Best Restaurants in Santa Barbara for Groups and Large Parties

If you're looking to dine out with a larger group in Santa Barbara, you might think you're at a loss for choices. Many of the restaurants in this little beach town are charmingly intimate... aka very small! It can be a bit tricky to seat a party of eight or more on a Friday or Saturday night, so we're here to help.

This list includes the very best group-friendly restaurants within city limits. Each of these 10 dining establishments can handle larger groups and, better still, are certain to please every member of your crowd. From birthdays to graduations to weddings, we have you covered.

If you're looking to host a grand affair, consider renting the private room at Harry's Plaza Cafe for a taste of classic Santa Barbara. Or, for something a little more gourmet, you can buy out the entire restaurant at the Wine Cask.

Or if it's an informal celebration with family and friends that you're planning, why not try the back patio at Sama Sama Kitchen? Their dreamy cocktails and addictive Indonesian-inspired dishes will make it an affair to remember. 

The majority of the restaurants on this list are within easy walking distance of some amazing sight or other, whether it's the ocean, a historic building or just some really good nightlife. Perfect for getting your party on!



Enjoy Italian and Mediterranean dishes with a view of the ocean! This romantic waterfront restaurant is located near some of the best hotels in the west beach area of Santa Barbara. Enjoy fresh salads and delicious pastas, like gnocchi with rock...  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 brunch and dinner. Exotic flavors like anise, cumin and starfruit are common here. There are classic dishes, like...  Read More



If you're ready to be surprised by a chic oasis in the middle of residential Goleta, pop by the Outpost at the Goodland for a meal... or a drink. This restaurant is Palm Springs meets 60's California beach town. Stroll across patterned tile to...  Read More



Named after the grandmother who encouraged the owners to open their first restaurant - the Montecito Cafe - Jane is a testament to comfortable, quality dining as exemplified by kind service and delectable family recipes. Their menu offers up a...  Read More

Opal Restaurant & Bar


Decidedly comfortable, Opal benefits from local owners, an accomplished menu and an all-around good feel. The Californian cuisine delights in tasty, fragrant ingredients and offers everything from a chile-crusted filet mignon to risotto with...  Read More



Tucked in a romantic courtyard in downtown Santa Barbara, directly behind a greatly beloved turtle pond, Cielito serves up full meals, small plates and delicious cocktails seven days a week. Dishes vary with the season, including ceviche made...  Read More



If you're looking for a fine dining experience in Santa Barbara that feels both elegant and effortless, make a reservation at the Wine Cask. Located in the heart of downtown Santa Barbara but tucked away in a secluded courtyard, this restaurant...  Read More

Arnoldi's Cafe
Photo courtesy of Wine Cask - Santa Barbara


On a balmy Santa Barbara night, head to Arnoldi's with a few friends for drinks, dinner, and a little evening sporting. That's right, in addition to serving hearty Italian food, Arnoldi's also offers you the rare chance to play bocce ball - a...  Read More



Harry's Plaza Cafe is a Santa Barbara institution. Opened in 1968, this cosy restaurant has been serving homestyle meals and stiff drinks to loyal locals for decades. Unassuming from the front, just pass through the door to time travel into a...  Read More

Santa Barbara
Palace Grill
Photo courtesy of The Palace Grill


"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


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