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Santa Barbara Eats and Vinyards Suggestions Needed!!

I'm going to Santa Barbara this weekend for a girls get-a-way with a college pal. We both love eating out and would like to try a wine tasting!

I'm looking for some suggestions for great eats (all kinds are welcome) and any vinyards that may be fun for a day trip tasting.

Also does anyone have insight on what the Wine Ghetto is all about?? I have heard of this but don't really know what tis is.

All walks of food are welcome! Thanks much.

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  1. My favorite is Talley, which is up north in Arroyo Grande. Kind of far away.
    Whole bunch of other ones. Melville and Stolpman, for instance.
    Los Olivos and Solvang have a bunch of places to taste.

    1. Might be a good idea to look into one of the escorted wine tours, unless you plan on one of you being the designated driver?

      1. Keep in mind that, in most cases, the wineries are not necessarily near the good restaurants. Aside from the Hitching Post (think "Sideways"), all the good restaurants are in Santa Barbara -- the wineries up in Solvang, Lompoc, etc., are an hour away.

        Wineries: http://www.sbcountywines.com/wineries...

        As far as restaurants are concerned, my two favorites in San Barbara are Wine Cask and Elements.

        2 Replies
        1. re: zin1953

          >>Aside from the Hitching Post (think "Sideways"), all the good restaurants are in Santa Barbara -- the wineries up in Solvang, Lompoc, etc., are an hour away.<<

          That's not entirely true. Brother's at Mattei's Tavern in Los Olivos has good food and a lovely ambiance.

          1. re: DanaB

            and arguably the best restaurant in the entire area, SB and the Valley included, is the Restaurant at the Ballard Inn - located right in Ballard, literally yards from the vineyards.

        2. The "wine ghetto" is in a Lompoc industrial area, which is behind Home Depot, home to several wine production operations. I think some of the tasting rooms in the area are only open for special events.

          Wine Cask is also one of my favorites. If it is this weekend, you might see if the wine cask still has openings for the futures event - if you stay in town this also saves the designated driver issue since this is walking distance to some hotels.

          1. OPAL on State Street next to the Arlington Theater has a pretty extensive wine list and very good bistro type food. And you can then walk on up to CANTWELL'S DELI, a few more blocks up State Street for their very nice retail selection of wines to purchase your favorites.

            1. Super Rica taqueria is sensational, just allow an extra 20 minutes or so for standing in line. Its on Haley (I think) about 15 blocks up from the beach.

              There are many good vineyards up in the Solvang/Santa Ynez Valley area. The drive up 154 over the pass is beautiful and worth doing if its a nice day.

              Go Fish and Chips on State St. is a good bet for another cheap lunch.

              Santa Barbara Roasting Company does a lovely job with coffees and baked goods. They're also on State St.

              Have fun!

              1. For Winetasting - Sunstone in Santa Ynez is very nice. Great tasting room, good wine and a nice setting, picnic area (bring your own).

                Food - Can't miss Brophy's in Santa Barbara - not fancy, but great food. You can eat upstairs or down. All the locals eat there.

                1. Here is a link for escorted Santa Ynez wine tours, with picnic lunch:


                  1. Thanks for all the postings!!!

                    Great information about the area, insights I had no idea about! Wine Cask was mentioned several times so I will mark that down. I'll also be sure to get a DD for the wine tasting!

                    1. The San Marcos Pass road (Highway 154) from Santa Barbara to the Santa Ynez valley is known locally as "Blood Alley" because of all the drinkers who get really crazy on this windy, two lane road. Use caution, please. Plan your events carefully. Take care.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: glbtrtr

                        I second the strong recommendation for The Ballard Inn restaurant. It is really a special place for dinner.