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.
Located near Santa Barbara City College, Hot Spots Espresso Company serves as a caffeine-equipped study spot for many a college student. Offering free wifi, the shop makes a variety of coffee and smoothie drinks to order?baristas carefully steam cappuccinos and brew coffee one cup at a time to maximize flavor. On the beach-adjacent patio, palms and blooming bougainvilleas sway in the sea breeze as strings of lights frame columns and archways. Between late April and October, the shop remains open around the clock, acting as a lighthouse for bleary-eyed sailors and a haven for late-night studying.
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.
The made-from-scratch meals and familial hospitality at California Pasta may confuse you into thinking you never left home. It's a formula that's been working for the eatery since it opened nearly a decade ago, and one that has only grown stronger since they recently began offering catering services. Whether dining inside the newly renovated confines or at a catered event inside your bedroom, it's hard not to?revel in the home-cooked flavors of pastas such as spinach-mushroom fusilli and Cajun chicken linguine.
The cozy, Old-World spirit of an Italian trattoria has endured at Chase Bar & Grill since 1979. Familiar Italian dishes appear throughout the menu, including creamy, ricotta-stuffed eggplant rolletini and veal piccata sauteed in a tangy combination of lemon, white wine, and caper sauce. Homemade ravioli and fresh mozzarella di bufala further reinforce the restaurant's commitment to its Mediterranean roots. At the same time, the chefs also indulge diners with classic surf-and-turf items, such as grilled Pacific Northwest salmon and cuts of locally sourced filet mignon, ribeye, and new york strip steak that have dry-aged for 21 days. The wine list also takes a mildly international approach, highlighting both Californian and Italian producers, while the handmade cocktails feature unique twists on old classics, such as The Moscow Mule and The Al Capone.
The decor in Chase Bar & Grill's dining room fosters a casual spirit that complements the eatery's inviting ambiance. Vines intertwined with strands of lights run along the walls and the ceiling, creating a lush yet somewhat intimate setting. Additionally, the space features a handful of Old World-inspired accent pieces, including vintage photographs and ornately framed mirrors hanging from the Tuscan yellow walls and a stout wooden barrel filled with magma from Mount Vesuvius.