You have one day in Santa Barbara, an enthusiastic appetite, discerning tastes and plenty of cash in the bank. We can help you spend it in the most satisfying way possible. Follow the steps below to choose your own foodie adventure!
Yes, Renaud's brioche french toast is fantastic but if you neglect to order a croissant here, you will rob yourself of one of life's great breakfasts — Photo courtesy of Renaud's Patisserie
Let's start with breakfast, shall we? Your best options are:
Option A is the best choice for those who wake up craving something sweet. The outer shells of the croissants at Renaud's shatter like glass when you bite into them, leaving you with a crummy mess and an expression of delirious joy on your face.
Choose B if you hunger for something a little more savory to start your day. Their legendary Eggs Rose have even garnered attention from experts at the Food Network. Two slices of house-baked kalamata olive toast slathered with artichoke spread and topped with perfectly poached eggs... need we say more? Ok, their huevos rancheros are pretty darn delicious, too.
Do not miss the sweet, savory and super fresh steamed clams at the Santa Barbara Shellfish Company — Photo courtesy of Breville USA
Moving on to lunch, you're faced with a difficult choice:
Santa Barbara is home to both amazing Mexican food and glorious seafood, so this is going to be a tough one! La Super-Rica is a cult favorite that serves up small portions of traditional Mexican dishes in a non-descript building in a non-touristy area. Their rajas tacos are divine, as are their chilaquiles (a weekly special). Bonus: casual celebrity sightings are not infrequent here.
But if you really want to soak up Santa Barbara's scenic side while enjoying your lunch, you absolutely must go to the Santa Barbara Shellfish company. Located at the end of Stearns Wharf, you can watch the waves while enjoying some of the areas freshest shellfish, including local crabs and abalones.
Niman Ranch hog roasted in the woodfire oven prepared with quince and brodo and paired with local wine — Photo courtesy of Aron Ives
And finally, for dinner you must select from:
Anchor Woodfire Kitchen serves food with a slight Italian influence while Bouchon dishes up local twists on French favorites. You really can't go wrong with either; both restaurants would easily hold up with the best restaurants in larger cities. The deciding factor might be the atmosphere. Bouchon is a cozy restaurant tucked away on a quiet side street, perfect for an intimate evening. On the other hand, Anchor is home to a livelier crowd. Book a table in the dining room, spread out on the patio or enjoy a well-balanced cocktail at the always-busy bar.
But wait! There's extra credit! If you have the inclination and the time, do not pass up on these two opportunities to ogle (and indulge in) some of the freshest local fare Santa Barbara has to offer.
Stroll through one of the Santa Barbara Certified Farmers Markets
With 7 weekly markets, it would be a shame to skip this. Local farmers bring in their seasonal fruits and vegetables, as well as meats, cheeses, flowers and dairy products.
Even if you don't have access to a fridge, the Santa Barbara Farmers Markets have plenty of treats you can eat right away — Photo courtesy of Santa Barbara Farmers Market
Indulge in happy hour at the Hungry Cat
The best drinks in town are half priced during the Hungry Cat's happy hour. Pair that with the most impressive shellfish tower in town and an order of local sea urchin for a winning combination.