Santa Barbara this weekend - have read all previous posts
We're having a Girl's Weekend in SB 11/13JAN & I am in charge of restaurants. The 3 of us are from Laguna & Newport, so really don't want anything too touristy - just good upscale food (preferably without the upscale price, of course!) Were going to Citronelle, but after reading posts here, think we'll give it a miss. Of course, Super Rica & probably Mousse Odile or the other one recommended for bkfst. I've been to most of Montecito restaurants, so would appreciate SB town recommendations & advice if I should be making reservations now for Friday & Sat night dinners.
I highly recommend Sage and Onion where I've had two stellar meals during the last year. Reservations are necessary. It's upscale with excellent service and a pleasant room. There should be a rave review in the LA Times archives if you're curious.
Sage & Onion
34 East Ortega
We were driving though Santa Barbara last week and wanted to stop for dinner where parking didn't present a big problem. We stopped at Paradise Cafe (one block off of State St. I don't think it would be called upscale but it was very nice with a varied menu that was very reasonable. They have a nice bar downstairs and the restaurant is very popular and was just about full when we were there. My wife had marinated oysters on skewers that were excellent.
Well here goes:
Super Rica is fine, but I don't get the cult status. A little adventurousness in LA or Santa Ana for that matter can yield great Mexican food. But enjoy it.
Although it is a bit touristy, I love drinks at the El Encanto hotel overlooking the bay (outside on the terrace if it's possible).
Actually, part of Santa Barbara's identity is that is a resort and tourist location (see Kevin Starr's "Material Dreams", about 100 pages or so devoted to the history and self-creation of Santa Barbara as an isle of WASP gentility in "Spanish" garb, fascinating read). So, here are two suggestions.
There used to be a great priced fish place on Stearns wharf called John Dory's. I think they may have changed the name, but the fish there was amazingly fresh. So check out Stearns Wharf. Go for local, petrale sole, grouper, local prawns, spiny lobster/langouste, catalina - channel island swordfish.
All restaurants in Santa Barbara can be found at
the link below.
I just read about Olio e Limone on Victoria St. Cannot recommend it highly but it looks good. Here's a link to the review -
It's at the end of the page.
Let us know how it turned out.
In defense of La Super Rica, the best way to go there is to order the specials. I highly recommend the pozole (only served on Sundays, I think), which is outstanding. I also recommend trying the tamales verduras and sopes when they're available. The "regular" menu items may not seem all that impressive or exotic compared to offerings available here in L.A., but the ingredients are generally of a higher quality and seem fresher than those of your average taqueria's. The homemade tortillas in particular seem to give even La Super Rica's simple meat/chili pepper and cheese antojitos an extra edge.
I like the Palace, which has fancy-ish Cajun food. I'm not sure of the address exactly, but it's near State. They have very good muffins, which you get instead of bread. I haven't been for a few years, but I recall it being very good. I haven't been to Brophy's myself, but my parents say it has good seafood. I went to Citronelle years ago, when it was good, but I don't know about its current state. There's also a pretty good bakery called Aficionado European Bakery, also near State. Try the Cinnamon Roses. I haven't been for a while, but it used to be quite good. There was an even better one called Napoleon, but it started sucking and now it's out of business entirely, which is a shame.