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Dec 29, 2013 08:50 AM

Santa Barbara cheap eats

Howdy! We are headed to sb for a few days but are on a budget so sadly can't enjoy some of its lovely high-end offerings. Any cheap eats ideas? Sama Sama is on the list, as is la superica. Would love some lunch and dinner ideas. TIA!

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  1. 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.

    1. 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.

      1 Reply
      1. re: PolarBear

        The replacement for the Minnow Cafe is very good called On The Alley: A bit more upscale (what wouldn't be?) but still a treat harbor side.

      2. 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.

        1. Haven't tried this place yet but I like the sound of the reviews - Blue Owl on Canon Perdido St, downtown:

          3 Replies
          1. re: glbtrtr

            I had some really interesting sandwiches from there.

            1. re: macdog

              It does look like a pretty wow menu. Which ones did you try.


              1. re: glbtrtr

                My favorite was the hot pastrami and kimchi combo -doesn't look like they have that on the menu presently.

          2. Thanks for the recs! Hit up brophy's and Garrett's so far! Looking forward to sama sama tonight.