Santa Barbara Dining Guide
Before we had children, one of my favorite evening activities was to sit with Brian and watch The Best Thing I Ever Ate on the Food Network. We loved listening to chefs talk about some of their favorite meals, and we dreamed of visiting those restaurants together. In 2015, we took our ten year anniversary trip and ate our way through Santa Barbara. When I revisited Santa Barbara this past winter, I added a few more hits to my SB dining guide!
On one of The Best Things I Ever Ate episodes, I heard about the “Eggs Rose” from D’Angelo Bread. This breakfast is basically two poached eggs on a slice of olive bread with an artichoke spread. It’s the perfect Mediterranean spin on an eggs and toast meal! I had this toast when I visited with Brian in 2015, and it was so good that I had to have it again when I came back this year.
If I could, I would eat this meal every day.
So I did kind of try to eat the Eggs Rose every day. I went to Tre Lune, fully intending to order something different, and ended up getting their Eggs Rose as well. Hey, when you know what you like, you just go for it!
Cold Spring Tavern could have terrible food, and it almost wouldn’t matter because the ambiance and history alone are worth the trip. The same family has owned and run the historic stage-coach stop turned restaurant since the early 1940’s.
There’s basically no cell phone service, and you have to drive up a mountain to get to it, but it’s totally worth it. The food is incredible. I had a pork BBQ sandwich.
If you’re in Santa Barbara, this is a must visit.
In all my travels, I’ve learned that when a restaurant is named after a menu item, that’s probably a good item to order. When I visited Mesa Burger, I got the Mesa Burger, and it did not disappoint! Although if you want something a little more “West Coast” tasting, I’d try the Mission Burger, with avocado, pico de gallo, jalapeño, tortilla strips, pepper jack cheese, and a black bean aioli!
This little Taqueria gained popularity as one of Julia Child’s favorites. When in doubt, trust Julia. It totally lives up to the hype.
This isn’t a restaurant that I knew about before I started research for my trip, but it didn’t take long to convince me that I needed to plan a visit. Oprah lives near the Santa Barbara area, and she put this place on the map.
When I went to Trattoria Mollie, I went alone. I sat down and ordered both dishes Oprah recommended. The waiter looked at me like I was crazy and confirmed that I wanted both pasta dishes. Just for me. I mean if Oprah tells you to order something, you order it! I didn’t know when I’d be able to come back! No shame in my ordering game.
Both dishes were great! If I had to order just one, I would get the Spaghetti Ai Frutti Di Mare.
I ended up coming back here somewhat unexpectedly about a month after my initial visit with a group of women who came on our first Bloomer Retreat with me. Our original dinner plans fell through, and I was thrilled to have an incredible backup plan!
FANTASTIC. If you’re looking for incredible food, great service, and amazing cocktails, (and who isn’t?!) then you need to check out Lucky’s! Everything was just perfection.
I went to this amazing pizza joint and actually ended up getting a salad and a small pizza. The salad was a super fresh caprese salad with heirloom tomatoes. It was a great spot to just be able to pick something up and go!
I got myself an ice cream sandwich, which was two cookies with ice cream in the middle, obviously. I got the kitchen sink cookie with a chocolate ice cream. I’m usually a vanilla bean girl, but something compelled me to try the chocolate at McConnell’s, and I’m SO glad I did. Although, I really don’t think you can go wrong here.
ON THE WAY TO SB FROM LA
This is the perfect little seafood dive to stop in as you’re traveling from LA to Santa Barbara or from Santa Barbara to LA. Quick, easy, fresh seafood. Can’t go wrong.
Do you have any Santa Barbara restaurants you love? Let me know in the comments and I’ll add them to my list for next time!