The 10 BEST BURGERS in Santa Barbara (we did the research)

Hungry? Craving beefy patties and cheesy goodness? This is the list you've been looking for. Get ready because you're about to discover the...

...10 BEST burgers in Santa Barbara!

And how did we come up with this definitive, infallibly accurate list*, you might ask? Good question. It was a lot of work.

First, we asked (almost) every bartender in town what their favorite burger is. Then we asked pretty much everyone on Facebook and Twitter. And finally, we did the research. Compiling notes, making site visits, taking photographs and - sacrificing both our wallets and our waistlines - eating burgers.

You're welcome. 

In the end, we found 10 very delicious burgers worth putting on pants and leaving the house for. For a Santa Barbara classic, you can't miss the oak-grilled patties at the Paradise Cafe. For something a little more exotic, stay up late and tuck into the thai basil cheeseburger at The Blue Owl. And for everything else, consult this list!

If you think you've found a tastier burger that isn't on this list, let us know in the comments. We're always up for a little more investigative journalism. 

(And if you're looking to fact-check us by interviewing those alleged bartenders we mentioned earlier, here's where you'll find them. Have fun!)

List subject to change



Order a burger, add a bag of fries. It's as simple as that. Visit this no-frills burger shop in the San Roque neighborhood of Santa Barbara when you need a patty and fry fix. Their very basic menu includes hamburgers, cheeseburgers, chicken...  Read More

Tee Off
Photo courtesy of Aron Ives


Grab a high-quality burger at this old school gem of a steak house in Santa Barbara. Hidden in a rather plain-looking strip mall well outside of downtown Santa Barbara, this restaurant feels like a treasure from a bygone era as soon as you step...  Read More



Get the Crunch Burger. Dig into a juicy patty topped with swiss cheese, tomato relish, mustard, mayo, grilled tomato and onions, served on an English muffin. This country-style, family-friendly restaurant located in Summerland also includes a...  Read More

The Spot
Photo courtesy of Geneva Ives


Order a trusty cheeseburger from the quintessential California burger shack. You'll even enjoy a view of the beach while you wait in line! Located just past the train tracks on Linden Avenue, mere steps from the beach, is The Spot: a trusty...  Read More



Try the Santa Barbara Style Charburger. It's a double charburger with cheese and avocado served on grilled sourdough. Sure there are Habit Burgers almost everywhere now (at least on the West Coast), but this is where they started. Why not dig in...  Read More



Get the Smitty Burger. In fact, get Two Smitty Burgers (it's actually a menu item). And then dive into a meaty burger experience served on a brioche bun with chorizo aioli, cheese, pickle, caramelized onion, lettuce, tomato and panko pickle...  Read More

Santa Barbara
Paradise Cafe


Get a classic, oak-grilled Paradise Burger. And add grilled onions if you know what's good for you! Whether you're on vacation or just pretending you're on vacation, sometimes you all you want is a nice, relaxing meal. Preferably in the sun,...  Read More

Santa Barbara


Get the CB&J Burger. It's a 1/3 lb grass-fed beef patty covered in melted cheese, grilled onions and seasonal Mama's Preserves jelly on toasted ciabatta. (Jelly choices change with the seasons, we recommend you get whichever spicy pepper jelly...  Read More



Try Tinker's Ranch Hand Burger or Chili Cheese Burger (but act fact, because their chili often sells out well before dinnertime). Tinker's serves up delicious, greasy (in a good way), salty burgers. Order them plain and single level or stacked...  Read More



Get the Thai Basil Cheeseburger - only available late night. This indulgent burger features green curry infused local beef, caramelized onions and peppers, sautéed mushrooms and (for just $1.50 more) you can add a fried egg. Other late night...  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