Date Night: 10 Most Romantic Restaurants in Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara is a world renown honeymoon destination for good reason. Romance is everywhere you look. Bouquets of flowers bloom on every corner. Birds sing love songs from dusk till dawn. Soft ocean breezes perfume the evening air. So by now you must be thinking: how exactly am I supposed to top that?

Never fear. When you’re looking to impress your date, all you need is this handy list of the top 10 romantic restaurants in Santa Barbara. These are the very best places to treat your sweetheart, whether you’re in the mood for a candlelit feast or appetizers with a view of the harbor.

From the old school, white tablecloth stylings of Bouchon to the hidden coziness of Cold Spring Tavern, the Santa Barbara dining scene offers a romantic background for almost every taste and occasion. Feeling fancy? Head up the hill to The Stonehouse, a secluded high-end restaurant with crackling fireplaces and a fresh, from-the-garden menu. Looking for something a little more low key? Make a reservation at Intermezzo or, better still, pull up a seat at the bar and explore the local wines they have on tap. Yes, on tap; their innovative tap system is both earth- and wallet-friendly.

Just pick one, any one, and make a reservation for a romantic evening that’s sure to go down in the books (rather than in flames). Here at 10Best, we’ve always got your back!

Chase Bar & Grill
Photo courtesy of Geneva Ives

At this Italian restaurant, the atmosphere is dripping with romance. Thousands of twinkling white lights set the tone for a magical evening. Old standards by the likes of Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin float out from hidden speakers. If it's a...  Read More

Santa Barbara
Palace Grill
Photo courtesy of Marshall Astor - Food Fetishist

"Laissez les bons temps rouler," is the motto at The Palace Grill, a phrase that translates to: Let the good times roll! A night at The Palace isn't complete without a sing-a-long (just one song) and rousing group toast. With a menu that reads...  Read More

Fresh seafood, prime steaks, classic cocktails: is your mouth watering yet? Sly's restaurant is a fine dining gem about 12 miles south of Santa Barbara. The French-inspired menu boasts oysters, escargot, steamed mussels and legendary french...  Read More

If you're in the mood for something good but don't know what to choose--perhaps you're hungry, but your date isn't, or you want wine, but your companion wants a cocktail--Intermezzo is the answer to all of your problems. Want to sit inside?...  Read More

Santa Barbara

Ca' Dario is a charming neighborhood Italian restaurant with an intimate setting, tucked just one block to the side of busy downtown Santa Barbara. Born and raised in Italy, chef Dario Furlati dishes up a menu featuring savory Northern Italian...  Read More

Santa Barbara

Making the most of its rich coastal location, the team at Bouchon crafts the region's best produce, meats and wines into dishes infused with West Coast flavor. Main courses include mustard-encrusted rack of lamb, bourbon and maple glazed duck...  Read More

The Lark
Photo courtesy of Geneva Ives

The Lark is a striking restaurant located in the heart of Santa Barbara's Funk Zone. The menu here celebrates Central Coast fare, from fruits and vegetables to meats and wines. Food is intended for sharing and served family-style. There is a fun...  Read More

Stonehouse at San Ysidro Ranch

The Stonehouse began life as a 19th century citrus packing building before being transformed into the luxe dining establishment it is today. Located on the lush grounds of the San Ysidro Ranch, one of the area's finest luxury hotels, the...  Read More

Santa Barbara

In a past life, Cold Spring was a stagecoach stop, a place for travelers to rest beside the stream, warm up at the fireplace and steel themselves for the trip ahead. Then in 1865, Cold Spring Tavern was opened as a restaurant, and it has been...  Read More

Tucked away on landlocked upper State Street is a romantic gem of an Italian eatery, Via Maestra 42. The restaurant is very small and, at first glance, barely resembles a restaurant at all. There are cases full of Italian delicacies, displays of...  Read More


Meet Geneva Ives

Geneva Ives moved to Santa Barbara in 2000 on a whim (ok, and to go to college) and never looked back. She loves Santa Barbara because it’s really one of America’s greatest small towns - it...  More About Geneva

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