Endless Summer Bar Cafe
113 Harbor Way
Price: $10 – $20
In the middle of the harbor, you will find the cafe where summer never ends – according to its name, anyway. Situated above the Waterfront Grill in the same building as the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum, the eatery gets its name from the popular surfing film made by Bruce Brown in the 1960s. The filmmaker has been known to frequent the restaurant, which is decorated with both vintage and new surfboards – from a basalt wooden board handcrafted in Hawaii in the 1950s to small, brightly painted fiberglass boards. Manager Sylvia Wood said the eatery is a favorite place for surfers both young and old, many with great stories to tell.
“We get a lot of the old surfer guys in here,” she said.
The eatery has an eclectic menu, including fresh salads, steaks, sandwiches and their Los Cabos Tacos – take your pick of filling from sautŽed salmon, sautŽed halibut, beer-battered fried cod, prime top sirloin or sautŽed lobster. The halibut is perfectly seasoned, with just the right amount of kick that doesn’t burn your mouth off. However, Wood said her favorite is the Crispy Calamari, which is served with a jalape-o-yogurt dipping sauce.
“I love the calamari,” Wood said. “There’s no rubbery texture to it. It’s perfect.”
Aside from having scrumptious seafood and a picturesque view of the harbor, the cafe is a great way to begin one’s night of partying downtown.
“It’s a great way to start your evening out and about,” Wood said. “Have yourself a cocktail, have something yummy to eat – get some food in your stomach before you go out and trash yourself [up on State Street].”
The bar is well stocked, and along with the usual alcoholic goodies, they have several house wines and an Endless Summer Honey Blonde beer. Happy hour runs from 4 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. The cafe also has nighttime entertainment on the weekends.
“We have quite the scene here on Sundays,” she said. “We have live music here until 10 p.m.”
The restaurant serves lunch and dinner, and is open Monday through Thursday 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 4 to 9 p.m., and Friday through Sundays from 11:30 a.m. until 10 p.m.
So before you catch a wave or indulge in a Sex on the Beach, surf on over to the Endless Summer Bar Cafe for great food that will calm your stormy stomach.
A Whale of a Tale
Moby Dick Restaurant
220 Stearns Wharf
Price: $10 – $20
Down on Stearn’s Wharf is a restaurant of epic visual proportions, with a gorgeous view of docked boats in the harbor and impending sunsets from every table.
General Manager Jose Torres said the restaurant’s bouillabaisse, a traditional French fish stew containing different kinds of cooked fish and shellfish, is a must-try for patrons.
“It’s homemade, it’s fresh and we make it by the order,” he said.
He also recommends the halibut and the filet mignon.
The eatery aims to please with not only its exceptional views – there’s not a bad table in the house – but also its exceptional service.
“We try to do the best service, quality in the food and consistency in the food,” Torres said.
Moby Dick is also a popular place for students, especially on the weekends, he said.
The restaurant opens for breakfast at 7 a.m. and serves lunch and dinner until 9 p.m., so stop by and satisfy your landlubber desires with great seafood and a storybook setting.
Pearls of Wisdom
Santa Barbara Shellfish Company
230 Stearns Wharf
Price: $10 – $20
At the very end of the Wharf – any further, and you’d be in the ocean – is the Santa Barbara Shellfish Company. What started as a fish market in the late 1970s became a lively cafe in 1999 after the building had to be rebuilt due to a fire. Inside, a robust atmosphere of lively chatter and sizzling skillets invites every seafood lover to try some of the freshest fish and shellfish around. From oysters on the half shell to lobster, there is a wide variety of dishes for anyone.
General Manager Evan Rothman recommends the eatery for just about anyone.
“If you like fresh food, good atmosphere, come in and have a chowder and beer … leave with a full belly,” he said.
Rothman said a local favorite is the crab, but he prefers the shrimp, which are cooked in beer.
“The peel-and-eat shrimp are awesome,” he said.
The summer season is the busy season for the restaurant, due to the high influx of tourists to the area, so Rothman recommends that locals pop by during the week.
Serving lunch and dinner, Santa Barbara Shellfish Company has open doors every day from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., and until 9 p.m. during the summers. So when you’re perusing for seashells right by the seashore, be sure to stop here and dine at a real catch of an eatery.
Go Where No Sailor Has Gone Before
Enterprise Fish Company
225 State St, Santa Barbara
Price: $10 – $20
This old-style brick building with wood floors from 1906 features a nautical-themed interior, and the grill in the middle of the restaurant adds to the rustic atmosphere. Known for its delicious specials and happy hour, this eatery is fit for any seafarer.
“We have a lot of really interesting specials that are really unique,” general manager Christina Um said. “We have awesome appetizer specials – our favorite is popcorn shrimp for $4.95.”
As far as entrees are concerned, Um recommends the halibut special, which comes glazed with a ginger soy sauce, along with baby bok choy and carrots on a bed of ginger-infused brown rice.
Enterprise Fish Company is a good choice for both budget seafood connoisseurs and those who prefer meals that are usually more expensive. However, at this restaurant, its lobster and King Crab legs dishes are reeling in deals.
“Monday and Tuesday, we have a lobster special for $29.95, which is normally $50,” Um said. “Wednesdays, we have a King Crab special for $29.95.”
With such affordable prices, patrons can afford to cast away their troubles during the restaurant’s enterprising happy hour, which happens from 4 to 7 p.m. and from 9 p.m. to closing Monday through Friday.
Um said that the restaurant carries a lot of Santa Barbara brews on tap and offers a variety of cocktails. One of her recommendations is the pomegranate martini or the nonalcoholic pomegranate lemonade, which refreshes guests with its delightful fruity flavor.
“Our Bloody Mary is amazing – spicy, but amazing,” Um said. “We have a lot of very good drinks and support the local vendors.”
Open Sunday through Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., and on Fridays and Saturdays from 11:30 a.m. until 11 p.m., the restaurant is seemingly always available to batten down the hatches of your hunger. At Enterprise Fish Company, you’ll be swimming in great deals and delicious food, so be sure to stop here when you navigate the sea of shoppers along State Street.
When you’re fishing for a great place to get a crab leg up on quelling your hunger, be sure to stop at these swell Santa Barbara restaurants – otherwise, you might as well spend your time in Davy Jones’ locker.