Before visiting Santa Barbara this past weekend, I realized that I haven’t traveled anywhere new since February 2019. Honestly, it’s been a while since I’ve come out with a restaurant guide since I’ve been focusing more on outside-the-gram tasks (full-time work, photography, videography, influencer marketing, model management) and less on traveling these days! Although I am less active on the gram, I couldn’t be happier knowing that I am utilizing all of my free time to build my photography business (and a separate business from that, heh ;) ) outside of the blogger/influencer lifestyle. Sorry for the random tangent, but I thought I’d update you guys a little bit about what was going on in my life and why I was a bit inactive from the blog before I get started with this foodie guide!
But since you’ve come to the right place for a list of bomb Santa Barbara restaurants, let’s get down to it!
Blenders In The Grass
If you even mention the word “Blenders” to me, I will automatically picture a mouthwatering Orange Banana smoothie from Santa Barbara instead of that one electronic device that is in every American’s kitchen - sorry not sorry, but this automatic reaction to hearing the word “Blenders” is already wired into my brain. Blenders In The Grass is a smoothie place that was bookmarked on Wendy’s “to-visit” list and is now categorized under my current SB obsessions list. I love how this smoothie place offers a wide variety of smoothie flavors to choose from, and they even offer one free supplement to your drink to help boost a certain health aspect (calcium, bee pollen, chia seeds, flax seeds, energy, whey protein, etc.)
If you want to order my top favorite, be sure to go with the Orange Banana smoothie and replace the yogurt with orange sherbet - you’ll thank me later ;)
I actually ended up at Brophy Bros as a belated birthday surprise gift from one of my best friends (and videographer!), Wendy. Brophy Bros is located on the Santa Barbara Pier near West Beach and lies adjacent to a bunch of other popular Santa Barbara seafood restaurants. You aren’t allowed to place a reservation (or at least for a party of 4) on weekends so we just walked in and wished for the best! Luckily, we were seated relatively quickly and the wait time for the food wasn’t too shabby either, despite the extremely crowded restaurant during the busy lunch hour.
Two must-have options you need to order include the Seafood Pasta and the Clam Chowder. Typically, I am not a HUGE fan of pasta dishes or dishes that make you feel heavy/bloated AF, but something about this specific pasta dish strongly resonated with me when I looked at multiple photos on Yelp. The scallops that come with the pasta melt in your mouth in the most satisfying way, and the flavorful pasta sauce definitely complemented the dish as a whole
Honestly, if you aren’t too hungry or have a small appetite, I recommend even sharing ONE entree between two people because the portions are quite large.
If you are a crab enthusiast, I would highly recommend ordering the crab dish just because Wendy has been to Brophy Bros more than once and did not hesitate on ordering one of the most popular seafood dishes here. Personally, I am too lazy to deshell certain seafood options, but if you have the motivation, then go for it! If Wendy wasn’t disappointed, you won’t be disappointed ;)
Not gonna lie, but the funniest part about this Santa Barbara trip was the fact that Richie and Wendy happened to look up breakfast/brunch places that ended up being inside of a work building TWICE during this trip. One of them included Flir Cafe, as we never ended up finding the other restaurant after wandering around a random industrial parking lot for a bit, LOL.
Flir Cafe is a spacious cafeteria that proudly displays a Yelp sign sharing how it’s one of the top rated restaurants in Santa Barbara. After trying their Breakfast Burrito, I can definitely agree that I would come back here in a heartbeat. My friends enjoyed their Eggs Benedict and Omelette entrees as well.
Both affordable and delicious, Flir Cafe is definitely a great breakfast, brunch, or lunch option to add to your restaurant list if you’re looking for a casual bite to eat. Additionally, they whip up a variety of ethnic recipes ranging from American to Asian Fusion dishes. The best part about this cafe is that they switch up their menu daily so you can count on being spoiled by this variety if you choose to eat here more than once during your visit!
