10 places to score delicious eats in Los Olivos

Los Olivos is a charming, small-town located approximately 30 miles north of Santa Barbara. A lovely drive on a winding road gets you there in a little over a half-hour, depending on traffic. It's a hot spot for wineries and vineyards. In fact, there are dozens of wine tasting rooms dotting just a few neighboring blocks.

And, of course, you know what goes well with wine, don't you?

That's right: food! Although lesser known for its restaurants, Los Olivos is home to a shockingly varied (and delicious) assortment of dining options. From breakfast to lunch to dinner and beyond, explore this list of the 10 best restaurants in the area to find your favorite flavors. 

If you are in the mood for a burger, there are several good options including the Los Olivos Cafe and Sides Hardware and Shoes. Both serve up a large burger with all the trimmings and are great date night restaurants. Don't forget to make a reservation!

For those of you with a powerful sweet tooth, Los Olivos happens to be the headquarters of the most delicious cupcake shop on the Central Coast. Pop into Enjoy Cupcakes to enjoy delicious baked cakes with spectacular flavor profiles, like vanilla mascarpone chardonnay and caramel pinot. 


Los Olivos may be a wine-oriented town, but you can't drink wine and nothing else (at least we don't think you can). When you need a perk up in the morning or wind down in the afternoon, stop by Corner House Coffee for a cup of joe or mug of tea. They serve up hot and cold drinks here, in addition to baked treats and even ice cream! And huevos rancheros! And beer! Enjoy a sunny hour on the patio or snuggle indoors if it's cloudy. Plenty of free parking with great boutiques and tasting rooms in easy walking distance.

Recommended for Los Olivos' Best Restaurants because: Every list should include a great local coffee shop! In Los Olivos, this is it.

Geneva's expert tip: Corner House Coffee now serves BBQ on the weekends, including chicken, ribs and tri-tip.

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Are you in the mood for soups, salads or sandwiches (or some combination of the three)? If so, head on over to Panino is Los Olivos for fresh, made-to-order fare at reasonable prices. The salads are huge, and the sandwiches are served on your choice of bread. They also have cookies and other tasty treats. Open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day of the week. Phone orders are acceptable, and catering is available. Free parking right out front. There is both indoor and outdoor seating, as well as a lovely, grassy park across the way. Call it an instant picnic!

Recommended for Los Olivos' Best Restaurants because: Panino has fresh salads and sammies that you can eat in-house or take to go. Lots of options for both vegetarians and meat-eaters.

Geneva's expert tip: All of their items are numbered, so cool patrons just order by number, like "I'll have the #30." And really, if you like Stilton cheese, try the #30.

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Los Olivos

Who has time to slow down for a fancy meal between wine tastings? Not you, that's who! But still, you've been drinking all day, and you're hungry. We have just the place for you: The Doggy Door. This tiny hot dog restaurant is a dream for hungry wine tasters (and hungry people in general). For less than $10, you can grab a totally tasty hotdog and chips. Inventive varieties include the nacho, pesto and Reuben. Vegan options are available. The Doggy Door is conveniently located next to a beer bar and within walking distance of dozens of wine tasting rooms.

Recommended for Los Olivos' Best Restaurants because: Ten cash dollars gets you a hot dog, chips and a drink. What's not to love?

Geneva's expert tip: Every Wednesday is locals' night. If you happen to be from the area, you get 20% off your bill.

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Los Olivos

What a super place to enjoy cupcakes in Los Olivos. Enjoy Cupcakes bakes up both traditional and non-traditional flavors. From peanut butter to pineapple rosemary chardonnay, they claim to have served more than 500 flavors to date. Visit their website to view the weekly menu. They even make regular-sized cakes as well. Place a special order in advance to serve them at your wedding or party. These cupcakes are always a hit! Located right inside the Sarloos & Sons tasting room, so you have easy access to liquid refreshments at all times. Indoor and outdoor seating areas. Free parking right out front.

Recommended for Los Olivos' Best Restaurants because: CUPCAKES! If you enjoy moist, single-serving sized baked goods that you don't have to share, this is the stop for you.

Geneva's expert tip: You can get a chocolate cupcake anywhere. Order one of their wine-flavored confections instead, like the chocolate blackberry syrah cupcake.

