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Best Restaurants in Santa Barbara

The coastal city of Santa Barbara has an astounding array of restaurants. The city bustles with a range of restaurants offering diners a farm-to-fork dining experience to stunning waterfront views. The expansion of the city’s community with Spaniards, Italians, Indians, and Asians sparked the widening of Santa Barbara’s restaurant and food scene. With the community’s diversity also came a change in the design of restaurants and the food served. Restaurants evolved from simple cafes and indoor dining to low-lit romantic bistros and outdoor dining areas. The food scene also transformed from Californian-only cuisines to Indian, Spanish, and Italian cuisines. Whether they are looking for a romantic night out, family dining, or something in between, diners will find a suitable option from the selection of the best restaurants in Santa Barbara.

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The OpenTable Team
14 Restaurants
Updated 23 February 2022
Restaurants:Oliver's, Secret Bao, Ca Dario Montecito
Price Range:$$$ - $$$$
Cuisines:Vegan, Asian, Italian
Neighborhoods:Montecito, Santa Barbara
A photo of Oliver's restaurant

Oliver's

$$$$
Vegan
Montecito
4.8
1312 reviews

Based in the Montecito area along 1198 Coast Village Road, Oliver’s restaurant has been one of Santa Barbara’s best restaurants since its launch in 2017. Owner Craig McCaw and executive chef Craig Riker have experience working in several restaurants in the country. Oliver’s is a high-end vegan and vegetarian restaurant especially offering organic cocktails and juices and plant-based cuisines like burgers, sandwiches, salads, soups, and flatbreads. Diners particularly love the seasonal flatbread, crab cakes, and kung pao cauliflower. The restaurant has a casual yet stylish dining scene with a warm ambiance. Outdoor dining areas and a bar are part of the restaurant’s design. During summer and spring, diners should try to reserve a spot on the dog-friendly patio at the restaurant.


At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of Secret Bao restaurant

Secret Bao

$$$$
Asian
Santa Barbara
4.8
169 reviews

Secret Bao is a new Asian west-inspired restaurant at 1201 Anacapa Street opened in early 2021 by co-owners Peter Lee and Felicia Madina, former executive chefs of Loquita. They are also executive chefs of Secret Bao. Peter Lee has worked as a chef in many restaurants, including Michelin Star restaurants. Being of diverse background, Felicia Madina mastered culinary skills in various foods when she was young. The restaurant serves Korean and Japanese foods with a modern twist, with popular dishes being Korean fried chicken, udon carbonara, and shrimp. Diners can select to dine indoors or at the outdoor patio. The low-lit ceiling and white walls create a calm ambiance for a memorable dining experience.


At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of Ca Dario Montecito restaurant

Ca Dario Montecito

$$$$
Italian
Montecito
4.7
417 reviews

Ca Dario Montecito is one of the four Ca Dario restaurants in Santa Barbara. The first restaurant opened in 1997, and after 20 years, the restaurant opened three other branches in Santa Barbara. Owner and executive chef Dario Furlati opened Ca Dario Montecito along coast village road in Montecito. Chef Dario Furlati has years of experience working in restaurants in Europe before settling in Santa Barbara. The restaurant has a gentleman’s setting with white napkins and tablecloths. Ca Dario Montecito specializes in fresh Italian cuisines, with favorites being risotto del giorno, bruschetta al pomodoro, and BYO pizza. It also provides catering and delivery services.


At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of Toma Restaurant & Bar restaurant

Toma Restaurant & Bar

$$$$
Italian
Santa Barbara
4.7
4199 reviews

Opened in 2013, Toma Restaurant and Bar is an Italian restaurant at West Cabrillo Boulevard. Tom and Vicki Dolan opened the restaurant in 2013, and chef Michael Wood recently joined the team as executive chef. The menu consists of Italian-inspired dishes with delectable wines. Diners particularly love the seared scallops, tuna cones, and lasagna. The restaurant’s beautiful waterfront, white tablecloths, and low-lit candles make it ideal for a romantic night out.


At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of Barbareño restaurant

Barbareño

$$$$
Californian
Santa Barbara
4.7
1185 reviews

Barbareño is a local Californian restaurant located in downtown Santa Barbara. Co-owners Julian Martinez and Jesse Gaddy opened Barbareño in 2014. Julian Martinez and Preston Knox are executive chefs who rely on seasonal and local produce from Santa Barbara’s Farmers Market to wow diners with their culinary skills. The Santa Maria barbecue and crispy brussels sprouts particularly impress diners. The restaurant has received positive reviews from The New York Times and USA Today as the best representative of California. Barbareño’s space has a rustic and ranch-style design, and there is a heated outdoor patio.


At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of Opal Restaurant & Bar restaurant

Opal Restaurant & Bar

$$$$
Californian
Santa Barbara
4.7
1049 reviews

Richard Yates and Tina Takaya own Opal Restaurant and Bar on State Street. It was opened in 1985 as Brigitte’s Restaurant before changing its name to Opal Restaurant and Bar in 2004. It has an elegant design with a convivial and warm atmosphere. Felipe Barajas and Gerardo Barajas are the executive chef and sous chef, respectively, who have worked at Opal Restaurant and Bar for more than 20 years. Opal Restaurant and Bar’s menu consists of Californian-inspired cuisines like herb grilled filet mignon, honey glazed roasted duck, and lemongrass-crusted fresh salmon. Diners should try booking an event with the Opal Restaurant and Bar as it caters for events like weddings and private parties.


