These top places locals love to eat in Santa Barbara range from those offering dining with waterfront views to local eats offering farm-to-fork experiences. The coastal city has an array of top-notch local restaurants that serve everything from American fare to Spanish tapas and seafood fresh off the boat.

    Whether you're looking for family dining, a romantic night out, or anything in between, check out our list of where to find Santa Barbara's best local food scene below. You’re bound to enjoy a truly eclectic culinary experience during your visit to the city as you dine like a Santa Barbara local.

    1

    Loquita

    Enjoy farm-to-table tapas and creative cocktails

    • Food
    • Nightlife
    • Couples

    Loquita is one of the most popular local restaurants in Santa Barbara, well-known for its farm-fresh Spanish tapas. You can find the cosy diner northwest of the waterfront, before Stearns Wharf and West Beach. Off the menu, you’re treated to choices featuring ingredients like octopus and beef, together with a long list of craft cocktails.

    The recipes are simple, but they use top-quality ingredients for flavorful combinations. Besides creative cocktails, Loquita also has an excellent list of top Spanish wines as well as beer. You can dine inside the cozy restaurant or opt for a table outside on the patio under parasols and bougainvillea.

    Location: 202 State St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101, USA

    Open: Sunday, Monday and Thursday from 5 pm to 9 pm, Friday–Saturday from 5 pm to 10 pm

    Phone: +1 805-880-3380

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    2

    Angel Oak At Bacara

    An elegant seafood spot with ocean views

    • Food
    • Couples
    • Photo
    • Luxury

    Angel Oak is a high-end modern steakhouse at The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara where you can enjoy offerings from a seasonal rotation of beef and seafood. It’s a fine spot to head to if you're in the mood for a good steak, as Angel Oak serves delicacies like Japanese wagyu beef, locally sourced abalone, and bone marrow, all topped off with a selection of perfect wine pairings guided by a sommelier.

    Dining out on the terrace bordered by glass walls treats you to sea breezes and views of the Pacific Ocean. You can spot the Channel Islands off the coast with occasional sightings of wildlife in the water.

    Location: 8301 Hollister Ave, Santa Barbara, CA 93117, USA

    Open: Daily from 6 pm to 10 pm

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    3

    Santa Barbara Shellfish Company

    Delicious seafood right over the water

    • Food
    • Nightlife
    • Couples
    • Families
    • Photo

    Santa Barbara Shellfish Company is a popular local seafood restaurant on Stearns Wharf. Scenic yet casual, it lets you enjoy local delights such as clam chowder and Dungeness crab right over the water in Santa Barbara.

    There’s more from the menu though, with a wide variety of seafood dishes such as shrimp tacos, lobster roll, oysters, and scallops. With dining options inside and out on the wharf, soothing ocean views accompany your meals. There's even a firepit that regulars gather around for a cozy evening out.

    Location: 230 Stearns Wharf, Santa Barbara, CA 93109, USA

    Open: Daily from 11 am to 9 pm

    Phone: +1 805-966-6676

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    4

    Bossie's Kitchen

    Bossie's Kitchen

    • Food
    • Families

    Bossie's Kitchen is a casual restaurant in Santa Barbara where you can enjoy dishes made from seasonal farmers’ market recipes. The restaurant on the corner of Milpas and Canon Perdido streets offers a menu of traditional items as well as twists on favorites like mac and cheese. They also feature craft cocktails alongside an extensive beer list.

    Bossie's Kitchen is open for lunch, dinner, and weekend brunches and its weeknight specials are available nightly after 5 pm ranging from grilled shrimp to braised baby-back ribs. There’s also a kids’ menu with favorites like grilled cheese sandwich, white cheddar, and French fries.

    Location: 901 N Milpas St, Santa Barbara, CA 93103, USA

    Open: Tuesday–Saturday from 11.30 am to 8.30 pm, Sunday from 11.30 am to 8 pm (closed on Mondays)

    Phone: +1 805-770-1700

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    5

    Cajé Coffee Roasters

    Try unique coffee cocktails on a cosy terrace

    • Food
    • Budget

    Cajé Coffee Roasters in downtown Santa Barbara is a hot spot for coffee lovers, evident from the morning crowds looking for their java fix. They have a branch in The Mill at the corner of Laguna and Haley Streets, while their hip craft coffee shop in Goleta is a hit with its outdoor seating where you can enjoy your espresso or smoothie with bagels under the sky.

    Cajé focuses on eco-friendly and sustainable practices that resonate with the locals. It serves some delicious breakfast options, such as avocado toast and breakfast tortillas, which go well alongside its gourmet coffees. Their healthy bowls are a great option with base selections that range from berries to kale and organic almond butter.   

