Santa Barbara - State Street at nightSanta Barbara adapted quickly to the pandemic and converted long sections of State Street to pedestrians only use.

Most of the restaurants added an outdoors seating area extending into the street. This gives State Street a more European vibe.

But also, due to the pandemic, you can't just walk in and expect to find a table. Plan ahead and make reservations days in advance. A Few restaurants don't offer reservations, but you can check in ahead of time via Yelp or by calling the restaurant.

State Street does not have a monopoly on good restaurants. You can find great places close to State or even further away.

Here are some of my favorite restaurants:

On State Street


Jane is billed as an American, international, Vegetarian-Friendly restaurant – and it does offer an exciting fusion of cuisines.

It is a place where you can order a Duck Breast, Curry Chicken, Veal Marsala, or a Cheeseburger.

During our recent visit, we enjoyed the patio seats as tried the Lamb Chops and the Chicken Curry. Both were perfectly cooked and very tasty.

We ended the meal with Toffee Sundae and Pecan Tart, for an excellent finish.

1311 State St, Santa Barbara, CA 


Santa Barbara Dining - OpalOpal offers Italian American dishes with international influence. You can find many pasta dishes on the menu, but if you prefer to skip the carbs, you can enjoy duck, chicken, and steak dishes too.

For our last visit, we tried the  Fettuccine With Tiger Shrimp and the Chicken Chipotle. The food was delicious, and the portions were huge.

We also enjoyed their wine list. I had a Merlot, and my wife enjoyed a Riesling. For dessert, we tried their Gelato and Crème Brulee.

1325 State St, Santa Barbara, CA 

Santo Mezcal

Santa Barbara Dining - Santo MezcalWe went to Mezcal for convenience. It was right next to our hotel. But we ended up enjoying an excellent Mexican meal with lots of drinks.

This place is bustling and does not take reservations, but you can get on the waitlist at

The ambiance was a little loud for us, but it would be heaven for sports fans. Lots of screens all around to catch the latest game.

During our visit, my wife ordered: “Tlacoyo De Huitlacoche Y Hongos“  - a very long name that really means corn tortilla and huitlacoche mushroom.

My meal was more traditional Mexican cuisine – the Enchiladas Verde.

We finish our meal with Pan De Elote – a Toffee Caramel with vanilla ice cream.

119 State St, Santa Barbara, CA

Close to State

Helena Ave Bakery

For a culinary adventure, head to Helena Ave Bakery. This café and bakery offer the best bread, scones, and biscuits. They also make unique and delicious sandwiches.

Your breakfast can be as simple as French bread with butter and jam or as elaborate as Breakfast Sandwich on Brioche or Green Eggs & Ham on a Biscuit.

Lunch choices include Turkey Sandwich, Cous Cous Salad, or a BLT.

131 Anacapa St c, Santa Barbara, CA

Black Sheep

Santa Barbara Dining - Black SheepBlack Sheep chefs like to source their ingredients locally, keep it organic, and experiment with their creations.

Although it is not on State street, it is only a few blocks away. They have several patios to choose from and some indoor seating.

On our visit, we ordered the catch of the day – which happened to be scallops and the Duck Leg Confit. They were both cooked right and delicious.

If you feel adventurous, try the Menu Gastronomique, a 4-course meal selected by the chef.

We tried their Lemon Drop Martini and the Manhattan. The drinks were a little above average, and the selection was short. If you prefer wine with your mean, they do offer a good selection of wines.

We finished our meal with the Almon Finacler and the Chocolate Tort. Both were excellent.

26 E Ortega St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101


OKU is right at the corner of State and Cabrillo streets – facing the beach - and serves Santa Barbara Dining - Okucreative Asian-inspired dishes.

The covered patios are a great place to relax, enjoy the views and the delicious food.

The menu includes a delightful selection of Sushi, Sashimi, freshly caught seafood dishes to share. You can also order steak, vegetarian, and gluten-free meals.

Our meal consisted of Miso Soup, Spicy Yellowtail Roll, Shinpbi Roll, and Rainbow Roll on our recent visit. The rolls were fresh and tasty and the service was excellent.

For a great finish to a great meal, I recommend the Meyer Lemon Tartlette.

29 E Cabrillo Blvd, Santa Barbara, CA


aSanta Barbara - BouchonIf you feel like being pampered while enjoying great food, a visit to Bouchon is a must.

This restaurant offers French/American dishes prepared with locally sourced ingredients - served with excellent attention to detail.

Our waiter was attentive and knowledgeable, explained the various options, and made good wine recommendations.

We were not very hungry so we shared a Rack of Lamb and each ordered the butternut squash soup.

The lamb was perfect but the soup was very bland. We still enjoyed our meal and we ended it with the warm lemon berry cake. 

The dessert was very tasty and delightful for the eyes. 

9 W Victoria St, Santa Barbara, CA  

The Roundhouse

Santa Barbara Dining - The Roadhouse - HiltonThis restaurant is inside the Hilton Beachfront – right on the beach. We were staying at the Hilton so it was convenient to have breakfast at this place.

We were not expecting a lot but were pleasantly surprised by the food and the service.

You can have the traditional American breakfast, build your Omelet, French Toast, or a Mexican style Chilaquiles. You can also go light and have a Granola & Yogurt or mixed fruit.

633 E. Cabrillo Blvd., Santa Barbara, CA

Chad's Cafe

aSanta Barbara - BouchonAnother great place for breakfast. This cafe is right on Cabrillo Street, which is the main street overlooking the bay.

The location is great but the food is even better.

During our visit we woke up too early for the hotel's breakfast, so we walked a few steps to the cafe and enjoyed our coffee and food.

Before we ordered, the server offered us fresh muffins to go with the coffee.

We ordered the Huevos Rancheros and Mom's Pancakes. The food was very tasty and portions were large. We had enough for the next day's breakfast.

216 W Cabrillo Blvd, Santa Barbara, CA 

Further away

Boat House

Santa Barbara Dining - Boat House at Hendry's Beach - from hidden gem is located right on the sand in Hendry's Beach. The beach itself is gorgeous and very popular, so you may not find a parking spot.

We went for breakfast and ordered the Breakfast Burrito and Pancakes. The burrito was exceptional, and the pancakes were fluffy and tasty. Other good breakfast choices are the Signature Breakfast, a delicious creation of snow & rock crab cakes under poached eggs – or the Quinoa Breakfast Bowl.

2981 Cliff Dr, Santa Barbara, CA