushrooms-yellow onion and roasted strips of pasilla chili smothered in white cheese, served with 4 corn tortillas.

    La Superica has basically the same dish- a number 16. YUM!

    Lately Sushi Teri has been good to me, the strip mall location in Goleta.

    I want to try a new place- on Hollister/Kellogg- next to Sizzler called Mediterra Market- olive oils and gourmet items, plus a lunch menu- haven't been in- but do see it as I visit the new Alpha Thrift next to Carpeteria-I just haven't been able to pull myself away from El Sitio!

    2 Replies
    1. re: JalamaMama

      Yes; I've tried Mediterra: very nice, charming store& people. BUT: No lunch. Only special food, packaged. Excellent olives and olive oils!! Also the Feta was soo good, next time I'll try other cheeses.

      1. re: jiji

        Mediterra Cafe in Goleta now does sit-down lunches - and they're delicious.

    2. We and several friends have had great meals at Frescos at the Beach. We have definitely added that to our list of favorites in town.
      We had a great dinner at Dish, Calle Real at Fairview a couple weeks ago. We shared a salad (something with papaya) and each had a main dish, I had swordfish pasta which I thought would be chunks of fish in the pasta, but instead it was pasta with a nice smoky flavor from grilled artichoke hearts, capers, and olives with the grilled fish on top. My spouse had jambalaya and loved it. We took home half of each dish, including half the salad and had another entire meal.

      1. Japanese: Edomasa is one of my favorite places. I eat there once or twice a month easily. Takenoya on Calle Real in Goleta is very good also; it has probably the most extensive Japanese menu I've seen in town.

        Thai: Most places in town tend to be consistently good, in my opinion. I most commonly eat at Your Choice (Upper State -- their Panang Fish is sublime); Galanga (Lower State); and Your Place (Milpas).

        Italian: Ca' Dario compares with Olio e Limone. 'Pane e Vino' (across from Via Vai) is consistently excellent and is a Montecito institution.

        Indian: I like some of the less-often-seen veggie dishes at "Spice Avenue", including okra curry. Most places in town I tend to stick with lighter things like samosas and tandoor or kebabs, as the curry/gravies tend to be on the overly heavy side (a drawback of most Indian restaurants).

        1. La Superica (Milpas Street) - #15 Tocino special - melted cheese, bacon, pico de gallo and three supremely fresh tortillas

          Taj Cafe (State Street) - fragrant Indian

          Blue Dolphin (Isla Vista) for Malaysian wraps

          Mai's (Main Street Ventura) Vietnamese and Hawaiian

          Santa Barbara City College Gourmet Dining Room (SBCC campus) prix fixe 4 course dinner with wine - $30 - multiple choices

          Rudy's (Montecito Street) - chile relleno ala carte

          Paesano's (San Andres Street) - pizza, pizza, pizza

          Super Cuca's (West Micheltorena) - burritos

          Sushi Teri (Bath Street) sushi - teriyaki combo

          Ca Dario (East Victoria Street) antipasto misto

          MacDonald's - Filet O' Fish sandwich

          Mesa Cafe (Cliff Drive) - home style comfort food - no frills, just basic good fresh items, low key place

          1. Yes, that taco con rajas and the horchata are my 2 favorite things at La Super Rica. I stopped there on Friday and was banging on the table and moaning with pleasure. So good.

            1. Cafe Luna for coffee, salads, sandwiches, pastries and truffles (in Summerland)

              Tinker's for burgers and ostrich burgers (also in Summerland)

              La Superrica for Queso fundido and tortillas

              Metropulus for Sandwiches and salads

              Opal for the fish salad

              Spiny Lobseters at the Santa Barbara Shellfish Co

              The Brewhouse for beer, vegetable plate, gorgonzola potato chips, salads and more.

              Bhudda's Feast at the natural Cafe

              The Mediterranian torta salad thing at sojurner

              Gelson's salad bar.

              Eladio's for brekker'e (one left)

              Garrett's Whale Tale for sandwiches and Salads

              Taj for Indian

              Never found good asian in SB..

              1 Reply
              1. re: Diana

                China Pavillion, West Anapamu and Chapala, has about as good Chinese as one will find in SB so far ... which I agree is never close to the top of this complex cuisine's game, but they do have reasonably good dishes and an occasionally inspired moment.

              2. I love all these places. Here are some of my favs not on your list:

                Edomasa--nothing like late night sushi
                Ca'Dario--damn good Italian
                The Montecito Cafe--YUM
                The Wine Cask
                Zia Cafe

                1. My 17-year old son and I ate dinner at VIA VAI in the Montecillo area of Santa Barbara. It was a Tuesday night, about 8:30 PM. We both had pizza: he the Diabolo, and I the prosciutto/mushroom/artichoke one (I forget the name). Super-fast! Almost too fast, unless you're with kids. Delicious thin crust pizze, served on wooden patters. The toppings were fresh, but not particularly well-spiced for my taste. I added some dried pimiento to mine. Also, my pizza could have been hotter, although my son's was fine. I also had a glass of red wine and an affogado for desert. The affogado was not too sweet - the way I like it - and was a bit heavy on the whipped cream. Total was $45 before tip. We were in and out in about 30 minutes. Probably not a good choice for a romantic meal.

                  There was a nice selection of organic tomatoes, olives, and basil in the display case. I expect that the caprese is good here. The wines by the glass (red, at least) included a short, but nice selection of Italian varietals, priced $7-9. The table bread was rough, Italian style, and the olive oil tasted deliciously of olives. There are about 15 tables outside (some with heat lamps), and about the same number of tables inside. There is a wood-fired pizza oven, and all food is prepared in view. The atmosphere is casual. This restaurant is out of the way in a corner of a strip-mall, and you are unlikely to find any tourists here. The matre'd spoke Italian.

                  In summary, the pizza crusts are fantastic, service very fast, food could have been hotter, portions good. I would go back and trip some of the other menu items.

                  1. Rose cafe for Mexican breakfast
                    My la Superica fav...#8