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Jul 30, 2010 09:01 PM

Santa Barbara kids birthday restaurant?

Hi everyone -- We are driving down from the Bay Area to spend my daughter's 6th birthday with family in the Santa Barbara/Goleta area. She'd like to go out to a restaurant for her special day so I'm wondering if there's a place that's kid friendly but still has decent food for adults and that would sing her happy birthday -- especially a rousing, embarrassing, full-restaurant singalong thing. She's a very adventurous eater, but her 4-year-old brother will be along too, and he's less adventurous and more squirmy. Thoughts? And thanks in advance!

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  1. Moby Dick's restaurant on Sterns Wharf might be good and is a special place for kids activities and adults too to walk around and watch the pelicans and maybe too young for the Warner Sea Center but they have touching basins and are geared for kids interaction. You can drive and park on the wharf and just walk around and look at the views of the city too. Plus there is a great playground at the beach across the street at Chase Palm Park with play equipment, ponds, paths and one gorgeous, old fashion merry-go-round.

    This restaurant is not recommended for its food, but for its location and family friendly attitude. There will be simple things on the menu and I would stick with them (like a tuna melt, etc) and call in advance to see what can be arranged for a birthday dessert. Adult beverages available.

    Moby Dick Restaurant
    220 Stearns Wharf, Santa Barbara, CA 93101

    1 Reply
    1. re: glbtrtr

      in Goleta, there is Luigis Pizza on Calle Real. Good pizza and a dedicated game room full of fun arcade games.

    2. Thanks for the recs. Are there any spots you can think of that make a big deal of birthdays? In the Bay Area we have Fentons, which is an ice cream parlour that also serves diner-style food and they get the whole restaurant to sing along when it's someone's birthday. I'd love to find a place like that (that's not a chain -- like I know Chevy's does the birthday thing with a sombrero...). I appreciate any advice.

      3 Replies
      1. re: hungryoak

        Not sure there are many family types on Chowhound for SB. You might try "Yelp" for your question as they seem to be a younger crowd. I know what you mean, but I don't know of any place that creates this sort of buzz for kids. They might exist, but I stick to more adult only places. ChuckyCheese in Ventura would be the only place. SB is more for tourists than family affairs though the State Street bars can get noisy but this is certainly not what you are looking for. Do kids that young really notice or care about the level of fuss? Some place in Goleta might be better than Santa Barbara. I'll keep asking around.

        1. re: glbtrtr

          The local dining website claimed The Outback and Woodys BBQ, both in Goleta were raucous, kid friendly places. Those might work. Outback is a chain and Woody's is local. Local reviews are much better for The Outback, than for Woody's.

          1. re: glbtrtr

            isn't there a ice cream parlour across from Luigis- a McConnels- or a Swensens?

      2. Thanks again. I think we're going to go for Los Arroyos Mexican or Carlitos Cafe and Cantina. Then maybe McConnells for dessert (thanks for mentioning!). And I can assure you that a 6 year old very much enjoys a fuss being made over her birthday :)

        15 W Curtis St, Salinas, CA 93906

        Los Arroyos Mexican Restaurant
        14 W Figueroa St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101

        2 Replies
        1. re: hungryoak

          Recently had the ceviche appetizer at Carlitos; very tasty and large enough for a dinner serving. McConnels only has larger tables outside and a few small cramped tables inside. Don't think there will be singing by the staff there but Los Arroyos is a casual family friendly place - more self-serve, while Carlitos has full table service.

          1. re: hungryoak

            I think you have the wrong address for Carlito's-the one you showed is up in the Bay Area.
            this is the one you want in Santa Barbara & yes, they have mariachi's-call ahead to make sure & tell them it's her B Day.
            Good for kids & grownups-outdoor fountain & Lovely patio.

            Carlitos Cafe and Cantina

            1324 State Street
            Santa Barbara, CA 93101
            (805) 962-7117