Downtown Santa Barbara: Where Everything (Delicious) Is Waiting for You!

Question: Where should you go for good food in downtown Santa Barbara?

Answer: Almost anywhere!

There are so many delicious restaurants in downtown Santa Barbara that it can be hard to pick a destination. Thankfully, 10Best is here to help. Just pick the type of food you're in the mood for and then consult this list to find out where to go. 

If you want to taste some really fresh seafood, chart a course for the Hungry Cat. From grilled fresh catches to raw shellfish towers, the Hungry Cat serves up local seafood specialties. They also have an amazing cocktail menu that highlights fresh ingredients. 

Hankering for a taste of the bayou? Santa Barbara has a wonderful Cajun restaurant. The Palace Grill serves up classic favorites like red beans and rice, crawfish etouffee and jambalaya in a jovial atmosphere with award-winning service. This is a particularly fun dining destination when you've got something to celebrate. 

Other tasty regional and ethnic fare are represented, too. Head to Sama Sama Kitchen for Indonesian-inspired dishes or pull up a seat at Arigato for some of the area's best sushi. You really can't go wrong at any place on this list, so pick one and make a reservation already!

Tucked away in a quiet outdoor shopping area off busy State Street, Olio Pizzeria is a local haven - the place to go for a light snack, drinks with friends or even a decadent, authentic Italian pizza experience. Appetizers include artisanal...  Read More

Santa Barbara
Photo courtesy of Ca'Dario Ristorante

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

"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 and rousing group toast. With a menu that reads like a roster of...  Read More

Santa Barbara

Freshness is paramount at this sophisticated Japanese restaurant, where sushi is the top draw and crowds flock regularly for ambience and fun. Creative chefs craft spectacular rolls featuring sea urchin, yellowtail, albacore, quail egg and more....  Read More

Empty Bowl Gourmet Noodle Bar
Photo courtesy of Empty Bowl Gourmet Noodle Bar

For the most delicious noodles in Santa Barbara, head to Empty Bowl Noodle Bar inside the Santa Barbara Public Market. This casual noodle bar makes everything fresh. You can grab at seat at the long counter or order your food to go and take it...  Read More

The Black Sheep
Photo courtesy of The Black Sheep

If you like fancy food but hate stuffy atmospheres, The Black Sheep might be just the place for you. Located on a welcoming side street in downtown Santa Barbara, this is the kind of restaurant you hope to stumble into on your first night of...  Read More

The Lark
Photo courtesy of Geneva Ives

The Lark is a lovely indoor/outdoor 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....  Read More

Sama Sama Kitchen
Photo courtesy of Geneva Ives

Sama Sama Kitchen is a restaurant in downtown Santa Barbara that serves up satisfying, Indonesian-inspired dishes and cocktails for dinner and late night. Exotic flavors like anise, cumin and starfruit are common here. There are classic dishes,...  Read More

Santa Barbara

For cuisine that makes the most of regional ingredients, look no further than Bouchon. This intimate restaurant is located in the heart of Santa Barbara, and that is definitely reflected in their local-centric menu. Fresh vegetables are sourced...  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