As the hub of Santa Barbara’s culinary, shopping, and social scene, State Street is home to some of the area’s most memorable restaurants, cafés and eateries. Spanning from Upper State all the way down to Stearns Wharf, the bustling blocks of State Street are lined with charming boutiques, energy-filled restaurants, low-lit romantic bistros, and the occasional musical tidings from local performers. And now, for the first time in our city’s history, the heart of State Street has been transformed into a pedestrian promenade between Sola Street and Haley Street. In addition to being social distance friendly, this transformation enabled restaurants to expand their outdoor dining offerings. So, whether you’re craving fresh sushi, spicy sea scallop curry, or a melt-in-your-mouth burrito mojado, you’re sure to find a spot on State Street that satisfies your palate.
Translating to “crazy little girl” in Spanish, Loquita is a burgeoning Spanish tapas restaurant on the intersection between State Street and E. Yanonali, and is guaranteed to provide a festive dining experience. Open daily for dinner and drink service, Loquita is the epitome of a magnetic atmosphere and has the innovative dishes to prove it. Swoop a spot here for prime State Street viewing, and don’t forget to try the carpaccio–it’s incredible!
A fixture of lower State Street, Santo Mezcalembraces lively flavor and a vast collection of tequilas and mezcals to create a one-of-a-kind dining experience. The incredible appetizers, such as the pulpo a las brasas or the ceviche verde, are complemented by the unique bar selection as well as the fascinating artwork hung strategically around the space. Grab a drink and a bite to eat at this favorite and prepare to be sent into culinary bliss.
Pascucci Restaurant has been filling bellies with delicious Italian classics for decades. The vast menu runs the gamut from pastas and paninis to pizzas and piccatas. The children’s menu caters to both picky and adventurous little ones, with chicken tenders, kid-sized lasagna and simple pastas. The family-friendly restaurant also welcomes dogs on their patio.
Unassuming from the outside, Bibi Ji is anything but once you cross the threshold into the hip, colorful space. The modern Indian establishment boasts some of the most flavorful, creative menu items in town and the service is top-notch. Dishes include freshly caught Santa Barbara uni biryani, coconut curry, tikka masala, and an assortment of tangy chutneys such as mint and coriander, jalapeño, and pineapple. Don’t miss the extensive beer and wine lists to pair with your unforgettable meal.
Having just recently celebrated the joint’s 90th anniversary, you can be sure that Joe’s Cafe means business when it comes to classic American comfort food. The diner-style interiors are reminiscent of the early 20th century, complete with a jukebox and red booth seating. During the holidays, look for Joe’s iconic upside down Christmas tree as you enjoy one of the stiffest drinks in town.
Rustic and industrial, Eureka!’s fully-stocked bar and bustling kitchen prove that pairing a burger and beer can become an irresistible culinary duo. Think the Fresno fig burger, complete with fig marmalade, melted goat cheese, bacon, tomato, red onion, arugula and spicy porter mustard, paired with an ice-cold brew from one of Santa Barbara’s local breweries. But Eureka! doesn’t stop at burgers. Be sure to try their fresh salads, seafood, tasty appetizers, and unbeatable happy hour (daily 3:00-6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.- Close) offering the opportunity to try local craft beers and small batch liquor.
Beer and bike lovers gather at The Cruisery. The brewpub’s menu of elevated eats includes decadent appetizers, street tacos, burgers, flatbreads and salads. While beer is absolutely The Cruisery’s signature libation, their cocktail program is equally spot on. Weekend brunch and happy hour are prime times to grab a table and grub down.
Family owned and operated Holdren’s Steaks & Seafood has that classic steakhouse vibe, and you don’t have to be a meat lover to appreciate it. The seafood menu is just as broad as the steaks and chops—the Cioppino is particularly excellent. All entrees come with a choice of soup or salad as well as you pick of a hearty side like twice-baked potatoes, making it a good value.
If you like being in the center of the action, then Benchmark Eateryis a go-to for your next lunch or dinner date. Located on the corner of State and Anapamu, Benchmark’s outdoor patio and 360-degree bar make for the perfect spot to socialize and savor a wide variety of dishes. Sip on a happy hour chardonnay at the bar before heading out to First Thursday, the first Thursday of every month, when neighboring art galleries in Downtown Santa Barbara open their doors for a glimpse at truly astounding pieces.
Looking for a cozy, romantic dinner with a loved one that is within walking distance of bars, shopping, and entertainment? The Chase Restaurant and Lounge boasts some of the most divine New York-style Italian food and a delectable wine selection. The intimate atmosphere is a perfect pairing with the State Street location as you can plan a whole night out with your partner, or simply enjoy each other’s company under Chase’s twinkling lights for hours.
