New Restaurants in Santa Barbara

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.

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Yetz's Bagels

Savor the taste of New York-style bagels at Yetz’s Bagels inside Dank Bowl Kitchen, where you can enjoy a variety of fresh-baked bagels, from classic flavors to inventive creations, all served with a variety of spreads and toppings. Located in the heart of Isla Vista, Yetz’s Bagels offers a deliciously satisfying experience for bagel aficionados seeking a taste of the East Coast.

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Maíz Picante

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

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Best BBQ

Savor the smoky flavors and irresistible aromas of feel-good barbecue cuisine at Best BBQ in downtown Santa Barbara. Whether you choose the plate of tender brisket or a rack of mouthwatering ribs, every dish is slow-cooked to perfection and served with flavor-packed homemade sauces. Take a break from the hustle and bustle of State Street and step inside to experience this brand-new, barbecue enthusiast-approved dining destination.

Photo courtesy of Best BBQ

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Bite into chicken and waffles like never before at Bruxie, tucked away in the heart of Santa Barbara’s Paseo Nuevo Shopping Center. Indulge in Belgian-inspired waffle creations ranging from savory to sweet, all crafted with locally sourced ingredients and innovative flair made fresh every day. Whether you’re craving a crispy fried chicken waffle sandwich or a decadent dessert waffle filled with fresh fruit, Bruxie invites you to indulge every savory (or sweet) bite for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Photo courtesy of Bruxie

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Experience a modern food hall like no other at SocialEats in Isla Vista, where diverse flavors from around the world converge in a delicious quick-service setting. Indulge in a variety of global cuisines, from Asian street food to Latin American specialties, all prepared with fresh ingredients and innovative twists. Located in the college neighborhood of Isla Vista, adjacent to the University of California, Santa Barbara (technically in the city of Goleta), this one-stop dining joint is perfect for on-the-go meals to fuel your next adventure.

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Kin Bakeshop

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.

Photo credit: @kinbakeshop via Instagram

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Pokewaves stands out for its use of premium ingredients like bright orange Scottish salmon and deep red bluefin tuna. The restaurant offers both signature bowls, such as the Ponzu Salmon and Hawaiʻi Classic, and customizable options with a variety of fresh proteins and unique sauces. Its commitment to freshness and quality in between Goleta and Santa Barbara makes it a must-visit for poke enthusiasts.

Photo credit: @enjoythebite_805 via Instagram

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Three Monkeys

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.

Photo credit: @threemonkeyssb

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Santa Barbara Pizza House

Santa Barbara Pizza House offers a fusion of Chicago’s deep-dish legacy and Naples’ artisanal heritage in its pizzas. The restaurant excels in creating pizzas with delicious crusts, flavorful sauces and fresh mozzarella. This unique combination of styles creates a harmonious balance of flavors and textures, celebrating the iconic pizza traditions from both cities.

Photo credit: @sbpizzahouse via Instagram

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Goodland Waffles and Melts

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

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Taqueria La Unica

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.

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Silvers Omakase

A visit to Silvers Omakase is a journey for the senses in Santa Barbara’s ever-bustling Funk Zone. This exclusive new dining experience offers a chef’s choice tasting menu showcasing the finest Japanese cuisine by chef/owner Lennon Silvers Lee, with an emphasis on fresh seafood and top-notch ingredients. While the experience may come with a premium cost, the impeccable flavors, elegant presentation and thoughtful ambiance make Silvers Omakase a must-visit destination for foodies.

Photo credit: Ryan Mayo

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Café La Fonda

Café La Fonda, a family-owned restaurant located across the street from the Santa Barbara County Courthouse, celebrates the richness of Hispanic heritage through traditional cuisine with a creative twist. The chef and owner infuses his grandmother’s recipes with his own artistic flair, offering guests a unique dining experience that goes beyond just food. Renowned for its warm hospitality, Café La Fonda is more than a restaurant; it’s a place where every customer is treated like family and invited to be part of the restaurant’s story.

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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.

Photo credit: Courtesy of Marketing 24 Seven Hotels

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Azul Cocina and Cantina

Azul Cocina and Cantina offers an innovative take on traditional Mexican cuisine, masterfully prepared by executive chef Manny Diaz using the finest local ingredients. This vibrant eatery is a culinary highlight right off State Street, bringing a lively atmosphere and modern twist on classic flavors to downtown Santa Barbara. Guests can enjoy an array of unique tequila and mezcal cocktails, alongside a selection of seasonal wines, perfectly paired with the restaurant’s fresh and inventive dishes.

Photo credit: @azulcocinasb via Instagram

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Beast Taqueria

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.

Photo credit: @beasttaqueria via Instagram

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