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New Restaurants in Santa Barbara

Photo Credit: Merci Montecito by Studio Arna

NEW RESTAURANTS IN SANTA BARBARA

A fresh crop of new restaurants in Santa Barbara is spicing up the already delicious culinary landscape. As far as we’re concerned, there’s always room for more good eats in our bountiful city surrounded by organic farms, family-run ranches, avocado and citrus orchards and the seafood-rich Santa Barbara Channel. You’re definitely going to want to sample what these new dining establishments are cooking up with the ingredients of the season—and check out their cool, thoughtfully-designed spaces while you’re at it. Each of these new Santa Barbara restaurants are ripe for your restaurant picking!

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The Daisy

Located in Downtown Santa Barbara’s Victoria Court, The Daisy is a fresh and friendly restaurant and marketplace by husband/wife duo, Dominic Shiach and Chef Carmen “Daisy” Deforest. Producing modern, seasonal Californian food, with vibrant flavors, everything on the menu is made in-house with locally-sourced produce and a sustainable approach. An in-house baker specializes in fresh breads and desserts, while Chef Daisy cooks up menu items such as chickpea chorizo and spinach stew, smoked ribs and beef and lamb kofta meatballs. Order your meal at the walk-up counter during lunch to enjoy inside or on the patio. In the evening, the restaurant transforms to offer a full-service dining experience, complete with candlelight and music. The Daisy also features a retail market showcasing prepared foods and offers a wide selection of wine and beer (both bottled and on tap). (1221 State St. Santa Barbara, CA; Hours: Tues. to Thurs., 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Fri. to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sun. to Mon., 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.) Learn More

Eleven14 Craft House and Kitchen

Tucked away in the historic La Arcada Plaza, Eleven14 Craft House and Kitchen is a top spot for local craft beers, outdoor dining, happy hour and the perfect place for watching the game. This Santa Barbara gastropub has a  sports bar atmosphere inside with an expansive outdoor patio that begs to be shared with family and friends while admiring the city’s signature red-tile roofs and white-washed buildings. During happy hour (Monday to Friday from precisely 3:14 to 6:14 p.m. and all day Sunday) the restaurant offers burgers, flatbreads and bottles of wine for half-off. Bonus: Eleven14 Craft House and Kitchen is dog-friendly. (1114 State St., Santa Barbara, CA; Hours: 11:14 a.m. to 9:14 p.m.) Learn More

Embermill

At Embermill, find “Caribbean food with a Santa Barbara twist” and globally-influenced cuisine by Barbados-raised Chef Harold Welsh. Dishes are made using local and organic ingredients, cooked in an Italian wood-burning oven and packed with just the right amount of flavor and spice. Don’t miss out on Creole creations like the molasses marinated Barbados ribs, traditional crab and shrimp gumbo, and coconut catfish with grits. The menu also offers vegetarian and vegan options like the plantain tempeh wrap with fermented soybeans and avocado Rastafarian eggplant tower with plantain, lentils and roasted zucchini. Seat yourself inside at the 20-foot communal table or grab a table on the patio. (1031 State St., Santa Barbara, CA; Hours: Mon. to Thurs., 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Fri. to Sun., 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. ) Learn More

Feast Cafe

Inside the newly opened home and garden lifestyle store Field + Fort in Summerland, find Feast, a casual cafe offering an all-day menu of local, fresh and seasonal ingredients. Walk-up to the counter to order your food, then sit inside at the communal table amongst shoppers or be seated outside at your own table on the tastefully decorated terrace. Menu items include a variety of egg dishes like baked eggs and seasonal frittata, toasts and fresh pastries, sandwiches, salads and shareable boards with meats, cheeses and spreads. The cafe also serves Joshua Tree Coffee Company coffee, a range of hot teas and other beverages. Afterwards, browse the Field + Fort pantry to take home unique kitchen goods and gifts. (2580 Lillie Ave., Summerland; Hours: Mon. to Sun., 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) Learn More

