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Feb 18, 2009 06:36 PM

Any restaurant open late in Santa Barbara ?

We will be in Santa Barbara in about a week for a longer weekend trip which will also include a visit to the Anthony Bourdain show in the Arlington Theater on Friday. We were looking for a restaurant to eat after the show (I guess around 10:30pm). Is there anything open on a Friday at that time where you don;t get rushed because you are the last customer and they want to get you out. Palace Grill and Opal seem to be open until 11pm but I am not sure if this is a last seating or if they close at 11pm. Any other options ?

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  1. Roy's on West Carillo, near State has the late night reputation. Credible food too. That is apparently where all the chefs go to dine after their own restaurants close. Or so the story goes. A funky kind of place. Most of us locals are sleepy sorts but I hear you. Eat dinner early and go get a McConnell's icecream after the show would be my choice.

    Here is a dining guide link for those open after 10pm, not a lot to choose from but gives you an idea of what is about - Milk and Honey is close by and has a nice local following and againg Roys does stay open to midnight. And my alltime last resort favorite are the Swedish Pancakes at IHOP, just a few blocks up the street from the theater in a rather fanciful uniquely Santa Barbara setting with a huge fig tree growing in the middle of it.


    If you find something you might want to try, be sure to check with them because the economy is starting to close restaurants and shorten their hours. Like I say, those Swedish pancakes at IHOP are a consistent winner .......... I think even Anthony would approve. They really are exquisite - eggy, thin with nice little crispy edges and rich with sweet-tart ligonberry jam and whipped real butter. Yum!

    1. Hungry Cat downtown serves dinner Thursday - Saturday 5:00pm till midnight. Definitely my one of my favorite restaurants in SB. Their sister restaurant in WeHo is also wonderful. Fresh seafood, local ingredients, rocking cocktails and a fun, late night vibe.

      Roy's on Carrillo, meh IMHO, food isn't consistent and I've had horrendous late night service (translation: it's late and the kitchen/floor staff are DONE.) IHOP? Umm, no; let's just leave it at that. Enjoy your night!


      7 Replies
      1. re: sbkat

        Hungry Cat is basically the best idea. It's a block away from the arlington, serves food till midnight, and there's rarely that annoying rush to get orders done with and eaten by 12 because the bar stays open till 1. Great food, great drinks, sit at the bar if you can. Seafood restaurant, if you didn't know, so if fish is out, your only choice their is the fantastic Pug Burger, or consider other options.

        Roy's isn't all that bad, though it is a bit further away. I'd stick to HC, that's where I'll be after the show.

        And Milk and Honey is across the street from HC, it's a mod-tapas style place. Good food and ok drinks, but can be spotty service, and late night it has a very nightlife oriented scene. Open till midnight as well, and a decent choice.

        1. re: Shortsord

          If service is such an issue here, be prepared for very aggressive sales tactics at Hungry Cat and often surly on top of that. Best to sit at the bar and hope they don't annoy you there. Otherwise if you just stick to what you want, you might get out of there without getting skinned. Pug Burger is worth it, almost. And it is not just having a bad night, this aggressive selling up surly service is built into the Hungry Cat experience since the day it opened. Read the local reviews, they can be scathing about the place. <sbdining>

          Don't knock IHOP until you are out in the hinterlands and need sustenance. And no one makes better Swedish pancakes. I dare you to try and find the competition. End of discussion.

          1. re: Shortsord

            Somehow Milk and Honey has slipped underneath my SB chowdar. Being always intrigued by the tapas style endeavors, what do you recommend? TIA



            1. re: PolarBear

              I had some good selections at their sister restaurant up on the Mesa. The chorizo stuffed mushrooms were delicious. Can't remember the others but they were all nicely flavored - plate wiping good. Nice selection of ports. Have not been to Milk and Honey but it seems to have a very loyal following without much fanfare in its opening. I assume it is the same crowd from their original restaurant who are following them now downtown. Little bites and little plates do have a way of adding up.

