15 Best Restaurants in Santa Barbara, CA 2023

Great restaurants are abundant with something different to offer. But, sometimes, it can be a challenge to find the one you love. So, to make things easier, we’ve put together a list of the best dining places in Santa Barbara. We explored restaurants offering various cuisines like seafood, Mexican, vegan, and Thai, so you don’t run out of options.

Because we also believe people’s budgets don’t have to be a hindrance, we compiled a list of places offering a vibrant, casual, and intimate atmosphere at reasonable prices. The diners are kid-friendly and provide easy access for individuals with different abilities, which means you can take family and friends and they’ll all be catered to.

If you want a glimpse of how good the restaurants are, we’ve included the ratings from Google. Here are 15 of the best restaurants in Santa Barbara.

1. Lure Fish House

$$ | (805) 618-1816 | WEBSITE


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Lure Fish House is a family-based business serving sustainably sourced seafood dishes. They offer classics like mussels and fish and specialize in charbroiled oysters and cioppino. They have indoor and outdoor seating and a full bar that serves cocktails made with freshly squeezed fruit juices, locally sourced wine, and beer.

They also have vegetarian and gluten-free options. Gift cards are also available if you want your family and friends to try the diner. The restaurant has a 4.6 rating.



2. Mesa Verde Restaurant

$$ | (805) 963-4474 | WEBSITE


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Mesa Verde is one of the most well-established vegan restaurants in Santa Barbara. They creatively create their dishes to cater to every palate.

Their food includes burritos made from impossible meat, umami burgers, tacos, and various salads. So, even meat eaters will find something they can enjoy. A lot of the locals love that the staff is friendly, the ambiance is astounding, and it’s dog-friendly. It has a beautiful 4.6 rating.



3. Loquita

$$ | (805) 880-3380 | WEBSITE


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If Spanish cuisine is to your liking, Loquita is the place to be. The restaurant boasts an abundance of Latin dishes like tapas and paella. Their alcoholic beverages mainly comprise Spanish wines and handcrafted cocktails.

They offer indoor and outdoor seating, and they also have gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian options. If you’re looking to host a special event, you can make arrangements with them, and they’ll take care of the rest. It’s no wonder they have a 4.6 rating!



4. The Lark

$$ | (805) 284-0370 | WEBSITE


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The Lark is well known for offering a vibrant and entertaining environment for its guests. If experience is what you’re looking for, then the Lark is worth visiting because its decor is a combination of vintage and modern furniture and artwork to create a warm ambiance.

They use ethically sourced ingredients to prepare dishes bursting with flavor, like their 6-hour oak-smoked lamb ribs and freshly prepared salads. They have a full bar that serves craft cocktails and artisanal wine. With a 4.5 rating, it’s worth visiting.



5. Bouchon

$$ | (805) 730-1160 | WEBSITE


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French cuisine is a favorite amongst locals in the area, and Bouchon offers a dining experience like no other. They serve exclusive locally sourced wines and a “foodie stroll” in the Farmers Market. This stroll is followed by a wine-pairing dinner where you have a plethora of delicately prepared French and European dishes.

These include French onion soup served with sourdough croutons, duck, or lamb, which you can enjoy in a rustic outdoor center with a heated patio. They also have vegan, gluten-free, and vegetarian options available, with a 4.6 rating.



6. Toma Restaurant And Bar

$$ | (805) 962-0777 | WEBSITE


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Toma is an Italian restaurant that serves fresh Mediterranean handcrafted cuisine. Their dining space is inspired by a need to create a warm, cozy environment with a romantic touch for their guests. You can enjoy your food while overlooking the waterfront.

They have a range of Italian wines, like Pinot Grigio and Chianti Classico. Their menu boasts meat dishes made with house-made sausages and seafood options like octopus, clams, and squid. The restaurant has a 4.7 rating.



7. Opal

$$ | (805) 966-9676 | WEBSITE


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Opal specializes in Californian cuisine with a merger between American heritage and Asian culture. Their meals include chicken marsala, pizza, and a reasonable amount of seafood dishes to choose from such as tiger shrimp and scallops, to name a few.

They also serve a variety of alcoholic beverages. These include warm bourbon and cinnamon cocktails and vibrant raspberry and orange mixes. All their meals are made from sustainably sourced and farmed produce. They have a 4.5 rating.



