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Gourmet Grub: The Best Gourmet Stores in Santa Barbara



Santa Barbara isn't just a beach paradise, it's a chef's paradise too. This foodie-friendly town is home to many gourmet shops where you can find fresh Central Coast ingredients as well as exotic treats from all over the world. 

There are multiple gourmet grocery stores in Santa Barbara, including Lazy Acres and Whole Foods Market. These shops offer locally sourced produce and fresh catches, like Santa Barbara caught white sea bass. If you're looking for just the perfect seasoning to spice up your dishes, Vices and Spices has everything you need. 

For something a little more decadent, head to C'est Cheese for fragrant cheeses from around the globe. Anything that might go on a deluxe cheese board - like fig jam or pickled caperberries - you will be able to pick up here.

Have a sweet tooth? Chocolate Maya is the gourmet destination for you! This jewel of a shop has truffles, single-origin chocolate bars, hot cocoas and more. You can even indulge in a chocolate tasting. 

And of course, although it didn't make the list because it's not really a 'store' per se, you should absolutely visit one of the seven Santa Barbara Certified Farmers Markets during your stay. In addition to fruits and veggies, local purveyors also sell dairy, seafood and other meat products. 


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Isabella Gourmet Foods is a charming independent shop located in the heart of downtown Santa Barbara that specializes in gourmet edibles. Pick up ingredients for your meal or grab a fresh, ready-to-eat meat out of the refrigerated cases. Isabella's focuses on local, independent and small-batch treats. Their changing inventory can include handmade macarons, fresh-baked breads, locally crafted chocolates and much more. Gourmet pantry items and dry goods share shop space with handmade grab-and-go treats like salads and ice creams. It's like a dreamy convenience store for those with refined palates! Very close to many other Santa Barbara shops, restaurants and attractions.

Recommended for Gourmet Stores because: From seasoning and sugar cookies to locally made bread and jam, Isabella's has something for everyone.

Geneva's expert tip: Pop upstairs for a wine tasting on their mezzanine level.

Read more about Isabella Gourmet Foods →




This elixir bar and superfood store is located in the heart of downtown Santa Barbara and attached to Divintree Yoga Studio. Kotuku serves fresh juices and tonics as well as vegan bento boxes that are perfect for lunch. Here you can buy many ingredients and supplements to make your own healthy treats too. They even have healthy chocolate! Kotuku's housemade almond milk is pressed and put into reusable mason jars, so you can bring them back for a refill. Try one of their lunch salads or pick up an herbal tea to brew at home. In easy walking distance of many downtown shops and restaurants.

Recommended for Gourmet Stores because: For fresh juices, elixirs and so much more, Kotuku is the place to go.

Geneva's expert tip: Don't bet on a late lunch! Kotuku's tasty vegan bento boxes sell out early.

Read more about Kotuku Elixir Bar & Superfood Store →




Have a sweet tooth? Head to Chocolate Maya for a truly decadent treat. This dreamy little chocolate shop is not far from the beach, and yet it seems worlds away. Painted in exotic jewel colors, this gem of a shop is paradise for chocoholics. There are truffles and bon bons galore, as well as single-origin chocolate bars and rich, creamy hot chocolate concoctions. You can even indulge in a chocolate tasting! This is the place to pick up some really delicious souvenirs. Chocolate Maya offers free delivery upon request within Santa Barbara and has shipping options available to more outlying destinations.

Recommended for Gourmet Stores because: The most charming chocolate shop in Santa Barbara. It smells (and tastes) like heaven.

Geneva's expert tip: Seize your opportunity to learn more about our favorite dessert and indulge in a chocolate tasting.

Read more about Chocolate Maya →


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C'est Cheese
Photo courtesy of Geneva Ives


Every relaxed vacation town needs a proper cheesemonger. You need cheese for picnics, cheese for cocktail parties, cheese for lavish weddings and movie premieres. C'est Cheese is a delectably stinky cheese mecca, packed with varieties from near and far. They also have divine sausages and gourmet sideboard fixings, like pickles and jellies. Don't forget to grab a loaf of bread while you're there. Buying cheese to eat later is fun, but what if you're hungry now? Not a problem! C'est Cheese also serves up fine grilled cheeses, deli sandwiches and soups. Limited free street parking nearby, but absolutely worth walking a block or more.

Recommended for Gourmet Stores because: This cheese shop sells cheese to go or you can eat in! For the rarest, smelliest, most delicious cheeses, C'est Cheese is the place.

Geneva's expert tip: Don't know your gorgonzola from your camembert? Not to worry. Just tell the staff what flavors you like; they'll point you in the right direction.

