A new restaurant on State Street is adding some much-welcomed variety to the Mexican/Italian/Japanese trifecta that has long dominated Santa Barbara's ethnic food scene. Sama Sama Kitchen opened in March 2013, bringing the fresh flavors of Indonesia to downtown.
A plate of Mie Goreng with egg, fried shallots and wild mushrooms — Photo courtesy of Geneva Ives
Traditional Indonesian dishes like nasi goreng and chicken sate share space with more creative fare like tempeh tacos and curried poutine. Dishes are flavorful and prices are reasonable. If you don't know what to order, try the nasi campur to taste the chef's selection of 5 or 6 different items. The menu changes frequently, so there's always something new.
Sama Sama Kitchen also has a full bar with an impressive cocktail list. One part of the cocktail menu is dedicated to classic favorites, like sazeracs and old fashioneds. The other half of the menu is home to inventive house creations, like the Tamarind Fizz (see blow) and the Sama Sama - a refreshing mix of jasmine sweet tea, lemon and bourbon.
The tamarind fizz with housemade, crisp candied orange garnish is delicious — Photo courtesy of Aron Ives
Sama Sama serves dinner Monday through Saturday and brunch on Saturday and Sunday. There is both indoor and outdoor seating. The back patio is particularly lovely; it's strung with soft lights and surrounded by the fragrant smells of the kitchen garden. Parking is available in several nearby city lots or enjoy an easy bike ride from any downtown hotel.