Pizza dough stretched by hand, then dotted with toppings such as salami, fresh basil, and jalapenos. Local brews on tap from Sierra Nevada and Firestone Walker. Live music the first Friday of every month. At Giovanni's of Carpinteria, these are the elements that turn one-time customers into repeat visitors. Here, diners can peruse the menu for a variety of thin crust and pan crust pizzas in the form of garlic chicken, Greek, and vegetarian. They can also dig into calzones, sandwiches, and salads, pairing them with a pint of beer or a glass of wine while they rock out to local bands.
Delish & Nutrish’s executive chef Justin Reed and sous chef Danny Kempton transform organic produce—much of it from local farms—into custom meals for each client before delivering them right to the client’s doorstep. Justine Meyer, the staff’s registered dietitian, helps plan the meals, stuffing them full of fresh, whole foods. Inspired by owner Nina Tafarella’s vision to help others transform their health through nutrition, this team continuously strives to help clients eat healthily without having to spend hours in the kitchen or drive great distances.
They can customize all meal plans, which can focus on weight loss or simply the maintenance of a balanced diet. Since they hand prepare their dishes without the help of industry-grade cloning technology, Reed and Kempton are able to appease vegetarian, vegan, lactose-intolerant, or gluten-free diners.
Stan Nicolaides often recalls eating at the kitchen table of his “yia yia,” the affectionate Greek term for one’s grandmother. There, he was unable to go play until he’d downed plates and plates of moussaka and gyros. Even then, it was clear he belonged in the kitchen.
Now, Stan makes his own rules while dishing out falafel, kebabs, and gyros named Best Greek Food two years running by SantaBarbara.com. After sopping up creamy hummus with fresh pita bread, guests have Nick whip up a chicken breast with thyme and lemon while he chatters in Greek.
At Zagat-rated Seagrass, chef Robért Perez prepares coastal cuisine with seafood sustainably fished from the Pacific Ocean. Top-shelf ingredients get a creative twist in entrees such as jumbo diver scallops with apple-smoked bacon, wilted rainbow chard, and a vanilla-and-cardamom-infused sauce. At times, Perez creates a fresh culinary experience by fusing cooking methods. The Muscovy duck breast, for example, is both seared and smoked, and the black cod is sautéed before being poached in butter. An abundant wine list, representative of Santa Barbara's diverse wine country, keeps pairing from becoming a tiresome chore like washing the dishes or organizing all the kids’ sweaters by mouthfeel. Inside the dining room, the eponymous seagrass covers the walls, and vaulted ceilings soften conversational sounds.
Pierre Lafond's duo of wine bistros—Montecito WineBistro and State Street WineBistro—share more than just a similar name. Their head chefs—Chef Victor and Chef Nathan, respectively—are equally as dedicated to cooking upscale yet approachable American farm-to-table cuisine. Local organic produce, free-range and grass-fed meats, and organic, drug-free poultry make up the bulk of both kitchens' ingredients, which the chefs use to craft gourmet sandwiches and pizzas, as well as beef bourguignon and sustainable, wood-roasted sea bass. To pair with the nuanced dishes, the restaurant group's resident sommelier, Don Hull, has curated an extensive wine list for each restaurant that features dozens of local wines—including varietals from the eponymous Lafond Winery—and selections from around the world.
Inspired by the "North of Little Italy" neighborhood of Manhattan?which is lined with quaint and authentic family-owned restaurants?Nolita Ristorante serves up classic Italian cuisine alongside an extensive craft beer selection at a contemporary bar, featuring 24 taps and a myriad of specialty cocktails. The impressive menu lists off a plethora of dishes, each composed with a nod toward sustainability, such as fresh produce and meats that are locally sourced whenever possible. Tender shrimp ravioli are tossed in a saffron cream sauce, while a bone-in pork chop is plated alongside a crispy polenta cake and sweet grilled peaches.