Read more about C'est Cheese →


Vices and Spices
Photo courtesy of Vices and Spices


Vices and Spices is a gem of a shop that has been a neighborhood favorite for decades. Settled in on upper State in the San Roque area, this specialty cafe and store serves up delicious beverages (caffeinated and otherwise) in a relaxed, welcoming atmosphere. They have a large selection of loose leaf tea sold by the ounce here, as well as a wide variety of coffee beans. As their name suggests, they also have many spices to choose from. In addition, they have candies, tea pots, cards, candles, locally made jewelry and other great gifts for sale here. Whether you need a vanilla bean, vanilla tea, candies or a vanilla latte, this is the place! Indoor and outdoor seating available.

Recommended for Gourmet Stores because: Pick your poison from a wall of heavenly-scented spices. Vices and Spices sells everything by the ounce at very reasonable prices.

Geneva's expert tip: Order a drink to enjoy while you make your tea, coffee and gift selections. Their coconut pouchong latte is absolutely dreamy.

Read more about Vices and Spices →




il Fustino is the place to get specialty cooking oils and vinegars in Santa Barbara. Its name is Italian for "the tank," referencing the stainless steel containers that their oils and vinegars are stored in. This traditional bulk storage method allows you to sample the merchandise, ensuring you select just the right flavor profile for whatever recipe you have in mind. In addition to their award-winning oils and flavored vinegars, il Fustino also sells pastas, bruschettas, olives and more, making it the perfect one-stop shop for hostess and holiday gifts. Bring in your own bottle or purchase one you can refill for a discounted price in the future.

Recommended for Gourmet Stores because: For olive oil so delicious, you'll save it for special occasions. Makes for an amazing hostess gift.

Geneva's expert tip: Try their 25-year old balsamic vinegar. It's so heavenly, you'll want to eat it by the spoonful.

Read more about il Fustino →




This Santa Barbara shopping center is a must-visit for hungry people and food enthusiasts. Part of a mixed-use development in the heart of downtown, this indoor spot contains an artisanal grocery area, as well as over a dozen specialty merchants. There's a cheese store, a butcher, a cupcake shop and so much more, packed into one inviting, continuous space. Many of the merchants sell prepared food that you can enjoy in the market or take to go. Get Thai noodles at Empty Bowl or a fresh plate of spaghetti at The Pasta Shoppe. Or sit down for a plate of oysters from Santa Monica Seafood. There's free parking under the building!

Recommended for Gourmet Stores because: With multiple purveyors under one roof, including a bakery and butcher, this is your one-stop shop for any gourmet ingredients.

Geneva's expert tip: Plan your shopping trip around lunch or dinner time, so you can enjoy a meal after stocking up. There's also a wine and beer bar!

Read more about Santa Barbara Public Market →


Metropulos
Photo courtesy of Geneva Ives


We begin with a warning: do not even think about setting foot in 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. Their caprese sandwich is a veggie delight! And then, while your order is being crafted by the wonderful staff, you are free to browse.

Recommended for Gourmet Stores because: Metropulos sells gourmet Mediterranean foodstuffs, like tinned seafood, squid ink pasta and truffled everything. You've been warned.

Geneva's expert tip: In this one instance, we do advise you to go shopping on an empty stomach because they also make mouthwatering sandwiches.

Read more about Metropulos →




You're sure to find something new with each visit to the Whole Foods Market in Santa Barbara. The deluxe grocery store sells gourmet food items, fresh seafood and meat, locally grown vegetables, sustainable beauty supplies and so much more. Hot and cold bars serve up convenient prepared food for hungry people on the go. There is even a beer and wine bar (with its own menu) located inside the store! A great shop to try for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as for ingredients to make your own meals. Beautiful fresh flowers and juices too. Free parking right out front.

Recommended for Gourmet Stores because: For everything you need to make an amazing gourmet meal, head to Whole Foods.

Geneva's expert tip: Stop by the Buzz Hive before, during or after your shopping trip. This hopping beer and wine bar is located right inside Whole Foods.

Read more about Whole Foods Market →




Lazy Acres is a market in the Mesa neighborhood of Santa Barbara that is so much fancier than your average grocery store. This deluxe shop sells everything you need, from baked goods and beauty products to seafood and sundries. You'll find the freshest organic fruits and veggies, as well as plants and bouquets to brighten up your day. Their wine selection is top-notch with many local wineries represented. They also have a wonderful prepared food, deli and salad bar section, perfect for when you're not in the mood to do it yourself (and by it, we mean cooking). Plenty of free parking right out front.

Recommended for Gourmet Stores because: Santa Barbara has been shopping at this gourmet grocery store since 1991!

Geneva's expert tip: Lazy Acres offers weekly discounts for seniors on Tuesdays and for students on Thursdays.

Read more about Lazy Acres Market →


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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

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