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Arts & Letters Cafe
Arts & Letters Cafe

Arts & Letters Cafe Details

  • Dining Style: Casual Dining
  • Website: http://www.artsletterscafe.shutterfly.com
  • Phone: (805) 730-1463
  • Hours of Operation: Lunch: Monday - Sunday: 11:00am - 2:30pm
  • Payment Options: AMEX, MasterCard, Visa
  • Cuisine: Californian
  • Dress Code: Casual Dress
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Banquet/Private Rooms, Beer, Cafe, Full Bar, Non-Smoking Area, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Personal wines welcome, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Private Room, Smoking Area, Wheelchair Access, Wine
  • Private Party Contact: Lisa Neustadt (805) 730-1463
  • Special Events & Promotions: Please contact Lisa Neustadt, at Lisan@sullivangoss for banquets information

Getting there

  • Cross Street: State Street
  • Parking: Public Lot
A word from Arts & Letters Cafe
The Arts & Letters Café serves classic bistro fare in a beautiful courtyard setting in the heart of downtown Santa Barbara.
Our chef uses the freshest local ingredients to prepare soups, salads and sandwiches in the California cuisine tradition. The Café is also pleased to offer a fine selection of California wines and a full bar.

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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Ambiance
  • Diners' Choice WinnerGreat for Brunch
  • Diners' Choice WinnerGreat for Lunch
Diner Reviews
  • "We are four retired women who meet for lunch the first Monday of each month at a different restaurant in Santa Barbara. Arts & Letters is one that we would meet at again. Also, it is a lovely ambience for our out-of-town guests for a quintessential experience located in the heart of Santa Barbara."
    Dined on 7/7/2014
  • "Four of us from The Welsh Choir of CA (Los Angeles) came to Santa Barbara to take our Welsh teacher out for lunch. I checked Yelp and, based on great reviews, made the reservation through Open Table. Parking was easy and close, the gentleman who greeted us in the Gallery (pass through to the restaurant) was charming; immediately our server came to welcome us and show us to a table in a perfect spot... comfortable chairs, beautiful greenery, sunlight filtered through the translucent covering...and the menu was incredible! I can't remember the last time I had to choose between so many wonderful possibilities! Diolch yn fawr (many thanks) to the staff and chef for giving us an experience that was so relaxing, delicious, and elegant as well!"
    Dined on 6/28/2014
  • "The food was some of the best in memory, and I will be going back soon."
    Dined on 6/21/2014
  • "Have enjoyed it here in the past but we both felt queezy after our lunch..."
    Dined on 6/6/2014
  • "Nice outdoor patio for big group dining. Food was great. Waitress was very nice and pleasent. It was my daughter's graduation luncheson and we had such a wonderfull time."
    Dined on 6/15/2014
  • "A delightful garden setting with excellent, unpretentious food. The staff is very friendly and attentive. One of a few restaurants where one can hold a quiet conversation. By far a favorite."
    Dined on 6/7/2014
  • "It has ambience............to be sure!! Because of an actual birthday............the server gave us a slice of peanut butter creme caramel with a candle! It was not only a tasty dessert..............but it please the woman with the birthday! Thank you for making Patty's birthday such a pleasure!"
    Dined on 6/3/2014
  • ""Come here often?" Yes, I do -- but not often enough. This delightful and charming bistro-type restaurant has a varied and fresh menu, and the service is respectful and friendly. The al fresco dining in a well-sheltered courtyard is quiet, bright, and offers plenty of shade. I really enjoy the blend of flavors and seasonings that are always in place, and the portions are not overly large, so there is no temptation to leave feeling "stuffed." I've only been there on particularly nice days (abundant in Santa Barbara), and I've always arrived, dined, and (reluctantly) wandered away smiling and pleased."
    Dined on 6/1/2014
  • "We visited Arts and Letters for Mother's Day. Love the location...tucked away in an art gallery's courtyard area. Food was good. Nicely presented and fresh. The service was terrible. Sybille, our server was kind of annoyed to be at work that day, I think. She never once came to fill our water cups, ask how the meal was, or anything. She basically just took our order and that's it. It was busy being a holiday, but we felt forgotten and like we were a nuisance to her. We'd come back for the food and ambiance, but if we were placed in her section, we'd request someone else."
    Dined on 5/11/2014
  • "Excellent innovative, but not contrived, dishes, well prepared, soup serve hot. Service excellent. The art in the associated gallery was also exceptionally good."
    Dined on 5/4/2014
  • "The setting was absolutely lovely. Unfortunately the food was mediocre."
    Dined on 5/3/2014
  • "I used to love going to the A&L café, but the last two times I had gone there, the service was terrible, as if our table had been forgotten. But due to a friends' suggestion that we meet there the other day, I decided to give it another chance and it turned out to be fine. Better service, and still very good food."
    Dined on 5/1/2014
  • "Very creative menu & excellent service. All dishes I've had are top quality. "
    Dined on 4/27/2014
  • "Went there for Easter Brunch. Fun and different. Location is in an Art Gallery. Nice menu and great service. We'll be back."
    Dined on 4/20/2014
  • "Arts and Letters is a hidden gem. I was looking for something different from the typical "all you can eat" Easter buffet extravaganza, which turns me off. We knew our guests, my 82 year-old mom and a cousin from CO, would be charmed by the elegant and quiet inner courtyard, with its lush palms and gurgling fountain. It was not overly crowded and our request for a table further in the back under the palms was cheerfully honored. The chef had wisely included a special of eggs benedict with smoked salmon and crabmeat, which the ladies all had. It was served promptly, hot, and the hollandaise was fresh and light. Topped off with mimosas and a perfectly spiced bloody mary, a great experience. "
