The Santa Barbara restaurants are numerous. So too are the city’s coffee shops and bakeries. In 2010, a locally-published restaurant guide listed nearly 700 such establishments. Toss in the area wineries, and it is easy to understand why Santa Barbara gets a lot of respect for its culinary scene. Visitors won’t want to focus exclusively on the city’s restaurants, coffee shops, bakeries, and wineries, however. Also found in and around Santa Barbara are gourmet food shops, farm stands, markets, bars, and microbreweries.
The restaurants that can be found in Santa Barbara proper and surrounding Santa Barbara County basically run the full gamut. Fine dining establishments certainly aren’t difficult to find, and due in part to the fact that this is a college town, it can also be easy to track down some wallet-friendly eateries. In-between are numerous mid-priced restaurants. Some of the best restaurants in Santa Barbara offer amazing views of the ocean and mountains, and many a local dish features fresh, seasonal ingredients. As is true in other parts of California, this is a region with a high awareness of farming methods and a year-round growing season that inspires local chefs to work with locally-grown produce. The locally grown "produce" also includes wines from the neighboring vineyards and wineries.
Whatever you have a taste for, the Santa Barbara restaurants can most likely accommodate. Seafood surely abounds, thanks to the city’s coastal positioning. Among other things, diners can indulge in spiny lobster, spot prawns, ridgeback shrimp, rock crab, seabass, halibut, abalone, oysters, clams, mussels, and scallops. California-Mexican is another kind of cuisine that is also in good supply throughout Santa Barbara, and there are also restaurants that specialize in Spanish, Middle Eastern, Cajun, Asian, and a variety of other cuisines. Basically, you won’t want to forget to bring your appetite the next time you visit the "American Riviera."
Top image: Damian Gadal (flickr)