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Feb 3, 2012 07:36 AM

Santa Barbara Dining Options for group dinner

i will be in santa barbara for a dinner and have been given the following restaurant options for a group of 7 people. the group is from cleveland and dallas and have varied food tastes(some of us are big foodies). Which do you suggest while trying to keep around $30-40/head? anything fabulous that is not on this list that fits the budget?

Enterprise Fish Company
225 State Street
Santa Barbara, CA

Blue Agave
20 E. Cota St.
Santa Barbara, CA

Casa Blanca
330 State St.
Santa Barbara, CA

Olio Pizzeria
11 W. Victoria St.
Santa Barbara, CA

Chuck’s Waterfront Grill
113 Harbor Way
Santa Barbara, CA

101 E. Cabrillo Blvd.
Santa Barbara, CA

1311 State St.
Santa Barbara, CA

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  1. I never put Fish Enterprise on any list of favorites. Casa Blanca still getting mixed reviews. Chuck's is great for location and food, but this is a standard chain steak house menu. FishHouse is meh. Olio is a small venue and can become pricey. Blue Agave known more for its drinks and happy hour bar menu, than for its food.

    Curious where you got this list as none really make it to the top of local favorites, but Jane is a good choice, though Opal restaurant a few doors away also ranks pretty high for a good well-priced dining choice too. There are different dining zones in town so this can make a difference in your final choice - do you want to be at the seaside, in downtown or close to some other scenic part of town?

    There is a cluster of very good restaurants in the heart of downtown between the 1000-1300 blocks of State Street. Another cluster up State Street near Las Positas, out of the tourist area but where we locals have a lot of favorites. There is the more touristed waterfront area and then some scattered around elsewhere. Will you all be staying in the same area - do you want to walk or drive?

    You might want to look at Stella Mares for a good combo of food, location and decor. We have so many choices all with different pluses and most have a wide enough range to suit a lot of tastes and price levels. Some fans here for The Chase for its well-priced food and charming setting in the heart of downtown. Anderson's Danish Bakery and Cafe has well-priced dinners in a romantic, kitschy setting downtown and nice sidewalk tables. Petit Valentin is also in a great romantic arcade setting with well-priced French bistro dinners as well.

    Help, can you give us a few more clues to work with? Here is a link to a whole variety of choices in the mid price ranges: Though it has some very odd, and very pricy inclusions here - ( price ranges must be for their appetizers?), but take a look and see what might have more universal appeal with your group and we can work from there.

    2 Replies
    1. re: glbtrtr

      thanks so much - list was provided by company paying for dinner. looking for something more fun, definitely NOT romantic or fancy. which is the best option for seafood? the more expensive list is below but this cuts the option for alcohol. what would you suggest for the list below?

      Stella Mare’s
      50 Los Patos Way
      Santa Barbara, CA

      Elements Restaurant & Bar
      129 East Anapamu St.
      Santa Barbara, CA 93101

      Rodney’s Steak House
      633 E. Cabrillo Blvd.(inside Doubletree
      )Santa Barbara, CA 93103

      Wine Cask
      813 Anacapa St.
      Santa Barbara, CA 93101

      Blush Restaurant & Lounge
      630 State Street
      Santa Barbara, CA 93101

      9 W. Victoria St.
      Santa Barbara, CA 93101

      Arch Rock Fish
      608 Anacapa St.
      Santa Barbara, CA

      )7 W. Carrillo St.
      Santa Barbara, CA

      Olio E Limone Ristorante
      11 W. Victoria St.
      Santa Barbara, CA

      1. re: salesgirl19

        I realized my use of the term "romantic" was probably not the best choice - i was meaning it in the sense of being a pretty setting, not just a cozy place for two. What day are you coming because Stella Mares has a bistro special on Tue and Sunday, including glass of wine or beer.

        I have not been to Arch Rock Fish but it seems to have caught on and popular and it does specialize in fish. Believe it or not, we don't have a consistently great fish restaurant in this town. Wine Cask, Olio et Limone and buchon are pricey. Blush is a stylish setting, but have not tried it myself. Elements is closed and Rodney's is very pricey and not very good.

        Do you have to choose from these lists? I would pick Jane's, Stella Mares or Arch Rock Fish from those on your lists, but there really are others that are more moderate that gets you a meal and drinks. Here is the list and some local review for seafood restaurants: There are some Mexican seafood places on Milpas Street that can bring you under your price limits and have beer and wine licenses too.

        Actually Mac's Fish and Chips has a great fish menu but this is way casual sit on stools sort of place, but fun menu where you get to top it off with a deep fat fried candy bar after you finish your quite delectable mushy peas.

        I love the warm seafood salad at Opal's - mouthwatering good.