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Santa Barbara (need Rec.'s) [Moved from Los Angeles Area board]

We will be in Santa Barbara for two days before Thanksgiving with Kids, where is a good place for breakfast, maybe Italian and any other suggestions you may have.

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  1. The Hungry Cat, one of my favorite L.A. restaurants, just opened up in Santa Barbara.
    http://www.thehungrycat.com
    They always have a great oyster selection and some very inventive cocktails. The Pug Burger is yummy, too.

    4 Replies
    1. re: tag heuer

      Back for my third Pugburger and it was definitely back on track - third time was charmed all over again. Staff was much friendlier. No serious attempt to keep selling up. This place still buzzing with happy customers. Looks like it is a go here and the Pugburger is addicting. It's the cheese for sure - premium California blue- amazingly good and puts all the flavors together in a way that will keep me going back for more.

      1. re: glbtrtr

        That makes me happy - I'm glad they didn't let you down. I have to ask - did you take my advice and sit at the bar this time? :-)

        1. re: Alice Q

          We did sit at the bar. I only wish I had the seats in front of the grill to watch the master chef in action because getting all those different dishes right at the right time on a wood-burning grill is an underappreciated art form. This really is a remarkable restaurant.

          And watching the chef I can see where my Pugburger #2 went wrong on our last visit: too much time in the melting oven after the cheese was put on and the bacon sat too long on the fire and got hard and burned so the whole thing got over cooked and got an off flavor. But last visit a young master was conducting the culinary orchestra and all was well. Gawd, that is one good burger!

          1. re: glbtrtr

            Isn't that wood burning grill cool? I have pictures from our visit up on my flickr page here - http://www.flickr.com/photos/42323675...

            and I am planning to write it up on my blog - www.aliceqfoodie.com - as soon as I can get around to it!

    2. Ahhh Santa Barbara...This Guacho recommends the following.
      Brophy Bros. right on the break water over looking the boats, channels islands and the mountains, the food is fresh seafood as well as basics like fish and chips, beer boiled shrimp etc., you can see the fisherman unload fresh seafood below.
      La Supa rica on Milpas: little Mexican food place that has lines that wrap around the corner( NO JOKE) simple corn and cheese quesadillas, tacos etc. everything is fresh and made right in front of you.
      Italian, you have a couple of choices there's always Pan e Vino in Montecito but with the kids i think Palazzio on state street is great choice everything is served family style and the wine is on the honor system, I also love Bucatini which is on lower state street and also good with kids, Pascucci on state just below Palazzio is also damn good , not too$$$$ and also good for the kids.
      Breakfast, I can only tell you of one place that I think of when I think of breakfast in SB and that's the Cajun Kitchen on Chapala, there's a couple around town too.
      Other notable places Paradise cafe nice simple California fare with a nice outside patio, Brown pelican at the end of cliff drive and right on the beach Hendrys beach to be exact. and finally if you get a chance to do dinner sans the kids there's always the palace and Chad's.
      Have fun and stop in the the el paseo for the best Maragrita in all of SB.
      http://www.santabarbara.com/dining/
      AFS

      1 Reply
      1. re: afs

        I would differ on a lot (but not all) of these, so there is something for everybody in this town. I have never even had anything close to anything good at Pan e Vino, Pasucci is just plain bad, Paradise unremarkable and Chads is better known for its stiff drinks than its ordinary food. Oh well. All the places you mention do have nice crowds and are nice places for ambiance, but for food ....... I dunno. Sorry

      2. If you can make it out to Solvang/Santa Ynez, I suggest Paula's Pancake House for breakfast and Brother's at Mattei's Tavern or Cold Spring Tavern for dinner.

        1. You said, "breakfast?" didn't you?? There is no question but Esau's which, hopefully, will reopen in November across the street from Paseo Nuevo mall on Chapala St. Otherwise, their other restaurant, also Esau's, is in Carpinteria, some 15 minutes south. All eggs are local, ham cut from shanks, pancakes and biscuits are from scratch, homemade jams made fresh 3 times a week, incredibly large portions, real maple syrup, chiles from only one grower in Oxnard for their red salsa, and VERY homey. It is a breakfast not to miss. Cajun Kitchen is okay, but don't order anything cajun or creole. I feel that their cooks have never been to New Orleans and tasted real cajun or creole food. A lot of cayenne pepper does not make it right.

          1 Reply
          1. re: cookstr

            Wow! Thank you for allof the wonderful rec.'s. The only place I had been to previously was Brophy Bros, but now I have a whole list to try with the family.

          2. Did you have a price range in mind, and how old are the kids?

            Italian:
            - Pascucci is great for a simple dinner with kids, and the food is perfectly fine but not spectacular (certainly not "terrible"). However, I would avoid Palazzio. You might also enjoy The Chase on State Street if you're not expecting top tier cuisine.
            - More upscale with better food, but probably not great for young kids: Ca' Dario & Olio e Limone (both on Victoria St.).

            Other:
            - Natural Cafe on State is good casual, inexpensive dining with a wide-ranging menu, no table service (order at a counter).
            - Paradise Cafe is one of the best places for out of towners, and consistently good (but simple food). I absolutely disagree with glbtrtr that it's unremarkable. Almost everyone loves it.

            Breakfast, etc:
            - There's a place just above the freeway on State called I think Beachbreak Cafe. Perfectly OK.
            - Kids might love breakfast and/or lunch at Shoreline Cafe on Cabrillo; simple burger/grill food right on the beach (or on the deck overlooking).

            1 Reply
            1. re: allegro805

              I'm not so concerned about price since we will only be there for two days before we head to San Francisco. My kids are 2 & 8 and both dine out very well, they have enjoyed 2-3 hour dinners before (Start them young) The oldest loves sushi, any kind of seafood and they both love Italian. Thanks for all of the tips!