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Driving from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara

We are driving from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara and would like to know if anyone has good recommendations for lunch restaurants to stop at on the way. Any type of food is good!

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  1. Since that is a pretty short trip I would suggest driving up the coast and stopping somewhere along the way. You don't say what day of the week you'll be going, but if it's the weekend I'd be inclined to detour up to Saddle Peak Lodge for brunch.

    Saddle Peak Lodge
    419 Cold Canyon Rd., Calabasas, CA 91302

    1 Reply
    1. re: Servorg

      One other option if you do chose to drive up the coast route on the PCH is to stop in Oxnard Harbor for something completely different Brazilian food. Not the typical all you can eat meat style restaurant, but rather you can read about it here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/587113

      Moqueca Brazilian Restaurant
      3550 Harbor Blvd, Oxnard, CA 93035

    2. Forget the stop. Go straight to la super rica

      1. Just eat when you get there. Seriously. Brophy Bros. for good, fresh seafood.

        1. Well, without having any idea of what kind of food you like, at all, Brent's Deli off 23 South in Thousand Oaks is quite good.

          1. personally I'd wait until I got to Santa Barbara and go to that taco place, what is the name? oh yea, Super Rica.

            2 Replies
            1. re: laliz

              Another big vote for La Super Rica. Cash only and closed Wednesdays. Expect a line out the door. Julia Childs favorite taco stand.
              622 N Milpas St
              Santa Barbara, CA 93103

              1. re: wienermobile

                I've heard raves about La Super Rica from people in SB, but never from people in LA. Is it better than the multitude of fabulous offerings along York in Highland Park? What is better about it?

                When I'm going to SB, I like to get an early start and eat in SB, at either the Minnow Cafe or the Brewhouse on Mendocino street. Or get a late start, and eat at Malibu Seafood.

                Other than the Korean place in Oxnard harbor (with the secret room and the whole fish), or a few burrito joints in Oxnard, I can't think of much that's chow-worthy between here and there.

            2. As long as you are not travelling on a Sunday or Monday, you should try Koba Sushi. I love the sashimi lunch; it comes with miso soup, salad, rice and a generous serving of various sashimi. The people are very nice and everything is fresh.

              Koba Sushi
              2026 E Main St, Ventura, CA 93001

              1. While the food is not its main draw, the ocean side setting, palm trees and view may The Shoals Restaurant at the Cliff House Inn a bracing stop on a sunny day to soak up the tropical feeling just a short stop off the Highway 101 freeway at Las Conchitas, a few miles past Ventura. This is a sleeper spot of a stunning location sitting poolside and looking out over the water and feeling a million miles away from everything.
                http://www.cliffhouseinn.com/index.htm (Caution - music with the photos)

                1. Thanks for the recommendations everyone. We're going during the week and planning on driving up the coast. We like anything local or just really great restaurants that aren't too touristy.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: sunnysideover

                    Basically, then, your best bet is either to go somewhere in Malibu (Malibu Seafood or Neptune's Net would be my top choices) or just wait till you get to Santa Barbara, where there are so many more choices, some of them with a nice view. It's not an all-day drive to get there.

                  2. It's less than two hours from LA to Santa Barbara. We've done it in hour and a half. Just north of Santa Barbara off Turnpike is Woody's BBQ. Kinda popular with the locals. Santa Barbara is a laid back town with lots of small eateries especially in the Piccadilly Square on State Street. Relax at the end of the pier and enjoy the sun and seafood.

                    State Street Cafe
                    440 E Ortega St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: Clinton

                      Uh, oh -- some very outdated info. Picadilly Square closed down decades ago and this entire area has now been replaced with a large and inviting shopping mall that retained a nice small open air village feel anchored by Nordstrom and Macy's. Locals not too keen about Woody's BBQ any longer either but that was one of the few places to dine out back those several decades ago when we had little to offer and were primarily an early to bed meat and potatoes town other than our beloved Talk of the Town and Casa Sevilla, also now both gone but not forgotten.

                      Both Carpinteria and Old Town Ventura Main Street , off Highway 101 about 20-30 miles before you get to SB, have become local dining haunts for young chefs and an interesting array of dining varieties. But our favorite in Carpinteria well worth a visit and it is also open for lunch: Gianfranco's on Linden Avenue - one of those sleeper worthy dining destinations that liked the small town and smaller prices to get started as a very accomplished chef.

                      1. re: glbtrtr

                        Sorry, haven't been to SB in a few years but I did remember all of the places we tried especially in Piccadilly Square and State State (when it was still there). But we did try Woody's again a few months ago and yes it was not like the Woody's of the past. One thing I did notice was the price of a full rack of ribs. It was close to $20 for lunch which I thought was a lot, but we ordered it anyway. So much for nostalgia. Despite all of that, Santa Barbara is a nice place to visit. Oh, I did remember Super Rica's which I heard is still around?

                        1. re: Clinton

                          Superica is now a venerable institution that found a very good formula and has not changed much in menu or prices. I started going when it first opened and found them so special and so different from any of the other places calling themselves "Mexican" in this town way back then (30 or so years ago?). I still check in for my always excellent #15 Tocino Special and always leave very, very happy.

                          Be sure to go back when you pass through SB again - same funky little indoor outdoor place - they toned down the old hot dog stand colors but you see the same smiling face of the owner who worked his heart out for this place and whose hair now is a little grayer but still finds it incredible he got mentioned in 1000 Places to See Before you Die, under the Santa Barbara listing.

                          1. re: glbtrtr

                            You know, it's been the 70s when I first tried Superica's when they were a sidewalk stand if I remember correctly? All I remember was that it was not like regular Mexican soft tacos where the little lady made the corn tortillas by hand. I'm thinking that it was Costa Rican? Nevertheless, that salsa made me see stars! Delicious but what a surprise it gave. Used to go quite frequently since my brother still lives and has dental practices there. He was out personal tour guide to the little places in the old Piccadilly Square sampling the Cajun and Greek stalls which I remember. There was also a great family breakfast place (I'm thinking Angie's?) now closed on State Street which was very popular. Sadly, Santa Barbara has changed since then.

                            1. re: Clinton

                              I lived in Isla Vista during 1968/69/70 and still recall the exploration of the area. To this day I will still drop in to Sambo's for breakfast if I'm up that way. I love the smell of burning B of A's in the morning! ;-D>

                    2. We were in Ventura last week, and had a great breakfast at the Cajun Kitchen on Main Street. Everything was fresh and delicious, portions generous. I'd definitely go back for another breakfast or lunch. They're a small chain, there's also one in Carpenteria and somewhere else on the coast.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: judybird

                        A couple of them also in Santa Barbara - I did not know they had expanded down south too. Tasty and filling, well priced and popular.