10 Best Waterfront Santa Barbara Restaurants

For any Santa Barbara beach bum who doesn't want to leave the sand, getting hungry can be a drag. Do you have to put on proper clothes? And possibly even shower? Or do you pack a picnic and let it sit for hours while you build sandcastles? Eat soggy sandwiches and gritty salads?

No, thank you very much. Here in Santa Barbara and the surrounding areas, there are plenty of places to grab a bite in sight of the shoreline. You may not even have to put on pants to do so. Isn't that novel?

For the most casual dining experience, dust the sand off and order at the walk up counter of the East Beach Grill, a family-friendly restaurant right on the beach. Or, if you're feeling fancy, make a dinner reservation and take a date to the Boathouse, a secluded seafood restaurant on one of Santa Barbara's most scenic shores. This restaurant is also a great brunch spot (and it's located on a pet-friendly beach, so you can bring Fido and make a morning of it>)

Looking for something in between? Just consult this list. Whether you're hungry for shellfish, sandwiches or something else entirely, we'll steer you in the right direction!

At one time, this restaurant was part of a nationwide chain, but these days, it's the original and only remaining branch, so all the focus goes solely into its quality. Named after Sam and Bo, its founders' nicknames, the place serves terrific...  Read More

Santa Barbara

As if the name alone doesn't give it away, you'll know from the second-story location at Stearn's Wharf that this place appreciates surfing. In fact, the motif appears throughout the restaurant and bar. An outdoor patio renders ocean views that...  Read More

The motto at the Santa Barbara FisHouse says it all: Usually local, always fresh. If you're looking for some fresh catches and pretty view, head to the FisHouse, a welcoming seafood restaurant located just across the street from the Pacific...  Read More

Can you beat a seafood restaurant and bar that's right on the beach? Of course not! The Beachside Bar-Cafe is the place to go in Goleta if you want to enjoy a meal and perhaps an adult beverage while watching the waves. Many of their signature...  Read More

The Spot
Photo courtesy of Tom Ipri

Located just past the train tracks on Linden Avenue, mere steps from the beach, is The Spot: a trusty little shack of a restaurant that all the locals know. Serving up delicious burgers and fries for over 90 years, The Spot is Carpinteria's go...  Read More

Santa Barbara

The Boathouse is a Santa Barbara seafood restaurant with the best location in town... it's right on the beach. Tucked away in a quiet part of town and facing Hendry's beach, this is a great place to go for a romantic date, family dinner or...  Read More

You probably won't find it in many guide books or blog posts about eating your way through Santa Barbara. It doesn't have a Facebook account or even a website with a menu. The East Beach Grill is an entirely different species - a friendly beach...  Read More

Seafood doesn't get any fresher than this. At the Santa Barbara Shellfish Company, you can pick your lunch right out of the tanks. Established in 1980, this restaurant began as a shellfish shop before popular demand (and secret family recipes)...  Read More

Santa Barbara
Brophy Bros.

Unbeatable harbor views issue a siren's call to patrons at this popular restaurant. Of course, their menu full of delicious seafood doesn't hurt business either. Bustling and busy, Brophy Bros. serves up some of the city's most coveted clam...  Read More

Is there a prettier beachfront restaurant in Santa Barbara county? We don't think so. Overlooking Santa Claus beach, a local favorite, the Padaro Beach Grill boasts a park-like outdoor dining room that's ideal for day dates and impromptu...  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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