Enjoy a Homestyle Meal in Santa Barbara, without the Dishes!

Are you hungry, Santa Barbara? Sea urchin roe and kale chips have their place, but if you're ready for more of a mouthful this is the list for you. We've rounded up the 10 best homestyle restaurants in Santa Barbara city limits, so you can fill your belly with something a little more substantial, usually at an affordable price.

If you think family-style meals are best enjoyed with the whole family, pack up the crew and head to Joe's or Harry's Plaza Cafe. Both of these Santa Barbara mainstays have plenty of seating for large groups, fun atmospheres, homestyle favorites and (perhaps most importantly) stiff drinks.

Is breakfast your go-to family meal? Santa Barbara has a lot of satisfying, homestyle breakfast spots. Dive into a giant omelet at Cajun Kitchen or heap your plate with fresh blueberry pancakes at Garrett's Old Style Restaurant.

Since home cooking means a little something different for every family, we've also included healthy, German and gourmet options that offer either comfort food or large shared entrees. You have no shortage of options when it comes to dining in Santa Barbara.

Pick up your napkin and get ready to drool, this list has tantalizing options for breakfast, lunch and dinner.



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

The Natural Cafe
Photo courtesy of Geneva Ives


With 10 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


The Brewhouse is a local brewpub and restaurant located in charming West Beach. A variety of beers are brewed in house; some favorites include apricot wheat, habanero pilsner and baseball saison. They have a full bar and serve a variety of great...  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



The Lark is striking 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. There is a fun...  Read More

Dutch Garden Restaurant
Photo courtesy of Geneva Ives


Originally opened in 1925, Dutch Garden is the oldest continuously operating restaurant in Santa Barbara, but it's probably not on any tourist map and definitely far off the beaten path. Owned and operated by Ken and Laura Leutjen since 1985,...  Read More



Garrett's Old Fashioned Restaurant is a diner-style place, complete with a greasy spoon breakfast menu and a great lunch counter. Their affordable offerings are straightforward: omelets, french toast, burgers... the usual short-order fare,...  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 keeps us coming. Standard fare at...  Read More



Harry's Plaza Cafe is a Santa Barbara institution. Opened in 1968, this cozy 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
Joe's Cafe
Photo courtesy of Geneva Ives


Go for dinner and stay for cocktails; this legendary Santa Barbara restaurant transforms into a lively bar as the night goes on. A State Street tradition since 1928, Joe's Cafe offers up the stiffest drinks in town. The martinis are even served...  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