Best Restaurants in Santa Barbara: The Best Places to Eat Right Now

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Unparalleled in beauty and often referred to as the “California Riviera”, Santa Barbara is a coastal gem of a city that’s only about a two-hour drive from Los Angeles, making it an accessible one-day excursion. day or a weekend. Beloved for the sparkling oceans that dot its coastline, a growing foodie scene and the best wines in the Central California wine country, Santa Barbara has proven to be an ideal road trip during the pandemic – it was the One of the first cities in California is granting restaurants permission to expand outdoor seating to parklets and street-side patios. Now restaurants across the city are open for indoor and outdoor dining, with no mask required for vaccinated customers.

From new classics to tried-and-true local favorites to award-winning establishments (and a few with Michelin accolades), these restaurants exemplify Santa Barbara’s eclectic dining scene. Whether you want fine dining in chic Montecito, Indian cuisine in downtown State Street in Bibi Ji, Mexican fare in Corazon Cocina, or clam chowder along the waterfront, here are the 17 best restaurants from Santa Barbara.

Based in Southern California, Danielle Bauter is a freelance writer who focuses on travel, LGBTQ, and culinary topics. His writing has appeared in various print and digital publications, including Thrillist, Condstar Nast Traveler, Lonely Planet and Fodor’s Voyage. Follow his travels on IG @missbauterfly and read more of his work at daniellebauter.com.

Santa Barbara is one of Leila Najafi’s favorite SoCal beach towns, mostly because she spends most of her time eating while she’s there. Follow his culinary adventures in Santa Barbara and around the world on Instagram at @LeilasList.

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