3 nights each in Santa Barbara and Carmel. Dinner suggestions please and interesting coffee shops for brkfast.
This is a tall order. We would like to keep it in the reasonable range with total bills most nights including drinks and tip between $125 and $200 for 2 adults. Of course, a splurge in each location is not out of the question. We also hate driving after a bottle of wine, so we are looking for places in SB and Carmel that we can walk to as we are staying at Oceana in SB and the Cypress Inn in Carmel.
Santa Barbara Oceana: Emilios is a good choice on Cabrilo Blvd or Santa Barbara Shell fish for very casual on the Wharf - there are some local favorite restaurants at the Harbor (which is at the shore area while the Wharf sticks out into the ocean - steak house etc - fun but not anything special. Bucatini's can be very good if you want to walk a few blocks up State Street from the Oceana - do not go to Fish Enterprise Company which is closer but awful.
Breakfast can be a walk down the beach to the Cabrillo Bath House for dining on the sand or back to the Wharf or Harbor for conventional breakfasts.
However, if you want to venture out a few more blocks up State Street, Julienne is out top special dining splurge. There are also fans for buchon, Olio et Limone, Downey's and Wine Cask for more splurge places. Renaud's for exceptional croissants and bakery breakfasts. Or Anderson's Danish Bakery on with charming sidewalk tables on State Street. There is quite a selection of restaurants in the 1000-1300 blocks of State Street up around the courthouse and art museum area and the surrounding blocks - you almost can't go wrong picking any of them - but they would most likely need a car in the evening, but there are State Street shuttles that operate during the day if you don't want to walk the 10 blocks to get to this area. Pettit Valentin in the lovely La Aracada paseo is a very good choice too in this same area.
Further afield for the local choices we call out own favorites" Brummi's for German, Via Maestra 42 for italian and deli treats, and again Renaud's for breakfast, croissants and light lunches in the Loreto Plaza at State and Las Positas. Kind of a cluster of places in this "Upper State" Street area around the 3200 blocks of State Street.
Stella Mares back down by the beach (car needed) is another special place too. And we haven't even talked about some of the favorite in Montectio like Tre Lune or Mollies. So many choices, so little time but lots that are good enough, a few that are great and luckily even fewer that you would want to avoid totally. (See above)
813 Anacapa Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101
Via Maestra 42
3343 State St, Santa Barbara, CA 93105
1151 Coast Village Rd, Santa Barbara, CA 93108
50 Los Patos Way, Santa Barbara, CA 93108
On lower State st in SB, Cadiz in the 500 block is a new, very lively spot and one of the few restaurants for diners older than "twentysomething". Great Tapas, small plates and wonderful cocktails. Also really like The Hungry Cat on Chapala and Olio Pizza is a less expensive, fun spot behind the more staid Olio y Limone.
The Hungry Cat
1134 Chapala St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101