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In Santa Barbara for 3 days & nights - BLD recs please!

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Hi Chowhounds,

My husband and I are going to Santa Barbara for a little getaway. We are staying at the Spanish Gardens, near Santa barbara and E. Carillo street.

We'd love to get some breakfast & lunch recommendations that are walking distance from the hotel. For dinner, we don't mind getting in the car and driving somewhere special.

We are chowhounds through and through - quality and interesting menu and great food out weigh ambience anytime.

Thanks for any suggestions!

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  1. Two places we just ate at for dinner. First Emilios Italian Restaurant, and Holdren's for steaks. We've been several times and they are both good

    1. I would recommend Tuttini Bake Shop for breakfast- within waking distance from your hotel. They do some nice things with eggs and prosciutto. Northstar coffee on State Street does great coffee and limited, but good, pastry as well.

      A local place for lunch that has a great atmosphere (on the patio) is The Paradise Cafe. Stick with the burger and you will be very happy. Decent salads, too.

      Perhaps not such an atmosphere place, but Silverreens opposite Paseo Nuevo on Carillo makes very tasty salads, sandwiches and pastas.

      THE classic place for a great lunch would be a bus ride or a longer walk to La Super-Rica Especial on Milpas Street. In the more workaday part of town, but fresh, handmade corn tortillas with superbly prepared grilled meats make it some of the best mexican food in town. HIGHLY recommended.

      Bucatini on lower State Street and Haley is very good: nice cracker-crust pizza and excellent pasta and very good service. The place was purchased by one of the local bazillionaires and has very high standards.

      As far as the beach area, the SB Seafood company near the end of Stearn's Wharf is very good- perhaps a little overpriced- but can get very crowded since it's so small. A local spot for the coleslaw-pilaf-grilled fish-steamed mussels kinda thing is Brophy Bros. near the harbor. Nothing "special" on the menu, but they do a great job of cooking things correctly and everything usually tastes very good. Also can get a bit crowded- arrive early, put in your name (no reservations accepted), take your beeper and go for a walk down the breakwater while waiting for your table.

      A personal favorite- the East Beach Cafe in the old Bath house on East beach (toward the Andrea Clarke bird refuge) makes a wonderful blueberry-wheat germ pancake. Get there before 9:30 and have a nice quiet meal with a spectacular view of open sea and busy dolphins. You order at the register, and their service takes over from there. Very nice owner at this often overlooked/written-off-as-touristy place.

      I've also heard great things about Olio e Limone and Cafe Buenos Aires. Dinner places, though.

      Enjoy!

      Avoid:

      Fish Enterprise Co.
      Many places on State Street- trust your instincts
      Moby Dick's
      Restaurants past the lower state overpass- nothing good until you're actually on the water.
      Most of the places that Ray-Ray loved.

      1. Beachbreak Cafe on lower State (300 block) is great for breakfast - if you want a hit of good Joe first go across the street to S.B. Roasting Company. Agree about the burger at the Paradise, best in town hands down, although a little coma-inducing for lunch. They also have an excellent, well priced wine list. Opal is always a winner for dinner, on State near the Arlington Theater. Zen Yai and Saigon In and Out on lower State (400 block) could also be good lunch choices.

        1. An easy walk for you would be my very favorite place for lunch, the Sojourner Cafe, at the corner of east Canon Perdido and Santa Barbara streets (134 E. Canon Perdido). The food is great (I recommend the dahl) and the prices are really good, too.