Restaurants with Amazing Wine Lists

Wine plays a starring role in Santa Barbara’s culinary landscape thanks to a thriving, world-class wine country located right in our backyard. Santa Barbara County is home to more than 200 wineries, many of which are small, family-owned and operated enterprises. That means there are some boutique wines you can only try and buy locally, be it directly at the wineries or at area restaurants and wine bars. Our restaurant community takes pride in curating compelling wine lists that showcase local winemaking talent and the unique terroir of the region—and offering wine selections that pair beautifully with impeccably-crafted seasonal cuisine. Skilled sommeliers and service professionals are passionate about sharing their knowledge and new discoveries with guests and are always at the ready to help you navigate their ever-changing wine lists. 

To steer you to these wine ambassadors and the best of the best local wine cellars, we’ve rounded up a guide to some of the most palate-pleasing Santa Barbara restaurants with standout wine lists. Cheers!

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Montecito Restaurants

Caruso’s

Caruso’s, the signature fine dining establishment at the luxurious Rosewood Miramar Beach, is perched above the sands of Montecito’s famed Miramar Beach. Chef Massimo Falsini brings his global background and Michelin star power to The American Riviera® with a menu of Italian-influenced cuisine that integrates ingredients sourced from local farmers, fishermen, and ranchers. The four-course prix fixe dinner format easily accommodates a variety of dietary preferences and even includes a dedicated vegan menu for plant-based diners. The extensive wine list offers both hyperlocal and international wine selections that will appeal to all palates. There’s a sense of ceremony to dining at Caruso’s and guests are asked to contribute to that by honoring the “casual elegance” dress code. Learn More

Photo Credit: @rosewoodmiramarbeach via Instagram

Lucky’s Steakhouse

Lucky’s Steakhouse is a Montecito institution owned by the founder of Lucky Brand Jeans, Gene Montesano. Considered the “second living room” for Montecito residents, the restaurant’s communal atmosphere makes the people watching as entertaining as what’s presented on the plate and in the glass. Dinner is available nightly, lunch service is offered Monday through Friday, and brunch on Saturday and Sunday. Expect classic steakhouse fare with a Californian twist and a popular rotation of “plats du jour” specials. Lucky’s wine list has consistently been recognized by Wine Spectator as an annual recipient of their Award of Excellence. The California-centric wine list also features some Italian and French vintages, and you’ll find approximately 15 different wines by the glass on any given day. Learn More

Photo Credit: Alexandra De Furio

The Stonehouse

The refined dining experience and cozy ambiance at San Ysidro Ranch’s Stonehouse restaurant make it particularly well-suited to set the stage for ladies lunches, special family occasions, and romantic date nights. Nestled in a 19th-century former citrus packing house in the foothills of Montecito, the Stonehouse has both an indoor dining room and expansive ocean view terrace adorned with twinkling lights. The Wine Spectator Grand Award-winning restaurant is renowned for its 12,000-bottle wine cellar storing an impressive collection sourced from around the world. Chef Matt Johnson descends from a Santa Barbara winemaking family and makes his own magic with produce grown from the property’s organic garden. Dinner is served nightly, lunch is offered Monday through Saturday, and “Sunday Funday” is reserved for champagne brunch. Learn More

Photo Credit: Blake Bronstad

Tre Lune Ristorante & Bar

Tre Lune is another stellar Montecito restaurant in entrepreneur Gene Montesano’s local culinary empire. Situated in the heart of the upmarket action on Coast Village Road, Italian flavors are the specialty here—down to the Wine Spectator award-winning wine list which is predominantly sourced from Italy. When it comes to the crowd-pleasing cuisine, all of the pizzas, pastas, and risottos can be made gluten-free upon request. And the kids’ menu features simple pasta preparations, gourmet macaroni and cheese, and fried chicken strips, making Tre Lune a great option for the traveling family. Lunch and dinner are served daily, and breakfast is a beloved tradition Friday through Sunday (no judgment if you order wine with breakfast!). Learn More

Photo Credit: Alexandra De Furio

Santa Barbara Restaurants

Aperitivo Wine Bar

A collaboration between local chef Brian Dodero and Italian sommelier Andrea Girardello, Aperitivo Wine Bar is a relative newcomer that instantly earned a following for their food and wine. The fresh Mediterranean-inspired small plates and pasta of the moment pair extraordinarily well with the wines sourced from Italy’s 20 winemaking regions. Among the Prosecco spritzes and wines by the glass and bottle, you might find a few local vintages, including the Margerum Amaro. Aperitivo is a 21+ establishment located just off State Street on Haley, complete with a little parklet for outdoor dining. They are open Wednesday through Sunday evenings and don’t take reservations. Learn More

