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Need romantic restaurant near the Arlington Theatre in Santa Barbara

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I'm taking my wife out to see Robin Williams at the Arlington Theatre tomorrow night. It's a surprise Valentine's day thing. Lunch in Ojai, evening in Santa Barbara. I need to make up for the birthday date, which was a bit of a bust, so I want this day to be super special. Looking for romantic restaurant recs within walking distance from the Arlington Theatre. Does not need to be expensive, to be romantic, but I'm open to anything. Thanks! (I'm open to thoughts on Ojai lunch too .)

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  1. I just posted on another SB question, with a rec for The Chase on State Street. Tiny white lights- thousands of them, good cocktails- wine, pastas and italian type food. You can walk to the Arlington- which is N of the restaurant by 1-3 blocks- short walk. Carlitos is across the street- good expensive mexican food. Jane is new and N of the Arlington- Downeys and Opal too. I am rooting for The Chase-- but hear Jane is really good- run by the folks who run the restaurant at Montecito Inn- which has a ver loayl following...Have a blast!

    1. Downey's right next door is a more formal, traditional place to dine. It is one of my favorites. I can second Opals and the usual slew right around the Arlington, each with a totally different theme and feeling. Cafe Buenos Aires is very lovely if the evening is the kind you want for outdoor dining (heat lamps). Don't know if Arts and Letters Cafe is open in the evening, in a lovely interior courtyard right off State Street on East Anapamu, across from the Art Museum and Library and you will walk past it if you park at the Granada Garage which is close to the Arlington.

      A romantic sleeper setting is Louie's the Hotel Upham, an historic Victorian Hotel with a weeping outdoor verandah and indoor restaurant on West Sola, a block from State Street and close to the Arlington behind it. This place feels like you are in someone's grand old home. Food is tasty and creative. Well-priced for the area. http://www.uphamhotel.com/

      Chef Karim in Victoria Square a block from the Arlington has a very romantic, exotic setting for full menu Middle Eastern, but it may take longer than a pre-show dinner.

      Check out some of these places mentioned on "Santa Barbara Dining" for links and pictures. Enjoy. When there is a well-attended theater event at the Arlington, it can be hard to get seated so you might want to make reservations.

      1. 2 Blocks south on State, Petit Valentien is a nice casual but elegant french restaurant. Very good food, friendly service, and a small but good and very by-the-glass friendly wine list. Right around the corner is Olio E Limone, a nice italian restaurant, good food and good wine list, a bit less casual(still Santa Barbara) and a bit more romantic. Opal next door is also a worthwhile option, though I'm less of a fan.

        Have a wonderful date.

        1. Thank you all, we ended up at Buchon. Expensive ye, but I have to say the food was pretty amazing. Notably the purple carrot soup with goat cheese stuffed asparagus tempura. Incredible.
          Cheers!

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          1. re: deggyphoto1

            Walked past the Arlington last night and saw the marquee for Williams and thought about where you were - thanks for your report and certainly a good choice on all counts.