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Family Restaurants In SB and the area...An update?

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Hi Chowhounds

We're London UK family, finally taking the trip we had planned two years ago....but weren't able to make. We had a list of good places (from Chowhound - of course!) but things might have changed in that time. So if anyone has any pointers / tips / 'too bad buster - they're closed' type stuff - please feel free...Broaden our palettes!

Many thanks, Stephen

SB

La Superica
Emelio's
Renauds
Via Maestra
Giovanni's
Crocodile
Scarlet Begonia
The Chase
Cold Spring Tavern
Mac's

Summerland

Tinkers
The Nugget

Carpenteria

Garden Market Cafe
The Spot

Thanks people....!

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  1. Emilio's is now Toma Toma and getting some very nice reviews. I believe the Emilio's employees took it over. If your family is young, the Pardaro Beach Cafe has lots of outdoor tables and play equipment for families in Summerland/Carpinteria Santa Claus Lane area.

    My favorite in Carpinteria is Gianfranco's on Linden - nicely casual and top end Italian with a Sicilian twist. There are also spots now in what is called the Funk Zone (website).

    Especially good for kids and their attached parents is the brand new Santa Barbara Public Market in the 1200 block restaurant zone off State Street and West Victoria, by the Arlington Theater. More like a food court with lots of excellent and creative choices - something for everyone there.

    2 Replies
    1. re: glbtrtr

      I second the Public Market rec. A fun place to wander around and get different foods from different vendors. This Saturday we got yummy burgers, fries and kale salad from Bel Campo and fish tacos from Santa Monica seafood for a group of 6. If you go in the evening you can sit in the wine bar and they will deliver food to you. I also love the Thai Gourmet Noodle place, but you have to sit at their counter for their food. We also love Sama Sama kitchen on 1208 State for fresh Indonesian small plates. The back patio is a wonderful place to sit. For Mexican, Los Agaves on De La Vina is great for families or Los Arroyos in Montecito for some good Montecito people watching. Another favorite is Arigato sushi also on State st. And Brophy brothers is ok food, but great location at the Marina. We usually go for a drink at the bar and get the baked clams for an appetizer. It's a beautiful view of the water and mountains of SB.

      1. re: glbtrtr

        Also love the Funk zone. You can get pizza at Lucky Penny or go more upscale at the Lark. I avoid lower State. It turns into a twenty something bar scene Thursday through Sunday and I think a lot of the restaurants reflect that clientele.

      2. Thank you Glbtrtr. Kids now in their early teens - and a bit more adventurous. Whether they'll be able to deal with La Superica is a different deal though...! Ambience is very important for MrsG. And - sorry, I sound like a tourist - that feeling that we're in America. There. I said it.

        1 Reply
        1. re: MisterGash

          I like your challenge because I look for the same things when visiting new places- how to get a feel for the place.

          There is a cluster of restaurants around the 1000-1300 blocks or State Street and the side streets that cover pretty much what we have to offer in this town for variety and types of cuisine and hard to go wrong at any of them so this is a good place to head and then just pick what appeals to you.

          High ambiance and high end are elsewhere than the list we now have for you, and sometimes a mixed bag in their reviews but if you want a very special luxe experience with views and history: The El Encanto Hotel; The San Ysidro Ranch and the Biltmore Hotels all have stunning settings and gracious grounds.

          One of the most ambiance-loaded local restaurants is the old stage coach stop at Cold Springs Tavern (lunch and dinner) about a 20 minute drive up into the hills behind Santa Barbara and a good place to explore the sights of the Santa Ynez Valley and Solvang -which are a worthy day trip to see our "back country" California.

          I'll keep working on this. More later.