Your friends are visiting, but you are at a complete loss where to take them out to eat. They’ve tasted the ecstasy of drunken nachos, they’ve indulged in Cinna- and Wildebread alike, so what now? Let On the Menu show you the answer with these delicious local restaurants that are sure to please, impress and entertain friends and family.
500 State St.
Price: $10 to $20
Want some excitement and entertainment while dining? Then look no further than the downtown State Street eatery, Something’s Fishy.
According to assistant manager Jessica Maldonado, any meal ordered at the establishment is sure to delight the palate.
“I think everything is good,” Maldonado said.
Maldonado suggests any of the meals, but said the lobster, shrimp and halibut are customer favorites. All complete meals come with soup, salad, rice and vegetables along with the main dish.
According to Maldonado, the restaurant boasts the only teppan grill in the city.
“We are the only teppan restaurant in town,” Maldonado said. “That’s why we get a lot of customers.”
The teppan grill is placed in the middle of the table surrounded by several seats. While patrons enjoy the company of friends and family, they can watch the culinary abilities of their chef, who prepares their meals right in front of them.
Additionally, the restaurant has a sushi bar that can satisfy the everyday sushi lover with its tuna, eel and yellowtail dishes, but they also serve a signature Something’s Fishy Roll, a seafaring meal that consists of crab, avocado, cucumber and tempura shrimp.
According to Maldonado, another popular choice is the Santa Barbara Roll, which contains salmon, crab, tuna, avocado and cucumber.
One alluring aspect of Something’s Fishy, Maldonado said, is their sushi special, which offers patrons a swimmingly good deal of half-price sushi every weekday.
“We have a good sushi special,” Maldonado said.
Maldonado said the restaurant’s exciting atmosphere draws many UCSB students.
“It’s very loud and very comfortable,” Maldonado said. “The atmosphere is really good for college students. People seem to have more fun.”
For patrons fishing for a good time, Something’s Fishy is open to grill up a delightful experience Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday from noon to 11 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 10 p.m.
The Domingo Effect
5782 Hollister Ave.
Price: Under $10
For a restaurant that is tried and true, check out the family-owned Domingo’s Café, which has served the Santa Barbara area since 1978.
According to owner Domingo Sifuentez, once patrons enjoy the food, they keep coming back for more.
“Once you come in, you’ll come in again,” Sifuentez said.
One of the breakfast favorites is the Country Breakfast, which includes two eggs, two pieces of bacon or sausages and biscuits and gravy. Another tasty early morning treat is the Goleta Omelet, which contains two eggs, lemon chicken breast, walnut salsa and jack and cheddar cheese, and the meal is served with a choice of home fries, hash browns or potatoes O’Brien.
For those birds that didn’t quite catch the worm, Sifuentez suggests the New Mexico Pork Chile Verde Enchiladas, which consist of a tortilla, chile verde, cheese and pork and is served with rice and beans.
Sifuentez said the restaurant serves quite a few local students because of the welcoming atmosphere.
“We have a lot of UCSB students come here.” Sifuentez said. “It’s all a home-style place.”
The eatery also boasts an outdoor patio that opens up in the summertime for a truly warm dining experience. According to Sifuentez, the restaurant will also have barbeques on the patio on days with pleasant weather.
Domingo’s Café is open for breakfast and lunch Monday through Sunday from 6 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. For dinner, they will satisfy any appetite Tuesday through Friday from 5 to 8 p.m.
Fit for a King
The Palace Grill
8 E. Cota St.
Price: $10 to $20
Craving Cajun? Need a sweet little something from the South? Going on a road trip with best buds is not necessary to get a Louisiana-fare fix; just take the crew to the Palace Grill.
Shift manager Holly Nutt suggested the Louisiana Soft Shell Crab, which consists of Bienville crab meat dressing, roasted red potatoes and jalapeño beurre-blanc sauce.
