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 Santa Barbara South Coast restaurants are cooking up with the ingredients of the season. From casual to refined and everything in between, this fresh crop of eateries is ripe for your restaurant picking.
Rooftop dining just got nautical at Anchor Rose in the Santa Barbara Harbor, where coastal Californian cuisine and sweeping oceanfront views create one of the most iconic ways to watch a sunset in The American Riviera®. Sit back and enjoy the blissful scenery as you sip craft cocktails and savor the perfect piece of local fish. Located conveniently above the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum and steps away from the beach, this stop is certainly warranted during your next stay in Santa Barbara.
Bringing an elevated, Mexican-influenced menu to downtown Santa Barbara, Augie’s is the perfect marriage between authenticity and eccentricity. Renowned architect Jeff Shelton was at the design helm for this State Street project and it brings a unique visual flare to the city’s restaurant scene. These course-forward offerings happen to be primarily gluten-free with plenty of vegan options, in addition to using fresh local fare ranging from fish caught in the Santa Barbara Channel to produce picked just miles away. A main focal point of the space, aside from the impressive palm tree poking up through the entrance’s open air courtyard, is the towering wall of high-end tequilas and agave spirits.
The Black Sheep “SB Brasserie,” French-Californian eatery that previously made its way on Santa Barbara’s must-try restaurants list, is back in a new location in downtown Santa Barbara with a thoughtfully reimagined menu. With a Santa Barbara and French influence in its cuisine, The Black Sheep brings creative dishes like wagyu tartare, fresh uni caught in the Santa Barbara Channel and stone crab beignets to the plates of its loyal cult following and newcomers alike.
Ramon Velazquez, owner of the popular Corazón Cocina—a restaurant that has earned a well-deserved Bib Gourmand—has opened another delicious eatery, Corazón Comedor. Pulling inspiration from traditional Mexican dishes passed down through generations, Corazon Comedor brings new life to the simplicity of good, authentic dishes with menu items like tamales, tacos, enchiladas and more. The warm, inviting dining space of Corazón Comedor is reminiscent of taking a step into your abuela’s kitchen.
After the original restaurant closed in 2020, a new and improved version of the beloved Dutch Garden on State Street returns to bring German cuisine back on Santa Barbara’s radar. With offerings from schnitzel plates to a wide variety of authentic European beer on tap, Dutch Garden is your one-stop joint when you want to transport to Europe for a meal.
L’antica Pizzeria da Michele is a Neapolitan pizzeria, which debuted its first U.S. location in the heart of Hollywood back in 2019, and has officially made its way to The American Riviera®. The original Naples location sells only two kinds of pizza—marinara and margherita—thus creating a world-wide demand for its delectable pies. The Santa Barbara-exclusive menu includes the Bianca al Tartufo pizza (fresh mozzarella, pecorino, basil and truffle) and the polipo appetizer (braised Spanish octopus) Using authentic recipes with ingredients sourced from Naples and a brick oven to bake the pizzas to perfection, this downtown treasure is sure to transport you to Italy with just one bite.
Downtown Santa Barbara gets another taste of Japanese cuisine—and it’s not just sushi. Japanese food encompasses a wide variety of dishes that venture far from the well-known raw varieties. Indulge in Mokutan’s specialty hot plates like the grilled meat skewers, grilled fish and bentos or pick from its seafood and crudo menu for a refreshing taste straight from the ocean. With daily fish selections from major seafood destinations like Japan, Spain and right from our own backyard, you’ll get a different omakase spread with every visit. Visit before 4 p.m. and snag lunch combos featuring items like shrimp and vegetable tempura, yakisoba, sashimi and more.
What could be more enticing than to step back in time to gilded ceilings, black marble floors, luxurious leather booths and fire-grilled steaks? The infamous Las Vegas steakhouse Rare Society was frequented by the likes of Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack, and Chef Brad Wise’s reimagination of the eatery has already made a name for itself with two spots in San Diego. Santa Barbara has now welcomed the retro-inspired installment with open arms, located conveniently between State Street and The Funk Zone. Think: open flame grills, an exhibition kitchen where you’ll watch your meal be hand-prepared and of course, the endless menu choices. Dine on wagyu, ribeye and pork chop, alongside truffled creamed spinach, ricotta ravioli and more. If you want the true Rare Society experience, order either the Executive or Associate Boards—a selection of chef-determined cuts of the night paired with various sauces. Who knew taking a trip down memory lane could be so delicious?
