As a significant stop on the Urban Wine Trail, Margerum and Au Bon Climat curate an experienced team of vintners who bring the best of their vineyard-grown gems to downtown Santa Barbara. Glass tippers can traverse the neighboring spaces of the Au Bon Climat and Margerum tasting rooms in whatever order they wish, guiding palates through a tasting tour that includes one full flight of wine from each winery. Flatbread and cheese plates from the nearby Wine Cask Restaurant provide ideal escorts for lonely glasses of handmade vino. In each room, guests savor the complex tastes of a flight of a rare or limited-edition vintage, from classic Burgundian-style beverages to estate-grown nebbiolo, teroldego, and petit verdot.
Between the two of them, longtime friends David Schwartz and Gary Nardilla have nine children. That is a number of mouths to feed, and the fathers do it with fresh, healthy ingredients. So when the friends opened Epic Bowl, they decided to cook for every guest as they would for their own families. Using whatever organic fruits and produce they receive from the farmers’ market that week, the chefs fashion dishes they think will taste great, whether that includes sprout salads, smoothies infused with young-coconut water, or pesto-caprese sandwiches layered with cucumbers, tomatoes, and hearty slabs of cheese. Hot and cold bowls include ingredients such as organic acai, organic chicken, quinoa, and swiss chard. Through the stone-flanked entryway, an outdoor patio is scattered with tables and oversized umbrellas that protect patrons from feral satellites.
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.
Cinnamon rolls, lime melt-away cookies, and whoopee pies are just a few of the treats to be found at Recipes Organic Bakery. The spot's chefs also bake organic pies, scones, and breads infused with lemon or blueberry. Patrons can take their organic pastries to go, or stop in for a breakfast of organic scrambled eggs or gluten free ricotta-pineapple pancakes with warm Vermont maple syrup. Recipes also pours cups of Australian-roast espresso to complement every treat.
At Silvergreens we believe that if you eat smart, you will live well. From our breads, soups, dressings and hand-cut fries, to roasting our own meats and vegetables, our menu is made from scratch each day using fresh, natural and local ingredients. Our mission is to make our food as healthy and tasty as possible.
Between the disco ball that glitters above the dining room, the toy sharks swimming in bucket-sized cocktails, and the Pop Rocks that crackle in watermelon margaritas, it's pretty obvious that Baja Sharkeez is a lot of fun. These playful touches are the handiwork of Ron and Greg Newman, a father-son team for whom Sharkeez is a labor of love. Ron had found success with the Red Onion chain of restaurants in the '70s and '80s, but upon Greg's graduation from USC, the pair decided to start fresh with a new concept. According to The Tasting Panel, Greg enlisted some of his fraternity brothers to help develop the brand, and today, the small chain maintains a boisterous, beachy vibe that reflects Greg's Hermosa Beach upbringing.
In that spirit, Sharkeez hosts plenty of special events, including July 4th hot-dog-eating contests and bachelorette parties with drink specials and party favors. But even on a normal day there's generally a crowd, whether it be families ordering off the kids' menu at lunch, or coworkers stretching happy hour into a late night. The kitchen cooks up an extensive selection of Baja-Mexican dishes, such as burritos stuffed with mesquite chicken or the very popular mahi-mahi tacos. Those looking to drink with their meal can order spiked lemonades and fresh-fruit margaritas or build their own cocktail at the bloody mary bar.
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.