Outdoor Dining in Santa Barbara

In Santa Barbara, there’s no better way to enjoy a meal than by pairing it with seaside views and the splendor of the great outdoors. Lucky for us (and you), Santa Barbara’s restaurant community continues to maximize its outdoor dining spaces and has creatively elevated its al fresco footprint so you can savor regional cuisine in beautiful outdoor settings.

To view a full list of restaurants with outdoor dining experiences, click here. For those looking for specific, stand-out recommendations, use this guide to dine by neighborhood in the Santa Barbara South Coast.

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WATERFRONT

Mother Nature gives an extra boost to the airflow at waterfront establishments that pair serene ocean views with delicious fare. After your meal, take a stroll along the Cabrillo Bike Path.

Boathouse at Hendry’s Beach

Boathouse at Hendry’s Beach serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily from their iconic location right above Hendry’s Beach—aka Arroyo Burro Beach. Securing a table on their existing outdoor patio is even more enviable these days given the incredible setting, especially at sunset. Consider Boathouse for a hearty brunch, fish tacos, and burgers or a massive seafood platter and martinis.

Photo by @sb_boathouse via Instagram

Convivo Restaurant & Bar

Convivo Restaurant & Bar is outfitted with a prime patio that looks directly out onto the mellow swells of East Beach. The setting is elegant enough for a special occasion while being equally relaxed for casual happy hour sips and bites. The Mediterranean-inspired menu features wood-fired flatbreads and pizzas, house-made pastas, bright salads and smaller plates.

Photo by @convivo_sb via Instagram

Oku

A relative newcomer to the dining scene from a longtime Santa Barbara restaurateur, Oku specializes in Asian-fusion cuisine prepared with the freshest seafood and seasonal produce. Think sushi, dumplings, Thai noodles, and artful preparations of local catch like spot prawns and sea urchin. In addition to their patio dining room and rooftop bar, Oku added outdoor seating adjacent to the restaurant that lights up at sunset with strategically placed lanterns and glowing heat lamps.

Photo credit: @okurestaurant via Instagram

Santa Barbara FisHouse

Santa Barbara FisHouse is nestled on Cabrillo Boulevard with views of the beach and Stearns Wharf. Serving lunch and dinner daily, the breezy patio area features a firepit and string lights that add extra ambiance after the sun goes down. Naturally, the menu is seafood-centric and as fresh as it gets. And you’re welcome to bring your pups.

Photo credit: @sb_fishouse via Instagram

Santa Barbara Shellfish Co.

The closest you can get to being on the water without hopping on a boat is spending time on Stearns Wharf, where you can hit Santa Barbara Shellfish Co. The casual eatery originated as a fish market and has been serving the local community and visitors for more than 40 years. Best known for their crab dishes, this longstanding establishment also makes a mean shrimp ceviche, lobster roll and clam chowder. Dine on the limited patio or order to-go and enjoy your meal on the beach.

Photo credit: Elliot Hawkey

Shoreline Café

You can literally sink your feet in the sand at West Beach when you dine at laid-back Shoreline Café. The café features both a big patio and a selection of tables right on the beach. Their breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus feature Mexican dishes and classic Californian fare that appeal to a wide range of dietary preferences. Plus, it’s very kid-friendly!

Photo by @kesslerramirez via Instgram

DOWNTOWN/FUNK ZONE

Between State Street’s big transformation into a pedestrian promenade and the continuation of creative parklets, Downtown and the Funk Zone channel that European outdoor dining vibe—with a Californian twist, of course.

Bouchon

One of Santa Barbara’s most romantic restaurants, Bouchon Santa Barbara expanded its outdoor dining to include seating tucked in the courtyard and laneways of Victoria Court. A few tables are situated on an elevated outdoor deck and the overall al fresco ambiance feels very European—complete with peek-a-boo views of the Arlington Theatre’s spire. Between the stellar service and artful presentation, Bouchon has maintained its signature relaxed fine dining flair. It’s a top choice for celebrating a special occasion or simply feasting on standout wine country cuisine in an intimate setting under the stars.

Green Table

Health conscious diners and the sustainably-minded flock to Green Table on De La Guerra for vegetarian and gluten-free daytime eats. The restaurant is also popular with matcha fans thanks to the vast selection of drinks and smoothies. Place an order and grab a seat at its boho, eco-chic parklet just across the sidewalk from the storefront.