At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of Stonehouse at San Ysidro Ranch restaurant

Stonehouse at San Ysidro Ranch

$$$$
Contemporary American
Santa Barbara
4.9
1640 reviews

Stonehouse at San Ysidro Ranch is located at the grounds of the San Ysidro Ranch, owned by Ty Warner. It has indoor and outdoor dining with an ocean view terrace, which, together with the twinkling outdoor lights and fireplace, gives the restaurant a rustic yet romantic design. Executive chef Matt Johnson has an organic garden next to the restaurant for fresh produce and herbs for his cooking. Diners enjoy seafood and contemporary Western cuisines at the restaurant like a smoked turkey club, award-winning baby back ribs, and maple glazed king salmon. Stonehouse at San Ysidro Ranch has won many Wine Spectator Grand Awards since 2014.


At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?


Takeout available
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A photo of Lucky's restaurant

Lucky's

$$$$
Steakhouse
Montecito
4.8
2182 reviews

Gene Montesano, the owner of Lucky’s, reconstructed the old Montecito Bungalows on Coast Village Road as Lucky’s building complex in the late 90s. In addition to being a steakhouse, Lucky’s also serves contemporary Western cuisines like the famous Gene’s filet mignon, skinny onion rings, and creamed spinach. Leonard Schwartz, the executive chef of Lucky’s, has been part of the team since 2007 and has years of experience in European and American culinary training. The white napkins and tablecloth, art collection on the walls, and fireplace give the indoor space an elegant and glamorous design with a warm atmosphere.


At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of Bouchon - Santa Barbara restaurant

Bouchon - Santa Barbara

$$$$
Californian
Santa Barbara
4.7
4287 reviews

Bouchon Santa Barbara opened in 1998 at Victoria Street under owner Mitchell Sjerven. Executive chef Greg Murphy is passionate about sustainable seafood and organic produce in line with his Environmental Studies degree. Bouchon has an inviting ambiance suitable for a relaxing wine dining experience. Moreover, Bouchon has received the Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator magazine for 10 years in a row due to its extensive wine list. French-inspired Californian cuisines are Bouchon’s forte, with scallop trio and lobster pot pie standing out.


At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of Tre Lune restaurant

Tre Lune

$$$$
Italian
Montecito
4.8
1320 reviews

Tre Lune opened in 2003 under the ownership of Gene Montesano. Gene Montesano owns and operates several other restaurants in Santa Barbara, such as Lucky’s and Joe’s Café. Tre Lune is along Coast Village Road and focuses on serving Italian cuisines with risotto lucca and pasta piacere as the popular representative dishes. The low-hanging ceiling lights, art against the cream-painted walls, open bar, and open dining space make the restaurant look like a festive dining hall.


At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of Louie's California Bistro restaurant

Louie's California Bistro

$$$$
American
Santa Barbara
4.7
432 reviews

Open since 1984, Louie’s California Bistro is one of the oldest restaurants in Santa Barbara. Louie’s California Bistro building was remodeled from Upham Hotel’s Card Room and Parlor along De La Vina Street. Meanwhile, executive chef Tony Manzanares marks 35 years of service at Louie’s. They can select from the local cuisines and wines served at the restaurant, such as crabmeat dumplings, grilled meatloaf, beef stroganoff, and chicken piccata. At Louie’s California Bistro, diners will experience bistro-style dining with an elegant flair.


At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of OKU restaurant

OKU

$$$$
Asian
Santa Barbara
4.7
868 reviews

OKU is a waterfront sushi restaurant at East Cabrillo Boulevard. Santa Barbara locals Tina Takaya and Ted Ellis teamed up in opening OKU back in 2019. Koji Nomura has been OKU’s executive chef since its opening. He formerly owned a sushi restaurant in Santa Barbara, where he mastered his sushi and Japanese culinary skills. Diners looking for scrumptious Japanese cuisines and sushi can select from the tempura soft shell crab, flat iron steak, monkish liver, and other delicacies on OKU’s menu. OKU’s has a lounge, bar, rooftop dining space, and outdoor patio. An indoor fireplace and private dining rooms are available for diners who want a warm evening or private dining.


At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of Olio e Limone Ristorante restaurant

Olio e Limone Ristorante

$$$$
Italian
Santa Barbara
4.6
2020 reviews

Elaine and Alberto Morello own Olio e Limone Ristorante on West Victoria Street. Olio e Limone Ristorante was up and running from 1999. In addition to being the owner, Alberto is the executive chef whose Sicilian background inspired the restaurant’s menu. The menu includes Italian-inspired dishes like proscuiutto con bruschetta, ravioli di zucca, panna cotta, and paccheri carbonara. Olio e Limone Ristorante has an elegant dining setting with private rooms, a lounge bar, and outdoor dining.


At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

A photo of Stella Mare's restaurant

Stella Mare's

$$$$
French
Santa Barbara
4.7
1550 reviews

Stella Mare’s is a French bistro on De La Vina Street that opened in 1996. The executive chef Roth Ironside joined Stella Mare’s five years ago following inspiration from French culinary masters. The décor of the main dining room dates back to the 19th century with wooden chairs with high backs and sunny yellow walls. Diners can also dine in the greenhouse facing the bird refuge or at the long country table in the private dining space. The restaurant is known for hosting private and intimate events in Santa Barbara. The menu includes French-inspired cuisines like filet mignon, pate de campagne, and laitue.


At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

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