Santa Barbara this week
Hi! My husband and I are headed to SB on Tuesday and will stay through Saturday. Upon the recs on this board, I have booked Bouchon and Wine Cask for our two big dinners. We also plan to visit La Super Rica and Elements for lunch. I think someone recommended Paradise Cafe for lunch as well? I am also interested in Ca Dario and Opal, but we can only afford so many $$$$ dinners! Any thoughts??? Also, we plan to visit some wineries. Thanks!
I went to college and worked in the area (8 years total) and weekly breakfast/brunch on Sunday's was a regular tradition. My favorite "group" place was Max's Restaurant on Upper State -
The coffee is incredible (comes in your own little french press mini pot), and the breakfasts are what you find on most breakfast menus but they're jazzed up with a gourmet touch. Great quality especially for the price (the Eggs Benedict is my standby).
The Single Best Meal - Breakfast Burrito at The Cantina in Isla Vista
I ate it as a student, I ate it after I graduated, and every time I visit or even pass through town, I take a detour off the freeway to get one (I'm craving one just typing this out). If I was in Santa Barbara with enough time for only 1 meal, cost no object, I'd get a large carne asada breakfast burrito from The Cantina. You can find good steaks and seafood and high priced meals in any big city, but this is the only place you'll find a breakfast burrito this good. The spanish potatoes they put in the burrito are to die for.
The "best place I never went to" is probably the Palace Grill -
It's a Cajun/New Orleans style restauarant that always gets top ratings. The opportunity never presented itself for me to make a reservation, but a lot of my co-workers said it was their favorite place to go in town when the company was paying the bill or if friends/relatives were in town. Great food that will impress, but when all is said and the done, the tab will be mighty.
As far as wineries go- you cannot go wrong in the Santa Ynez Valley. Great lunch spots include Panino and Los Olivos Cafe. To stock up on cheese and picnic goods- try Los Olivos Grocery. My top 4 wineries- and I prefer reds- are Tensley and Andrew Murray, Beckman and the new Roblar Winery- where they also serve paninis and salads. Number 16 at La Superica is the tried and true favorite- though if they have sopas, don't pass them up! Another favorite for mexican is El Sitio- which has 4 locations in SB/Goleta- their tacos de pasilla is better than anything at LSRica!!
Not a fan of Paradise myself - if you want a great hamburger, try Hungry Cat on Chapala and West Anapamu for $14 with endless lightly battered onion rings.
SuperRica - most of us locals like the choices with cheese as the most flavorful - my favorite is Number 15 - cheese, bacon, fresh tortillas and pico de gallo salsa. Heaven.
Ca Dario (just back this evening) I love the single item the Antipasto Assortito - enough for a full meal with their wonderful bread - as a lunch item, it is less expensive - you can get out under $20 each with a coffee or dessert too and have a fantastic survey of wonderful N. Italian appetizers - lots of marinated veggies and meats, and a single caprese.
Opal is a sleeper - bistro food, well priced and a wonderful dining experience. Jade is another sleeper that remains still a good local choice with some good wines too on Upper State Street.
The first person I ever met that spoke as a "foodie" was my dentist in S.B. and he named a few places to try. The only two I recall now are Cold Spring Tavern, which since has been featured on the Food Network a couple of times, and a burger place called The Spot in Carpinteria which he said Santa Barbara local the late Julia Child called "the world's most perfect hamburger". I did go to The Spot and it was pretty good but it was a long trip since I was coming from Isla Vista. For a good burger around the corner I always went to The Habit in Goleta on Hollister Ave...this was the original and only Habit when I was there but they've done so well they've opened up more all over the state.
I'm not sure if anyone's mentioned Brophy Brothers, but it's probably the most popular seafood place in town, though it can feel touristy. I go there basically for the clam chowder, and would take visitors there too since it's harborside with great views, and outdoor seating.
Speaking of harborside, do not go to The Harbor or Longboard's Grill on Stearn's Wharf. Overpriced, small portions, and certainly not the best quality for the money (tourist traps!).
Thank you so much for the recs! We are leaving early tomorrow morning and I will fill you in upon return! Thanks again!!