Santa Barbara cheap eats
You are off to a good start with both choices. I used to have a great list of SB under $10 but those days are changing. Saigon In and Out in the same blocks as Sama Sama is another good lower cost choice.
Eateries in the shopping Mall Paseo Nuevo have some bargains, including taking a look at the upstairs cafe in Nordstrom. Sakura was my favorite under $10 Japanese combo in this complex but I think it is now closing so check to see if it is still there.
I also like the local Sushi Teri chain scattered around the area for their high value combo dinners of Calif roll, miso soup, rice salad and teriyaki chicken, beef or salmon.
Another thrifty but delicious choice is Brummi's for German fare, particularly their sausage, potato salad and sweet saur kraut combo.
Crocodile for a finer dining experience always a few dollars cheaper than downtown in the unlikely Lemon Tree Inn location. Both of these are located in the San Roque area of State Street - around the 3000 blocks.
Many cheaper student restaurants in the little town of Isla Vista too near UCSB. I like the happy hour specials at The Boat House if you want to eat late afternoon and enjoy their ocean side location on Hendry's Beach.
You can split a hefty and delicious burrito or super nachos at Super Cuca's on West Micheltorena and San Andres on the Westside of Highway 101 in a small little neighborhood business section of downtown.
Las Aves Cafe near Cottage Hospital is a lower cost sleeper in the Encina Lodge. Garretts Cafe at the corner of Mission and State Street is great for breakfasts, esp eggs benedict.
Santa Barbara City College has a School of Culinary Arts featuring their Gourmet Dining Room for a prix fixe dinner on Thurs and Friday nights and lovely lunches served during the week - see their website for more info and reservations. You can walk up the hill from the Cabrillo Beach area and stroll through their Horticulture Gardens and stunning view overlooks for a special insider take on Santa Barbara hidden secret dining spots, though nothing on the weekends.
Mesa Cafe is good for solid homemade comfort food dinners and a local favorite for what it is, if not for refined dining or setting. Cafe Stella is the less expensive sister of Stella Mares.
Carpinteria also is a few dollars cheaper alternative and has a nice array of choices, particularly GiannFranco's for very good take on Italian if you want a special night out.
Downtown will obviously be the most expensive, so do take a look at where we local dine in the neighborhoods mainly on Milpas Street, the Mesa or San Roque area of State Street for lower priced alternatives.
And even though pricy, save room for a single cone of McConnell's ice cream instead of ordering dessert at a restaurant.
Taquería La Colmena 217 N. Milpas St
habanero-peanut salsa, lomito (pork chop) taco, rajas con queso, creamy bean dip, barbacoa
Cuernavaca Taquería – al pastor, roasted red salsa, suadero
201 W. Carrillo St
Tacos y Mariscos Boca de Rio 318 N. Milpas St
fish, shrimp, lengua, cabeza, camarones a la Diabla (dinner)
El Sitio 138 S Salinas St
Los Agaves 600 N. Milpas St
[ETA] Minnow Cafe around the corner from Brophy Bros. in the harbor NEVER MIND, just saw report that it closed.
Love Sama Sama Kitchen-you can make a dinner out if their small plates. Malaysian chicken wings, pork tacos and chicken sate are faves. Be sure and try La Superica specials-Isidore is coming up with some great dishes. I believe On the Alley at the marina is also owned by Brophy Brothers. Beautiful spot to look out on SB marina and the mountains behind the city. We also like the funk zone. New wine tasting spot Avelina (behind Figueroa brewery) is nice and it's fairly inexpensive if you buy a bottle rather than separate glasses.
I love, love, love La Super-Rica, and especially the Super-Rica Especial (and chorizo especial).
Just be sure not to order any of the tacos from the left part of the menu-- I'm not really sure why they're there. Boring, dry, not nice. Order from the right side of the menu, or order the daily specials, and you'll be fine.
Lunch at the Chase on State for the sublime Calamari Piccatta with Fettuccini and side salad is fab for lunch or dinner..around $13.
Holiday lights should still be up. .
They do this dish like abalone..trust me, its divine.
Most locals from Montecito/SB, head to the Nugget in Summerland..best patty melt evah.
re: Beach Chick
Beach Chick, we just returned from a trip to L.A. and we spent one day & night in SB visiting wineries and tasting rooms. Of course my CH friends didn't disappoint and we had some great eats.
We arrived in SB just in time for a late lunch and so we headed over to The Shoreline Beach Cafe for some fish tacos. They were pefect. I had an ahi tuna taco and a baja taco and enjoyed them both. Great views and casual atmosphere.
We hit several tasting rooms - Deep Sea, Kunin, Drake & Au Bon Climat before heading to dinner at State & Fig. We loved everything we had at State & Fig, especially the ricotta gnocchi with black kale, butternut squash, sage & brown butter. Oh, and the crostini with burrata and tomato jam - yum.
The next morning we got up and walked to Handlebar for coffee. It was slightly off the beaten tourist path but man, it was so worth it. Probably the best coffee I've ever had. No bitterness and freshly roasted right in the tiny space out by the counter. I believe the owner is from Portland and takes his coffee very seriously. We bought a bag of whole beans to bring home. Afterwards, as we walked back to the hotel, we stopped by Pressed Juicery which I had read about online. We bought 2 different juices. #3 Greens, which was kale, spinach, parsley, apple and ginger. The other was a blend of coffee, almonds, dates and vanilla. Both were delicious and the young guy who worked there was very friendly & knowledgeable. I'm not much into juicing but the #3 was a nice, refreshing drink.
On our way back to L.A. we were feeling a little hungover from all the wine and fun the night before so we stopped at The Nugget in Summerland, based on your rec above. What a great little bar! Folks there were super friendly and the patty melt perfect for my empty belly and the sweet potato fries were crispy and tasty. But the bloody caesar was exactly what I needed and was light alternative to a bloody mary. They infuse their own pepper vodka and mix it was a nice pour of vodka and clamato. I intend to try it at home.
Thanks for pointing us there (unintentionally). We love SB and can't wait to return.
P.S. The syrah tasting at Kunin was so damn good and worth every penny. Great wines.
Thanks so much for your report - on the spot reporting no less. So glad you enjoyed your time. One dines very well these days in SB, and with places like Sama Sama it no longer has to be ruinously expensive. Renaud's croissants are in a class by themselves -no equals outside of France IMHO. You did your homework very well. Thanks again.