Santa Barbara Meals for a Steal: No Pricey Tabs Here!

There are plenty of great places to grab a meal for a steal in Santa Barbara. Every one of these top 10 best value eateries has delicious options for under $10. And best of all, each restaurant featured is a local original. There's not a nationwide chain on this list! Whether you're in the mood for breakfast, lunch or dinner in Santa Barbara or Goleta, you're sure to find something on this list that satisfies every member of the family... without stretching your budget.

If you want to start your day with a full belly, look no further than the Cajun Kitchen Cafe. This cozy breakfast and lunch spot serves up legendary egg and potato feasts, along with sweeter morning favorites and Cajun specialties. The prices are reasonable, the atmosphere is cozy, and the selection of bread options can't be beat. Forget wheat toast, consider splurging on blueberry muffins or sweet cornbread. Mmmmmmm!

For lunch or dinner, Mexican food is a great choice. There are many Mexican restaurants in town, and most are well known for a signature item or two. If you want the most authentic tacos, for example, try Lilly's Tacos. Fresh steamed or grilled meat served up on corn tortillas for less than $2 a pop. For a fancier experience, visit Los Agaves, beloved for their seafood specialties and flavorful soups and stews.

You don't have to be rich and famous to enjoy a good meal in Santa Barbara - you just need this 10Best list!



The Santa Barbara Chicken Ranch has been serving Mexican-style mesquite BBQ chicken and tri-tip to hungry area patrons for over 20 years. Try one or both with a side of tortillas, rice and chips. They cook over actual fire (there's no hidden gas...  Read More

Santa Barbara


Head to South Coast Deli when you're in the mood for a big, delicious sandwich or fresh, filling salad. With four very busy locations in the Santa Barbara area, South Coast Deli is a local lunch spot, perfect for grabbing a bite with a friend or...  Read More



Cajun Kitchen is a Santa Barbara tradition, a local breakfast and lunch joint with something like a million different area locations. And every location is packed, too! Hearty food, good prices and quick service keep us coming. Standard fare at...  Read More

Santa Barbara
La Super-Rica
Photo courtesy of Geneva Ives


For a truly local taste of Mexico, drive up Milpas until, on the right, you see a little white shack with aqua trim. There is no sign, but a line extending from the doorway will let you know that you're at the right place. This is La Super-Rica,...  Read More

Santa Barbara


Loa Agaves is a casual Mexican food restaurant in Santa Barbara. They serve tacos, burritos, nachos and other customary fare, but the highlight of their menu is their wide assortment of specialty dishes. Try an order of pulpo ceviche, rack of...  Read More

The Natural Cafe
Photo courtesy of Geneva Ives


With nine locations in the surrounding areas, The Natural Cafe is a Santa Barbara small business success story. A local favorite for vegetarian and vegan options, this popular lunch and dinner restaurant also serves up delicious chicken and fish...  Read More

Santa Barbara
On The Alley
Photo courtesy of On The Alley


On The Alley is a casual venue brought to you by the owners of Brophy Bros., Santa Barbara's wildly popular seafood restaurant. Serving fresh fish tacos, tasty sandwiches and burgers, On The Alley dishes up great lunch fare in view of the...  Read More



For the most authentic tacos in Santa Barbara, head to Lilly's tacos. Unobtrusively tucked in an out-of-the-way shopping center at the oceany end of downtown, Lilly's tacos has been serving up sizzling meats on soft corn tortillas to lines of...  Read More



The Habit Burger Grill is a Santa Barbara-based hamburger chain that is truly a local favorite. From their signature smoky charburger and the albacore sandwich made from line-caught tuna to freshly tossed salads, the Habit serves up fresh food...  Read More



Think sandwiches and salads are boring? Think again! This recently expanded local gem of a restaurant serves a creative lunch menu that includes crab melts, waffle sandwiches and filling salads. Most dishes start are under $10, but they don't...  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