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Jun 8, 2011 11:25 AM

Santa Barbara weekend trip

My husband and I will be headed to Santa Barbara from LA next weekend to celebrate our anniversary.
I've done some research on the board and would appreciate some must-have recommendations for the short time we'll be there (Fri-Sun) and also some help making up our minds below!
Also any great spots we can hit driving from LA en route to SB would be great.

Anniversary dinner:
Julienne or Stonehouse at San Ysidro Ranch?

Brophy Bros, Arch Rock Fish, or SB Shellfish Factory?

If we're only going to try one, Olio e Limone, Olio Pizzeria, Ca' Dario, or Sage & Onion?

Also, looking for a specialty food shop where we could pick up some items to picnic at a winery - suggestions?

We've been to Stella Mare's in the past for brunch and have already visited Bouchon in LA so we won't be doing those again.
We'll also probably go to La Super Rica again.

La Super Rica
622 N Milpas St, Santa Barbara, CA 93103

9 W Victoria St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101

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

Brophy Bros
Breakwatr, Santa Barbara, CA 93101

Stonehouse Restaurant
107 Sacramento St, Nevada City, CA 95959

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  1. It's been a while but recall a rock shrimp scallop spinach salad w/creamy lemon basil, couple of decent sandwiches and wine btg, plus the view is unbeatable.

    Cliff House in Mussel Shoals
    6602 W. PCH (half way btw SB & Ventura)

    1. Stonehouse is more romantic if that is what you are going for.
      For seafood Brophy Bros is very casual, great food but loud, crowded, etc. If you are looking for a fun vibe, busy place it's Brophys. Arch Rock Fish is more upscale. SB Shellfish Factory is more of a tourist hangout. I would go with Arch Rock Fish or Brophy Bros.
      Ca'Dario would be my choice for Italian.
      For a food shop don't miss C'est Cheese.
      Also in SB you might try the Wine Cask Bistro for a light lunch or dinner with a great glass of wine. Doug Margerum, owner and winemaker, makes some great wines! He has a tasting room next door and there is a newly opened Au Bon Climat Tasting room adjacent that you should not miss.

      Wine Cask
      813 Anacapa Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101

      Brophy Bros
      Breakwatr, Santa Barbara, CA 93101

      Stonehouse Restaurant
      107 Sacramento St, Nevada City, CA 95959

      1. Sage and Onion is no longer there, but became Seagrass a number of years ago out of the buchon parentage- did not quite live up to its potential as an upscale primarily sea food place but is back to getting some very nice reviews now under new management - worth a try and love to get your report back . It is a charming, tranquil setting and has some good bones to it.

        Definitely Julienne over San Ysidro, but if you want more formality for your anniversary San Ysidro would do it, and also you might want to consider Downey's which we like a lot for our own special occasion nights out downtown.

        I love Ca Dario for lunch but not as crazy for its dinner options - one other unconventional Italian to consider is Via Maestra 42 in the San Roque area which is an exceptional Italian deli during the day and has small dining tables at night for their brands of Italian classics. There are out of this world croissants to also explore at Renauds in this same area of Upper State Street. And for just some great good eating we also like Jade (California fusion) and Brummi's (German) in the same area.

        if you don't mind the 20 minute drive from SB, Giannfranco's in Carpinteria is Italian with a haunting Sicilian twist to his flavor combos - a new, young chef's restaurant that always impresses us when we visit.

        Yes, going back over and over and over to La Superica for my own favorite #15 Tocino Special remains on my own local must do list too.

        Looking forward to your dining report because it looks like you enjoy careful planning and it is always good to get out of town feedback as well a new looks at our own backyard.

        Via Maestra 42
        3343 State St, Santa Barbara, CA 93105

        Seagrass Restaurant
        30 E. Ortega St., Santa Barbara, CA 93101

        2 Replies
        1. re: glbtrtr

          This is great feedback - thanks everyone!

          I'm more concerned with food than atmosphere as long as it's not too casual, and the Julienne menu looks more interesting than SYR, so that'll probably decide it.

          Also any recommended itineraries for a winery hop?
          We'll maybe try to split tastings to try more places before getting too tipsy.
          Thanks again.

          1. re: TracyS

            There are wine tasting rooms right in Santa Barbara, but if you want a country drive and the Santa Ynez Valley or Santa Rita Hills wine country is very pretty southern California landscape there are many to choose. Our own favorite is the furtherest one out there so we always do this as much for the drive as for the wine: Rancho Siquoc. Some local tips about the Wine Routes:

            But closer in Wine Ghetto which is an industrial park location outside of Lompoc has its growing number of fans too.

