Los Arroyos is a locally owned chain of Mexican restaurants that focuses on fresh ingredients and made-to-order food at reasonable prices. This downtown location is located just off bustling State Street and is the perfect place to stop for lunch or dinner any day of the week. Place your order at the counter, pick your salsas and fixings from the self-serve salsa bar, then take a seat and relax; your meal will be brought to you. Los Arroyos serves great burritos and traditional dishes, as well as entrees that are inspired by Santa Barbara's seaside location. Their ceviche is great! To drink, los Arroyos offers Mexican sodas, fountain drinks, beer and wine.
The best chocolate croissant you will ever enjoy is not waiting for you in Paris. (Sorry if that shakes up some plans for intercontinental travel but, don't worry, they still have the best escargot.) No, it is right here in Santa Barbara, waiting, nay, beckoning from the beautiful glass case at Renaud's Patisserie & Bistro. Before you even take the first bite, you know there is something different about this croissant, something that makes it superior to any previous croissant you've eaten. Just put one finger on the shell and you will feel the difference; the crust is so flaky and perfectly baked that it literally shatters at the touch! And yet somehow, through a magical method likely known only to Monsieur Renaud, the interior is still moist and chewy. And the chocolate? Of the highest quality, dark yet sweet and not too much. The almond croissants aren't shabby, either.
If you want to make an authentic Italian meal - or enjoy a legendary Italian sandwich - look no further than Tino's Italian Grocery. This Italian grocery store stocks some of the very finest imports, including panettone, spirits, canned goods and more. They sell meats, cheeses and antipastos from behind a large deli counter in the heart of the shop, but it is their sandwiches that truly draw a crowd. They offer a regular, Deluxe and Super Deluxe Italian sub. (Trust us when we tell you to order the Super Deluxe.) There is no place to sit an eat, so take your freshly prepared sandwich on a picnic! Tino's Italian Grocery is a reincarnation of a popular local deli - so you'll find a lot of regulars whenever you visit!
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 grill or frier in the back. Great for takeout; party packs are also available. Their burritos are delicious. And don't miss the salsa bar! It's stocked with fresh salsas, pickled onions and jalapenos that will bring out the smokey flavors in your order. Sides of fresh guacamole can be ordered, too. Plenty of parking onsite. Open 7 days a week!
We begin with a warning: do not even think about setting foot inside this specialty deli unless you are prepared to buy a handful of assorted delicacies you didn't even know you needed. That said, if you are the type of person that likes discovering exotic seasonings, buttery cheeses and unusual European ingredients, this is the lunch stop for you. First you must attempt to walk straight to the counter - no getting distracted - to place your order for a decadent sandwich or panini made with luxe ingredients like prosciutto and cranberry-fig confit. And then, while your order is being crafted by the wonderful staff, you are free to browse. Eat your assortment of treats at one of the small tables or take your meal to go.
For a delicious burrito the size of your thigh (or thereabouts), head to Super Cuca's. The undisputed winner of many, many local "best burrito" contests, Cucas (as the in-crowd calls it) is your destination for tasty Mexican food in massive proportions at super reasonable prices. Should you decide you're not in a burrito mood - weird, but we'll play along - their nachos, enchiladas and tortas are also epic. There are several locations, but this is the best one... complete with a butcher counter, shelves stocked with groceries and a varied selection of amazing Mexican popsicles. Try the coconut or cucumber mango. Eat on their covered patio or take your food to go.
Get excited! If you love BBQ and southern comfort food, this food truck is worth hunting down. Owners Brian and Alissa dish up smokin' favorites like juicy burgers, pulled pork sandwiches and brisket for lunch and dinner all around Santa Barbara and the surrounding areas. Their hush puppies and fried up veggies (think onion rings and more deliciousness) are pretty darn good, too. To find out where they're headed for the day, follow Georgia's on Facebook or track them down on Twitter. Available for corporate and private catering as well. There's also a secret vegetarian menu for non-meat eaters that goes well above and beyond the standard grilled cheese.
Sure, there are plenty of pizza places in Santa Barbara. But wood-fired pizza places? Not so much. Nicky D's Wood Fired Pizza is one of the better ones, serving up New York style pizzas, pastas and subs. Better still, they deliver! This is Nicky D's second location; the original opened up in the popular Silverlake area of Los Angeles and rocketed to stardom with its fresh toppings and crispy crusts. In addition to the standard pizza fare, Nicky D's has not one but two clam pizzas. We highly recommend ordering both and enjoying a clam-off. There are two or three small tables in the restaurant, but the majority of guests take their food to-go or have it delivered. Lots of free parking right out front.
If scrambled eggs bore you, and you think french toast is a snooze, head to The Blue Owl for a meal guaranteed to wake up your taste buds. Chef Cindy Black offers an unexpected variety of menu items here. The Wake n' Bacon is a favorite: a homemade waffle sandwich filled with a poached egg, bacon and maple pastry cream. Other options include a succulent crab melt, tangy banh mi sammies and breakfast pizzas. Specials vary daily and ingredients change with what's in season at any given time. Also try The Blue Owl's rosemary lemonade and secret-recipe Thai iced tea. Serving brunch, lunch and late night eats, right in the heart of downtown Santa Barbara.
Do you like burgers? How about falafels? Or fried pickles? And how would you like to have them served? If you said, "from a roving school bus" then you're in luck! The Burger Bus is exactly that, a converted yellow school bus that roams about town serving up juicy eats crafted from the finest local ingredients. The Burger Bus is one of Santa Barbara's oldest and most beloved food trucks. The easiest way to track them down is by checking their Twitter account, although there is a rough schedule on their website, too. Try a CB&J (cheeseburger and jelly) with a side order of yam fries, and you'll soon see what all the fuss is about!