When Don Disraeli and his wife, Randee, turned their attention to seafood retail in 1983, they considered more than their love of tasty fish. Drawing upon his PhD in Biology and her stint as a Scripps Institute of Oceanography researcher, the duo worked to ensure that each aspect of their business would be environmentally sustainable. Those standards are still upheld today, as Kanaloa Seafood remains one of the only North American and European seafood companies environmentally certified by the International Organization of Standardization.
Environmentally responsible fisheries supply the Disraelis with sushi-grade fish, which cutters clean and slice behind large viewing windows at Kanaloa Seafood’s Santa Barbara and Napa storefronts. The succulent cuts are then sustainably packaged inside recyclable corrugated boxes. Every Monday to Friday, guests can procure fish ranging from wild-caught black cod to Hawaiian ahi tuna. Patrons who are unsure of what to pick from the vast assortment will be greeted by a knowledgable staff member who will assist in picking out an ideal choice. Kanaloa Seafood also distributes a variety of marinades, rubs, oils, and sauces, as well as prepared dishes from the staff chef.
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.
Given its proximity to East Beach and Stearns Wharf, it?s no surprise that Santa Barbara FisHouse often serves up local, seasonal seafood. When its available, diners can order locally acquired crustaceans such as spiny lobster or Dungeness crab, or sample the imported flavor of certified Maine lobster. The regular menu touts fish transformed by inventive ingredients?macadamia nuts and creamy pineapple sauce envelop baked halibut, and sesame seeds and crispy wontons encrust a cut of Hawaiian mahi mahi. Patrons can choose to take their meals in the dining room or grab a table on the outdoor patio, which is warmed by an open fire pit and the hungry exhalations of jealous passersby.
From its perch at the end of Stearns Wharf, Santa Barbara Shellfish Company looks over the rolling ocean waters where much of its menu originates. Established more than three decades ago as a buying station for locally caught seafood and a rumor mill for the whereabouts of the kraken, the restaurant was a natural outgrowth of the market. Today, chefs turn the sea’s bounty into specialties that range from ceviche and oysters rockefeller to cioppino—a medley of crab legs, shrimp, scallops, clams, and mussels in a bread bowl. The culinary explorers also embrace the seasonality of aquatic life, filling their menu with timely dishes of local delicacies, such as spiny lobster and dungeness crab, as well as catches shipped from afar, such as Alaskan king crab and Maine lobster.
Though Enterprise’s menu focuses solely on seafood, the offerings are still diverse. The fresh fish dishes include British Columbian salmon sweetened with a Coca-Cola barbecue glaze, Costa Rican mahi-mahi topped with toasted macadamia nuts, and basa swai paired with citrus jasmine rice and Asian slaw. Seafood also bulks up pastas and sandwiches, and the dessert roster presents molten chocolate cake and key-lime pie.
Upon entering Enterprise, patrons may feel as though they’ve waded onto an immense sailboat. A blue-green marlin perches above the bar, and ship wheels and colorful buoys hang on the walls. Dock lights hook over each table, and an old-fashioned diving suit with a bronze helmet stands above the open grill, haughtily asking patrons how many leagues they can go under the sea.
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.