    Location: 948 Embarcadero del Norte, Goleta, CA 93117, USA

    Open: Daily from 7 am to 6.30 pm

    Phone: +1 805-699-5033

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    6

    Sama Sama Kitchen

    For farm-to-fork Southeast Asian cuisine

    • Food
    • Couples
    • Families

    ­Sama Sama Kitchen is a trendy farm-to-fork restaurant on State Street in Santa Barbara where you can enjoy small plates inspired by popular and tasty dishes from Southeast Asia. They source most ingredients fresh from local farmers but prepare them with an exotic culinary twist.

    From Javanese gado gado salad or nasi goreng fried rice to Vietnamese wings in fish caramel sauce, the offerings at Sama Sama Kitchen are also good to be shared. Along with the delicious food, there’s an enchanting courtyard area for dining with string lights so you can slow down and enjoy the atmosphere and exotic flavors.

    Location: 1208 State St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101, USA

    Open: Tuesday–Thursday from 11.30 am to 3 pm and 5 pm to 9 pm, Friday–Saturday from 11.30 am to 3 pm and 5 pm to 10 pm, Sunday from 11.30 am to 3 pm and 5 pm to 9 pm (closed on Mondays)

    Phone: +1 805-965-4566

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    7

    Corazon Cocina

    The flavors of Guadalajara at Santa Barbara Public Market

    • Food
    • Families

    Corazon Cocina is a Mexican restaurant that uses local produce and market fare to inspire a menu filled with delicious dishes that are both traditional and creative. Beginning as a pop-up restaurant, Corazon Cocina offers a range of staples that are popular with locals, as well as a rotating menu of additional options that are influenced by seasonal offerings.

    You can find the restaurant inside the Santa Barbara Public Market on Victoria Street. Choose from Mexican favorites like quesadillas, large portioned ceviche, chicken mole and la gringa tacos, and more on the menu. Don’t forget to ask about their tasty guacamole.

    Location: 38 W Victoria St #122, Santa Barbara, CA 93101, USA

    Open: Tuesday–Saturday from 11 am to 9 pm, Sunday–Monday from 11 am to 8 pm

    Phone: +1 805-845-0282

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    8

    Goat Tree

    A laidback cafe serving coffee and fresh juices

    • Food

    Goat Tree is an airy cafe at the Hotel Californian in Santa Barbara that offers al fresco seating and a wide selection of refreshing cold-pressed juices, coffees and other beverages. Perfect for a morning pick-me-up or a relaxing late breakfast, Goat Tree has a gourmet selection of coffee in a beautiful and cosy setting.

    You could also get a few quick-bite options from the menu, such as deli sandwiches and desserts, or a full breakfast from a selection of Mediterranean-inspired foods. Their pastries are prepared fresh daily, as are their baby kale and wild arugula salads. A serving of Rori's ice cream sandwich is a great finish to your meal here.

    Location: 36 State St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101, USA

    Open: Daily from 7 am to 8 pm

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    9

    Finch & Fork

    Enjoy dining 'la vida local'

    • Food
    • Couples
    • Families

    Finch & Fork is a local favorite dining spot in Santa Barbara for creative farm-to-table dishes. You can find the restaurant at the Kimpton Canary Hotel on West Carillo Street. The menu reflects seasonal offerings from local farms and fishermen, all prepared in simple yet flavorful combinations. 

    All the dishes at Finch & Fork use limited ingredients to enhance individual flavors. The menu includes small bites and full meals, so you can choose to sample some of the delicious options or dive in for a full meal. Items range from rainbow trout and seared scallops to wild mushroom flatbread. Head in on Sunday evenings to enjoy their succulent prime ribs.

    Location: 31 W Carrillo St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101, USA

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    10

    Brophy Brothers

    Fresh seafood by Santa Barbara Yacht Port

    • Food
    • Couples
    • Families
    • Photo

    Brophy Brothers is a popular harborside seafood spot right next to the wharf and Santa Barbara Fish Market. It’s great for patio dining by the waterfront or takeout with fresh-caught seafood available. 

    For dine-ins, the restaurant is also known for its delicious cocktails, including the signature Bloody Mary. You can choose a seat overlooking the parked yachts for a meal with a view. Other unique finds at Brophy Brothers include oyster shooter shots and the Hot Combo of beer-broiled shrimp, oysters rock, steamed clams, steamed mussels, and baked clams.

    Location: 119 Harbor Way, Santa Barbara, CA 93109, USA

    Open: Sunday–Thursday from 11 am to 9 pm, Friday–Saturday from 11 am to 10 pm

    Phone: +1 805-966-4418

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