The Best Most Important Meal of the Day in the Santa Barbara Area

Geneva Ives

By , Local Expert, Santa Barbara
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The hardest thing about having breakfast in Santa Barbara is the fact that it (usually) only happens once a day, meaning you only get to pick one place to eat it. And there are so many great breakfast and brunch spots in the area that even those of us who are lucky enough to live here are familiar with this internal argument:

I should start strong! Backyard Bowls and then a hike.

No, wait, I'm starving... eggs and hash browns and cornbread Cajun Kitchen it is.

Oh my god, does anything sound better than a croissant and cappuccino at Renaud's right now?

As you can imagine, it gets even more complicated when you add more...  Read more »

  • 1

    Scarlett Begonia

    Local Expert Tip: "Try their Sunday brunch prix fixe menu. It varies from week to week - depending on what's in season - but always includes three unforgettable courses and unlimited drinks. This is the only meal the Scarlett Begonia takes reservations for, so call ahead."

  • 2

    D'Angelo Pastry & Bread

    Local Expert Tip: "Get the huevos rancheros. Yes, the dish may be a little expensive and yes, it would seem that a more genuine article could be had at any little restaurant on Milpas, but just order it! You will never experience a better bean to egg to tortilla to cheese to salsa ratio, ever."

  • 3

    Garrett's Old Fashioned Restaurant

    Local Expert Tip: "Order the blueberry pancakes. Even if you don't typically like pancakes. Even if you don't like blueberries. And ask for your hashbrowns extra crispy."

  • 4

    Backyard Bowls

    Local Expert Tip: "The Island Bowl is a tropical delight. The acai, pineapple and coconut flavors will make you feel like you're in Hawaii."

  • 5

    The Blue Owl

    Local Expert Tip: "Come hungry and order with abandon. The Blue Owl's menu is so tasty, so tempting and so ever-changing that you'll always regret it if you didn't order that one-thing-you-saw-that-one-time because you were being sensible."

  • 6

    Renaud's Patisserie & Bistro

    Local Expert Tip: "If you've got the time, and you notice that there's only one or two chocolate croissants lingering on the tray, step out of line and wait a minute. Chances are, a fresh batch of piping hot croissants will emerge from the kitchen any minute. Those are the ones you really want."

  • 7

    Cold Spring Tavern

    • Cuisine: American
    • Average Main Course Price: $15
    • Neighborhood: Santa Barbara

    Local Expert Tip: "Scenic vistas and winding roads await you on the drive to this isolated cabin in the woods. But once you get there, the good times are in full swing. Bring a designated driver if you plan on imbibing adult beverages."

  • 8

    Tupelo Junction Cafe

    Local Expert Tip: "Their spicy smoked chipotle bloody mary has a CRAB LEG STICKING OUT OF IT, so that's really the route you should be going - if you're into to morning alcohol and seafood, anyway."

  • 9

    Cajun Kitchen Cafe

    Local Expert Tip: "Order a hearty omelet, savory scramble or biscuits and gravy. Most locals don't even look at the page of Cajun menu items, so skip it if you're not totally into just-ok Cajun food."

  • 10

    Bella Vista

    Local Expert Tip: "The best and biggest Sunday brunch in town, make reservations in advance if it's a holiday weekend (like Mother's Day, hint hint)."


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