Photo credit: @greentablesb via Instagram

Loquita

Another top Tapas spot, Loquita can be found in the Funk Zone on lower State Street. The dinner-only restaurant’s patio oozes Santa Barbara ambiance, from the tile work to the abundant bougainvillea. Additionally, the size of the patio makes it possible for more lucky diners to savor Spanish flavors and deliciously noteworthy gin and tonics.

Photo credit: @loquitasb via Instagram

Lucky Penny

Pizza is also the star of the table at Lucky Penny in the Funk Zone. The simple menu of griddled paninis, wood-fired pizzas, salads and small plates bursts with vibrant seasonal flavors. Be sure to take photos in front of the highly Instagrammable penny wall!

Photo credit: @luckypennysb via Instagram

Milk & Honey Tapas

Spanish tapas and award-winning cocktails are on the menu at Milk & Honey. The restaurant, tucked off State Street, creates a moody and inviting atmosphere that even trickles into its outdoor patio space. Stop by this local staple for happy hour drinks and tapas before setting off on your next Santa Barbara adventure.

Photo credit: @milknhoneytapas via Instagram

Opal Restaurant & Bar

A longtime local favorite on a quieter stretch of State Street, Opal Restaurant & Bar offers outdoor seating with views of the historic Arlington Theatre marquee. Opal serves dinner nightly, with many items from the menu regulars know well and love—pizzas, pastas, seafood and classic entrees like filet mignon and chicken picatta.

Santa Barbara Public Market

Diners can now savor cuisine from the popular vendors at the Santa Barbara Public Market in patio seating area along Victoria Street, an inviting parklet complete with hedges and umbrellas. There’s even a big TV screen for sports fans who want to tune into the MLB and NBA action. So, order your food and beverages inside at spots like Empty Bowl, Fala Bar, Corazon Cocina and Wabi Sabi Sushi Bar, and then settle in on the patio to relax and enjoy.

Photo credit: @santabarbarapublicmarket via Instagram

Shalhoobs Meat Company

Family-run Shalhoobs Meat Company is quintessential Santa Barbara through and through. Its Funk Zone restaurant was already appointed with a sizable outdoor patio on a concrete lot—it’s a comfortable, relaxed place to enjoy barbecued delights featuring mindfully-sourced proteins and produce.

BEYOND DOWNTOWN

From Summerland and Montecito to Goleta, these eateries are slightly off-the-beaten path. Tried-and-true local go-to’s with attractive outdoor seating options, it’s worth your while to seek them out.

Creekside Restaurant & Bar

Located between upper State Street and Goleta, Creekside Restaurant & Bar is open for patio dining every day of the week. Covered with a canopy for sun protection, picnic tables line the sizable space where diners can dig into all-American fare. 

Feast

If you find yourself in the Summerland vicinity, make a point to grab a bite to eat on the sunny patio of Feast inside Field + Fort. The café’s menu was made for an elevated picnic, with lovely locales like Lookout Park and Summerland Beach nearby. The breakfast items, sandwiches and heartier “feasts” provide gourmet fuel for days spent in the water or on the trails.

Photo credit: @fieldfort via Instagram

Hitching Post 2

Over the hill in wine country, Hitching Post 2 has a roomy outdoor tent on the grounds of its legendary restaurant property, perfect for enjoying its signature Santa Maria-style barbecue grilled over red oak in this alfresco country western setting. From steaks and seafood to artichokes and ribs, any dinner at Hitching Post 2 pairs well with its equally beloved range of Hartley Ostini Hitching Post wines. If you visit during the day, the winery on the same grounds serves lunch and has picnic table seating under the shade of trees.

Photo credit: @hitchingpost2 via Instagram

Jeannine’s Restaurant & Bakery

The patio vibe of the Montecito Jeannine’s Restaurant & Bakery location is another top outdoor choice among this equally esteemed local mini-chain’s four outposts. Sit back at one of the sidewalk café tables in the garden-like setting, an extention of its original lattice-fenced patio area. The breakfast and lunch menus are inherently brunch-y, healthy and delicious.

Photo credit: @tortuguerox via Instagram