Santa Barbara County joined the prestigious ranks of MICHELIN-starred dining destinations in the newly released MICHELIN Guide California. Bell’s Los Alamos and Sushi-Bar Montecito each earned One MICHELIN Star, becoming the region’s first-ever to receive the coveted accolade, which equates to “High-quality cooking, worth a stop!” Three restaurants were also newly added to the Golden State’s 2021 class of Bib Gourmand eateries, further enhancing the local excitement over this big announcement. That brings Santa Barbara County’s tally of MICHELIN-approved establishments to a grand total of sixteen.
The Santa Barbara South Coast and surrounding wine country have long attracted foodies and culinary explorers, and these new endorsements will no doubt pique the interest and palates of those who have yet to discover the area’s singular mix of flavors. It also gives existing fans and Santa Barbara aficionados fresh inspiration to visit The American Riviera® to experience how the food scene has evolved firsthand. The region continues to attract talented chefs who have worked in some of the country’s top kitchens, as well as rising stars who see the possibilities in being part of a world-class resort destination—one that’s a close-knit collection of small towns lining the coast and peppering the countryside.
Santa Barbara County abounds with family-run organic farms and historic, multi-generational ranching operations. The Santa Barbara Channel is considered one of the richest sustainable fisheries on the West Coast. And then there’s the wine, with well over 200 Santa Barbara County wineries producing vintages that pair beautifully with artfully crafted cuisine. Beyond the ingredients, the local culinary community is infused with an authentic spirit of collaboration and connectivity that is reflected in every detail, from the words on the menus and the art on the walls to the warm hospitality and passion that goes into every plate. MICHELIN’s discerning inspectors recognized these attributes with their latest additions, which we’ve highlighted below and invite you to come celebrate with us.
One Star Spotlight: Sushi|Bar Montecito
Sushi|Bar Montecito offers an intimate, theatrical omakase experience created by Los Angeles-based restaurateurs/chefs, Phillip Frankland Lee and Margarita Kallas Lee. Chef Lennon Silvers Lee is the head chef of the 10-seat sushi bar in the Montecito Inn, where the ever-changing 17-course feast unfolds over two delectable hours of improvisational, intuitive preparations. MICHELIN praised chef’s creativity, originality, and finesse, which you can admire yourself as he works at the cutting boards behind the bar. Enjoy conversation with Chef Lennon and your fellow diners as you savor the “new wave nigri” and other creative twists on Japanese classics. If you opt for the beverage pairings, expect a mix of cocktails, sake, and beer. Three seatings are offered nightly Wednesday through Sunday and you can prebook on Tock at least one month in advance. Dinner starts at $145 per person, which includes food and a welcome cocktail.