Photo Credit: Scarlett Begonia
There’s no better way to start your morning than with brunch, your best friends and family, and a breathtaking location. Whether you prefer sweet or savory flavors, mountain or ocean views, here are the best places for brunch in Santa Barbara:
Enjoy a decadent, five-star Sunday brunch overlooking Butterfly Beach while you rub elbows with the elite guests of the Four Seasons in Montecito. When brunching at Bella Vista, make your way through the ultimate in indulgent buffets, including caviar, sushi, and chocolate fondue stations. Relax on the outdoor patio for a leisurely late breakfast and let the sunshine and picture-perfect landscape complete this dreamy dining experience.
It’s pretty hard to top the beachfront location of The Boathouse, which sits on dog-friendly Hendry’s Beach (a.k.a. Arroyo Burro Beach) and serves an extended breakfast from 7:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. daily. It’s worth the wait to get a window table inside or a prime patio perch outside. Try the Boathouse Signature Breakfast—a riff on Eggs Benedict with house-made snow and rock crab cakes in place of the traditional English muffin.
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A local favorite for Mexican cuisine, Casa Blanca’s “Fiesta Sundays” brunch is a festive affair. The lower State Street outpost pleases palates with Chilaquiles, Breakfast Enchiladas, Menudo and more—and all entrée orders come with an option to add on bottomless mimosas, Bloody Mary’s, or margaritas. Viva la!
The popular C’est Cheese Café serves its breakfast menu until 12:00 p.m. on weekends to cater to brunchers. The Eggs Benedict is an exclusive weekend addition to the menu, which also features weekly quiche and breakfast sandwich specials. Other Breakfast menu staples include baked goods from their in-house bakery and entrees like Kale & Quinoa, Smoked Salmon and Steel Cut Oatmeal. Order the Family Style Mimosa to get a bottle of Cava and carafe of fresh-squeezed OJ for the table.
If you’re pining for brunch in the city, settle down at one of the sidewalk tables and try not to drool on the menu that boasts dozens of bread flavors — including the renowned olive bread — and baked goods. And don’t pass up the egg items on the menu, like the Egg’s Rose that wowed local chef and Iron Chef star Cat Cora.
Eat a hearty Mexican, buffet-style brunch — complete with bottomless mimosas — in the city’s only open-air restaurant, which is hidden inside the El Paseo courtyard. This 1922 restaurant was designed to match the city’s original Presidio neighborhood and has been host to many celebrity events from the early 1900s to now. Come back later to El Paseo Mexican Restaurant for lunch or dinner to taste from the extensive tequila menu.
Go off the beaten path to Old Town Goleta for a farm-fresh, locally sourced down-home cookin’ style breakfast. Grab a seat at one of the picnic tables on the outdoor patio in Goleta’s up-and-coming industrial neighborhood. Then, feast on a seasonal farm-to-table breakfast worth writing home about.
Choose from uptown, downtown, or Montecito for a tasty brunch experience at this bakery and café-style restaurant. Feast your eyes on the baked goods and cakes displayed in glass cases while you wait in line to make the toughest decision of the day: Which delicious dish to order for breakfast?
This Funk Zone gem serves brunch Saturdays and Sundays. Given Les Marchands is a wine bar, it’s no surprise the brunch cocktails with sparkling wine are divine. But they also have plenty of elegant spirit based cocktails that range from refreshing Bloody Mary’s to serious Sazeracs. The creative menu features decadent dishes like Breakfast Poutine, a Gruyere Waffle, Shakshuka, Fried Chicken and Bread Pudding. Needless to say, you will not leave hungry!
Another Funk Zone treasure, Loquita serves Spanish-inflected brunch fare in a stylish, Instagram-friendly setting on Sundays. This is a perfect place to share plates with tapas selections that run from savory (think Patatas Bravas) to sweet (Churros!). Heartier options include egg-based dishes like the Jamon Serrano Benedict and Tortilla Espanol as well as Gambas (shrimp) and Cerdo (pork belly).
Our Daily Bread
Brunch like a local at this upper De La Vina Street sidewalk café and bakery that has been a residents’ favorite for over 30 years. Enjoy a healthy breakfast complete with freshly baked breads and pastries — including gluten-free and vegan options — that are sure to fill your belly to the brim.
Paradise Café has been a downtown Santa Barbara institution since opening in 1983. Put your name on the list to score a seat on the pretty patio with a view of the mural. Some of their egg dishes like omelets and Huevos Valenzuela are available daily at lunch, while the expanded Sunday brunch menu includes items like Orange Juice Waffles, Steak & Eggs and Greek Eggs.
Renaud’s Patisserie & Bistro
Fancy a French breakfast complete with buttery croissants and delicate macarons in an adorable bistro setting? Oui do, too! Choose a dish from the French European breakfast menu or choose a few delicacies from the bakery case that are arguably as good as the ones made in Paris.
Enjoy brunch with a view at this family friendly, local institution that overlooks West Beach along the iconic palm tree-lined East Cabrillo Boulevard. At Sambo’s, feast on classic breakfast dishes like chocolate chip pancakes and chicken fried steak and eggs. But get there early, as there’s usually a line out the door.
Enjoy a locally sourced, organic meal inside or on the patio of this quaint café tucked away in the Victoria Courtyard in downtown Santa Barbara. Choose from gluten-free or traditional brunch options that are as creative as they are tasty. While you wait for your order to arrive, treat your taste buds to the complimentary chef’s choice amuse bouche. Insider tip: Make reservations or risk a lengthy wait time.
Stella Mare’s is a charming French country bistro set in a historic house near the Andre Clark Bird Refuge—this place oozes cozy ambiance, which makes it ideal for a special occasion. The weekend brunch menu features French classics like Escargot, Salad Niçoise, Croque Madame, Moules Frites, Quiche Lorraine and Coq a Vin. We say oui, oui, oui to all of it!
THE SHOP KITCHEN
Locals went bananas for The Shop Kitchen when it opened on Milpas Street—for good reason! The brunch-centric café is open daily and their elevated home-style American fare hits the spot whether you go for one of the many toast varieties, Eggs Benedict (available six ways!), Fried Chicken or a Tri-Tip Sandwich. Coffee snobs will approve of the Handlebar Roasters coffee drinks, while wine and beer are also available for imbibers.
Another spectacular beachfront eatery is Shoreline Café at Leadbetter Beach near the Harbor and Santa Barbara City College. You can literally put your feet in the sand here while dining right on the beach. Breakfast is served daily until 1:00 p.m. and the menu is vast and filling. Think breakfast burritos, carnitas and eggs, huevos rancheros, omelets, French Toast and pancakes.
Treat yo’ self to the splurge-worthy Sunday Champagne Brunch at The Stonehouse restaurant at the San Ysidro Ranch, a luxurious Montecito hideaway for the rich and famous. This pedigreed property has hosted legends like JFK and Jackie O. and Sir Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh, as well as A-listers of today like Gwyneth Paltrow, Cameron Diaz and J. Lo. Taste the good life for yourself and enjoy the serene, tucked away setting while savoring the seasonal cuisine prepared with herbs and vegetables harvested from the on-site garden.
Next door to The Granada Theatre, this Cajun-style restaurant will serve y’all one scrumptious breakfast. Indulge in classic Southern small dishes like cinnamon apple beignets with crème anglaise or bring your big appetite for a large plate of pumpkin oatmeal waffles with caramelized bananas, candied pecans and real maple syrup.