Off Beat Restaurants in Santa Barbara


  • American
  • Californian
  • From restaurants in the mountains and the Santa Ynez Valley, to beach side cafes and hidden gems just under your nose, Santa Barbara is home to eateries that may be out of sight, but are packed daily with those in the know. To get to Cold Spring Tavern, you drive up Highway 154 from town, and off the shady lane of Old Stagecoach Road, you'll find the restaurant packed nightly with diners in the restaurant and regulars bar. On the east side of town, Arnoldi's Cafe has been a Santa Barbara institution since 1937, while Brewhouse is the watering hole of choice on the west side of the train tracks. On Milpas Street, what looks like a tiny, turquoise snack-shack is actually the famous La Super-Rica Taqueria. The line around the block around lunch time will tip you off that you're in the right place. In a different location everyday, the mobile Burger Bus is not only off the beaten path, it's downright elusive. Luckily the organic burgers and yam fries are worth the time it takes to check to see where the taste-making wagon will be parked for the day. The Valley's long, winding roads take you to go-to spots like Brothers Restaurant at Mattei's Tavern. Head toward the ocean and you'll be rewarded by seaside eateries like Shoreline Beach Cafe. Sojourner and SOhO are right off of bustling State Street, but it will take asking a local to find these hidden restaurants.

    Cold Spring Tavern

    5995 Stagecoach Road

    This onetime stagecoach is located on San Marco Pass and has been serving cold brews and hearty steaks since the 1940s... read more

    Arnoldis Cafe

    600 Olive Street

    One of the oldest restaurants in Santa Barbara, this cafe serves up authentic Italian fare... read more


    229 West Montecito Street

    Home brews and live music draw crowds at this lower Westside hangout... read more

    La Super-Rica Taqueria

    622 N. Milpas St
    Between Cota and Ortega Sts

    SOhO Restaurant & Music Club

    1221 State Street
    Suite 205

    Live Music 7 Days a Week!... read more

    The Burger Bus

    Organic, made-to-order burgers from a mobile kitchen at different locations around town... read more

    Brothers Restaurant at Mattei's Tavern

    2350 Railway Ave
    Just east of Grand Ave. on Hwy. 154, Los Olivos

    Stella Mare's

    50 Los Patos Way, Santa Barbara, CA

    Shoreline Beach Cafe

    801 Shoreline Drive

    Feast on fish tacos and margaritas while dining on the sand... read more

    Sojourner Cafe

    134 East Canon Perdido Street

    Since 1978, Sojourner Cafe has been serving healthy organic dishes that tempt the palate... read more
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