Santa Barbara’s culinary reputation is on the rise thanks to the roster of acclaimed chefs translating the region’s history onto the plate. Add the impressive abundance of local ingredients sourced from the farm, ranch and sea—and culinary-minded travelers are in for a proper treat. In this three-day itinerary, revel in the savory (and sweet!) side of Santa Barbara with iconic eateries, brunch favorites and acclaimed wineries.
Morning: Awaken your palate with a visit to Jeannine’s Restaurant & Bakery, one of Santa Barbara’s iconic breakfast fare purveyors. Try the addictive breakfast burrito or indulge on the sweeter side of the menu with the banana-Kahlua French toast. Its newest location on the corner of Cabrillo Boulevard and State Street positions you perfectly for a post-brunch stroll along the beachside bike path.
Afternoon: Grab a seat at Deep Sea Tasting Room on Stearns Wharf for wine tasting followed by a briny seafood lunch at Santa Barbara Shellfish Company. Savor the freshest uni (sea urchin), Dungeness crab and oysters on the half shell—all accompanied by the soothing sounds of the ocean below.
Evening: Join Bouchon’s Chef Greg Murphy on one of his small group tours of the Tuesday Old Town Santa Barbara Farmers’ Market. Help select the components of your imminent multi-course feast, which will be paired with curated local wine selections from the restaurant’s extensive wine list. You can tap into that same wine country coastal cuisine magic, minus the tour component, any other night of the week at Bouchon.
Morning: Experience the revival of the storied La Paloma Café. Kick off a weekend morning with a vanilla-dipped french toast, date syrup and whipped crème fraîche, or dive into the huevos rancheros featuring a mouthwatering smoked queso fresco. (Scarlett Begonia is an equally excellent breakfast spot if you’re visiting midweek.)
Afternoon: Spend the afternoon in wine country bliss, painting and sipping in a vineyard with Art Spot on Wheels and take home a personalized canvas to memorialize your getaway. Continue your excursion with tastings at Zaca Mesa Winery and Beckman Vineyards, two compelling producers among Santa Ynez Valley’s esteemed roster of critically acclaimed wineries.
Evening: Back on the coast, head to Bettina, a cozy Montecito restaurant that specializes in one-of-a-kind pizzas using creative ingredient combinations and hand-pulled mozzarella. Cap the night off with a cocktail at San Ysidro Ranch’s Plow & Angel.
Morning: The aromas wafting from Alessia Pâtisserie and Café never fail to beckon early risers for a pistachio croissant and a cappuccino—complete with views of El Presidio de Santa Bárbara State Historic Park. Its European-style pastries and heartier made-to-order breakfasts will fuel you well for your last day in Santa Barbara.
Afternoon: Spend the afternoon getting to know the Funk Zone on a guided walking tour with Eat This, Shoot That! Taste and drink your way through eight different stops while learning about the city’s vibrant culinary history from a knowledgeable local—and benefit from professional food photography tips along the way.
Evening: End your gourmet vacation with dinner at Secret Bao, beloved for its modern Asian cuisine with creations such as its selection of bao (tip: try the crowd-favorite pork belly bao!) and seasonal noodle dishes. Catch a show at nearby Granada Theatre, one of Santa Barbara’s premier live performance venues. After the curtain call, drop by The Good Lion to toast a successful vacation with one of the best cocktails in town.
Looking for even more mouthwatering places to grab a bite to eat in Santa Barbara? Check out these must-try Santa Barbara restaurants.