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Dec 4, 2013 11:23 AM

Dining Room at El Encanto [Santa Barbara]

I have reservations for dinner on the terrace next Tuesday for my wife's birthday, and was looking for any recommendations on the menu, and also for a dress code for the restaurant. Would we feel out of place in nice jeans?

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  1. Assuming this is the El Encanto Hotel in Santa Barbara, right now (12/4/13) we are having freeze warnings so even with heat lamps on the deck it would be very chilly if they are even serving out there now. But weather changes greatly so by next week it could be different. I would dress warmly and personally more than "nice jeans", unless they have a very dressy blouse, accessories and jacket. But today it is hard to know what passes for a dress code.

    It was an expensive make-over and intended to be an overall boutique special experience, yet they also went somewhat asian minimalist from what I have heard too.

    Main thing is they priced themselves well out of the local market so few of us can make first hand reports. Looking forward to your report, while we locals just sit with our noses pressed against the glass on the outside. (!)

    Here are some local reviews:

    5 Replies
    1. re: glbtrtr

      Thanks, I apprectiate the info. I'm a local now for about 6 months now too.

      I didn't thinkg the prices looked that bad in comparison to Bouchon and Scarlett Begonia dinners, if anything they were a tad higher for a few items. But I agree after waking up this cold morning that it might be better to wait until it warms up a bit.

      That being said I need to pick another place to eat. I went to Juliene in June and had a decent meal, but given the high praise I think it just might have been an off night for them. I also haven't been to Wine Cask yet.

      Any other special occasion places you can think of I should consider?

      1. re: Corporate_40

        I am a fan of Downey's for more old school low key elegance, classic subtle execution, and high on special occasion because of their exceptional and discrete service. Still think they have the best and most appropriate desserts in town that add the finishing touch to a genteel meal; not compete with it.

        The other special occasion spot is San Ysidro Ranch but I have not been there in years - just going on other's recommendations - not always consistent but certainly special occasion setting.

        Stella Mares still has a lot to offer, but not really special occasion. As is Cold Springs Tavern, If you want to drive a bit Ballard Inn Restaurant in the Santa Ynez Valley or look at their B&B mid week packages for an overnight and dinner for something special.

        Agree, out last outing at Julienne was off its mark, and is just too darn rich when you add it all up. Though I am all for "their to die for" chicken liver toast. But my bouillabaisse was a pedantic cream based version (???) when I was hoping for something a lot closer to Marseille or even Ca Mogli on the Italian Riviera.

        So most of their cream laden dessert menu left us uninspired. Loving some of their offerings still but need to pick my way through their menu with a lot more care. I think i will still recommend Julienne, but not rave about it.

        Others getting some buzz for both food and atmosphere but I have not tried are Toma where the old Emilio's was located on Cabrillo and Lark in the Funk Zone.

      2. re: glbtrtr

        glbtrtr, I decided, over the years, it's darned near impossible to find an ocean view restaurant that serves exceptional food. I'm speaking domestically, not foreign.

        1. re: Gail

          Isn't that the truth. We had a very good dinner at the Ritz Carlton in Laguna Nigel, but no ocean view because that privileged setting had been given over to their fitness equipment room.

          1. re: glbtrtr

            A brilliant decision...sweatin' to the view! I'm sure they compared the bottom lines. Hard to believe.