Flor de Maíz

The Luna family from Guadalajara, creators of Santa Barbara’s crowd-pleasing Los Agaves Restaurants and Santo Mezcal, have launched Flor de Maíz, featuring Oaxacan-style cuisine on Santa Barbara’s waterfront. At Flor de Maíz, in addition to seafood, mole plays a significant role on the menu with dishes like Mole Negro Con Pollo , Mole Verde Con Mahi Mahi and Almendrado Con Lengua De Res to name a few. Their team of mixologists have even created a mixed drink with housemade-mole named The Oaxaca. Grab a cocktail at its lively bar during happy hour or be seated on the patio for views of the Santa Barbara Harbor, Stearns Wharf and Pacific Ocean. (29 E. Cabrillo Blvd., Santa Barbara, CA; Hours: Sun. to Thurs., 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Fri. to Sat., 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.) Learn More

Merci Montecito 

Merci Montecito at the Montecito Country Mart evokes the feeling of a Parisian cafe from the “Merci” sign outside the entrance to its chic (and very Instagrammable) interior with marble countertops, soft lighting, blush-colored booths and tableware. Created by acclaimed pastry chef Elizabeth Colling (former Food Editor of Martha Stewart Living and Martha Stewart Weddings), Merci Montecito is an artisanal cafe serving organic homemade food for breakfast and lunch along with desserts, unique wines and seasonal dinner specials to go. The menu offers everything from an array of beverages and pastry options, soups, salads and vegetables, grains and legumes, sandwiches and tartines to sweets like triple chocolate brownies and gluten-free butterscotch pudding. Say “oui” to Merci! (1028 Coast Village Rd., Montecito; Hours: Mon. to Sat., 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.) Learn More

Oku

Oku is one of the newest additions to the Santa Barbara waterfront, with a lunch and dinner menu that uses the freshest ingredients from Central Coast farmers and local fishermen to make California Asian cuisine. Menu favorites include Wagyu Steak, Japanese Sushi, Chinese Dumplings, Thai Noodles and a variety of seafood dishes. Head up to the rooftop bar for a cocktail paired with a seaside view (try the “Santa Barbara Sling” with local Cutler’s gin) or lounge by the fireplace on the outdoor patio. Owners Tina Takaya and Ted Ellis say the Japanese concept of “Omotenashi,” described as a heightened sense of hospitality and anticipation of a guest’s every need, is at the heart of everything at Oku. (29 E. Cabrillo Blvd., Santa Barbara, CA; Hours: Lunch is served everyday from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. ; Social Hour is everyday from 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Dinner is Sun. to  Thurs., 5:30 to 10 p.m., Fri. and Sat., 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.) Learn More

The Project | Corazon Cocina & Taproom

Cocktails, food and beer can all be found at The Project | Corazon Cocina & Taproom. This new food complex in the Funk Zone showcases second locations of popular Corázon Cocina, a tasty taqueria by Chef Ramon Velazquez known for its ceviches, tacos with handmade tortillas (original location at the Santa Barbara Public Market), and Captain Fatty’s taproom (headquartered just north in Goleta). With a fun and social atmosphere, The Project is perfect for hanging with friends, whether on the open State Street facing patio with a margarita in hand or in the taproom with a burger and a pint. Captain Fatty’s offers a selection of over 20 craft-brewed beers. (214 State St., Santa Barbara, CA; Hours: Mon. to Thurs., 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Fri., 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sat., 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., Sun., 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Dinner at 4 p.m. with kitchen closing Mon. to Wed. and Sun. at 9 p.m.; Weekend Brunch is 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Happy Hour is 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.) Learn More

Wabi Sabi Sushi Bar

Inside the Santa Barbara Public Market, find Wabi Sabi, a sushi bar helmed by Chef Buck Thananaken offering an array of sushi, sashimi, sushi rolls and other Japanese cuisines. Try the Carpaccio appetizer with tuna, salmon and yellowtail or a specialty roll topped with local uni (sea urchin) from the Santa Barbara Channel Islands. Take a meal to go or park at the bar to watch as your food is prepared. True sushi lovers will appreciate Wabi Sabi’s use of fresh, quality seafood and ingredients that go into every dish. (38 W. Victoria St. #119, Santa Barbara, CA; Hours: Mon. to Sun., 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.) Learn More