HOME > Chowhound > California >

Discussion

Santa Barbara lunch

  • 6

BF is extending a business trip an extra day so we can spend some time together. Dinner is already planned, but lunch is still open. We're staying at the Fess Parker, and will not have a car. He doesn't eat seafood or anything too "ethnic," however, so anything that steers clear of that (or has options other than fish) would be great.

Thanks in advance!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. There are cute little shuttles that go up and down the beach front boulevard where your hotel is located and they connect to the shuttle that goes up State Street where there are wonderful dining choices.

    Kind of by if you want to take a very scenic walk from the hotel past the Bird Refuge and the Zoo is Stella Mares - which is very lovely, country french and a moderately priced local favorite. Also walking the other direction towards the harbor is the wharf and the harbor area which has a variety of more traditional dining with wonderful view and a little bit further is Emilios which is very nice for Northern Italian in a lovely rustic bistro setting, but I am not sure Emilios is open for lunch. I would make Stella Mares my first choice if you want to take this walk as they are open for lunch for sure, but can't tell you how long the walk might be - maybe 15-20 minutes? But it is a wonderful part of this town and has an off road pedestrian bike way all the way out to the restaurant from where you hotel is.

    So if you want to walk a bit or take the shuttles you have some good choices.

    -----
    Stella Mare's
    50 Los Patos Way, Santa Barbara, CA 93108

    5 Replies
    1. re: glbtrtr

      To follow up here because I was just at a large luncheon at Fess Parker today and their banquet food was actually very good, so just staying at the hotel for lunch is an option. I tested how long to get to Stella Mares and it is 1.3 miles so that is a bit of a stretch to walk for a lunch break, but is still a wonderful choice.

      Much closer is the East Beach Grill right on the beach and it is about a quarter mile away from the hotel - nothing great for food, but a terrific patio spot in the old Cabrillo Bath House. http://www.santabarbara.com/dining/re...

      Here is a map link that shows the East Beach Grill and if you move down East Cabrillo Blvd to the left you will see the Fess Parker Hotel with the big circular patio so you can tell how far you will have to walk to get to this beachside restaurant from the hotel: http://www.menuclub.com/californiares...

      Not sure if there is a place to eat at the zoo which is also close by but I think there is but it would require admission to the zoo, which is worth but probably not for just a lunch break. You are kind of a culinary waste land for close by restaurants down there.

      One other option is to get some great picnic supplies at Tri Counties Produce right across the street from the hotel on Milpas Street and find a spot on the beach or in the nearby parks and enjoy just being outdoors for lunch if it is that kind of day. Tri Counties Produce has a lot of gourmet deli-items and prepared sandwiches - a local favorite.

      -----
      Stella Mare's
      50 Los Patos Way, Santa Barbara, CA 93108

      East Beach Grill
      1118 E Cabrillo Blvd, Santa Barbara, CA 93103

      1. re: glbtrtr

        Stella Mare's looks lovely, and a beach picnic does not sound bad at all. I also just realized that cabs will be expensed, so I'm sure that that opens up a lot more. Briefly looking at Yelp, Opal looks interesting, and a short cab ride away. We'd like to enjoy a nice a lunch and spend some time walking around/people watch for a bit before dinner. Dinner will be at the Palace Grill, as there is some pork chop special there my boyfriend has been telling me about for years now haha.

        -----
        The Palace Grill
        8 E Cota St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101

        Stella Mare's
        50 Los Patos Way, Santa Barbara, CA 93108

        1. re: meleyna

          Opal is good and that puts you right in the hear of lots of other restaurants in our Ground Zero 1100-1300 blocks of State Street - very lively place with locals both lunch and dinner.

          And if you taxi up to this area and want just a light lunch, Reynaud's tiny but superb French Bakery has delicious items and is across the street from Opal. If you can grab a table there, that too would be an excellent choice. And if you can't , then pop in across the street for Opal.

          However, since you might be up in this area my favorite lunch spot is Ca Dario and I just order their antipasto assortiti which is a full plate of sublime cold appetizer assortments that makes a full meal (one for each of you) and is served with our delicious local ciabatta bread for sopping up all the delicious, lingering marinade. There are plenty of other excellent Northern Italian items if you want something heartier but since you are earting well later on in the evening, this would be a way to keep things on the light side just with the antipasto and maybe a delicious Italian dessert which is a specialty there too.

          So back to what is closer for you, Stella Mares is more elegant, but still quite casual and more a lovely destination place than Opals which is more a casual elegant bistro feeling. But both are excellent lunch places dear to the hearts of many Santa Barbarans. Opal a bit livelier and no view; Stella Mares quieter but wonderful setting.

          With a taxi you might like to go to Tre Lune in Montecito on Coast Village Road , which is just up the road a bit from Stella Mares and the Bird Refuge. It is also nicely casual and great people watching place for the Montecito lunch set.

          The Palace will be a very lively spot so if you want to balance things a bit, then the quieter more serene Stella Mares again would be a better choice down your way, but if it was me and was going to be going out of my way by taxi, the antipasto plate at Ca Dario's wins me over every time.

          -----
          Tre Lune
          1151 Coast Village Rd, Santa Barbara, CA 93108

          Stella Mare's
          50 Los Patos Way, Santa Barbara, CA 93108

          1. re: glbtrtr

            All of these options sound great--I think it will ultimately come down to what we are feeling like at the moment. Thanks for the help--I'll follow up when we get back!

            1. re: meleyna

              This is a good option because they are few (in fact no) really bad places to avoid and many that fit very nicely for any number of reasons. Time, mood, weather and whim will serve you just fine. The food will be fine and the location may be more than enough to make up for what the food does not deliver and just taking a random hit anywhere in this small town will deliver at least something interesting on the menu worth trying.

              If you had time to do a dedicated dining experience I think we could give you a list of priority places but trying to fit a few meals into a conference schedule while in a relatively remote location to most of the restaurant zones, I think either stay at the hotel or just pop in across the street to the East beach Grill for some food and a view.

              Please do come back with your final report because this will help us answer those facing this same choice.