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Diners' Choice: Hot spot restaurants in Santa Barbara

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OpenTable
Updated July 05, 2024

Looking for restaurants that are the best hot spots in Santa Barbara? You’re in the right place. Each month, OpenTable analyzes nearly 2 million global diner reviews from the past four months. We sort the results by location and category to help you discover new favorite restaurants. It's a great partnership: you reserve, eat, and review. We listen...and deliver the results for all to benefit. Enjoy!


A photo of Lucky's restaurant
4.8
4.8 (2796)
$50 and over
Steakhouse
Montecito
About the restaurant
LUCKY'S is widely known for its exclusive selection of USDA Prime steaks, fresh seafood, farmer's market vegetables, no-nonsense cocktails and world class wine cellar.
For take-out, please call the restaurant.
We do not accept bar table reservations online, please call the restaurant.
For larger parties, please call or email the restaurant directly.

Top review
eddieHvip
Dined 1 day ago
Always a great experience. Food and service was great.
A photo of Secret Bao restaurant
4.8
4.8 (593)
$31 to $50
Asian
Santa Barbara
About the restaurant
Modern Asian American Restaurant from Chefs Peter Lee & Felicia Medina.

"Consider the bao. Chinese in origin, it’s most easily described as a steamed bun filled with something savory. Yet, like the American concept of a sandwich, the bao exploded into a flexible format of untold bounds — served at any meal, filled with you-name-it, completely closed or wide open, with endless regional variants from across Asia and far beyond." - Matt Kettmann (SB Independent)








1 Block From State Street, Easy Parking, Public Lot Nearby, Free 75 Minute Parking, Walking Distance, El Pueblo Viejo Landmark District, Superior Court, Spanish Colonial Revival Courthouse, Santa Barbara Museum Of Art, Courthouse Gardens, Bell Tower, Bao, Food, Restaurant, Asian, American, New, Modern, Fried, Chicken, Octopus, Vegan, Vegetarian, Paelo, Friendly, Dog Friendly, Outdoor Patio, Heaters, Warm, Inviting, Hospitable, Modern Design

Top review
OpenTable Diner
Dined 3 days ago
We made a last minute reservation on my birthday, and I felt so taken care of. They put a Happy birthday stamp on our menus, and at the end of the night we got an ice cream mochi with a birthday candle in it. The whole meal was delicious and enjoyable.
A photo of L'Antica - Santa Barbara restaurant
4.8
4.8 (159)
$31 to $50
Italian
Santa Barbara
About the restaurant
Indulge in the rich flavors of Italy at "L'Antica Pizzeria da Michele," an enchanting culinary haven nestled in the heart of Santa Barbara, California. Our authentic Italian restaurant and pizzeria invite you to savor the essence of Italy without leaving the West Coast. Immerse yourself in a gastronomic journey that captures the soul of Napoli, birthplace of the pizza we know and love today. At "L'Antica Pizzeria da Michele," every dish is a masterpiece crafted with passion and tradition, showcasing the finest ingredients meticulously sourced for an unparalleled taste experience. Our charming ambiance, reminiscent of a rustic Italian trattoria, provides the perfect backdrop for romantic dinners, family gatherings, and celebrations. Whether you're seeking the perfect Margherita pizza, sumptuous pasta dishes, or a delectable tiramisu, our menu is a symphony of authentic Italian flavors designed to tantalize your taste buds. We take pride in our commitment to excellence, ensuring that each dish is a testament to the heritage of Italian cuisine. With a dedication to organic and locally-sourced ingredients, we create dishes that not only delight your palate but also support sustainability and the local community. At "L'Antica Pizzeria da Michele," we don't just serve food; we craft memorable experiences that transport you to the charming streets of Italy. Join us in Santa Barbara's culinary gem, where authenticity meets innovation, and where every meal is a celebration of Italian culture and passion. Come and experience a slice of Italy, right here in California.
Top review
RobertSvip
Dined 3 days ago
Service is just as great as the food! We got there a bit late, staff took care of us without hesitation.
A photo of OKU restaurant
4.7
4.7 (1654)
$31 to $50
Asian
Santa Barbara
About the restaurant
Tina Takaya, proprietor, welcomes you to our newest two story restaurant on the water. We feel the key to success is our passion for creating the highest quality food and warm friendly service.

We hope you will enjoy your experience as much as we enjoyed creating it for you.
"We want Locals to feel like Family and Visitors to feel like Locals"

Our menu draws from Asian favorites that inspire and excite such as Wagyu Steak, Japanese Sushi, Chinese Dumplings, Garlic Noodles and fresh local seafood.

We are located in the heart of Santa Barbara’s Waterfront and Funk Zone Districts. Come enjoy lunch or dinner, soak in the sun by day at our waterfront rooftop bar while sipping on a refreshing cocktail surrounded by our beautiful ocean vista and by night, enjoy lounging by the fireplace after a delicious meal and a great glass of wine.

Our chef uses the freshest ingredients from central coast farmers and local fisherman to create dishes with the best of what California has to offer.

Top review
OpenTable Diner
Dined 2 days ago
Wonderful service. Fantastic Food. Great View. Highly Recommend.
A photo of Gala restaurant
4.7
4.7 (237)
$31 to $50
European
Santa Barbara
About the restaurant
Gala exudes a European meets Santa Barbara charm, where you feel like you’re transported to a beautiful bistro somewhere in the Mediterranean. Enjoy shared tapas, seasonal favorites, oysters and a great steak with bone marrow butter & chimichurri. Or cozy up with a pulled pork sandwich or our duck confit. Experience craft cocktails with fresh juices & house infused liquors as well as local Spanish wine & beer. Right down the street from the Santa Barbara Courthouse enjoy an evening at Gala.