Since our hotel, the Kimpton Goodland, was just a block away from Kyle’s Kitchen, what was originally a spontaneous restaurant visit discovered through a casual Yelp search evolved into a memorable and affordable salad meal. Because I’m not huge on the burger scene, I opted for a salad and was happy that they offered more than just your standard Caesar Salad. When it came time to order, I opted for the Asian Chicken Salad - a satisfactory choice if you ask me. The portion size was plentiful, the price was surprisingly fair (since most restaurants salads are a rip-off!), and the flavor quality was great.
Also, a fun fact about the fries that come with their burger entree - they chop their fries short, so there’s more little potato strips to eat! Hooray!
McConnell’s Ice Cream
Introducing the top go-to ice cream parlor in Santa Barbara, McConnell’s Ice Cream definitely has an introduction for itself when you spot a crazy long line going out the door at MULTIPLE McConell’s locations. Talk about hot damn! As much as I agree with the hype that McConnell’s serves bomb ice cream, I personally would not wait in a long line for their delicious ice cream. If a wait time did not exist, I’d definitely recommend checking this place out, especially during this summer heat! However, I do also enjoy the fact that you can order TWO flavors in their single scoop - talk about livin’ the life!
With attentive staff members and a welcoming ambiance, McConnell’s offers a variety of ice cream flavors that range from basic AF vanilla to wildly eccentric fruit and nutty flavors. Being the basic B that I am (and proud of it!), I ordered Vanilla Bean and Sprinkle Cake and it was yums ;)
Besides the extremely long lines and expensive price tag that comes with a single scoop, I do recommend visiting McConnell’s at least ONCE during your Santa Barbara trip!
Sachi Ramen And Robata Bar
I will forever remember this as the restaurant with the funny male waiter who poked fun at the fact that I was the only Asian he ever encountered that requested a fork to eat her ramen bowl, LOL #noshame. Sachi Ramen And Robata Bar offered a variety of unique ramen options to choose from, and of course, the Duck Ramen looked irresistible! Not only did it come with tender slices of duck (who else loves duck skin?!), but the noodle texture was soft, chewy, and marinated in a delicious and flavorful mild soup broth.
Sachi Ramen and Robata Bar is definitely a great option to consider for any of you ramen-obsessed fanatics out there! Bonus points for the fact that it’s located near a Blenders AND McConnell’s ;)
See the Yelp page here.
See the menu here.
The Outpost (Kimpton Goodland)
When you score a $10 restaurant voucher from the Kimpton Goodland for posting an Instagram photo at their property, you already know that dinner is about to be REAL fun - especially when each of your friends post on Instagram and you have a whopping $40 to spend at the restaurant, heh ;) But don’t worry, we definitely ate more than $40 worth of entrees there because it’s VACATION TIME, BABY!
The Outpost definitely channels #interiorgoals and #patiogoals with its mosaic tiled floor, hanging succulent plants, and modern patio decor. And luckily for you, their restaurant is as cute as their food is scrumptious ;) Our dinner consisted of Crispy Chicken Wings, Steak Tartare, and Pork Ribs.
All you have to know from this review is….ORDER THE STEAK TARTARE!!! It was heavenly and I would definitely come back to this restaurant just for this dish!
See the Yelp page here.
I think the most hilarious part about Panino was the fact that we originally came for paninis, but ended up ordering sandwiches, LOL. Near my favorite Blenders, Panino is another Santa Barbara place that I am absolutely obsessed with - and whaddya know, they are literally across the street from each other! Winner winner, panino dinner!
I ordered the Chicken Salad Sandwich and the best part about this sandwich has to be their homemade mayonnaise with honey mustard sauce. There’s just something about this sweet, sticky sauce that makes my sandwich absolutely IRRESISTABLE.
P.S. You already know that you are a Panino lover if you order the same sandwich to-go for your work lunch the next day. #noregrets #justhappiness
Have you visited Santa Barbara before, or is it on your travel bucketlist? Which SB restaurants are your top faves, or are there any SB restaurants you’ve been to that didn’t make it on to my list?
Talk to me in the comments below - let’s chat!