If you’re planning a trip to Santa Barbara, California, you’re in for a treat when it comes to food. This coastal city is known for its fresh seafood, farm-to-table cuisine, and diverse culinary scene. With so many options to choose from, it can be overwhelming to decide where to eat.
That’s why we’ve put together a list of the top 10 must-try popular foods in Santa Barbara.
The Essence of Santa Barbara Cuisine
When it comes to food, Santa Barbara has a lot to offer. The city is known for its fresh seafood, farm-to-table cuisine, and local wines. Santa Barbara cuisine is all about using fresh, locally sourced ingredients to create delicious and healthy dishes that are full of flavor.
One of the most popular dishes in Santa Barbara is the Santa Maria-style barbecue. This barbecue is made using tri-tip beef, which is seasoned with a mixture of garlic, salt, and pepper, and then cooked over an open flame. The result is a juicy and flavorful piece of meat that is perfect for any occasion.
Another must-try dish in Santa Barbara is the seafood. The city is located right on the coast, which means that there is an abundance of fresh seafood available. Some of the most popular seafood dishes in Santa Barbara include clam chowder, fish tacos, and grilled shrimp.
If you are looking for something a little bit lighter, then you should try the salads. Santa Barbara is known for its fresh produce, and the salads are no exception. You can find a variety of different salads in Santa Barbara, including kale salads, Caesar salads, and mixed green salads.
Finally, no trip to Santa Barbara would be complete without trying some of the local wines. The city is home to some of the best wineries in the world, and the wines are made using locally grown grapes. Some of the most popular wines in Santa Barbara include Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Syrah.
Top 10 Popular Foods
Santa Barbara Seafood
As a coastal city, Santa Barbara is famous for its fresh seafood. You can find a wide variety of seafood dishes in the city, from fish tacos to clam chowder. Some of the most popular seafood restaurants in Santa Barbara include The Lark, Brophy Bros, and Santa Barbara Shellfish Company.
Tri-tip barbecue is a Santa Barbara specialty. This cut of beef is seasoned with a special blend of spices and slow-cooked over a wood fire. The result is a tender and flavorful meat that is perfect for sandwiches or as a main course. Some of the best places to try tri-tip barbecue in Santa Barbara include The Hitching Post, Shalhoob Meat Company, and The Brewhouse.
Farmers Market Fresh Produce
Santa Barbara has a thriving farmers market scene, and you can find fresh produce all year round. Some of the most popular fruits and vegetables in Santa Barbara include cucumbers, beets, Brussels sprouts, and asparagus. You can find these and other fresh produce at the Santa Barbara Farmers Market, which is held every Tuesday and Saturday.
Mexican Street Food
If you’re in the mood for something spicy and flavorful, you can’t go wrong with Mexican street food. Santa Barbara has plenty of delicious Mexican restaurants and food trucks that serve up tacos, burritos, and other classic dishes. Some of the most popular Mexican restaurants in Santa Barbara include Los Agaves, La Super-Rica Taqueria, and Santo Mezcal.
Santa Barbara Style Pizza
Santa Barbara style pizza is a unique twist on the classic Italian dish. This thin-crust pizza is topped with fresh ingredients and often features local seafood or produce. Some of the best places to try Santa Barbara style pizza include Olio Pizzeria, Lucky Penny, and Pizza Mizza.
Santa Barbara is home to several artisanal cheese makers who produce some of the best cheese in the country. You can find a wide variety of cheeses in Santa Barbara, from creamy brie to tangy cheddar. Some of the best places to try artisanal cheese in Santa Barbara include C’est Cheese, The Cheese Store of Santa Barbara, and The Culture Counter.
Local Wine Pairings
Santa Barbara is also known for its wine, and there are plenty of wineries and tasting rooms in the city. Many of these wineries offer food pairings that are designed to complement the flavors of the wine. Some of the best places to try local wine pairings in Santa Barbara include Grassini Family Vineyards, Margerum Wine Company, and Au Bon Climat.
Gourmet Ice Cream
If you have a sweet tooth, you can’t miss the gourmet ice cream shops in Santa Barbara. These shops offer unique and delicious flavors that you won’t find anywhere else. Some of the best places to try gourmet ice cream in Santa Barbara include McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams, Rori’s Artisanal Creamery, and The Scoop.
Santa Barbara is also home to several chocolatiers who create handcrafted chocolates using the finest ingredients. These chocolates are perfect for a sweet treat or as a gift for someone special. Some of the best places to try handcrafted chocolates in Santa Barbara include Chocolate Maya, Chocolats du CaliBressan, and Jessica Foster Confections.
Finally, if you need a pick-me-up, you can’t go wrong with a cup of organic coffee from one of Santa Barbara’s many coffee shops. These coffee shops roast their own beans and offer a wide variety of drinks, from lattes to cold brew. Some of the best places to try organic coffee in Santa Barbara include Handlebar Coffee Roasters, The French Press, and Good Cup.
Local Food Festivals
If you’re a foodie, visiting Santa Barbara during one of its many food festivals is a must. Here are a few of the most popular food festivals in the area:
- California Avocado Festival: This festival is held every October in Carpinteria and celebrates all things avocado. You’ll find everything from avocado ice cream to avocado beer, and of course, plenty of guacamole.
- Santa Barbara Wine + Food Festival: Held at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History in June, this festival features over 50 local wineries and restaurants. You’ll be able to sample some of the best food and wine in the area while enjoying live music and stunning views.
- Santa Barbara Fermentation Festival: This festival celebrates all things fermented, from kombucha to sauerkraut. Held in July, it’s a great opportunity to learn about the health benefits of fermented foods and try some delicious samples.
- Santa Barbara Harbor & Seafood Festival: Held in October, this festival celebrates the local fishing industry with plenty of fresh seafood, live music, and family-friendly activities.
No matter what time of year you visit Santa Barbara, there’s sure to be a food festival that will satisfy your taste buds.
Famous Food Streets in Santa Barbara
If you are a foodie, Santa Barbara is the place to be. The city is home to some of the most popular food streets in California, where you can find a variety of mouth-watering delicacies. Here are some of the famous food streets in Santa Barbara that you must visit:
1. State Street: State Street is the heart of downtown Santa Barbara and a food lover’s paradise. The street is lined with restaurants, cafes, and bars, offering a variety of cuisines. From Italian to Mexican to American, you can find it all on State Street.
2. Milpas Street: Milpas Street is another popular food street in Santa Barbara, known for its authentic Mexican cuisine. The street is lined with Mexican restaurants, taquerias, and food trucks, offering everything from tacos to burritos to tamales.
3. Haley Street: Haley Street is a hidden gem in Santa Barbara, known for its artisanal food and beverage scene. The street is home to several breweries, wineries, and restaurants, offering locally sourced and sustainable cuisine.
4. Lower State Street: Lower State Street is a vibrant food street in Santa Barbara, known for its seafood and farm-to-table cuisine. The street is lined with seafood restaurants, oyster bars, and cafes, offering fresh and delicious seafood dishes.
5. De La Vina Street: De La Vina Street is another popular food street in Santa Barbara, known for its diverse cuisine. The street is home to several restaurants, cafes, and bakeries, offering everything from Italian to Japanese to French cuisine.
Whether you are in the mood for Mexican, Italian, or seafood, these famous food streets in Santa Barbara have got you covered. So, grab your appetite and head out to explore the culinary delights of Santa Barbara!
When it comes to food, Santa Barbara truly has it all. So, what are you waiting for? Plan your next trip to Santa Barbara and experience the delicious cuisine for yourself. You won’t be disappointed!