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Aug 19, 2008 01:02 PM

Breakfast in Santa Barbara

I will be staying at a small hotel on State St. this weekend and I am looking for a good place to do breakfast/brunch. I am open to all types of places in all price ranges just as long as it's good food!! For dinner on Sat. night we are going to either Hungry Cat or the Palace or Milk & Honey. Any thoughts on these places??
Thank you!

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  1. I'd skip the Palace - my feeling is that it is very over-rated.
    Tupelo Junction, Sullivan Goss are a couple of more unusual placed for brunch downtown. Stella Mare's at the bird refuge is excellent, but you'd have to drive there.
    Beachbreak Cafe on lower State is a great, casual b'fast stop.

    2 Replies
    1. re: sbgirl

      I don't think the Cajun Palace is overated, I would try and see what you think
      I took a guest there a couple of months ago and she liked it.
      Alos try the new Vietnamese place on 1230 State St for lunch. Inexpensive and good.
      You might try the the Cajun Kitchen for Breakfast, there;'s one a block away from State St. Finally, you could try the original Sambos on Cabrillo (the beach) for breakfast. I've eaten there and liked it but some have complained about poor service.

      1. re: kaki3152

        Just to clear up any potential confusion, the place it seems everyone up thread is referencing would be the Palace Grill - which, while it serves cajun/creole food, is not, in fact, know as the cajun palace. im with sbgirl, ive never gotten anythign there that i thought was awesome, except a good buzz from their (ok if overpriced) drinks.

        cajun kitchen for breakfast is ok, but really just pretty basic breakfast fare, though potentially in a very convenient locale.

        the "new" vietnamese place at 1230 state is Saigon in and Out, a second office of a restaurant on milpas st (on the east side). i concur with kaki here, the food is quite good and a real value (for sb, not for vietnamese food, for which this, typical of sb, is on the higher end). one note here, i just recently tried their papaya salad and found it to be totally without dressing, completely the opposite of the citrusy-spicy-fish saucey experience im used to in Thai or Lao places. not sure if it was an off plate of if i dont like their papaya salad, but its not worth it for me to find out. the soups/noodles, and other salads ive had there have all been quite good, and theres lots of seating.

    2. For breakfast, Tupelo Junction is fantastic(actually very good for dinner as well, really). Really good food, mostly very savory and heavy, and good ice tea to wake up with. Don't miss their house preserves if you go.

      Stella Mares is a bit nicer, though not walking distance from State street, but good brunch fare and mimosas. Cajun Kitchen is standard breakfast fare, nothing special, but still pretty good.

      For dinner, Hungry Cat is amazing, especially if you like cocktails. Keep in mind the scene, and try and sit at the bar. Just really good food there, and it's fun to watch them prepare it.

      Milk and Honey is even more of a scene, good food and drinks as well. Haven't been to the Palace.

      Hope you have a good trip, let us know how it goes.

      1. Best sidewalk cafe for breakfast is Anderson's Bakery - 1100 block of State Street. Danish specialties and just a fun place in the morning sun to people watch and be taken care of over a sumptuous early morning meal.

        I am a huge fan of the Pug Burger at Hungry Cat. I just can't get myself away from it to try anything else, which get great reviews from others. Can't believe how they elevated the humble burger to a must have entree, but they did. Yum, want one just writing about it. Agree, try and sit at the bar right behind the grill to watch this amazing operation in action.

        Too bad the sleeper Cafe Bianco tucked quietly in Victoria Court off State Street and West Victoria is closed for major renovations because it is great for breakfast and lunch and a perfect, quiet retreat while downtown. Don't know when it is reopening but a peek inside shows the whole thing gutted and it will become a single floor establishment instead of the dangerous stair steps two level place it was.

        1. Just had dinner at the hungry cat two nights ago, and my opinion of their food is as high as ever. just a note - they have changed the menu and it has not been updated on their website. the distinctions based on plate sizes seems to have disappeared and there are fewer of the big plates in the 25-29 dollar range and more small dishes.

          everything we had was fantastic. as glbtrtr says the burger is quite good (my mom got it) but its still a burger. i am IN LOVE with their flatbread dishes. last time it was veal with a tonnato inspired sauce with lovely charred flatbreat, the new incarnation of this dish is even better. a smokey eggplant base with melted burrata and some micro greens all covered in a nice sprinkling of bottarga. the local cod with green beans and green goddess dressing was also excellent, really perfectly cooked and just to die for. we also ordered some oysters that were great, and, as usual they mix an awesome cocktail.

          if you cant tell by now, there is no question the hungry cat is the way to go - though if your looking for intimate, it can be quite load, especially at peak times. if you are up for a late dinner or are gonna beat the crowds, it is my best bet in town. no reservations, though, and sat night can be something of a zoo - always best to call first.

          3 Replies
          1. re: tex.s.toast

            What time does Hungry Cat get busy? We may be going for dinner on Saturday night. I'd like a quieter dinner but I'm all for having some tasty cocktails too.

            1. re: emilymm

              If quieter is what you want, i cant say that hungry cat after 7 or 730 is all that great of a call. for me it boils down to the size of your party and the purpose of your visit. for more than two people or even with two if either party wasnt comfortable in bustling atmospheres, it could be suboptimal. if its just a party of two, and you were looking for something intimate (loud-room intimate, as opposed to secluded dark, quiet corner intimate) i would wholeheartedly endorse sitting at the bar and watching the tiny open kitchen. sorry if that was the most round about answer i could have given, but i didnt want you to expect quieter and get a busy, lively atmosphere.

              1. re: tex.s.toast

                On a Saturday, I agree. After 7:30ish and before 10:30ish is hustling and bustling. Sitting at the bar is a bit more personal in my opinion, but others may not agree. For sure, intimate does not describe it when busy, as the space between tables is quite far from generous. There's no loud music blaring, however, if that is a concern, merely a lot of action in a confined space.

                If you would prefer a place with a bit less of a scene and more intimacy, you may wish to look elsewhere, and possibly stop by Hungry Cat for pre or post dinner drinks.

          2. Cajun Kitchen seems to win the "Best of Santa Barbara" awards for breakfast. Funkiest place is on DelaVina Street near Mission and right across fromworld class ice-cream heaven McConnells.