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Part barn (visually), part grocery store and part deli, Los Olivos grocery is a multi-tasking shop and restaurant for locals and hungry travelers alike. Deli sandwiches, pita pockets, burgers and more can be ordered while you shop the aisles laden with a combination of basic necessities and gourmet foodstuffs. Los Olivos Grocery also serves up fresh salads, tasty olives and party trays. This is a great stop for a coffee and a pastry in the mornings, too. Outdoor patio seating is available, as are some covered seats on the screened porch. Or pack a picnic and take it to go! Free parking out front.

Recommended for Los Olivos' Best Restaurants because: In addition to sandwiches, Los Olivos groceries sells tasty pastries, savory olives, fine cheeses and more.

Geneva's expert tip: Visit this grocer to pack a gourmet picnic. You can get sandwiches, salads and even wine.

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Los Olivos Wine Merchant & Cafe serves lunch and dinner, specializing in Mediterranean dishes that celebrate local flavors. Ingredients are selected to be as organic, sustainable and even wild as possible. (They source many vegetables and flowers from their own organic farm.) Every dish is created to pair well with wine. Dozens of premium wines are on the menu, and wine tastings are available. The Los Olivos Cafe was featured in the movie "Sideways." Outdoor seating available when the weather is nice. Dinner reservations are recommended. This is a very romantic restaurant to visit on date night. It's also a good place to reserve a larger table for special celebrations.

Recommended for Los Olivos' Best Restaurants because: Los Olivos Cafe is a great place with a warm atmosphere where you can enjoy a simple wine tasting or an entire meal.

Geneva's expert tip: Visit their website in advance to book a table online. Weekend nights can be packed, no matter the season!

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Amazing. Romantic. Decadent. Relaxing. These are all words that you will use to describe your dining experience at The Gathering Table at the historic Ballard Inn. Located at the edge of Santa Ynez, just a short distance from both Solvang and Los Olivos (two wonderful small towns that each deserve a visit), this intimate restaurant has just a few tables. Chef Budi Kazali has garnered praise from foodies across the country, and soon you will be singing his praises, too. Appetizers include such delights as roast Kurobata pork belly with Napa cabbage fondue. For an entree try the pan-seared duck breast. Open to the public Wednesday through Sunday. Reservations recommended.

Recommended for Los Olivos' Best Restaurants because: The Gathering Table serves some of the most scrumptious dishes in the area. A must-visit for dining enthusiasts!

Geneva's expert tip: Do not pass go without making a reservation. This in-demand restaurant has only a handful of tables and is open just five nights a week. Stay at the attached hotel to enjoy a wine and cheese hour before your meal.

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This is one delicious lunch stop that you probably won't find on many Los Olivos restaurant guides. Disguised as a perfectly normal grab n' go convenience store, R-Country Market has a perfectly serviceable deli counter. Their sandwiches are made to order. You can get all the classics here: tuna salad, turkey, etc. BUT the real reason to go - and to show up early in fact - is the BBQ tri-tip sandwich. Tri-tip originated in this very region, and R-Country does it right. Do they sell out? You bet they do! Add chips and a drink to your meal for around $10 or browse their great wine selection for something a little stronger. Outside seating available.

Recommended for Los Olivos' Best Restaurants because: This country market is a great spot to stop and grab a sandwich between wine tastings.

Geneva's expert tip: Go early. Get the tri-tip sandwich. Don't even think about anything else... except maybe a bottle of wine!

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Opened by the Nichols brothers in Los Olivos in 2012, Sides Hardware and Shoes is a friendly restaurant with good-sized portions, decent prices and an impressive menu. Sides deal heavily in savory pork products, including pig-ear nachos, bacon steaks and many other meaty treats. It's also alleged by locals to be home to the best burger on the Central Coast. There are also salads, tacos and tasty cocktails. Local seafood appears on the menu too, depending on what's fresh. Interestingly, Sides only serves lunch, every day from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Outdoor seating is seasonably available. Free parking is available right out front.

Recommended for Los Olivos' Best Restaurants because: Sides Hardware and Shoes serves a delicious menu that will work for every appetite.

Geneva's expert tip: Order the calamari! It's mixed with delicious bits of fried onions and peppers.

Read more about Sides Hardware and Shoes →


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