A MICHELIN-started, French-inspired bistro established by Per Se alums Daisy and Greg Ryan, Bell’s in Los Alamos, California, is the garden party restaurant of your dreams, with a finesse for everything from wine pairings to caviar accompaniments. Since opening in March 2018, the family-run restaurant pairs reimagined cafe fare with eclectic wine selections from independent local producers and European estates. Bell’s name pays tribute to its location on the historic Bell Street in the small town of Los Alamos, just a short drive over the hill from the Santa Barbara South Coast.
Take a seat in the outdoor garden, where you can sip on full-bodied wines under twinkling lights and nosh on charcuterie, or dine inside the restaurant, which is housed by the quaint former Bell Street Farms Space. You’ll get a chance to enjoy the rotating menu, based on local availability and the chef’s whims, including Santa Barbara Uni with Regiis Ova ‘Hybrid’ Caviar & Mille Crêpe, Steak Tartare, Taglierini Pasta “Provençal” and Crème FraÎche Panna Cotta. For menu updates, take a look at the restaurant’s Instagram account, @bellslosalamos.
Recent accolades for the hot spot include “Best New Chef 2020” from Food & Wine Magazine, The MICHELIN Plate: Good Cooking 2020 from Michelin Guide, Best New Restaurants in America (#5) 2020 from Esquire, and the 2021 Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator.
Every other Saturday, Bell’s also hosts the Priedite Breakfast Barbecue Pop-Up with Pitmaster Nicholas Priedite. Get there early for some piping hot BBQ to bring home for the weekend, available from 9 a.m. until sold out. Pre-order your smoked meats and grilled vegetables, among other tasty treats, online here.
Pricing & Reservations
Bell’s is open Thursday through Monday for lunch from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m., and dinner service spans from 5:00 p.m. until 8:15 p.m. Seating for lunch is available on a first-come, first-served basis, and the moderately-priced menu offers up delectable options for every budget. Dinner is available by reservation only. The weekly changing five-course prix fixe meal is $65 per person Thursday – Sunday (through the end of September. Pricing increases to $75/person beginning October 1, 2021). Should you choose to dine in on a Monday, the prix fixe dinner is $50 per person (set to increase to $60/person on October 1, 2021). Prices do not include beverages, service charges, or tax. Reservations for the following month are released on the first of each month. Please note that Bell’s does not have a telephone, so reservations need to be made online here or by emailing [email protected].
Directions to Bell’s
Just 55 minutes from Santa Barbara, Bell’s is located in the small, eccentric town of Los Alamos. There you will find farm-fresh produce, exquisite boutiques, wine tasting bodegas, and artsy enclaves.
Traveling from Santa Barbara, take either the 101-North for around 58 miles and exit at CA-154 towards Los Alamos/Vandenberg AFB, taking a left on San Antonio Blvd and reaching Bell Street. Or you can take the 101-North for 5 miles, then continue to CA-154/Cachuma Lake and remain on that highway until you merge again with the 101-North/Santa Maria. Take the same exit for CA-154/Vandenberg AFB, following a left on San Antonio Blvd to arrive at Bell Street.
Feed the Valley
During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the staff at Bell’s developed a nonprofit initiative titled “Feed the Valley.” The team cooks for members of the Los Alamos Valley community currently experiencing food insecurity in partnership with the Santa Barbara Foundation and respected local charities. “Feed the Valley” is propelled forward by donations and continues to provide home-cooked food and support to those in need. You can learn more about the initiative here.