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Santa Barbara

mswynne Aug 13, 2007 09:32 AM

My wife and I will be in SB next month. I have been told the best restaurant there is the Stonehouse at San Ysidro ranch. I would love feedback on this place as well as several other dinner recs. I have been told to consider Bouchon, Olio y Limone, and Stella Mares. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

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  1. d
    Diana RE: mswynne Aug 13, 2007 12:39 PM

    OPus is a must do. La Super Rica for good shack mexican food. Cafe Luna in Summerland is great for coffe, pastries, salads and sandwiches (brekker or lunch) The Santa barbara Shellfish co at the end of the pier is great!

    Also, for a great microbrew and good bar food (as well as non-bar food) try the Brewhouse.

    I was not wild about Stonehouse,not at all!

    1 Reply
    1. re: Diana
      GroovinGourmet RE: Diana Jul 15, 2012 08:14 AM

      2nd that emotion for La Super Rica. It has its naysayers, but every 'hound should go there at least once. Go with the specials...

    2. g
      glbtrtr RE: mswynne Aug 13, 2007 03:04 PM

      So far all the reports on San Ysidro Ranch have been disappointing, but maybe they have worked out the kinks. There is really no one "best" restaurant in SB. There are some good ones, some okay ones, some dishes better than other ones, so come with an open understanding that you will dine okay, and maybe well, but not grandly except in maybe in atmosphere and location.

      You picked some of the obvious favorites, so it will be fun to to get your first hand report after your visit. Welcome and maybe with a little more info as to your specific tastes, we can help direct you to some of the less obvious spots.

      Sad to report, but sometimes you can spend a lot of money dining in SB and only reach mediocre. That, I hope we can help you avoid.

      4 Replies
      1. re: glbtrtr
        Diana RE: glbtrtr Aug 14, 2007 06:45 AM

        You always say it straight about SB, glbtrtr!

        1. re: Diana
          majmaj4 RE: Diana Aug 14, 2007 07:59 AM

          Diana, where/what is opus?

          1. re: majmaj4
            Diana RE: majmaj4 Aug 14, 2007 09:59 AM

            Actually, I meant Opal. Sorry, typo.

            Opal is near the Arlington, up about a hlaf a block, if that.

        2. re: glbtrtr
          mswynne RE: glbtrtr Aug 14, 2007 01:16 PM

          Thank you fo the help. Several friends just returned from SB and gave rave reviews to The Stonehouse at San Ysidro Ranch. It could be because they stayed there. I will try several of the recs. and report back upon my return. MW

        3. f
          foodientraining RE: mswynne Aug 16, 2007 10:39 AM

          I dined at Opal (lunch), Epiphany, and Wine Cask this past weekend. Opal was nice. Epiphany was really good. I ordered the crispy duck and it came with a foie gras risotto. I felt the fat from the duck was not rendered enough for my taste. However, the risotto was tasty. At Wine Cask, I ordered the vodka-infused potato soup. It was delicious. For my entree, I ordered the duck. The duck was delicious. Perfect. It was accompanied by a foie gras and cherry stuffing. Perfect sweet and sour.

          I would recommend Wine Cask.

          6 Replies
          1. re: foodientraining
            Diana RE: foodientraining Aug 16, 2007 11:00 AM

            You like duck! Which was the best duck that rip?

            1. re: Diana
              foodientraining RE: Diana Aug 16, 2007 01:22 PM

              I do like duck. But, it's something I rarely cook or eat. So, I decided I was going to have a nice vacation and live a bit. The Wine Cask duck was better. The Epiphany duck still had a bit too much fat for my taste. The duck at Wine Cask was juicy and very flavorful. The jus was delicious. But, I still liked Epiphany. I think I would go again the next time I go to SB. I'll try something different.

              1. re: foodientraining
                petergins RE: foodientraining Jul 2, 2012 03:55 PM

                Anyone care to weigh in on best Mexican in SB that also has great margaritas? Gracias.

                1. re: petergins
                  glbtrtr RE: petergins Jul 2, 2012 04:19 PM

                  Cielito in La Arcarda is new, haven't been there myself, but I think it is worth a look see for both your criteria according to the good reviews it is getting - more regional and refined cuisine from Mexico, a trendy, romantic setting and a lovely place to have some outdoor sips. It is on our list to places to try so it could very well be a Chow Worthy addition. Most smaller Mexican restaurants have only beer and wine licenses. http://santabarbara.com/dining/review...

                  The El Paseo Restuarant is famed for its margaritas, wonderful historic setting but its food does not put it into the top pick class though greatly improved with the new management.

                  Maybe a combo -- have your pre-dinner margarita in El Paseo and the have your DD drive you over, (or walk a half mile) to Milpas Street and La Superica for the # 15 special. Or vice versa.

            2. re: foodientraining
              GroovinGourmet RE: foodientraining Jul 15, 2012 08:13 AM

              Nice to know Wine Cask is still cranking it out. I lived in the area 2 decades ago, and that was the go-to place for fine dining.

              1. re: GroovinGourmet
                glbtrtr RE: GroovinGourmet Jul 15, 2012 08:26 AM

                Hope you can get back to your sleepy little town and see what major new additions have been added to the dining scene lately. 20 years go Wine Cask was about the only go-to place, but now there are very serious contenders as well and some of the old stalwarts still take a special place in our hearts as well. The formula for restaurant longevity in this town remains a mystery - some bad ones stay and some that open with too much flash quickly fade -- like the prior owners of the El Paseo Wine Cask location who managed to alienate all the former loyalty that location had built up -- starting out with chopping down an historic patio tree and thumbing his nose to the public outcry. We do have our own unique ways here of supporting what we like and ignoring what we don't, including restaurants.

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