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Top Rated Restaurants & Cafes in Santa Barbara

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Cold Spring Tavern

Located up a windy road atop San Marcos Pass, this local landmark has been here since the 1860's, when it was a way station for weary travelers making there way over the pass. Feel like you are stepping back in time as you enter the restaurant set in a historic, vine covered log cabin with four fireplaces and a menu that features wild game among other things. The tavern features live music, an outdoor fire pit to keep you warm on those chilly evenings and weekly tri-tip BBQ every Sunday that is not to be missed. Dinner is from 5p every evening.

Summerland Beach Cafe

Set in a massive, historic Victorian home in quaint Summerland, this is a favorite breakfast and lunch spot among locals. The walls are whimsically painted, and the fun menu features an amusingly outdated guide to table etiquette that features tips like “be careful to keep the mouth shut closely while masticating the food.” Try Belgian Waffles covered in fresh strawberries and whipped cream for breakfast, or the “May Lambert, Please” oven roasted turkey, cheddar, bacon and tomato on grilled sourdough for lunch. Just be sure to keep your mouth closed!

Wine Cask Restaurant

Wine Cask Restaurant—the name itself sounds refreshing and holds a promise to serve quality food. The restaurant is located in the heart of Santa Barbara's historic El Paseo. You enter through a secluded garden courtyard into a dramatic dining room. This room is considered for years as 'the most beautiful in Santa Barbara'. As the name suggests Wine Cask is renowned for the different types of wines it has to offer—Burgundy, France, Italy. To top this, the choice of delicacies they have to offer is also huge. Wine Cask also offers banquet/private rooms, bar dining, patio/outdoor dining, personal wines welcome and lots more. Their motto is excellent quality, service beyond the usual and customer satisfaction. They totally live up to these and more.

Pascucci

In the heart of downtown on State Street is Pascucci, serving scrumptious Italian concoctions with a bit of a California twist. With indoor fountains, Venetian plaster, and wrought iron tables, the ambiance is Southern Californian casual meets romantic Italy. The menu is extensive, featuring pasta dishes, pizzas, sandwiches, meat and fish specialties and much more. Resist the temptation to fill up on their delicious sourdough bread before you order, and if you are a wine enthusiast be sure to check out the long list of Californian and Italian wines by the glass. Get there early and put your name on the list as they don't take reservations but the meal will be worth your wait!

Opal Restaurant & Bar

At the Opal Restaurant and Bar you will not only find consistency but also innovation. The team work of the staff is a genuine surprise. Even during peak hours, the care and hospitality displayed is very heart warming. The menu is a smart mix of American culture infused with Asian tastes. The menu offers delicacies like smoked chicken and avocado sandwich, grilled chicken scallopini rolled with goat cheese and pesto and the best of all bacon wrapped slow roasted free range chicken coq au vin. Deserts include French vanilla bean creme brulee, dark chocolate pecan tart and tiramisu to name a few. Also sample the wine in stock at Opal Restaurant and Bar. This is one place you just cannot miss!

Bouchon

Bouchon stands by its claim of using fresh ingredients, which is reflected in its contemporary cuisine. Their huge collection of wines comprises of Chardonnays, Pinot Noirs, Red Rhones, Cabarnets etc. The restaurant swears by their bourbon & maple glazed duck, pacific ahi tuna, molten-center chocolate cakes, venison loin and tarte tatin. The service is professional and the best part is that your server can advise you on the food and wine most suitable to your tastes. Their seasonal dishes are to die for. Every dish is a perfect balance of tastes and textures and leaves a great taste, which you are likely not to forget soon.

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