Embermill serves Caribbean Creole cuisine interpreted through a Californian lens. Chef Harold Welch hails from Barbados and has had a presence in Santa Barbara’s restaurant community for more than 25 years. Embermill is his newest endeavor. The menu utilizes the woodfired oven and features diaspora-inspired dishes like Jerk Chicken, Slow Braised Beef Cheeks and Fried Plantains with Guava.
Situated in the heart of Santa Barbara’s Historic Theatre District, opal restaurant and bar is an ideal spot to grab a bite before catching a show at one of Santa Barbara’s coveted theatres. Serving a variety of eclectic plates, opal offers tantalizing lunch and dinner options, such as black pepper-crusted ahi tuna and homemade basil fettuccine with sautéed tiger shrimp. Whether your taste buds are calling for a crisp Caesar salad or a hearty ribeye, opal restaurant and bar has you covered. Don’t forget to try a drink off their specialty cocktail list. Fresh ginger mandarin cosmo anyone?
Coconut cake lovers take heed! Jane Restaurant is known for their decadent desserts and fresh-off-the-grill classics that are sure to make a lasting impression. Hungry patrons can head to Jane to feast on a wide array of dishes such as veal marsala, grilled salmon, and seared ahi paired with crisp local wines. Located at the hub of Santa Barbara’s Historic Theatre District, Jane Restaurant is the ideal lunch or dinner stop during a day out with friends and family.
The Uptown location of Jeannine’s beckons early birds in search of morning coffee and delicious pastries. The café also keeps locals coming back for more of their wholesome, flavorful made-to-order breakfast and lunch items. The expanded weekend brunch menu goes really big on benedict and pancake varieties.
For a classic, All-American breakfast, look no further than Farmer Boy on Upper State Street. The restaurant, a Santa Barbara staple since 1958, serves up local favorites including everything from chicken and waffles to veggie scrambles and cinnamon rolls, and that’s just breakfast! The old-school style booth and bar seating offer prime socializing, where you’ll want to nibble on your steak and eggs all morning long as you enjoy the family-friendly atmosphere. One of the best parts of Farmer Boy? Dessert is available all day long. The fresh baked pies are sure to be a delicious end to your meal.
A nation-wide favorite, Islands is known for their “surf’s up” attitude and casual tropical theme. Order a mai tai and hand cut fries while watching the game, and treat the whole family to Hawaiian-style burgers, grilled chicken tacos, and fresh seafood. The Hawaiian atmosphere is a favorite among those with kiddos to keep entertained, as you can be sure there is no shortage of tropical birds, surf boards, and other islander décor spread throughout the restaurant.
Established in 1967, Chuck’s of Hawaii has been bringing the aloha spirit to uptown for more than 50 years. Naturally, the steakhouse has a loyal following for its Mai Tais. Here, you don’t have to choose between steak and seafood—the menu features many surf and turf duos like steak and scallops as well as the traditional steak and lobster.
Located in La Cumbre Plaza, Lure Fish House is a family-owned restaurant committed to consciously sourced sustainable seafood and organic produce. Pescatarians go crazy for their diverse fish preparations that include ceviches, fish tacos and oysters. For the non-fish eaters, the menu also features a burger and chicken sandwich in addition to tons of veggie salads and sides.
BENCHMARK eatery is uniquely situated in the heart and soul of Santa Barbara’s business and cultural arts district. With a 360 degree bar and outdoor patio, Benchmark is fast becoming a gathering hub for all of downtown. It’s…
Bibi Ji is not your typical Indian joint. Bibi Ji of downtown Santa Barbara, is the latest of the collection of acclaimed restaruants, Babu Ji of NYC, Horn Please and Babu Ji of Melbourne, Australia and Dhaba of Kyneton, Australia who are all…
The Chase Restaurant and Lounge is a Santa Barbara landmark for over 37 years serving the best authentic New York style Italian food in the most romantic atmosphere in the city. The Chase is perfect for all occasions. This restaurant is a MUST SEE…
Re-opened to great anticipation in 2015, the new Farmer Boy Restaurant is a fresh take on a classic diner that has been a local favorite since 1958. Open for breakfast and lunch on Santa Barbara’s North Side, Farmer Boy offers a current…
Loquita serves authentic Spanish food including hot and cold tapas, wood-fire grilled seafood and meats, and seasonal paella. The Mediterranean climate and terroir of Santa Barbara County mirror that of Spain, making the translation of locally…
A local's favorite, opal restaurant and bar infuses an Eclectic California Cuisine with creative influences from around the World. Our chefs use the freshest of ingredients to create dishes inspired by the colorful multi-cultural heritage of…
From bagels and baked goods to burgers and ice cream sundaes, the following 10 pop-ups have earned loyal followings for their creative, quality fare. Foodies in the know strategize their schedules to ensure they don’t miss a bite, and with a little advanced Instagram reconnaissance, so can you.