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Week in LA and Santa Barbara

I'll be in LA for 2 days, then Santa Barbara for 2 days, and then back to LA for two days. It's been a while since I've been to LA, and I'm interested in eating well throughout the trip. Here's what I'm looking for: 1) 2 upscale dinners in LA (thinking Providence and Josie but open to any suggestions as I've never been to either), 2) 2 lunch or brunch places in Santa Barbara 3) Some kick-arse, can't-miss mexican food in LA (i know it's there) 4) a great seafood place. Thanks for all the input, and I look forward to the responses.

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  1. In SB - La Super Rica for lunch.

    1. In SB: Went to this terrific new american restaurant on State Street called Opal. Highly recommend (although that was a dinner for us -- don't know if they are open for lunch.)

      2 Replies
        1. re: Diana

          "New american cuisine" not new "american cuisine". LOL!

      1. One of my favorite lunch spots in SB is Paradise Cafe. It's just off State St., on Anacapa and Ortega. They have a quaint patio and great burgers. Have fun!

        1 Reply
        1. re: browndoggie

          I second this rec. The Paradise Cafe has been around forever and captures the essence of Santa Barbara perfectly.


        2. Folks, sorry for the interruption. Los Angeles has its own forum, so we'd like to ask everyone to keep responses here focused on Santa Barbara chow.

          chucktowneater has another thread on the L.A. board. if you'd like to suggest good chow in the Los Angeles region


          1. I'm making the same trip in a few weeks, and have been assembling a list from the boards. Here's what I have for SB:

            La Super Rica (tacos)- Julia Child's favorite - 622 N Milpas St
            Paradise Cafe (burgers etc) 702 Anacapa St
            Sakura (asian/cheap) Paso Nuevo Mall State Street
            Arigato (japanese) 1225 State St

            1. MUST do La Super Rica in SB

              And go for Oaxacan in LA.... try a molcajete at Monte Alban. I drive up from Orange County on any excuse to get this!

              1. (Just in case my post is deleted from LA, here's the same info on Tupelo) The last time I was in Santa Barbara, we had brunch at The Tupelo Junction Cafe - fabulous! I had their famous "Fried Chicken Salad w/ Cornbread, Dried Cranberries, Pumpkin Seeds & Herb Buttermilk Dressing" and it was divine and strangely didn't seem too healthy. I seem to recall a pretty potent bloody mary as well. (pictures below)

                1218 State St
                Santa Barbara, CA 93101
                (805) 899-3100

                1 Reply
                1. re: Suebee

                  Wow, I checked out The Tupelo Junction Cafe's menu and it looks killer! Thanks for the recommendations everybody.

                2. Here are two recs that are two of my fav places in the state. Mexican style Chicken (wood fire) with outstanding chips & salsa at Santa Barbara Chicken Ranch. Also, for pancakes go to Sambo's -- the best. When I think that the prices are so low at these plases, and the food is so good, it occurs to me that Santa Barbara has nothing better to offer -- unless you spend really big bucks.

                  Santa Barbara Chicken Ranch
                  2618 De la Vina St. (just north of downtwn)
                  Santa Barbara, CA 93105
                  (805) 569-1872

                  Sambo's Restaurant
                  216 W Cabrillo Blvd (down by the ocean)
                  Santa Barbara, CA 93101-3506
                  (805) 965-3269

                  1. La Super-Rica for sure for lunch and Santa Barbara Shellfish Company (at the end of the pier) for a casual but fresh seafood lunch. FYI--there's usually a line at La Super-Rica but it moves pretty quickly and SB Shellfish Co. is tiny (no tables, just a counter with a lovely ocean view and stools) so try to go for a later lunch and/or on a weekday.

                    The Lobster in Santa Monica is a beautiful spot but I've only been there once for lunch, so I can't vouch for the food. Malibu Seafood is super casual but also a very pleasant spot. It's actually better to go there when it's super crowded (like on a weekend afternoon) as it's fresher!

                    1. Could you report back on what/where you ended up and how it was? We'll be in SB 8/29 & 30 to visit relatives then continue on to El Cajon for a golf tournament. SB relatives will try to drag us to Outback or something equally yucky and I'd love to have something better to throw at them! Thanks in advance for your input....

                      Also, if anyone else wants to add anything: we love small ethnic (Asian especially) but love white tablecloth cutting edge places too - price really isn't an issue... Good wines are a plus.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: RWCFoodie

                        Unfortunately cutting edge isn't a description of most of the dining in Santa Barbara. Probably the most cutting edge is Seville. Then maybe Square One. For great wine I would go to the Wine Cask. Which has both good wine and food.

                        Some others to consider Quantum is a very upscape hamburger spot which may appeal to both the Outback crowd and yourself. Another would be Hungry Cat, a new seafood outpost of an LA restaurant.

                        1. re: majmaj4

                          I actually leave in 2 weeks, and I'm really excited. I have dinners covered both nights (rehearsal dinner, then wedding) so it will be 3 lunches. La Super Rica and Tupelo Junction Cafe are certainties. As for the 3rd lunch I'm undecided. I will definitely report back after the trip. Thanks.

                          1. re: majmaj4

                            Hungry Cat has a great hamburger if you want to see what "cutting edge" does to a humble hamburger. They just do it.

                        2. So I just got back from my trip. I won't comment on my LA trip since it's forbidden on this board (shhhh...i went to providence and blue fin in OC and those were AMAZING), but I will say that La Super Rica was really tasty. My friends were looking at me like I was crazy when I took them there because it was a hole in the wall, but everyone loved what they got. We just grabbed some Pacificos and ate in that little porch area. We did Tupelo Junction Cafe for brunch and that was pretty good as well. thanks for the recommendations all.