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Nov 8, 2008 10:30 AM

Santa Barbara Monday Lunch

I am looking for a chow worthy preferably patio place for lunch on Monday. I know the Wine Cask used to do lunch and that is sort of what I'm looking for. Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

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  1. The Boathouse just opened up recently at the old Brown Pelican Restaurant location at Hendry's Beach. You can dine, literally, on the edge of the sand at the beach in their outdoor patio. They have the freshest and best seafood I have eaten in recent times. You will love it.

    1 Reply
    1. re: cookstr

      Thanks for this recommendation...we are all going tomorrow after a long day in Santa Barbara. I am definately looking forward to this one.

    2. If you are downtown on State Street, there is a lovely patio at the Arts and Letters Cafe across the street from the Art Museum and Library on the first block East Anapamu Street off State Street - much prettier patio than Wine Cask. And more sheltered from our recent wind today as it is an interior patio.

      Other patio dining for lunch in the same downtown area is Anderson's Bakery and Cafe for an old fashioned European setting with nice sidewalk tables under an arcade. And there are several patio cafes in the La Arcada Courtyard, best for lunch being Barcliff and Bear (now under new management) between East Anapamu and East Figueroa, again off State Street in about the 1000 block.

      My own favorite for a more casual but private patio setting is Cafe Bianco in Victoria Court off State Street and West Victoria - this more of self service than dining but quiet and special retreat from the busyness of State Street with lovely views of rooftops off the upper deck out door tables.

      If it is windy tomorrow and you decide you would rather eat inside, there is a lovely sky light garden room feeling at Stella Mares at the Bird Refuge near the ocean off Cabrillo Blvd past the SB zoo. Bucatini's on lower State Street has outdoor seating under awnings right on the street but not quite a patio in the sense of fountains and flowers. That would be Arts and Letters Cafe up State Street.

      Personally not crazy about the new management of the Wine Cask as they tore up the historic patio and cut down trees without city permission so I have stayed away from the place ever since. Never really liked it that much anyway compared to plenty of other places in town for the same prices.

      Let us know what you decide because sometimes people find places we forget about. Lots of sidewalk tables on the 1000-1200 blocks of State Street.

      8 Replies
      1. re: glbtrtr

        Okay let's get serious :). I make my way from LA to Santa Barbara at least once a week and I've yet to find a restaurant that is so memorable I can't wait to get back to it. I've tried alot of them, from recommendation to impulse drive up, and I find myself thinking to myself, "why didn't I just go get a hotdog from Costco's?". I'm sorta joking, of course, but I just haven't found a restaurant that has 'over the top' fabulous food. I'm up Friday with a few friends and can someone PLEASE tell me of a great place for lunch? We'll be in and out of museums and historical landmarks. I want great salads and soups and breads with wonderful service....the wonderful images and sounds and smells Santa Barbara is famous for. Thanks so much in advance!!

        1. re: latindancer

          You won't find a restaurant in Santa Barbara that is '"so memorable you can't wait to get back to it". We are not that kind of town. We have pleasant choices and occasional fine individual menu selections, but "over the top", no, that is not Santa Barbara. Don't ask for what we do not give, PLEASE. Why are you demanding that we be that just for you? I sense you are trying to shame us for not being up to your standards.

          Will you explain a bit more. Julia Child's thought the hot dogs at Costco were fine for her. I think IHOP Swedish pancakes are "gotta have" choices every once in a while. Enjoy.

          The only lunch choice I find myself going back to with anticipation is the Antipasto Misto at Ca Dario (East Anapamu off State) with a flan or afogato and cappucino. But even there, they stopped using their premiun and haunting olive oil and it has dropped down a few notches. But other than that I like the buzzy lunch atmosphere and it San Francisco style ambiance. And love the basket of ciabatta to soak up the rest of the garlic infused antipasto remnants after I have enjoyed each of its varied and special elements.

          1. re: glbtrtr

            Not for one moment would I ever change anything about Santa Barbara or try and 'shame it' for 'not being up to my standards'....very silly assumption, to say the least! I love the hotdogs at Costco and I'm really not one to go to a restaurant, or anywhere else for that matter, because a person of celebrity status likes it. Unfortunately I became very ill at one of those places in Santa Barbara where Julia Child reportedly loved. ..Santa Barbara is, and always will be, my home away from home. It is just confusing why a town like Santa Barbara, one of the most beautiful towns in the world, doesn't have food that reflects who it is. BTW...I'm not demanding....I'm asking...this is a place to do it not?
            I miss El Encanto and the wonderful food, including that memorable caesar salad,
            served in one of the most beautiful places in Santa Barbara....near the Mission and a lovely museum.

            1. re: latindancer

              The El Encanto won't be open again for sometime- we just this past Tuesday visited our Natural History Museum behind the Mission- the BIRD HALL is back to life and magnificient if I do say so myself!!!!!!

              Why not just go to the Stearns Wharf- hit SBShellfish and be done with it.

              1. re: JalamaMama

                Yes it's a lovely museum....I agree as natural history museums's that wonderful building, in the Spanish Revival style, that is so magnificent and, yes, the Bird Hall is spectacular.
                SBShellfish is nice. The location is pure Santa Barbara and the food is very fresh...but 'outstanding'??
                I'm still longing for The El Encanto....please please please let there be something left from the magnificent landmark, dear new owners :).

                1. re: latindancer

                  I went to the El Encanto for decades ever since I moved to Santa Barbara 30 years ago and it was just starting to change from a student flop house back into a hotel. I never had a great meal there. Never. I had studied food that was okay and a lovely setting, But the food never lived up to its setting. I still am not sure what you are looking for. No one here ever has claimed Santa Barbara is a culinary destination. We are modest in many things, but collectively pretty great. Dining at best in this town is always second rate. Just chill and enjoy the combination of price, location, ambiance, views, parking and weather.

                  The new Bird Hall at the Natural History Museum is stunning and just opened a few weeks ago. How recent was your last dining experience her, latindancer? What did you like and not like about where you dined? Have you tried the little restaurants in the San Roque section of town on mid-State Street. There again are some small, very nice and varied dining choices. Have the German lunch at Brummis, try Jade, Renauds, Via Maestra 42, - all very pleasant local lunch fare.

                  1. re: glbtrtr

                    Actually was in Santa Barbara yesterday. I usually will stay at San Ysidro Ranch and I love the food there. Will go back tomorrow and I've tried most of the restaurants in Santa Barbara. The El Encanto is a landmark and one of the wonderful things about Santa Barbara, and the reason I travel constantly to this town, is the close attention to historical architectural and cultural detail. I'm sorry you never had a wonderful dining experience at this lovely place...the outdoor dining was/will be one of the most spectacular views in Santa Barbara, and of course is surrounded by that incredible mission and the lovely little natural history museum. I'm not a big fan of german food, to say the least, so the places you mention are lost
                    on me. I will, however, try some of the places you've mentioned....thank you for them. BTW...I think Santa Barbara is, collectively, one of the most beautiful, relaxing, magical places on this earth...seriously. Now...what in the world is with all those crazy bike riders, all of a sudden, on State driving like they've had one too many cups of joe...?? :)

                    1. re: glbtrtr

                      I must mention I stop on Garden at D"Angelo's bakery every time I come to Santa Barbara for a cappucino and a salad or sandwich...sometimes breakfast if I'm there early. It's really a great find for those who haven't found it yet. The locals, along with their dogs and their children, add to the flavor of this great little find.