Photo Credit: @fullframefoodie via Instagram

Barbareño

The culinary team behind Barbareño, Executive Chef Julian Martinez and Chef de Cuisine Preston Knox, have created something truly unique with their contemporary interpretation of classic Californian cuisine. Here you’ll find a playful and interesting menu that celebrates regional purveyors and Santa Barbara’s unique sense of place. The wine list equally captures the essence of the Golden State, with wines from many Santa Barbara County AVAs as well as points north like Mendocino and Sonoma. Barbareño is open for dinner service Wednesday through Sunday nights. Learn More

Photo Credit: @barbareno_sb via Instagram

Bibi Ji

Bibi Ji made a big splash when it came onto the scene, giving Santa Barbara its first modern Indian cuisine restaurant. One of the key partners in the restaurant is esteemed local wine expert, Rajat Parr, the James Beard award-winning sommelier behind Sandhi Wines and Domaine de la Côte. So, the wine program is a draw in and of itself. The “Juice,” as they refer to the beverage list, features a rotating selection of natural wines by the glass and bottles from Santa Barbara County, French, and Italian producers. The kitchen turns out bright, addictively flavorful dishes that are made for sharing and wine pairing. Bibi Ji is open from 1:00 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays with dinner service offered Thursday through Monday. Learn More

Photo Credit: @the.lastpeach via Instagram

bouchon

One of Santa Barbara’s original and longest continually operating wine country cuisine restaurants, bouchon was created in 1998 by restaurateur Mitchel Sjerven as a stage for Santa Barbara wines to shine (bouchon means “cork” in French). The enduringly popular theatre district restaurant on Victoria Street is known for its warm hospitality, comprehensive collection of regional wines, and Chef Greg Murphy’s thoughtfully crafted meals—you can often spot Chef at the downtown Tuesday Farmers’ Market. Of the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence wine list, Sjerven and his sommelier Eric Hanson’s shared goal is to create a balance between “well-known and obscure, old standby and new favorite.” With more than 20 lovely local wines available by the glass, the pairing potential is downright thrilling. Bouchon is open for your dining pleasure every night of the week. Learn More

Photo Credit: @bouchonsantabarbara via Instagram

The Lark

Since opening in the Funk Zone in a former fish market space, The Lark helped cement the artsy-industrial neighborhood’s status as a new culinary mecca. Between the stylish space, Chef Jason Paluska’s creative cuisine, and the depth of the wine selection, it’s no surprise The Lark is always busy, so reservations are highly recommended—and if you can’t get a Resy, come early to score a seat at the large communal table. The wine list places an emphasis on small Santa Barbara County producers with some artisan selections from further afield in the mix. While in the neighborhood, pop into their sister wine bar and shop next door, Santa Barbara Wine Collective, where you can do a tasting flight of local wines produced by small, family-owned wineries. The Lark is a dinner-only restaurant open seven days a week. Learn More

Photo Credit: @thelarksb via Instagram

opal restaurant & bar

Neighboring the Arlington Theatre, opal restaurant & bar is a longtime favorite of locals, especially when plans call for “dinner and a show.” The eclectic menu features popular globally inspired favorites like phyllo wrapped tiger prawns, duck confit pizza, and wild mushroom risotto. Seasonal specials keep things fresh and interesting, and the robust wine list has earned Wine Spectator accolades. Via a QR code, opal provides full descriptions and tasting notes for every bottle on its 14-page list, which includes rare and unusually hard-to-find wines. Opal is currently open for dinner seven days a week. Learn More

Photo Credit: @eyeseesb via Instagram

Satellite SB

If you love natural wines, head to Satellite SB for bites and sips. The casual “farmer to table/farmer to glass” eatery and natural /businesses/satellite/wine shop offers a menu of wine-friendly dishes prepared by Chef Emma West. Satellite’s founder Drew Cuddy is a passionate wine connoisseur who has worked in wineries around the world, and he curates their offerings including a wine club. You can enjoy the selection of wines onsite with a meal, or purchase from the bottle shop to bring a favorite new discovery home with you—or back to your hotel. Satellite has a prime parklet spot on the State Street Promenade, where you can watch the world go by as you sip and sup. Satellite opens at noon daily and serves food throughout the evening. Learn More

