Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > California >
Mar 22, 2014 12:18 AM

Santa Barbara/San Ysidro


My husband and I are taking a holiday (4 nights) at the San Ysidro Ranch and are looking for places to dine. We really enjoyed Julienne when we were in SB a few years ago, but have no other standout food memories. We'd like some fine dining, some casual, some breakfast and lunch spots. We'll also probably do a bit of wine tasting in the area, so winery recommendations are very welcome. Really all recommendations of places to go! We'd also like to have a current note about the on-site restaurAnts at SYR (stone house, plough and angel).

Accessibility is an issue for us, as I am in a wheelchair. Keep that in mind when recommending wineries in particular!


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Just wanted to add: we'll be there in late April.

    1. Wheelchair friendly wineries- here is my list:

      Los Olivos is a town full of tasting room- but most are in older buildings or have a porch with steps. Only a few sidewalks with most people walking the streets-and there are no restrooms, though the Episcopal Church does open theirs on the Westside of town.

      Outside of town- Beckman, Roblar, Bridlewood all are accessable.

      Solvang might be your best bet for tasting- there are many tasting rooms with easy to access tasting bars- Toccata, Dascomb, Sante ( a very stylish beer/wine bar ), CaliLove, and many restaurants are also accessable- Cecco- Panino- Solvang Restaurant- Belgiun Café...

      Buellton- Standing Sun, Cold Heaven, Ken Brown, Avant- they have a cool wine dispensing system- and while upstairs-they have a elevator, Sanford and finally Melville.

      Cheers! I bet if you visit the SBCVA website- they might have more selections available.

      1 Reply
      1. re: OldJalamaMama

        Thanks for these tips! I'll be sure to check out the wineries you mention. I think our plan was to head to Solvang one day, so that works out.

      2. Really hoping to get the lowdown on the restaurants at SYR! I don't put any truck in trip advisor or yelp, but is love some sense of whether The Stonehouse is any good. Or the Plough and Angel. We aren't expecting Thomas Keller or anything, but the prices are steep--is it just typical hotel overpricing? Or have they really earned that 64 dollar lamb chop?

        9 Replies
          1. re: Hgravendyk

            Plow and Angel is slightly cheaper than Stonehouse. Beautiful patio dining in an amazing setting. Probably worth at least one dinner. Lucky's is a steakhouse on Coast Village road in Montecito. You can sit in the bar or get reservations. My favorite burger in SB. The funk zone has a nice wine tasting/cafe Les Marchand that we enjoy. The Lark, also in funk zone, is very hot right now. Need to reserve in advance. Julienne's is still good and my new favorite is Sama Sama Kitchen on state st. It's Indonesian with a California farm fresh twist.

            1. re: macdog

              Wonderful thanks for these tips! Any other ideas. I get crickets about the Stonehouse, which I'm guessing means I should avoid it?

              1. re: Hgravendyk

                SYR is too expensive for most locals to bother with, same for the newly opened El Encanto. There are too many other more accessible good spots, plus some low-down local ones we tend to frequent as well.

                SamaSama is currently closed for renovations and not sure when it will re-open, but agree it is a very good choice.

                Others that are relative new comers getting a buzz but I have not been to myself are Toma on Cabrillo Blvd that used to be Emilios, and the new Peruvian-fusion LA chef at the Hotel Indigo restaurant that used to be the Anchor Fire Grill. Arlington Tavern next to Ensemble Theater,is also apparently greatly improved under its new ownership, but have not been there myself.

                For casual dining and food shopping experience be sure to visit the newly opened Santa Barbara Public Market near the Arlington Theater in the heart of the downtown restaurant zone. Everything we sampled on our first run through was very good: Crazy Good Bread croissants, Green Star Coffee and Rori's Ice Cream - hey, we snacked and grazed first time through.

                My own favorites in this same area around the Arlington Theater are Scarlett Begonia (B, L or D), Downey's (D), Julienne (D), Renaud's (B or L) and the antipasto plate with an affogato at Ca Dario's for lunch.

                Was not impressed with Lucky Penny in the Funk Zone for lunch at all, a companion daytime restaurant to The Lark, and one of the few (only?) places open for food in this new area mid-day.

                Since you will be in Montecito, you might want to head towards Carpinteria and the very good take on Italian (Sicilian) at Gianfranco's on Linden Ave. A surprise dining secret in this little town.

                1. re: glbtrtr

                  I think Stonehouse gets good reviews and the setting is spectacular. This SB native goes once a year...although as I mentioned, we prefer the downstairs patio and usually ask for the Plow and Angel menu also. I think the food is as good as some of the "high end" restaurants in SB (Bouchon, Downeys), but the ambience is pretty unique. Public Market is very fun, but was very crowded last Saturday. We had a very delicious burger and fries from Belcampo and earlier in the week enjoyed the new Asian noodle bowl place.

                  1. re: macdog

                    I do not consider these to be the most reliable reviews and sometimes suspect in their raves and pans, but here is what the local reviews are saying about the StoneHouse:


                    On the other hand, Plow and Angel seems to still please --go figure, same kitchen:


                    1. re: glbtrtr

                      Opentable reviews give it 4 1/2 stars out of 5. First reviewer on likes some place at the Harbor, so there's that. :-)

                      1. re: macdog

                        I always knock off points for every use of the words "amazing" and "awesome", and then add points back on if they had a hissy fit over some service malfunction and took it out on the whole restaurant.

                        Bottomline: nothing is really terrible in SB, nor is anything really earth-shattering. Most are nice enough, or else they wouldn't still be here. Though low-common denominator sells often as well as striving for the high marks. It is Chowhound country - good grub found in lots of places.

                        Go to Michelin if one wants more discernment. If there is any lesson about this town, it is even the great places stumble, and the humble consistently surprise.

                        1. re: glbtrtr

                          We moved here from Palo Alto area 4 years ago (although lived here in the 70's and visited frequently) and I am so much happier with the food here. When we go back to Silicon Valley there is no place I must visit, here I have at least 4 favorite spots. So I do think the food is somewhat earth shattering and you get to eat it in beautiful SB. We have been to Provence, Amalfi and Ligurian coast in the last 5 years and we always feel like we are somewhat immune to the charms of those coasts because of living in SB. And we get to eat great Mexican food whenever we want!!