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Feb 6, 2008 10:44 AM

Is Anything in Santa Barbara not Trendy

So much fluff and so little substance. Prefer Steak or Italian. Any suggestions that really stand out. I love the Tee-Off and, no, I do not care for Arnoldi's.

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  1. Try Jill's Place or Holdren's for steak.

    2 Replies
    1. re: sbgirl

      I think Opal is pretty low on trendy fluff and pretty high on the substance. Havent eaten there in a while but on multiple trips they have always done a really nice job with the food in a friendly/efficient but not stuffy environment.

      1. re: tex.s.toast

        Oh, Opal is wonderful. I didn't mention it because of the steak/Italian thing.
        Another gem is Sullivan Goss Gallery, with their restaurant tucked in back in a lovely garden.

    2. Locals leave the trendy to the tourists who want to pay high prices for indifferent food. Though there are some lcoal favorites that rate high on the trendy list also offer good value anyway: La Superica and Hungry Cat are two that come to mind.

      Why anyone would pay the prices at Ruth's Chris for steak is beyond me. Do stick with the Tee-Off or Holdren's or Jill's, as recommended. Hey, it is just meat folks and you can cook it easily at home. This is not something you pay extra to have someone cook it for you. Good old Chuck's Steakhouse remains a local oldtime formula classic for steaks and heavy drinks, with the same reservations.

      Italian is good enough at Ca Dario, Via Maestra 42, and Emilo's, if you are selective with the menus. I don't think you would find Arnoldi's on anyone's list for Italian. But it is part of old time Santa Barbara history, so I am glad you at least tried it.

      Taj and Spice Avenue are fine for Indian. I love Cafe Bianco in Victoria Court for cafe and light lunches. Montecito Cafe and Stella Mares are both charming and well-regarded locally for electic California cuisine menus.

      Agree, Opal is good and don't forget the Gourmet Dining Room at the City College on Thurs and Friday nights and weekday lunches prepared by the Culinary Arts students.

      4 Replies
      1. re: glbtrtr

        Thanks to all for the responses. I am an old-time SB Native but have been gone for many moons. My memories go back to the Talk-of the Town, Green Gables, San Roque Steakhouse, the original Joe's on lower State, the Somerset House and the Colony House just to let you know where I am coming from. Go back on occasion to visit friends but am at a loss with most of the city now after so many years and the friends I visit are not too into dining out.

        1. re: AzDumpling

          Talk of the Town was one of my favorites too. Had one of the best dinners in my life there, even after just returning from Europe. It was a classic continental dinner house in the best possible tradition. It is now a Family Service Agency building and the neighborhood around it is full of homeless and gang activities. Things change.

          1. re: AzDumpling

            My grandparents lived in SB for the big earthquake ('25 or '26?) and mom grew up next door to hall--of-famer Eddie Matthews...I was born in Cottage a kid, we always went to Joe's or Castagnola's for a treat. I remember lower State as a place you didn't go after dark unless you were looking for trouble. The town has just changed and upscale/ trendy is the name of the game.

            1. re: Snackish

              Naw, parts of Santa Barbara have changed, many for the better, but lots of it are still pretty untrendy middle class once you get away from the frank tourist areas, which are not really all that trendy.

              San Roque neighborhood probably remains as you remember it. Cleaning up Lower State street was welcomed by all. Milpas Street remains more the working class row of small mom and pop restaurants and businesses. Goleta is still Goleta. And IV is as trashy as ever. Montecito is more "trendy" than the rest of Santa Barbara, but it earned the right to be this way. Money walks and talks in Montecito.

              What is starting to go more upscale is La Cumbre Plaza with Ruth's Chris Streakhouse and Tiffany's Jewlers, with more high end stores to follow apparently.