Always Fresh: 10 Best New Restaurants in Santa Barbara

The Santa Barbara restaurant scene is great. In fact, there are more than 450 restaurants to choose from! But here are two very real things that happen to hungry people:

1. Santa Barbara locals end up visiting their same favorite dozen or so restaurants, month after month.

2. Visitors to our beautiful beach town get the same dining recommendations, year in and year out.

Yes, the view at Brophy's is fantastic and La Super-Rica is legendary, but if you're ready to switch it up a little... well, we're here to help. The 10 restaurants on this list are new to the scene and delicious (because that's important too).

For a flavorful meal in wine country, check out The Bear and Star at the gorgeous Fess Parker Wine Country Inn. Want tandoori octopus? Bibi Ji is your new "unauthentic" Indian dining destination.

We've got coffee shops and pasta joints and vegan restaurants for you to explore. Get ready to add some new "old favorites" to the rotation!



Ca' Dario Cucina Italiana is an offshoot of the popular Ca' Dario Italian restaurant in downtown Santa Barbara. This new restaurant in Goleta serves pizzas and paninis in addition to hearty pasta and meat dishes. The addition of a fryer in the...  Read More

Photo courtesy of Oliver's of Montecito


Oliver's is a high end vegetarian and vegan restaurant in the Montecito area. You won't find any crunchy granola or beaded curtains here... or whatever else may come to mind when you think of plant-based cuisine. Instead you'll be welcomed by...  Read More

Photo courtesy of Urkeb


Want good food fast but not fast food? Check out Urkeb in downtown Santa Barbara. Serving up fresh doner kebab made to order, Urkeb has something for everyone. Get fresh beef, lamb or chicken grilled on a vertical rotisserie, tucked into the...  Read More

Photo courtesy of Nook Santa Barbara


If you like the idea of food trucks but wish they came with a more permanent address, consistent service and a seemingly endless supply beer, you're going to love the Nook. Operating out of a modified shipping container affixed between two tap...  Read More

Goa Taco
Photo courtesy of


OMG tacos. If you're looking for a hot, corn-wrapped Mexican classic just like Abuela used to make, this is not the place to go. If, on the other hand, you're open to embracing the taco as just something delicious with something else delicious...  Read More

Photo courtesy of Smithy


Smithy Kitchen + Bar is a completely remodeled bar and restaurant in the arts district of downtown Santa Barbara. Just across the street from the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, this eatery features a bright interior with equally bright menu items....  Read More



If you like really good coffee - and you don't mind lines - head to Handlebar for locally roasted beans and some delicious pastries and small plates. This coffee shop has it all: in house roasting, a sunny patio and even beer on tap! Hungry? Be...  Read More

Santo Mezcal
Photo courtesy of Geneva Ives


If taquerias are just a little too casual for you, go to Santo Mezcal for a fancy Mexican feast instead. Just a few blocks from the ocean and steps from local wineries, this restaurant has a gorgeous patio, great cocktails and a menu that's...  Read More



Make a stop at The Bear and Star before or after a day of wine tasting in Los Olivos for a meal to remember. For one thing, it has one of the few full bars in the area, and for another, its seating options are comfortable, spacious and air...  Read More



Billing itself as "unauthentic Indian," Bibi Ji is home to some of the brightest flavors in Santa Barbara. Helmed by chef Jessi Singh, known for his Babu Ji restaurants in San Francisco and New York, and opened in collaboration with celebrated...  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