Photo credit: Matt Furman, Courtesy of Visit Santa Barbara
Tucked away on Montecito Street next to Santa Barbara Brewhouse and walking distance to The Funk Zone, Rodeo Room combines sultry romance and elevated ambiance with a laidback attitude at its ornate bar and eatery. The dimly lit space is the perfect intimate spot to enjoy a meal, catch up with friends or meet a date for drinks. Start by ordering one of its curated Old Fashioned cocktails, like the Peanut Butter Falcon or a creatively handmade libation like the Kaimana Cruiser, before snagging one of the booths under the massive Texas Longhorn skull to share appetizers. The menu ranges from crispy Korean chicken wings to salmon poke tacos, so trust us when we say you’ll want to try them all.
The Mediterranean-inspired Saint Remy inside the Courtyard Marriott serves a vibrant breakfast, lunch and dinner spread along the just-as-vibrant State Street. At Saint Remy, locally sourced ingredients highlight the menu, making for an innovative selection of coastal fare. Nosh on small plates meant for sharing, like the prosecco poached shrimp or falafel, or indulge in larger portions like the lamb meatballs with polenta and chicken puttanesca among the retro-inspired interior design.
Gyro, kebab and falafel lovers will rejoice at the opening of Taza Mediterranean Street Kitchen on lower State Street. Feast on the signature chicken shawarma plate, served with saffron basmati rice, salad, hummus, pita and dipping sauces as you watch the daily lunch activity of the corridor, or stop by for dinner to enjoy a kefta spiced salmon wrap with mint lebna, the Taza poutine (shoestring fries, tzatziki “white sauce,” tomato and chickpea slaw, fried capers, feta cheese and taza sauce), or a hearty fattoush salad. Not only do the kitchen’s hours extend past midnight on weekends (a necessity after a late night out), but the incredible variety of food options will have you returning over and over again.
With a brand-new Asian-fusion, plant-forward menu, the reimagined Tyger Tyger returns to its Yanonali location in The Funk Zone next to its former neighbor, Dart Coffee. Using locally sourced ingredients and creative techniques, there’s everything from refreshing to comforting on this dish list for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The Fried Yuba Sandwich hits the spot if you’re craving a chicken sandwich—minus the chicken. Instead, the head chef uses tofu skin to mimic the crispy and hearty texture of the real thing. Or, opt for something on the lighter side with the Tea Leaf Noodle Salad, a delightful mixture of kelp noodles with assorted romaine and veggies topped with a fermented green tea dressing.
Healthy and delicious Thai food is reconceptualized at Thai Bistro in the heart of Santa Barbara, where diners can enjoy colorful favorites like tom kha soup, papaya salad, yellow curry and pad Thai, or venture over to the restaurant’s more unique dishes like pineapple fried rice, garlic pepper spareribs and duck curry.
The creators of Oku bring a groovy new restaurant, We Want The Funk, to The Funk Zone neighborhood, where patrons can dine on a variety of starters like oysters and tempura green beans, wood-fired flatbreads and refreshing salads. Cheers with local beer and wine under the disco ball and eclectic murals and boogie the night away to live music.
Rosewood Miramar Beach has introduced its on-property omakase-style restaurant AMA Sushi, where guests enjoy dozens of hand-prepared nigiri intricately dressed in a myriad of flavors. The term “omakase” means “chef’s choice,” so you will be further surprised and delighted with each bite, and the name AMA honors the legacy of Japanese freediving women who braved the ocean waves to gather oysters, fish and more. The fresh seafood used for each course is incomparable, and the exclusive 13-seat dining room makes for an incredibly intimate atmosphere. AMA also offers a vast selection of wine, sake and unique cocktails. You will not want to miss this highly coveted experience.
From fast-casual dining to luxurious feasts, Santa Barbara is known for its booming restaurant scene, especially those that are dog-friendly. And what better way to toast to a vacation in California paradise than with your beloved four-legged best friend? Keep this list of dog-friendly restaurants in Santa Barbara handy during your next trip to The American Riviera®; we promise they’re pup-approved.
We asked a nearly impossible question—and you answered! “Where is the best breakfast burrito in Santa Barbara?” you say? On Instagram, fans of @VisitSantaBarbara passionately told us where to get their favorite breakfast burritos, which yielded a plethora of options: from the classic egg, cheese and bacon combinations to outside-of-the-box breakfast creations that incorporate ingredients like goat cheese or nopales…