Most Popular Restaurants in Santa Barbara

April 14, 2018 Jeremy Dunfee

Nestled between the shrub-covered slopes of the Santa Ynez Mountains and the clear blue shores of the Pacific Ocean, Santa Barbara is California at its best. Mission Santa Barbara is an example of 18th-century religious architecture, boasting beautiful grounds and a wonderfully detailed interior. Work up an appetite with a walk through Shoreline Park, then dine above the water on Stearns Wharf. Fig trees, parks, waterfalls, and botanical gardens round out Santa Barbara’s natural beauty.
Things to do in Santa Barbara

1. the black sheep

26 E Ortega St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101-1629 Takeout, Reservations, Seating, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar, Wine and Beer, Accepts American Express, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Accepts Discover, Accepts Credit Cards American, Gastropub, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options Dinner +1 805-965-1113
Excellent
78%
Good
15%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 138 reviews

the black sheep

Organic, Farmers driven, Gastropub Inspired.

Reviewed By Colourqueen - Melbourne Australia

A really lovely setting.
We were promptly greeted and seated. We had booked a table for two online, and we were given an option of a few different tables to select from.
Might I note our waiter Christian was very knowledgeable and a really nice person to deal with. He made it such an enjoyable night out.

Rather than having one of the main meals, we just selected smaller plates and shared then, and it was such a good idea.
Everything was beautifully presented and tasty.

We had the Veggie Spring Rolls, yum.
Shumai shrimp dumplings, which was one of the specials.
Pork belly, potato croquettes and spare ribs. Those spare ribs, the meat fell off the bone, delicious.

Hubby had the Blueberry Lemon Torte, again, delicious.
Good selection of beers and wines too.
I’d definitely return to The Black Sheep when next in Santa Barbara.

2. Jeannine's Bakery

15 E Figueroa St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101-2781 Takeout, Outdoor Seating, Seating, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible American, Cafe, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options Breakfast, Lunch, Brunch +1 805-966-1717
Excellent
72%
Good
27%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 118 reviews

Jeannine's Bakery

Reviewed By expectquality1942 - Santa Barbara, California

There are three Jeannine's Bakeries in Santa Barbara and all three offer very similar menus but each has a lightly different character and feel. The 15 E Figueroa is what I call downtown. It is really very much a State Street location with a Figueroa St. entrance. It feels like a combination of downtown business people and State Street visitors. The menu on a weekend brunch looks expensive, but one can always go the coffee and muffin route and have a lovely time sitting outside or inside and enjoying the lovely location.

3. Toma Restaurant and Bar

324 W Cabrillo Blvd, Santa Barbara, CA 93101-3855 Takeout, Free Wifi, Reservations, Seating, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar, Accepts American Express, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Accepts Discover, Accepts Credit Cards Italian, Mediterranean, Contemporary, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options Drinks, Dinner +1 805-962-0777
Excellent
75%
Good
18%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 1 reviews

Toma Restaurant and Bar

Reviewed By Ruth C - Scranton, Pennsylvania, United States

Artichoke appetizer was good, but a bit too heavy on the coating. Short Ribs were excellent, as was the ravioli. Place was crowded, but service was good. Nice wine selection. Loved the grenache syrah blend. Ended the meal with creme brulee, which was also delicious.

4. Savoy Cafe & Deli

24 W Figueroa St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101-3104 Delivery, Takeout, Outdoor Seating, Seating, Parking Available, Street Parking, Validated Parking, Free Off-Street Parking, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Accepts American Express, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Free Wifi, Accepts Discover, Highchairs Available, Wine and Beer, Accepts Credit Cards American, Soups, Gluten Free Options, Vegetarian Friendly Lunch, Dinner, Breakfast, Brunch SGD 5 - SGD 21 +1 805-962-6611
Excellent
72%
Good
21%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 316 reviews

Savoy Cafe & Deli

Local Family run popular cafe' located in the heart of downtown SB. Serving Breakfast,Lunch, and Dinner. Free parking in front and rear. Local organic cuisine where everything is house made. Local organic coffee, wines, micro brews. Boasting SB's largest selection of tea. Over 60 items in hot and cold cases, including vegan, paleo, vegetarian, and GLUTEN FREE options abound. Award winning salad bar with 4 soups daily. House roasted meats, sandwhich bar. Dizzying array of beverages and juices. Outstanding Bakery with allergy conscious treats as well.Dog Friendly outdoor patio, with heaters and bike rack in front. Californian casual interiors with plants wood and fountains, Come as you are!

Reviewed By Pixxidix - Mexico City, Mexico

Great selection of home-cooked food, salads, meats, vegan, paleo, somethign for everything. hot and cold food and drinks. friendly service and nice setting

5. Bouchon

9 W Victoria St, Cross Street is State Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101-3123 Reservations, Outdoor Seating, Private Dining, Seating, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol French, European, Vegetarian Friendly, Gluten Free Options Dinner, Late Night SGD 31 - SGD 47 +1 805-730-1160
Excellent
72%
Good
19%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 955 reviews

Bouchon

Farm-to-table gem in the heart of downtown Santa Barbara. The Original California bouchon, menu features local produce and wines. Charming rustic ambience with hardwood floors, open kitchen and inviting patio. Service is warm, friendly and informed.

Reviewed By SBHTraveler - Washington DC, District of Columbia

Dining is an experience of food, atmosphere, and service. At Bouchon the food is outstanding and the service superb including the maitre d', server, and table busser. Tables are a bit crowded, but that is the atmosphere of a French bistro which Bouchon most definitely is. We will eat here again when in Santa Barbara without a nanosecond of hesitation.