8. Finney’s Crafthouse

$$ | (805) 845-3100 | WEBSITE


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Finney’s is a Texan-style-like restaurant and bar that offers reasonably priced, upscale dishes made from fresh seasonal ingredients. They have a full bar that mainly serves California craft beer and cocktails. If you want to take advantage of their specials, then it’s worth visiting during their happy hour, which runs from Monday-Friday, from 3 pm-5 pm.

Their menu consists of meals like tacos, wings, burgers, and pizzas, and they also have a kid-friendly menu. This explains the 4.5 ratings they received!



9. Zaytoon

$$ | (805) 963-1293 | WEBSITE


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Lebanon is known for its rich dishes, and Zaytoon doesn’t fall short of offering fine Lebanese cuisine. The restaurant understands that fine eating comes with being health conscious, so they offer a variety of fine food made from wholesome ingredients like olive oil, lemon, and free-range chicken.

They offer mainly outdoor seating at which you can enjoy meals like homemade pita bread, lamb, and falafel. They have vegetarian, halal, vegan, and gluten-free options available. Food lovers gave the eatery a 4.6 rating.



10. Holdren’s Steaks And Seafood

$$ | (805) 965-3363 | WEBSITE


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Holdren’s is worth visiting if you’re looking for a steakhouse to call home. Most of the dishes are grilled or fried and they use fresh, locally sourced ingredients to prepare every meal. If you’re a fan of flavorful seafood, then you’ll enjoy their assorted seafood dishes.

They also have vegetarian and gluten-free options and a full bar. If watching motion pictures is your favorite pastime while eating, then you’ll love that they have a television on the premises. The restaurant has a 4.4 rating.



11. Los Arroyos Mexican Restaurant

$$ | (805) 962-5541 | WEBSITE


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Los Arroyos is a family-owned Mexican restaurant that serves homely food. Their menu includes Sopes, Tamales, Burritos, Quesadillas, and Ceviche. They might be a small restaurant, but they offer catering for events like weddings, company retreats, and graduations.

If you decide to host your event at the restaurant, they can accommodate up to 45 guests. They also have vegan, gluten-free, and vegetarian options available. And a beautiful rating of 4.4.



12. The BrewHouse

$$ | (805) 884-4664 | WEBSITE


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The Brewhouse is a Gastropub that’s a favorite amongst the locals. They have an extensive menu that includes fish and chicken, with various American favorites like wings, burgers, hot dogs, and peanut butter-based desserts.

You can visit the diner on Sundays for “Sunday Football”, an experience accompanied by a comprehensive menu catering to the event. They offer both indoor and outdoor seating and you have an option of dining in or ordering takeout. They have a rating of 4.5.



13. Zen Yai Thai Cuisine

$$ | (805) 957-1102 | WEBSITE


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Zen Yai is a Thai restaurant in downtown Santa Barbara that offers lush and vibrant dishes using a variety of fresh ingredients. Their sauces, pastes, and relishes are homemade because they can maintain the quality and consistency of every product.

Their menu offers classics like egg rolls, tofu-based dishes, dumplings, curries, noodle soups, and various freshly prepared salads. They also offer gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian options. They have a 4.4 rating.



14. Intermezzo By Wine Cask

$$ | (805) 966-9463 | WEBSITE


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Intermezzo is a Californian restaurant that serves modern American cuisine with a Mediterranean twist. They pride themselves in providing mouth-watering food in a vibrant environment. You can enjoy your food in their courtyard, arcade, or copper bar.

Their menu includes exciting dishes like fresh salads, artisanal pizzas, gourmet burgers, meat, poultry, seafood, and an assortment of desserts. They also have a full bar available. They received a 4.5 rating.



15. Apna

$$ | (805) 770-8479 | WEBSITE


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A list of restaurants wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the best Indian restaurants in town. Founded by two brothers, Apna offers a profusion of Indian and Mughlai flavors in Downtown Santa Barbara. Their menu consists of dishes like curries, tandoori, and naan, and the chefs’ specialties like Punjabi chole and Bombay aloo.

They also serve Indian-inspired beer, desserts, and non-alcoholic beverages. The restaurant has a spicy 4.7 rating.




Whether you’re craving your favorite meal or want to try something new, this post of the best restaurants in Santa Barbara is an excellent place to start. It provides you with the best eating spots serving cuisine – from seafood and Mexican to Indian. Why not give one of them a try?

Best Restaurants in Santa Barbara

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About Restaurant Observer

Restaurant Observer is the ultimate go-to destination on the web when looking for nothing but fantastic places to genuinely enjoy food across the United States. Inspired by the saying when there’s good food, there’s a good life, Birch Restaurant starts the food blog to scout the best food places across the country.