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Diners' Choice: Hot spot restaurants in California Central Coast

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OpenTable
Updated June 05, 2024

Looking for restaurants that are the best hot spots in California Central Coast? 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 Dametra Cafe restaurant
4.8
4.8 (184)
$31 to $50
Mediterranean
Monterey
About the restaurant
Dametra Cafe is a casual Mediterranean restaurant. Here, diners can expect high-quality healthy food delivered quickly in a relaxed atmosphere. The decor and styling of the dining room is distinctly Greek, specifically like one of the many coastal cities that the country is known for. Between that and the hearty portions and prompt service, Dametra Cafe sits nicely between an upscale restaurant and quick-service places.Dametra's Cafe features primarily Greek cuisine, with some Italian and Spanish thrown in for good measure. Appetizers include hummus with pita bread, fried calamari, grilled jumbo prawns and steamed mussels in a white wine and garlic sauce. The meals are split between sandwiches, pasta and entrée offerings and features dishes such as shrimp and crab ravioli, a salmon burger with red onion and tomatoes, lamb shish kebab and a Greek style lamb shank with rice pilaf and fresh vegetables.
Top review
KatrinaD
Dined 6 days ago
Helpful friendly staff, great food and setting, loved the personal touch they added
A photo of Secret Bao restaurant
4.8
4.8 (564)
$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
adamrvip
Dined 6 days ago
Great food! One of the best in town! Would highly recommend
A photo of Gala restaurant
4.8
4.8 (214)
$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
OpenTable Diner
Dined 3 days ago
Great food and drink in a gorgeous space. Fried green tomatoes, risotto, mussels, ducks all yum. Gala is a favorite of ours! Well done Tara and Team!
A photo of Barley & Boar restaurant
4.8
4.8 (177)
$31 to $50
Distillery
Atascadero
About the restaurant
Barley & Boar is a cozy boutique pub located in downtown Atascadero. We distill our own liquor, brew our own beer, and craft our own delicious fare from fresh and local ingredients. Dinner is full service, and our bar is open until midnight.

Join us monthly as we change our menu to showcase what’s in season.
Top review
dedes
Dined 3 days ago
Top notch Service! Excellent food and cocktails! Enjoyable atmosphere!
A photo of OKU restaurant
4.7
4.7 (1616)
$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 today
Great venue, great food, had something happen with a dish of ours that needed to be sent back. No big deal but no attempt on rectifying the situation or sending a manager to check up on our experience. The host said happy anniversary but apparently that wasn’t translated to our server. Not asking for anything extra but an acknowledgement would have been nice. I’d recommend this place but communication within the staff is obviously something they need to work on.
A photo of Alvarado On Main - Salinas restaurant
4.7
4.7 (70)
$31 to $50
American
Monterey
About the restaurant
Alvarado on Main is an art deco styled restaurant will revitalize the elegant feel of the 1930s in the center of beautiful Oldtown Salinas. Within its walls, a modern sense of craft beer will be combined with a concentration on fresh and local cuisine that speaks to the Salinas Valley.
Top review
AnneM
Dined 5 days ago
We all enjoyed our salads, smash burgers, and apps. The noise level was low so we could have conversations and the wait staff were attentive.
A photo of Far Western Tavern restaurant
4.6
4.6 (1167)
$30 and under
Steakhouse
Orcutt / Santa Maria
About the restaurant
Welcome to the Far Western Tavern—California ranch cuisine inspired by local traditions.

Our restaurant is recognized as a landmark of Santa Maria Style Barbecue, a renowned regional fare rooted in native ingredients and methods that were first popularized by 19th century rancheros.

Our menu blends this local barbecue style with other dishes that reflect our family’s heritage in the Santa Maria Valley’s Swiss-Italian ranching community, all prepared with fresh flavors from nearby farms, ranches and vineyards.
Top review
Jacque57
Dined on Jun 1, 2024
We had a wonderful time at Far Western Tavern celebrating my birthday. We had a little problem with the Filet Mignon being overcooked but our waitress was very apologetic and we did have to wait awhile for the baby back ribs. Our waitress was just wonderful about everything that was going on with our meal. I can’t say enough about our waitress. I did not get upset because of our waitress.
A photo of Cielo restaurant
4.4
4.4 (487)
$31 to $50
Italian
Atascadero
About the restaurant
Cielo Ristorante is an Italian-inspired concept located in the heart if Atascadero. We have curated a distinct menu showcasing Italian dishes with a modern twist. We are the perfect place to come and enjoy with your loved ones.
Top review
Jerrys
Dined 4 days ago
We are local and this is our go to restaurant for special occasions. The food is great and beautifully presented, the service was congenial and attentive without being annoying, happy hour cocktails are also very good. Highly recommended.
A photo of Blackbird restaurant
4.2
4.2 (149)
$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
NancyA
Dined on Jun 2, 2024
We ordered the Focaccia, Broccolini, Black Cod and Risotto. Everything was beautifully presented and served quickly. Maddie was our attentive server. We will be back.
A photo of Edwin's Kaona Carmel restaurant
4.1
4.1 (154)
$30 and under
Asian
Carmel
About the restaurant
Edwin's Carmel is a South East Asian Fusion Restaurant located in the heart of Carmel by the Sea, CA.
Top review
Rebeccavip
Dined 6 days ago
We had the BEST experience at Edwin’s. Some ladies at the next table were enjoying the “Island Basket,” and we decided to follow suit. It was a sampling of most of the menu - and everything was delicious! Ed was attentive and fun. The live music was great as well. HIGHLY RECOMMEND!
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