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LAX to Santa Barbara recommendations

Hello all.....my gf & I will be taking our first trip out to California and are looking for some lunch recommendations for our drive up to Santa Barbara from LAX. We are planning on taking the coast road unless you guys know of a better or more scenic route. Also, we are not looking to spend alot...say $40 and under combined. Most any type of cuisine is ok...tho, personally, I would like to avoid sushi (don't tell her that please!)

Our flight gets in around 9:30am July 29th and most people tell me it will take 2 to 2.5 hours to reach SB....technically lunch could be in SB, but I have a feeling I will be starving before that.

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  1. it will depend on where you are and what you're in the mood for at the time. sorry, i know that's not very helpful, but it's true!

    there are tons of places in Marina del Rey, Venice Beach, Santa Monica and Malibu, all of which you'll pass through during the first part of the drive...so you could definitely stop for breakfast or brunch early in the trip.

    it will probably be most informative & give you a good start to use the "search" function to pull up some of the threads about breakfast & lunch places in the towns i mentioned.

    1 Reply
    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

      thanks GHG.....will try those searches now

    2. You might be interested in this review of a place up in Oxnard (about an hour or so North of LAX) that serves a type of Brazilian food called Moqueca that is not widely found in the LA area. While we have not been to try this place out as of yet this review should give you a very good feeling for what it might offer you and your gf for an interesting and probably delicious lunch: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/587113


      1. I live in Pasadena, but if I were in your shoes, I would bring some snacks with me to tide me over till I reach La Super Rica in Santa Barbara. Two years back I wrote:

        Lunch at La Super Rica, Santa Barbara - even though we arrived at 1:30pm on a Monday, it was crowded with a long line. I told my wife and daughter, who were there the first time, that the wait was worth it. They saw the patiently waiting crowd and were convinced. Just when we were about to order, the electricity went out, and we were wondering if they would have to stop serving. Luckily, it came right back and there was a collective sigh of relief.
        We ordered the La Super Rica Special (#16) for my wife - this was the best dish. Great chunks of grilled pork with melted cheese on 2 soft tacos. I ordered the chorizo special (#14) which had chunks of chorizo in a gooey melt of cheese, served in a bowl, with soft tacos on the side in aluminum foil. The chorizo special was good, but the cheese was slightly overwhelming. If I redid the recipe, I would try and serve it open face on the tacos. Our daughter ordered the chorizo tacos (#6) which was perhaps what I should have ordered. Pan fried chorizo on soft tacos, minus the cheese, to be adjusted with their salsas to taste. She loved it. We also ordered the rajas (#4) which was a superb combination of grilled pasilla chiles with cheese, slight sweet in taste, perhaps from the chiles, or perhaps from some added sweet flavor. This we shared. As also a chilaquiles special of the day - nacho chips smothered in their homemade slight sweet tomatoey sauce and melted cheese. The tomato sauce was very flavorful, though slightly sweet.

        I used to be a frequent customer at Las Ruinas in Pasadena, which I loved, and which many compared to LSR. But for all of Las Ruinas' glory, to my personal taste, nothing comes close to the salsas at LSR. The salsa verde has a unique flavor from roasted coriander seeds - you get this clean flavor in abundance. Their red salsa has a great garlic hit, which makes this also quite different than anything I have had at other Mexican taco places (albeit limited to Los Tacos, Tonny's, La Estrella in Pasadena and the Baja Fresh and Chipotle chains). Their tomato salsa is also quite spicy - very much to our taste of heat. Overall, I would say this was the best value meal we had on our trip.

        La Super Rica
        622 N Milpas St, Santa Barbara, CA 93103

        1 Reply
        1. re: suvro

          Thanks Suvro....La Super Rica is on my shortlist of places to try while we are in SB...interested to see how the Cali taquerias compare to my Houston ones

        2. Folks, please keep in mind that Santa Barbara County is handled on our California board.

          Please keep your responses specific to L.A. and Ventura Counties for this thread, both of which are on topic for the L.A. region board.

          HTownCowboy, you may want to scan / search through the CA board for recent Santa Barbara recommendations, or feel free to start a new topic over there.

          1. Stop and have lunch at the paradise cove beach cafe in malibu. the food is pretty ordinary, if that, but the setting is ideal. it is one of the nicest spots for a restaurant in all of LA.

            given your price range, this is the spot.

            1 Reply
            1. re: JE33

              two other thoughts:

              - Back on the Beach in Santa Monica, where you sit at a table on the sand. they serve breakfast & lunch..
              - Patrick's Roadhouse for breakfast. it gets raves, and was featured on Diners, Drive-ins & Dives on the Food Network...

            2. if you can wait until SB, I'd suggest something that won't blow away most foodies but it's good fresh seafood and healthy portions; view of marina - Brophy Bros on the marina in SB. It's on the scenic road (not sure the name but everyone knows the place) - pre

              if you're driving up, and in malibu, there's sunset restaurant at zuma beach. Brunch is decent and it's got a killer view being right on beach... Decent drinks - average service but not a bad experience - romantic vibe with the view

              if you up the drinks, it'll go beyond $40 but otherwise, it'll be close to that

              there are decent brunch places in malibu....

              1. First note: definitely take the coast (from LAX take Lincoln north, then onto the 10 East), as far as Hwy 1 takes you, which is just south of Oxnard, where you are forced onto the 101.

                Lunch in Malibu. It's about 40 minutes from LAX, sometimes less, and there are so many great options.

                I would go to the Malibu Country Mart and eat at John's Garden - there's no better introduction to California lifestyle than lunch outside at the Malibu Country Mart with a quintessential California sandwich, like Turkey with Avocado on Wheat. If sandwiches aren't your thing, then you have 4 other options right there, from Tra di Noi and italian, to the hot dog stand, to Howdy's mexican (they have great burritos). Lunch at the Mart will be about $12/person or less.

                Another option is to stop at Duke's in Malibu and get a burger at the Barefoot Bar, overlooking the ocean.

                2 Replies
                1. re: yogachik

                  Don't you mean the 10 WEST?
                  Mi Fiesta Market in Carpinteria on Carpinteria Ave is a fantastic hole-in-wall favorite of all the locals.

                  1. re: yogachik

                    sorry, 10 WEST. my bad. Take the 10 west which then turns into Pacific Coast Highway.

                  2. I love the alaskan king crab legs and corn on the cob at Neptune's Net at the countyline between LA and Ventura. Grab a beer and watch the surfers and choppers. Lively scene.

                    1. Sal's Mexican Inn on Hwy 1 in Oxnard is a great family run old time L.A. style Mexican restaurant. IMO it is miles and miles better than Super Rica in SB.

                      1. First of all, you can't really drive from LA to SB on the "coast road." When you get past Point Mugu, the road is no longer really on the coast (though the coast is not very far away). I would advise that you turn off the coast road in Camarillo and head inland the few miles to hwy 101. Get on the freeway headed north, go through Oxnard, and get off the freeway at California St. in Ventura. Turn right, go a few blocks to Main St., and turn left. A few blocks down Main St., on the left (seaward) side of the street and cattycorner across from the mission, is a terrific restaurant called Maria Bonita, which serves riffs on regional Mexican cooking. It is a very nice room, the food is excellent, and it's easily within your price range. Then after lunch get back on the freeway, which very soon thereafter goes back down to being right along the coast and will roll you into SB maybe 35 minutes later.