The Best (and Most Important) Meal of the Day in Santa Barbara

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 chocolate croissant and cappuccino at Renaud's right now?"

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

  • 1

    D'Angelo Pastry & Bread

    Simple, sophisticated breakfasts for sophisticated folks. Known to have the BEST poached eggs in town.

    Local Expert Tip: "Get the huevos rancheros. You will never experience a better bean-to-egg-to-tortilla-to-cheese-to-salsa ratio, ever."

  • 2

    Scarlett Begonia

    Interesting (and delicious) breakfasts for travelers who have tried everything. All breads, sauces and whatnot are made in house.

    Local Expert Tip: "Brunch cocktails: you want them, this place has them. Skip the mimosa and get a King's Lemonade or Scarlett Peppernel instead."

  • 3

    Garrett's Old Fashioned Restaurant

    Every city has a greasy spoon that's a local secret. This is Santa Barbara's. Don't tell them we sent you.

    Local Expert Tip: "Order the fresh blueberry pancakes. Even if you don't typically like pancakes. Even if you don't like blueberries. "

  • 4

    Renaud's Patisserie & Bistro

    Go to Renaud's for the best chocolate croissant you will ever have in your life. That is not an exaggeration.

    Local Expert Tip: "The almond croissants are pretty dang amazing, too."

  • 5

    Cold Spring Tavern

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

    Cold Spring Tavern is a Santa Barbara tradition that dates back decades, well known for live music and hearty cooking.

    Local Expert Tip: "Bring a designated driver if you plan on imbibing adult beverages. The scenic winding roads that lead to Cold Spring Tavern are pretty but perilous."

  • 6

    C'est Cheese

    C'est Cheese recently opened a chic cafe that's the newest place to grab a morning bite in Santa Barbara.

    Local Expert Tip: "No matter what you order, get one of their practically unpronounceable kouign amanns on the side. Trust us."

  • 7

    Backyard Bowls

    Head to Backyard Bowls for a healthy breakfast that will start your day off with a bang. Ready for that 12 mile hike yet?

    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."

  • 8

    Tupelo Junction Cafe

    If you've got a soft spot for Southern cooking, Tupelo Junction is the breakfast and brunch joint for you.

    Local Expert Tip: "Their spicy smoked chipotle bloody mary has a CRAB LEG STICKING OUT OF IT, so that's really something you shouldn't miss."

  • 9

    Bella Vista

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

    Local Expert Tip: "Take a lap around the room before dishing up. Why waste your time on scrambled eggs when there are oysters to be had?!?"

  • 10

    Cajun Kitchen Cafe

    Cajun Kitchen is a local chain and the ideal place to, um, cure what ails you (if what ails you is a hangover).

    Local Expert Tip: "Wheat, white or... blueberry muffins? Yep, this place goes way beyond toast, so don't waste your time on 12-grain."



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