            You might want to explore both wine and chocolates and even a lovely French bistro lunch at Petit Valentin just staying with our own lovely La Arcada complex of shops and cafes in downtown Santa Barbara next to the Art Museum, Library and Courthouse - our Historic Arts District of State Street, north of Carrillo so you only have to walk after you sample some of the fine wares available here.

            Or explore El Paseo (south of Carrillo) a few blocks down State Street heading towards the ocean direction from La Aracada and the Wine Cask offerings. Some lovely blocks to explore on State Street between these two locations.

        2. Julienne, hands down. We had a terrific dinner there Thursday night, and the service is very good to boot. The young couple who own Julienne really know what they are doing. I appreciate that the menu changes every couple of days, too.
          For your picnic you might want to try Lazy Acres Market, in the part of town called The Mesa. Great cheeses and deli selections, also sushi and by the seafood counter a seafood bar with killer ahi poke salad. C'est Cheese is another good call. They make sandwiches that I have not tried but look amazing, and are conveniently in the same block at a long time local bakery.
          I know you said you have been to Stella Mare's but if you like mussels you may want to give them another try. I have ordered them the last 2 times we've gone and was in heaven.
          Like glbtrtr, I also have heard great things about the new owners and chef at Seagrass, formerly Sage & Onion. Their menu looks interesting and may be a good choice for your seafood fix.
          Petit Valentien is a gem of a place, run by Chef Robert who is a character who knows his stuff. We like to sit and eat at the bar. His wine list is very interesting and ridiculously affordable - last visit had a Jaffurs Viognier for what I recall waw a mere $30/bottle. No web site that I can find.

          En route you could stop in Carpintera and go to Corktree Cellars or Gianfrancos. I have only had lunch at the latter but they get rave reviews. I have been to Ca Dario only once and although the food was wonderful the service was not, and once is all it takes for me.

          You may want to poke around at this site for local restaurant news and reviews:

          Lazy Acres Market
          302 Meigs Rd, Santa Barbara, CA 93109

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

          Corktree Cellars
          910 Linden Ave, Carpinteria, CA 93013

          Seagrass Restaurant
          30 E. Ortega St., Santa Barbara, CA 93101

          2 Replies
          1. re: sbgirl

            Great to get your report and feedback on some of our own local favorites. Glad to know we are heading people in the right directions.

            Will you tell us more about your dining choices at both Julienne in Santa Barbara and Gianfrancos in Carpinteria? TIA.

            Plus I will make a pitch for Via Maestra 42 deli plus cafe in the Upper State Street San Roque area for take out picnic items. Gawd, I love their "Modena" sandwich - simple ingredients but a most flavorful combination. Not cheap, but worth saving up for a special meal. Via Maestra 42 menu:

            1. re: glbtrtr

              Julienne I had the foie gras torchon with cherry compote, the special asparagus soup (and it was indeed special) and for my main I had the charcuterie plate (I can't help myself). Hubby had the special cured salmon, frisee salad and the pork belly w/favas, spring onions in a vietnamese vinaigrette (subtly but good). We shared the ginger ice cream. It was a birthday dinner so we went a little wild.
              For anyone reading who is unfamiliar with Julienne, they make all their oown charcuterie, cured fish and ice creams/sorbets on nitro.
              I had the chopped salad at Gianfrancos, yummy but a little on the small side.
              Have not eaten at Via Maestra but being Italian by marriage I must!

          2. If I might piggyback on this thread. We are planning a similar trip soon but will able to splurge only a couple of times. For in between, can anyone recommend chow-worthy spots in the area (we're also planning side trips to Solvang and Ojai) for tourists on a budget? Mom-and-pops and/or holes in the wall and seafood joints preferred. Thanks.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Cubancoffee

              We like Boccali's in Ojai - as much for the funky small time place feel of it as for the food with is nicely adequate and a real hit when it is strawberry short-cake time because they actually make it with a fresh, old fashion short-cake and not the packaged sponge cakes. It is the peak of strawberry time right now. If you can get some Ojai citrus fruit like their grapefruit and tangerines, you will have a real treat - this is citrus growing country.

              You also may want to make the drive over the hills to Santa Paula to the real Citrus Capitol of the World because there are some nice spots in this very old time town as well: Hozy's is truly unique and stylish for this town, the airport restaurant is American classic good, and a nice array of Mexican family places is scattered around the town.

              The walk-up window for abelschievers on the main shopping street in Solvang is certainly a must try snack. (I am Danish heritage and these are made from a mix and not from scratch and don't have the steamed apple slice in the middle so they don't even come close to authentic, but I still have them because they are sweet and fun and a bit nostalgic for me. Plus I don't have to get out my own abelschiever pan and flip and roll them myself.

              Boccali's Restaurant
              3277 E Ojai Ave, Ojai, CA 93023