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fun restaurants in Santa Barbara for girls weekend (30 something girls!)

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6 of my girlfriends and I are going to Santa Barbara for a weekend away. We're 30 something professionals - some who are on a budget, some who are not.

We're looking for 1 night at a fun, reasonably priced restaurant (maybe tapas? we like everything!) - possibly with a good bar scene, and then a more "special occasion" second night out... but not looking for a stuffy ambiance -- want delicious (foodie) food, coupled with a lively/celebratory environment. Maybe seafood or sushi that night?

Water views or on/off state st would be great!!

We're staying in Montecito, so any recommendations on delicious breakfast, lunch places out that way are also recommended. (coast village hwy?)

Thanks Hounds for the help!!!

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  1. While I wouldn't eat there (unless you rob a bank prior to your visit) Luck's has a pretty lively bar (good people watching, ditto for plastic surgery watching). Maybe dinner at Montecito Cafe (the also have a nice, limited menu in their small but welcoming bar) and drinks at Lucky's.

    We love Brewhouse, on Montecito street...very casual, great beer, great HH every day 4-6:00 and surprisingly good food, and live music at night. If you want super casual, great value, and lots of locals this could be a good spot. Crowd may be a little young for your group at night...large patio, they open at 11:00am. and serve all day.

    Paradise Cafe has good food (not necessarily chow-ish) and the best burger in town, IMHO. Lively bar. Always dependable. Great wine list too.

    Sakana in Montecito has very good sushi/crudo but not necessarily lively. There is a new Sushi place, Sushi 7, in Montecito, opened by the former owner of a very popular sushi/japanese restaurant. haven't heard how it is yet.A rigato is downtown, a local sushi favorite, and always busy, though I have not been there in a while.

    Opal is fun, very good food, but no bar scene. Nice variety on the menu, always excellent. Again, you could have dinner there and walk down State for drinks.

    Elements might be good for your nice dinner, then walk to State for the bars.

    Breakfast - Jeanine's bakery has a number of locations, including one in Montecito. Very popular.

    1 Reply
    1. re: sbgirl

      thankls for such a detailed response! much appreciated. Got me totally excited about going.

    2. Second on the recommendations for Montecito Cafe and The Brew House for good casual fare. Cava in Montecito has always been a good lunch spot, although I haven't been there recently.

      For a water view and seafood, try Brophy Brothers or Santa Barbara Shellfish Company. The food isn't as top-notch as some of the downtown joints, but the atmosphere is good and the setting is great.

      Opal, Bouchon, or Ca Dario would be good choices for a nice dinner that won't destroy budgets. Not much in the way of views at any of them, but they're all right on or near State downtown, and you can always grab cocktails on the beach beforehand :)