Santa Barbara’s Mediterranean influences extend far beyond the red tile roofs and balmy gardens, right onto our dinner (and lunch and breakfast) plates. There seem to be an endless supply of Italian restaurants dotting our streets. From small Mom-and-Pop counter hideaways to fancy white linen affairs, Santa Barbara’s Italian eateries run the gamut.
If you want to cut straight to the chase and enjoy a meal as close as possible to one you'd have in Italy, head to Via Maestra 42. Tables are small, pasta is handmade, and Julia Child used to eat there when she lived here. But if you have more than one meal, the possibilities really open up. Olio Crudo Bar has incredible cocktails and stunningly fresh seafood drizzled in fragrant olive oil. Arnoldi's, a staple since 1937, has bocce courts, taxidermy and giant antipasto platters. And Ca'Dario has one of the best steaks in town.
With so many choices, how do you choose the best restaurant for you? When you’re in the mood for a taste of Italy, look no further than this list of the best Italian restaurants in Santa Barbara. We’ll tell you exactly where to eat for the most flavorful experience - whether you’re searching for an authentic Italian pizza or a crisp cannoli like Grandma used to make - so you don’t waste a mouthful on food that doesn’t fit the bill. Now start reading so you can hurry up and make a reservation already!