Photo Credit: @letsfinishthedish via Instagram

Toma Restaurant & Bar

One of OpenTable’s most booked restaurants, Toma Restaurant & Bar always earns rave reviews from diners. The waterfront restaurant offers a fine dining Mediterranean-style experience with a coastal influence. Executive Chef Michael Wood is behind the cuisine, which includes handmade pastas, flatbreads, and fresh, seasonal seafood preparations. The wine list offers a balance of Californian and Italian vintages, including some cult favorites like Sea Smoke pinot noir and Opus One cabernet, plus some Super Tuscans for good measure. Toma serves dinner nightly. Learn More

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Venus in Furs

One of the newer “kids” on the block, Venus in Furs is a natural wine bar that showcases a rotating line-up of chefs through a residency program, so you can always find something different and interesting on the menu. Sommelier Lenka Davis curates the “bar and bottle” list with a focus on traditionally made wines from around the world. The bar also offers a creative wine cocktail menu designed by the team at Good Lion Hospitality, one of the area’s top purveyors of craft cocktails. This is a place to treat your palate to the unexpected and out of the ordinary while enjoying the dark, sexy atmosphere. Venus in Furs is open Tuesday through Sunday evenings. Learn More

Photo Credit: Rob Tran

Intermezzo by Wine Cask

A classic reborn, Wine Cask was one of Santa Barbara’s first dedicated wine-focused restaurants when it first opened 1985. Over the years it’s had different owners and management, and in 2020 a new local owner, proprietor John O’Neill, and Executive Chef Josh Brown, brought Wine Cask and its sister bar-café Intermezzo back to life. Intermezzo by Wine Cask is currently open and serving modern American cuisine with a Mediterranean twist, while the remodeled Wine Cask formal dining room is expected to reopen in 2022. The wine list reflects selections from Santa Barbara County and other California growing regions as well as European vintages. Intermezzo by Wine Cask is open for dinner Tuesday through Saturday. Learn More

Photo Credit: @intermezzosb via Instagram

Goleta & Beyond

Angel Oak

The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara is home to an elegant destination restaurant, Angel Oak. The restaurant is famed for its 12,000-bottle wine cellar as well as its steaks and stunning ocean views framed by floor-to-ceiling windows. Chef Efe Onoglu has worked in some of the world’s top kitchens and brings that international perspective to his globally inspired cuisine prepared with the freshest, highest quality local ingredients. The depth and breadth of the wine list invites exciting pairings, which can be guided by the sommelier. Angel Oak serves dinner nightly. Learn More

Photo Credit: @ritzcarltonbacarasb via Instagram

Hitching Post II

Quite likely the most famous wine restaurant in the region, Hitching Post II was a local star long before the film Sideways put it on the map back in 2004. Today, wine-, steak-, and film-lovers from around the world make the pilgrimage to the Buellton steakhouse where fish, vegetables, and meats are grilled over local oak. Owner Frank Ostini and his winemaking partner Gray Hartley make an impressive selection of pinot noirs along with a full suite of other varietals grown locally—all under their Hartley Ostini Hitching Post label established in 1981. The wines are available at the restaurant by the glass and bottle as well as at the wine tasting room next door. And while the HP wines are the big draw, the wine list does include other Santa Barbara County labels. Dinner is available Wednesday through Sunday, and now you can also enjoy lunch at the wine tasting room, too. Learn More

Photo Credit: @hitchingpost2 via Instagram

Los Olivos Café

Los Olivos Café & Wine Merchant also played a starring role in Sideways. The charming Santa Ynez Valley restaurant caters to wine lovers—especially those tasting at the 50-some odd wine tasting rooms in the little village of Los Olivos. It’s a hyper-local wine shop in addition to being a full-service restaurant, so you can take your pick from any selections in the shop or on the wine list to enjoy at your table and then bring a few bottles home with you—they’ll even ship them for you (all states except for Kentucky and Mississippi). The owners have their own winery and vineyard, Bernat, and the Merchant offers a variety of Central Coast-centric wine club memberships to keep the bottles coming. Los Olivos Café is a regular recipient of Wine Spectator awards and has made OpenTable’s list of “Top 100 Wine Lists in the Country.” The café is currently open daily. Learn More

Photo Credit: @lowinecafe via Instagram