    Dined on 4/20/2014
  • "Seriously, you should try the fries. Other food very good as well."
    Dined on 4/20/2014
  • "Our table was ready on time. Service was excellent throughout. Food was out of this world."
    Dined on 4/20/2014
  • "The Arts & Letters Cafe is a small restaurant behind an art gallery. The restaurant itself is beautiful with skylights providing lots of sun and a fountain in the middle. The flat breads and sandwiches were delicious but I was a little disappointed by their signature pumpkin soup, which wasn't as rich or creamy as I had hoped. Our server was great and accommodating."
    Dined on 4/11/2014
  • "A great spot for lunch. Food is always good here. The Bahn Mi (Vietnamese pork belly sandwich) is a burst of wonderful flavors. This is not a place to grab a quick bite. It is a place to enjoy your food and the atmosphere ."
    Dined on 4/11/2014
  • "Located one-half block off of the main drag (State Street) downtown Santa Barbara. This hidden gem is a find. The setting of this garden café is the courtyard of a lovely art gallery. The limited menu features organic, locally sourced and grown products. The freshest greens and range free - antibiotic free meats and poultry. Delicious food in a quiet, lovely setting. We would return."
    Dined on 4/6/2014
  • "Such a great spot for lunch, love the outdoor seating!"
    Dined on 4/4/2014
  • "The setting in the enclosed courtyard with the sparkling fountain in the center can't be beat! the food was delicious; I had the soup of the day, a very good puree of vegetables with a plate of flatbread with goat cheese and olives. Just perfect! the service was gracious, and we entered and exited though an art gallery - what could be better!"
    Dined on 3/31/2014
  • "Delicious lunch in a beautiful setting. Love the patio and fountain."
    Dined on 3/29/2014
  • "Food pretty good. Service somewhat confused the day my wife and I had lunch with another couple. Location great - in the heart of town. Parking rates not bad."
    Dined on 2/23/2014
  • "I've been to the cafe twice now and have been impressed with the food and the service both times. I would return there in a heartbeat."
    Dined on 3/13/2014
  • "There was no baked dessert (cake or pie) when we were at this restaurant when we were there. We like this kind of dessert."
    Dined on 3/9/2014
  • "Arts & Letters is a lovely space in an art gallery. Our server was charming, prompt, and very helpful. The restaurant serve inventive dishes, all fresh and clean. My husband enjoyed the shrimp pasta and the pumpkin soup. The soup is delicious, not rich, with the flavors of pumpkin pie spice, but is not sweet like pie. I enjoyed the shrimp salad. A perfect way to end a weekend in Santa Barbara! We'll come back when it's not raining so that we can enjoy dining in the garden!"
    Dined on 3/2/2014
  • "The most Romantic garden dining with delectable food!"
    Dined on 2/14/2014
  • "The four of us couldn't get over how the setting made us focus in on how beautiful a day it was. The ambiance, the plantings, the food, combined to help us realize how fortunate we are to be alive."
    Dined on 2/13/2014
  • "This was my third visit to this charming restaurant inside a gallery. The attraction is the fountain/garden setting and the menu based on an organic, locally-sourced, and humane ethic. On a day that threatened rain we were able to enjoy the garden because of the high retractible canopy and the cozy heaters. Our well-presented meals also displayed attention to delicious flavor melding. Lunch at Arts and Letters is a many-layered experience."
    Dined on 2/8/2014
  • "Arts and Letters Cafe has been my favorite lunch spot in SB for years! The garden ambience with the fountain creates a quiet, relaxing atmosphere. The food is excellent - dependable quality. Wine is well matched to their menu. Service is consistently professional and friendly. If it's raining (if it would only rain!), the indoor space is cozy, quiet and hung with stunning art from the gallery. Wouldn't change a thing!"
    Dined on 1/18/2014
  • "Nice quaint patio dining.... The reviews don't lie"
    Dined on 1/19/2014
  • "Food is good, prices reasonable...server seemed a little brusque. Been here many times and find that food is consistently good.jo"
    Dined on 1/17/2014
  • "beautiful courtyard setting with an art gallery...excellent service. Pasta was perfectly prepared and presented. My pastrami sandwich was delicious and very tender. Nice local wine list..a special place To celebrate our wedding anniversary."
    Dined on 1/12/2014
  • "My steak frites was actually a little disappointing, though my wife and our guest seemed to enjoy their meals. I didn't care for the sauce that accompanied the pieces of meat. However, the frites were outstanding … perfect! and our server was especially nice."
    Dined on 1/4/2014
  • "This is a real gem; quiet, outdoor ambiance, excellent food (they do only lunch, seven days), a wide variety of choices. Recommended without reservation."
    Dined on 12/14/2013
  • "Glad we made reservations as courtyard was pretty full. Great crab salad and fig dessert. Good service and beautiful, serene courtyard."
    Dined on 10/22/2013
  • "Had a wonderful business lunch - my favorite place for this sort of thing. We had a nice quiet table in the corner and the service was excellent. I did think, however, that the curry chicken (both salad and sandwich, we had both) which I have always enjoyed, contained far too much curry powder, to the point of being tastefully unpleasant."
    Dined on 10/23/2013
  • "The location is charming, the food excellent and the service was spot on!"
    Dined on 10/20/2013
  • "Upon entering the restaurant we walked through a small art gallery and entered the indoor courtyard where we were seated by the central fountain. My dining companion, who is vegetarian, was able to order her BLT with avocado instead of bacon. My Bahn mi, soup and salad combo was both flavorful and just the right size. Our waitress, Sybil, was most helpful, suggesting items on the menu. Overall we had a very pleasant experience and will definitely return when we visit Santa Barbara again."
    Dined on 10/5/2013