Photo of Terra courtesy of Twenty Four Seven Hotels
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.
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.
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.
Thai- and Vietnamese-fusion restaurant, Three Monkeys, has opened in Santa Barbara Public Market not too far from Empty Bowl Gourmet Noodle Bar, the creators of this new establishment. Three Monkey brings traditional Thai and Vietnamese street food to Santa Barbara’s culinary scene with an innovative blend of some of the most iconic dishes from each nationality. The variety of menu options include selections from the grill (chicken and beef skewers, fried chicken, etc.) bento-style boxes, a selection of bánh mi, salads and traditional Thai desserts like mango sticky rice and Thai roti to satisfy your sweet tooth, this addition to the popular market is certainly as flavorful as it is buzz-worthy.
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.
No two visits to Gala Restaurant will ever be the same, and that’s thanks to its ever-changing menu and the owners’ drive to feature the most fresh and available seafood and local harvest. The warm and chic interior, long, inviting bar top and ample outdoor seating make for the perfect place to enjoy happy hour—a specialty of Gala Restaurant. Sip on a refreshing glass of sangria and enjoy discounted kusshi oysters at this buzzy new eatery. Or, opt for fresh uni, California spiny lobster or razor clams, depending on the catch of the day.
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.
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.
Kin Bakeshop is a haven for doughnut enthusiasts. Originally a pandemic popup, this beloved bakery has now established its brick-and-mortar presence due to its immense popularity. Indulge in meticulously crafted doughnuts that are as tasty as they are pleasing to the eye, such as strawberry lychee and crème brûlée, housed within a delectable Hokkaido brioche donut. The bakery also caters to gluten-free individuals with a range of gluten-free doughnut options.
Taqueria La Unica, another project helmed by Los Agaves Group (the group that brought Santa Barbara Los Agaves Restaurant, Flor de Maíz and Santo Mezcal) serves up both familiar street food favorites and traditional bites for the more adventurous. Awaken your palate with some tasty pinto beans with cheese or opt for the caldo tijuana, a traditional beef broth served with your choice of meat, cilantro and onion. You’ll find a variety of different styles of tacos on the menu, such as crispy lengua (tongue) and soft corn cabeza (head). All ingredients are made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients.
Experience culinary brilliance at Beast Taqueria, located within M. Special Brewing Co. on State Street. Helmed by owner Ramon Velazquez of Corazón Cocina, this hotspot offers an irresistible selection of flavorful Mexican food. Choose from a mouthwatering array of burritos, tortas, fresh salads, tacos (with unique options like its smash burger and Mar & Toro taco) and pair these delectable dishes with the beloved local brewery’s refreshing lagers.
Mexican street food is Maíz Picante’s specialty—in fact, it was the owners of popular Santo Mezcal that brought it to fruition—giving Maíz Picante street cred when it comes to serving authentic Mexican food. This quaint, fast-casual eatery serves everything from enchiladas to quesa birria tacos, in addition to quite a few vegetarian options beyond roasted veggies, a commonly found meat substitute for many Mexican dishes. (Think: Beyond steak and pastor.)
Photo credit: @glutenfreesantabarbara via Instagram
Located in one of Santa Barbara’s newest hotels, Drift Santa Barbara, Dawn and Dusk add a modern yet eccentric flair to State Street, catering to both early risers and night owls. Inspired by laid-back California surf culture, Dawn offers creative and invigorating coffee concoctions accompanied by fresh local pastries from Helena Avenue Bakery. On the other hand, Dusk, a Baja California-inspired cocktail and raw bar, opens later in the afternoon, offering an extensive selection of tequila- and agave spirit-forward beverages infused with a rainbow of housemade syrups. Indulge in delicious tapas and an array of oysters on the half-shell at Dusk, completing the enticing experience.
The owners of SB Sweets have brought Elena’s Kitchen to life on State Street, featuring traditional, authentic Mexican food like street tacos, quesadillas, chilaquiles, and pozole. In addition to the mouthwatering, flavorful dishes, owners Julio Rodriguez and Maria Elan Rangel pay homage to their roots in crepe-making. And, there’s nothing better than ordering a refreshing agua fresca alongside your meal on a warm day; choose from horchata, strawberry, watermelon and cucumber. The restaurant space, formerly a sushi and shabu-shabu restaurant, provides a unique family-style dining experience for guests that isn’t typical to your average Mexican eatery.
Immerse yourself in the world of local and fresh California cuisine at Terra, the onsite dining experience at The Steward, Santa Barbara, a Tribute Portfolio in Goleta. Start your day with a delightful breakfast with a selection of signature toast options and end it on a savory note with a delicious dinner all at the same place, featuring the finest in farm-to-table fare. Terra proudly embraces its connection to culinary traditions, as its one of the first places with a recorded recipe for avocado toast. For a casual lunch, explore the marketplace and grab convenient and tasty items to enjoy on-the-go amidst the serene beauty of our lush garden setting—a perfect spot for a delightful picnic.
Inside Mosaic Locale is a unique joint that slings waffles from across the spectrum. Savory, sweet, Belgian—Goodland Waffles and Melts has taken waffle-making to new heights. Indulge in the Schmear This, a lox bagel-inspired dish that features an everything-seasoned waffle, cured salmon, lemon-caper schmear, tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, oil and vinegar, or sink your teeth into one of the decadent melts (Arti-Havarati Parti, anyone?) made for cheesy, lunchtime bliss.
Photo credit: @goodlandwafflesandmelts via Instagram