6. Mony's Mexican Food

217 Anacapa St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101-1805 Takeout, Outdoor Seating, Seating Mexican, Latin, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options Lunch +1 805-895-2978
Excellent
72%
Good
25%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 142 reviews

Mony's Mexican Food

Reviewed By maritimeexplorer - Halifax, Nova Scotia

This place in Santa Barbara's Funk Zone was recommended by a staff member at the nearby hotel we were staying at. He asked if we liked "hole in the wall Mexican" and we said "Sure". It is almost not much bigger than a hole in the wall with places for maybe six inside and double that outside. Almost all other patrons were Mexican or Latino including lot's of local workman and some of the staff at our hotel. Always good to know that they really eat at these places they recommend.

The menu is not extensive, but includes some lesser seen Mexican dishes like chilaquiles and enchilades de mole which we tried and really liked. If you are not a big eater either of these would serve for two. What we really liked was the salsa selection. Ten different types to try with the complimentary and very good tortilla chips while waiting for the main course.

The drink of choice seemed to be Mexican Coca-cola which has considerably less aeration than the US variety.

Fair prices and way better than your traditional tex-mex.

7. Los Agaves

600 N Milpas St, Santa Barbara, CA 93103-3027 Takeout, Reservations, Seating, Waitstaff, Parking Available, Highchairs Available, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol Mexican, Latin, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options Lunch, Dinner, Brunch, Late Night 805-564-2626
Excellent
67%
Good
25%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 1 reviews

Los Agaves

Surprised not to see this on your web site - many people (myself included) consider it the best Mexican Food in Santa Barbara. Service also excellent, at least when they are not crowded, which the often are! Just down the street from another outstanding (but simpler) Mexican Restaurant, La Super-Rica Taqueria.

Reviewed By TCWatson - Modesto

Angel from the Fess Parker Doubletree recommended this place. You put your order in at the counter then find a table. They bring your meal to you. We ordered fish tacos w/beans & salad and shredded beef taco, enchilada roja w/beans & rice. Fish taco was very bland tasting, it had shredded cabbage over 1 small piece of fish, it needed sour cream, guacamole, spices or something. Beef taco and enchilada was tasty. We'll try something different next time. They have a salsa bar with several different salsas, Pico de gallo was freshly made, delicious. We will return if in the area.

8. Via Maestra 42

3343 State St, Santa Barbara, CA 93105-2623 Outdoor Seating, Highchairs Available, Takeout, Seating, Waitstaff, Parking Available, Free Off-Street Parking, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Wine and Beer, Accepts American Express, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Accepts Credit Cards Italian, Delicatessen, Vegetarian Friendly, Gluten Free Options Lunch, Dinner +1 805-569-6522
Excellent
65%
Good
28%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 181 reviews

Via Maestra 42

Reviewed By expectquality1942 - Santa Barbara, California

This is one of Santa Barbara's best places of all. I go for a top Italian dinner eating either inside or out. I often buy cheese and meat to go. I often order "catering size meals" for groups to go. I love eating a simple lunch or dinner. This is a small Italian deli, a great cafe, and a proper restaurant all in the same small space. The fact that the same servers have worked there for my 7 years of dining says something good about the owners and management. You can have to wait for a table some nights, but worth it.

9. Barbareno

205 W Canon Perdido St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101-3706 Outdoor Seating, Seating, Waitstaff, Parking Available, Street Parking, Free Off-Street Parking, Highchairs Available, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Accepts American Express, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Free Wifi, Accepts Discover, Reservations, Wine and Beer, Accepts Credit Cards American, Contemporary, Fusion, Barbecue, Gluten Free Options, Vegetarian Friendly Lunch, Dinner SGD 20 - SGD 39 +1 805-963-9591
Excellent
75%
Good
18%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 172 reviews

Barbareno

Conveniently located in downtown Santa Barbara, Barbareño seeks to embody California's Central Coast. Serving regionally inspired cuisine, fine California wines, and locally crafted beers in a rustic yet modern environment, we seek to celebrate our home through our service to our guests.

Reviewed By TheRealPhilGold - Portland, Oregon

Almost missed this restaurant (Open Table had erroneously permitted reservation on night they were closed!) Luckily, someone on staff called me and we got it straightened out, so I was able to enjoy after all. Some very inventive and tasty looking stuff on menu. I opted for signature tri-tip, which was fantastic with a cilantro chimichurri sauce. Also went with the beignets for dessert - duck fat fried, with bacon custard might sound strange but they were awesome (although I had to give two away, I was just too full). Great service, nice wine list - highly recommended.

10. Mesa Verde Restaurant

1919 Cliff Dr, Santa Barbara, CA 93109-1503 Takeout, Outdoor Seating, Seating, Waitstaff, Parking Available, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Highchairs Available Healthy, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options Lunch, Brunch, Dinner SGD 10 - SGD 26 +1 805-963-4474
Excellent
74%
Good
19%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
1%
Terrible
2%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 234 reviews

Mesa Verde Restaurant

Reviewed By SeattleReebs - Seattle, Washington

Seriously, in town for two days and ate here twice, once dinner, once lunch. The food was creative and delicious, the staff were engaging and the restaurant decor was friendly. It is off the beaten tourist path, but if you are vegetarian or vegan, worth your drive.

We had the polenta fries (twice!!) the mushroom umami burger, and the patatas bravas tacos. I thought the Mushroom burger was the best of the dishes, but all were excellent. I got the house made lemonaid, which was tart for me, but perfect once some of the ice melted. The staff recognized us the second time, and comped us a dessert, which was really sweet of them. The dessert was also delicious.

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