C’est un regale – it is a treat to reveal the French culinary delights hidden in the heart of downtown Santa Barbara. If your knowledge of wine and cheese ends with cheddar and Two-Buck Chuck, then you might try venturing to one of the following restaurants for fine dining featuring the freshest and most flavorful French delicacies on this side of the pond.
9 W. Victoria St.
After entering this restaurant through a private patio enclosed by lush greenery, you’ll find burning candles adorning the intimate interior of Bouchon, named for the French word for “wine cork.” The eatery, located on West Victoria Street downtown, has a menu filled with a variety of traditional specialties.
“Our specialties include the rack of lamb, fresh local sea bass and roast duck,” said Mitchell Sjerven, Bouchon’s owner who is also a former Gaucho. “Everything is served ˆ la carte.”
Sjerven said he takes pride in his business’ ongoing support of local farmers, a partnership that also adds to the quality of their ingredients.
“We buy everything as fresh and as organic as possible, which means we make multiple trips to the local farmer’s market each week to buy top quality ingredients for our entrees,” he said. “We are strong supporters of local Santa Barbara farmers.”
Patrons can only expect the utmost attention at Bouchon. The eatery will adapt recipes to your liking and has many vegetarian options available. No matter what your palate desires, Bouchon is sure to impress with its presentation of a regional, authentic wining and dining experience.
“Our prices range from $24 to $32 for an entrŽe,” he said. “We strive to create wine country cuisine, and then we see how it works with wine. We have over 300 wines from Santa Barbara County, 40 of which are available by the glass.”
While many think the finest wines are only imported from Old World vineyards, connoisseurs must not forget to sample the exquisite quality of Santa Barbara’s wines.
“Our pinot noir and chardonnay are among the best in the world,” Sjervan said. “Santa Barbara is true wine country, and that is what our local customers discover here. They can have a sip and a slice of what goes on in France, without having to travel far.”
Bouchon’s cooking philosophy originates from French mainstays of searing and sautŽing, as well as relying on stocks and sauces for flavor complements.
“Our utilization of French techniques categorizes us as French,” Sjervan said. “Evolution is important though, and Bouchon is very successful because our chefs focus on French-pioneered techniques while preparing fresh, local ingredients.”
With an equal ratio of tourists and locals, this establishment realizes the importance of bringing worldly fine dining to its Santa Barbara patrons. When you have a special occasion to plan, call Bouchon; “The Cork Room,” named for the wine cork ceiling, seats between 10 and 20 people and there is no extra charge for the room itself.
“This room is an extension of the dining room,” Sjervan said. “We pay attention to details, so many people enjoy the private atmosphere and overall experience of dining here.”
Bouchon makes it possible to fulfill your fantasies of vacationing in the French countryside without leaving Santa Barbara’s Riviera. Open for dinner from 5:30 p.m. until 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and until 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Bouchon’s fine cuisine underscores the saying, “C’est bon!”
Be Our Guest
2700 De La Vina St.
Mimosa offers casual French cuisine to all the Francophiles of the Central Coast. And, if you’re a fan of sipping a mimosa on the weekend or while relaxing at home, then you must experience a more refined version of your favorite drink at this quaint establishment. Boasting a commendable Zagat rating and a Santa Barbara News-Press Reader’s Choice Award, Mimosa presents its fine French cuisine in an atmosphere that caters to all.
Mimosa’s unique menu offers a number of dishes rarely found outside of the French countryside.
“We have many specialties, including the lamb shank and the roasted guinea hen,” Mimosa’s sous-chef Carlos Lima said. “Bouillabaisse, a French stew, and the daily fish special are also popular items. For starters though, most order Escargot Maison, Frog Legs Proven