Tired of those leafy green salads and seasonal veggies? Take a steak break from the fruit fad to really fill up, and let the carnivores rejoice! This week, On the Menu has staked out the best steakhouses to satisfy Santa Barbara meat connoisseurs.
Oh My Darling, Clementine
Clementine’s Steak House
4631 Carpinteria Ave, Carpinteria
Steak aficionados longing to end their meal on a sweet note should take a drive to the cozy Clementine’s Steak House in Carpinteria. With a menu that has rarely changed in the dinner-house’s 26-year history, the meals are consistently well done.
Co-owner Lloyd McLenithan said his restaurant boasts several fresh, home-style steak options for the discerning carnivore.
“We do everything from scratch,” McLenithan said. “The New York steak and filet mignon are always terrific, and our steaks have always been top of the line. You can’t miss.”
The menu typically features about 15 items per night, depending on the availability of fresh fish and prime rib. While the restaurant may offer fewer options than other establishments, McLenithan said the consistently superb quality of the cuisine draws patrons back time and time again.
“It’s a limited menu, but they’re all specialty items and all homemade,” McLenithan said.
What sets Clementine’s apart from other eateries is the delicious finishing touch – each meal includes a slice of pie with the dinner. Guests can choose from as many as a dozen homemade pies every night, McLenithan said.
“There aren’t a lot of restaurants that do that kind of thing anymore,” he said.
Although the steaks are the most popular entrées, McLenithan said the restaurant caters to all appetites, offering fried chicken and even vegetarian casseroles for its red meat-adverse clientele.
Making the right choice for a delicious meal is as easy as pie, and with a trip to Clementine’s Steak House, you’ll have no beef about your meal. Visit this dinner-house from Wednesday to Sunday 5 to 9 p.m. for a sweet and satisfying steakhouse experience.
Feed Your Inner Cowpoke
Cold Spring Tavern
5995 Stagecoach Rd., Santa Barbara
Cold Spring Tavern is a rare restaurant find, offering adventurous diners a wide array of unique and hearty dishes, as well as a nice serving of local history. To reach this true Santa Barbara original, hitch your way up Highway 154 and prepare to travel over 130 years back in time.
Manager John Locke said the restaurant – established in the 1860s as a stagecoach stop – is a rustic escape for patrons seeking savory flavors. While the filet mignon and New York steaks will definitely satisfy customers, Locke said he suggests something a little out of the ordinary for those who want a real wild taste of the Old West.
“We specialize in wild game,” Locke said. “We always have venison steak, and we sometimes feature buffalo, wild boar, antelope and elk. We even have alligator about every three months. I love that alligator. It’s very light in flavor.”
But if you’re not up for an alligator slice and simply want a choice cut of meat, Locke said the restaurant’s charbroiled steaks are a superb option. The New York Pepper Steak, slathered in a black, green, red and yellow peppercorn sauce, is a perfect choice for a prime evening.
This Western retreat, nestled in the mountains above Santa Barbara, treasures its historic past. The décor invokes the tavern’s western roots with its rustic wagon wheels, glowing fireplaces, old-time pictures and even a few stuffed animals mounted on the walls. Locke said the restaurant attempts to keep its décor historical.
“We try to keep it looking exactly the same as it has for decades,” Locke said. “It’s really worth seeing.”
Patrons should also take time to explore the beautiful surrounding area, as the restaurant’s 40-acre property is home to several historic buildings and over 50 springs, according to Locke.
So get your wagon party together and hit the trail to this local charmer for a rustic and delectable meal every day from 11 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. and from 5 to 8:30 p.m. The eatery is also open to rustle up breakfast on Saturdays and Sundays from 8 to 11 a.m.
Tee-Off Restaurant & Cocktails
3627 State St., Santa Barbara
After swinging the last eight iron and lining up the final putt, head over to the Tee-Off Restaurant, located on State Street, where scoring a hole-in-one is guaranteed when ordering any of the steaks off this menu.
Golf defines the 51-year-old restaurant, and many options on the menu are named after some of the sport’s most popular terms, such as the birdie and eagle cuts of prime rib.
General Manager Suellen Clark said Tee-Off’s steaks are definitely up to par, and suggests diners try the specialty, the prime rib.
“We have five different cuts of prime rib, which is one of our biggest sellers,” Clark said. “It’s slow roasted and we serve it a couple of different ways.”
Many patrons are regulars who enjoy the quality fare, Clark said.
“When people visit and ask, ‘Where’s the best steak in town?’ locals say the Tee-Off,” Clark said. “But we pretty much serve it all – there’s something for everyone.”
In addition to steaks, the restaurant also draws in patrons with its fried chicken and array of seafood. They also offer a club menu with lighter fare such as burgers, salads and a prime rib sandwich for those customers craving a more relaxed taste.
Although this family-friendly steakhouse is located in a strip plaza, its exterior hides a boisterous and exciting dining experience.
“It’s very lively,” Clark said. “There are no quiet spots in the Tee-Off – it’s very loud and fun. It’s a nice place to go.”
For a steakhouse with a sports bar atmosphere, hit up Tee-Off Monday through Thursday from 5 to 10 p.m., Friday through Saturday from 5 to 11 p.m. and Sunday from 5 to 9 p.m.
Chase Restaurant & Lounge
1012 State St., Santa Barbara
If you’re in pursuit of a great steakhouse for a date, look no further than the elegant Chase Restaurant & Lounge located on State Street.
Manager Melissa Chojnacki said the steakhouse delivers several delectable cuts of 21-day aged prime beef. For dinner, steak lovers can choose from an 8 oz. filet mignon, a12 oz. rib eye or a 12 oz. New York steak. Stopping by Chase for a 4 oz. steak is sure to chase away any carnivores’ insatiable urge for filet mignon for lunch.
The steaks are first-rate, Chojnacki said, and the only flavor accompanying the meat is a special Chase seasoning and a side of grilled onions.
“We feel really confident we are selling a top-of-the-line meat,” Chojnacki said. “We only serve fresh steaks. [Our] belief is when you’re serving really high-quality, fresh meat, you don’t need a lot of sauce because the meat tastes really great.”
Chojnacki said the restaurant is also known for its complimentary starters of peppered white beans and porvako, a tomato, cabbage and rice dish made with vegetables and black pepper. Additionally, the eatery serves many appetizing Italian entrées.
Adorning every table is a single red rose, heightening the romantic ambience already epitomized by the restaurant’s deep burgundy booths and twinkling white lights – setting the mood for a truly satisfying meal. Chojnacki said the eatery is popular not only for its food, but also its ambiance.
“A lot of young people like to come in here to experience a kind of old-fashioned flavor of a time past,” Chojnacki said. “It’s really cozy and romantic, with an old-school charm.”
Fall in love with beef all over again at Chase Restaurant & Lounge, Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Make no mistake – from petite filets to T-bones, these local eateries dish out prime steaks that are sure to meet your dinner desires.