“[The dish] has a lot of taste to it,” Nutt said. “It’s nice and spicy.”
According to Nutt, the restaurant has monthly off-menu specials usually developed by executive chef Galen Vasquez.
“We usually have one or two specials a month that are off the menu,” Nutt said.
One of this month’s specials is the Double Cut Pork Chop served with a vanilla whiskey maple glaze.
In addition to its specials, the restaurant offers traditional Louisiana fare. Nutt suggested the jambalaya, which includes Creole tomato sauce, shrimp and chicken and is served over dirty rice. According to Nutt, the dish also features andouille sausage, which is unique to the Palace Grill.
“It’s made for us,” Nutt said. “It’s our own recipe.”
The restaurant also regularly features redfish straight from the Bayou State, according to Nutt.
“We have redfish regularly that comes in fresh from Louisiana,” she said.
Nutt also suggested the house specialty dessert, a bread pudding soufflé. Served warm with a hot whiskey cream sauce, it’s the perfect way to finish off a meal. It takes 30 minutes to prepare, she said, so make sure not to wait until the end of the meal to order it.
“It’s well worth the wait,” Nutt said.
The atmosphere and entertainment of the establishment is also a crowd-pleaser. The servers hand out Mardi Gras beads every Tuesday. On Thursdays and Saturdays, musicians play jazz tunes outside the restaurant. Fridays feature a magician who goes from table to table, and on Saturday nights, the entire restaurant joins in singing “It’s a Wonderful World.” According to Nutt, it’s a fun time that brings everyone together.
“It’s a nice way to get the entire restaurant involved,” she said.
Additionally, Nutt said a meal at the Palace Grill is a great way to start out a night downtown and also a very satisfying experience.
“It’s a really nice way to start out the evening,” she said. “We are very customer service-based. We do everything we can to make sure that people leave here feeling good about their experience.”
The Palace Grill is open to treat you like royalty all week long from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for lunch and from 5:30 to 10 p.m. for dinner
Left! No, Your Other Left!
Left at Albuquerque
700 State St.
Price: $10 to $20
Visiting friends don’t need to head to the border for delicious Mexican delights – instead show them the way to the downtown State Street eatery, Left at Albuquerque.
General manager Jenny Strong suggested the Navajo Chicken Stack, which consists of lightly fried chicken breast, poblano chile, a red chile cream sauce, pepper jack cheese, roasted corn and red pepper polenta.
According to Strong, the Towering Tostadas provide a more unusual treat.
“It’s not your typical tostada shell,” she said.
The tostadas include a crunchy tortilla shell and are layered with refried beans, jack cheese, salsa, corn, chicken and a mixed green salad on top. Green rice is also included in the meal.
According to Strong, the double fajitas are a perfect meal to share between friends, as they include a double portion of the meat and the side dish.
“Our fajitas are great and easy to share,” she said.
If the group cannot agree on something to share, Strong said that the restaurant offers a wide variety of options.
“We have a pretty great menu with a lot of great choices,” she said. “There is something for everyone.”
For those in the 21 and older crowd, the eatery offers a tequila bar with specialty margaritas. One customer drinking delight is the High Plains Drifter margarita, which is made with fresh lime juice. The blended Crushed Grape is another definite pleaser and is made from fresh red grapes. The bar also has over 16 beers on tap.
The establishment offers a happy hour Monday through Friday from 4 to 7 p.m. in the entire restaurant and from 4 p.m. to close in the bar and lounge. The happy hour features $3 drinks, including house margaritas, well drinks, selected beers and even selected $3 appetizers.
The restaurant also has a patio that, according to Strong, brings in quite a few students.
“Our patio is one of our greatest assets,” she said. “It’s a gorgeous open-air patio.”
Left at Albuquerque is open to satisfy friends and cravings Sunday through Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Fridays and Saturdays, the restaurant is open from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
After taking a tour of these friendly restaurants, your visitors will beg to come back.