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3 Nights in Goleta -- Searching for Santa Babara's Three Best Restaurants

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Staying at Tthe Bacara resort at the end of the month. We will mainly hang out at the resort (besides one day of wine tasting) and looking for three top notch dining experiences for dinner. About four years ago we had dinner at Bouchon, Olio E Limone, and the Wine Cask. We had a terrible experience at the Wine Cask and will never go back.

Our finalists for this trip are the following, and we would appreciate guidance on narrowing down the selection: Bouchon, Olio E Limone, Miro (at the resort), Julienne, and Ca' Dario.

All comments are greatly appreciated. Thanks!

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Wine Cask
813 Anacapa Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101

Bouchon
9 W Victoria St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101

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    1. re: jranen

      I've only been there a few times for work so asked a guy who was familiar with the area and was from there about where to go and here is what he recommended:
      For sushi - Sakana in Montecito. I didn't go there but he said it was surprisingly good because it was in a strip mall so you might not expect such great sushi
      Plow & Angel - this was a casual restaurant that was similar to the very fine restaurant located on an estate or winery? It was dark so hard to find as it was but it was great! In fact, even tho we were at Plow & Angel - we could get in with no reservation - we had a dish from the nicer, hard to get in restaurant that I believe was upstairs? Parking was valet for both restaurants.
      Bouchon was also recommended as was Tupelo (?) for brunch.

    2. Number One is Julinenne is in a class by itself.

      WineCask has gone back to its original owners and is again doing a very nice job in a lovely setting after the disastrous change of ownership a few years back that alienated just about everyone. Wonder if you visited them during that time. They are worth giving another try if you need ideas. I think they very much have regained a worthy second tier mention again.

      Numbers two and three will be alot harder because there are plenty of good second tier restaurants but they all have a different mood, feeling, menu and price. Our other favorite place is Downey's which is more formal and traditional; not trendy by a wonderful reminder of what fine dining and service can be in this town. If you are looking for quiet, casual elegance this is your place.

      Some of our local favorites for casual but care are Jade, Stella Mares, Brummis, Cold Springs Tavern, Fan, Ca' Dario, Hungry Cat if you hit a good night, La SuperRica Taquiriera, SBCC Culinary Arts Program Gourmet Dining Room (Thurs- Fri evenings only) Tre Lune, Crocodile, Arigato, and then lots of places where we have a favorite menu item while maybe not having the best over all menus.

      For more info but not the most reliable reviews: http://www.santabarbara.com/dining/

      1. You may laugh at this one, but there is a little fish place called Nikka, next to Cold Stone on Calle Real. It has excellent food and is very affordable. You go in and order your meal and sit .....the food, especially salads and fish, cannot be fresher.

        3 Replies
        1. re: afree

          When you are local you learn there are lots of "best" restaurants, or best items at many different indifferent restaurants but they never jump to the top of anyone's big time list. Thanks for the tip.

          1. re: afree

            I wonder if they serve Nikka Whisky from Japan?

            1. re: Tripeler

              Looks like you are in good company at Nikkas …. shhhhhh! Sounds like a hit. Thanks again for the tip.

              http://www.santabarbara.com/dining/re...

              Nikka's website but warned this shows only part of what they offer: http://www.nikkafmgrill.com