1 Block From State Street, Easy Parking, Public Lot Nearby, Free 75 Minute Parking, Walking Distance, El Pueblo Viejo Landmark District, Superior Court, Spanish Colonial Revival Courthouse, Santa Barbara Museum Of Art, Courthouse Gardens, Bell Tower, Farm to table, Farmer's market driven, Tapas, Seafood, Steak, Oysters, Happy Hour, Food, Cocktails, Wine, Restaurant, Vegetarian, Friendly, Dog Friendly, Outdoor Patio, Heaters, Warm, Inviting, Hospitable, Modern Design

Top review
JayRvip
Dined 3 days ago
Wonderful place. Friendly, professional, and great food beautifully presented.
A photo of Corazon Comedor restaurant
4.7
4.7 (161)
$31 to $50
Mexican
Santa Barbara
About the restaurant
Corazon Comedor emerged from the longing of nostalgic food from the streets, markets, and homes of Mexico. We look forward to bringing this experience in each dish.
Top review
Terryvip
Dined 3 days ago
We were thrilled with our meal at Corazón Comedor. It's a wonderful space, meticulously put together, and we loved our meal. The servers are so friendly, super helpful and seeing "mama" in the kitchen making fresh tamales and pozole only added to the experience (btw... the pozole is hands down the best I've ever had but, wow, so filling!). Highly recommend, five stars. We dined at so many great places during our wonderful stay in SB, and lunch at Corazón Comedor was a true highlight.
A photo of Bibi Ji restaurant
4.5
4.5 (253)
$31 to $50
Indian
Santa Barbara
About the restaurant
Modern Indian food featuring local produce and seafood paired with a robust low-intervention wine program curated by Alejandro Medina and James Beard Award winner Rajat Parr. Located directly across the street from the historic Granada Theatre in the heart of Santa Barbara's ARTS District. Join us in our lively, signature pastel pink dining room.

Michelin Guide Central Coast Selection 2021, 2022 and 2023

Top review
Alise
Dined 2 days ago
Food is just as amazing as it was in the old location and I love the ambience of the new location ☺️ friendly and attentive staff, we’ll be back soon!
A photo of Finch & Fork restaurant
4.4
4.4 (1728)
$31 to $50
American
Santa Barbara
About the restaurant
Here at Finch & Fork, we are inspired by the bounty of Santa Barbara's lush farms and rugged coastline. Our attitude is relentlessly local, influenced by the diverse culinary techniques of our neighbors, the subdued, natural colors of our fog-swept cliffs, and the glow of afternoon sunlight on our grapevines. Begin your day with a nourishing brunch or savor an evening of eclectic wines, ingredient-driven cooking, and good company.

Finch & Fork is conveniently located on the corner of Carrillo and Chapala streets in the heart of Santa Barbara’s vibrant downtown. Complimentary valet parking for diners upon availability.

Top review
OpenTable Diner
Dined 6 days ago
Came all the way from montana to eat here. So glad that I did.
A photo of Bluewater Grill - Santa Barbara restaurant
4.3
4.3 (555)
$31 to $50
Seafood
Santa Barbara
About the restaurant
The waterfront locals choice in Santa Barbara for premium quality, sustainably sourced seafood! Located at the gateway to Santa Barbara on the beach at State Street and Cabrillo Boulevard with a stunning patio and beach view. Adjacent to the "Funk Zone", Santa Barbara's premiere wine district, the wine list features an extensive selection of local wines in addition to a "no-corkage" policy on the first two bottles. Winner of numerous awards, including Best Seafood, this owner operated gem features lunch, dinner, Happy Hour, a "Kids Live Well" Kid menu, full bar, heated patio, and is pet friendly. Well known for classics like Clam Chowder and Fish & Chips, Oysters on the half shell and numerous varieties of fresh fish, lobster and crab, Bluewater also operates fishing vessel "Pilikia" which specializes in the freshest caught local fish in town! Come in, Get Hooked!
Top review
DougN
Dined 5 days ago
We had an early (6 pm) Wednesday reservation on the first floor. Our daughters loved the options on the kids menu and all the food the adults had was excellent. I highly recommend the NE clam chowder, it’s the real deal. Service was very quick, attentive, and friendly. And the Mai Tai is as strong as it is delicious. Just realize that the second floor and patio don’t take reservations, and it seems like some nights are for special tasting menus only. Check before you go and you will enjoy!
A photo of Blackbird restaurant
4.0
4 (155)
$31 to $50
Californian
Santa Barbara
About the restaurant
A mainstay of the Funk Zone, Blackbird offers a beverage-forward atmosphere featuring inventive cocktails by legendary mixologist Devon Espinosa alongside a thoughtfully curated menu that pays homage to the culinary bounty of the Central Coast. Enjoy an extensive list of local wine and craft beer that highlights the terroir of the region and pairs seamlessly with our iconoclastic take on local, sustainable cuisine. With its striking brass fixtures and black box-like aesthetic, Blackbird upends the conventional upscale dining experience in Santa Barbara and offers a subtle nod to Alfred Hitchcock’s haunting, yet timeless thrillers. Here guests are offered a pulse on contemporary Santa Barbara.
Top review
MarkG
Dined on Jul 4, 2024
Great place. Would go back. The Halibut was delicious. Wife liked the Wednesday special chicken sandwich.
Explore Diners' Choice best of Santa Barbara
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