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Fine Dining in Santa Barbara

Discover the best restaurants in Santa Barbara

a plate of food on a tableAlthough it’s always been home to fantastic dining, Santa Barbara has grown into a foodie’s paradise, offering world-class dining that caters to the needs of any palate. During your visit to Santa Barbara, be on the lookout for menus and wine lists highlighting our local bounty! 

The region’s agricultural history, unique Mediterranean climate, and knowledgeable farmers, ranchers, and growers have combined to support a booming food culture that rivals the top food scenes of Los Angeles, Portland, San Francisco, and other more established food meccas. 

A key characteristic of the region – and one that sets it uniquely apart from almost any other top dining destination – is its prime positioning at the ‘north/south’ divide of the state. Its location allows it to take advantage of cooler, northern temperatures, and warmer southern temperatures, resulting not only in tremendous natural biodiversity, but also the presence of many micro-climates that allow agricultural crops to thrive year-round. 

As the 13th top agricultural county in the state, Santa Barbara is internationally recognized for some of its most abundant crops, including strawberries, wine grapes, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, avocados, and more.

Due to its agricultural heritage and the quality of the food grown here, Santa Barbara restaurants take great pride in highlighting the absolute best from California’s central coast farmers and vintners – and not just because it’s trendy…this is just the way it’s done! You’ll find local fruits and vegetables mixed into many dishes seasonally, alongside local seafood and meat options. 

So get ready! From farm-table-experiences, sushi, and seafood on State Street in Santa Barbara’s downtown, to California cuisine and Asian-inspired dishes in the Funk Zone, to great Mexican food and steak houses in Montecito – it’s all here! 

As you review some of our favorite restaurants below, keep in mind that these are only a small slice of what Santa Barbara has to offer. And whether you choose the Lark, Bouchon, the Boathouse, Arigato, Ca’Dario, or any of our other recommendations, rest assured that you won’t be disappointed. 

Bon appetit!