              1. re: PolarBear

                In my experience Milk and Honey is better than the sister Alcazar, where we have found mediocre food and service several times. Milk and Honey is very loud and trendy in comparison, but the drinks are better and the food, even when the dish is the same as at Alcazar, has been better done. That said, the food is good, not great. Latest nice dishes I've had there have been the Nutty Goat, Por-Que, Ceviche scallops, and the Chorizo plate.

                I have to say, re: Hungry Cat service, that, while there are many reviews about service problems there, there are also many without any problems, and I am one of those, having dined there on numerous occasions and never encountered any nearly pushy service. Judging from some reviews, I wouldn't say bad service never happens there, but I would also not expect it now walk in with poor service on your mind. Many wonderful times there I've had, with many charming bartenders. And of course, really great food.

                Also glbtrtr, for swedish pancakes, Ellen's danish pancake house has swedish pancakes which will kick IHOPs butt.
                I also wish I new about the port at Milk and Honey, as I was recently there. Anderson's recently impressed me with their port choices as well, at least comparatively.

                1. re: Shortsord

                  You are on, shorsord. Show me your Ellen's danish pancake house (and who the heck calls an abelskiver a "pancake" in the first place, and I'll raise you an IHOP.

                  Please, tell me where Ellen is hiding out and I will do a back to back face-off, or in this case a face-in duel ing Swedish pancakes at dawn derby. Then since I am off to Sweden in a few months, I'll have a neutral intermediary to bring to this contest too, if Swedish pancakes are even Swedish. But for sure, Danish pancakes are not pancakes. Ellen, back to your dictionary. Anon.

                  1. re: glbtrtr

                    Ellens Pancake House is in Buellton- on the corner of HWY 246 and Avenue of the Flags. Lines out the door after 7:30 am- so get yer bum there well before that on a weekend.

                    I'll leave the whose country makes batter panckaes between the 2 of you- but I'll put $10.00 on Ellens over IHOP any day.

          2. I'll second the Milk & Honey recommendation. Yes, service is sometimes spotty, but that's because it IS still a tapas bar, and they do have a late-night crowd, so they can get slammed. Try to get a seat at the bar, and it shouldn't be a problem. As for food, I love the chorizo-stuffed mushroom caps, and the tortilla espanola and the flautas yucateca are a much better deal for the money and delicious too.

            1. Another place is Blue Agave - again, sit at the bar. We've had wonderful service at a table/booth before, but we've also had TERRIBLE service, where it took 45 minutes to order, never got drink refills, and even though we'd told her that we came in for appetizers and dessert, we were finished with our appetizers for 20 minutes without seeing our server, then she dropped the bill. However, we've pretty much always enjoyed eating at the bar.

              1. We had a nice long weekend in SB and the show with Tony Bourdain was also very good. He started a little bit slow but warmed up after a few minutes and gave a good, interesting talk, even the Q&A was interesting.
                The suggestion of Hungry Cat for a late night dinner on Friday was very good: Great place with nice atmosphere, good music, decent service, very good food (only dessert was average).
                We also had one dinner at Brummis – A very nice German restaurant which opened just a half year ago. Very classic German food, e.g. rouladen, sauerbraten, different types of schnitzel, kartoffelpuffer, currywurst, spaetzle etc. Everything is made from scratch and very good. Highly recommended for classic German food.
                We had also one breakfast in Carpinteria at the Working Bee which was nothing fancy but still a nice place for a very good omlette to start the day.
                One lunch was at Superrica which was our second visit. I know that Superrica has a good reputation and the food is not bad but also by far not this outstanding as many people write in their reviews. Next we will look for better lunch options.
                One last evening we had an outstanding dinner at Bouchon. We had a great tasting menu about two years ago (and were quite surprised that the server even remembered us) and decided to try it again and we weren’t disappointed - Interesting, well executed food and very good service for an execellent price ($55 for five course, $35 for wine pairing). The wine pairing was very generous – each pairing was much more wine than you would get at most other restaurants as a regular glass. Bouchon is still our prefered place for fine dining in Santa Barbara.
                Overall a great weekend at Santa Barbara as always