Upscale yet unpretentious, like a hood ornament in the shape of Morgan Freeman, Coast Restaurant offers landlubbers a comfort food menu that avails itself of Santa Barbara’s aquatic adjacency. Local farms and wharfs supply ingredients, and a raw bar stocks recently netted oysters, clams, crabs, and shrimp. Dip a toe into the local rock fish, pan-roasted with brussel sprouts and roasted onions ($25), or dive delicately into the crab cakes, with poquillo peppers, local citrus salad, and a smoked paprika vinaigrette ($14). Sea-shunners can shimmy toward the popular tortilla soup, with avocado, chicken, poblano chiles, and cheddar cheese ($9), letting Coast’s warm wooden furniture and soft lighting belly-dance captivatingly across pleasure receptors.
With an adventurous spirit and love for California's central coast, Captain Jack began his tour company to give him a platform to share his passion with others. After gathering the best team of tour guides he could find, each exhibiting the same enthusiasm and upbeat outlook he has, he devised tours that got people outdoors to experience physical activities such as kayaking the sea caves at Channel Islands or paragliding over Santa Barbara's verdant, rolling landscape. The tour ideas he has in mind know no bounds, involving everything from wine-tasting tours and glider rides to whale watching, sailing, and fishing the deep sea for the sneakers that fell out of Davy Jones's locker. To ensure safe and memorable outings, Captain Jack backs up his guides and tours with required licenses, insurance, and years of experience in various backgrounds.
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.
As the plus sign in its name suggests, Blush Restaurant + Lounge is an equation: it adds the indulgence of fine dining to the splendor of nightlife in Santa Barbara to create one lavish experience. Executive chef Brandon Worrell relies on seasonal Californian cuisine to craft his menu, which features small bites such as bacon and brie flatbread and lobster mac and cheese. The menu also boasts exquisite entrees, including roasted Chilean sea bass with saffron beurre blanc. Guests can enjoy inventive signature cocktails beside a fire on the patio, or they can relax inside, where dozens of lights strung from the ceiling create a mesmerizing starry effect.
It's a tradition at Arnoldi's Cafe to make things by hand, whether you're crafting meatballs or the building itself. Though the original venue was founded in 1937 by Giuseppe Arnoldi and his wife Ilda, the current location was erected in 1940. Giuseppe, known as Joe, quarried the stone himself. He made sure to include all the trappings of a rustic Italian getaway: a maple floor for dancing, a pair of bocce courts, and a mural of Lago di Como, where he was born. And, though he and Ilda ceased to run the restaurant in 1969, he appointed a bar manager who remains there to this day. His name is Bucky, and he's a tule elk who welcomes visitors from his spot on the wall.
Thankfully, guests can taste Joe's legacy as well as see it. The menu at Arnoldi's boasts homestyle Italian fare, from bruschetta drizzled in imported olive oil to veal sautéed in wine and a lemon caper sauce. Like the vases at an unscrupulous antique store, many of the pasta dishes here are made fresh from scratch. There's handmade gnocchi, homemade lasagna, and handmade ravioli. Diners enjoy their meals with wine in a romantic dining room or on a heated patio, while in the garden, teams compete in seasonal bocce tournaments.
Whether they're seated in an oversized booth in the dining room or splitting a plate with nearby pelicans on the outdoor patio, Killer Cafe grants its diners picturesque views of the sparkling marina. Eggs benedict and buttermilk pancakes are among the caf?'s morning fare. These dishes can be accompanied by fresh-squeezed juices, fruit smoothies, espresso drinks, and brunch cocktails. Later in the day, the menu is filled with loaded salads, and hearty burgers and entrees to indulge appetites from morning until late night.