324 State St., Santa Barbara
Phone: (805) 962-2889
Hours: Monday-Sunday, 7 a.m. – 3 p.m.
“We’re where people who can tell the difference between mediocre and great food go,” Beachbreak Cafe owner Joe Lyons claims. Sounds boastful. It’s not.
Positioned just a few blocks away from Santa Barbara’s beach, Beachbreak Cafe prides itself for its “laid back, surfing kind of vibe,” as Lyons puts it. Hidden away on one of State Street’s more quiet stretches, it’s easy to see how he sees things this way. Quiet and offering ample, spacious seating, Beachbreak Cafe is the perfect spot not only to stuff yourself to the seams — which is ridiculously easy to do — but also to get away from the larger crowds commonly found at other eateries.
While its cozy setting is impressive enough, what sets Beachbreak Cafe aside from other breakfast spots isn’t just its quiet locale. Beachbreak Cafe draws from high-end, fresh, local ingredients, putting to plate a product that’s not only ample but fresh too.
“It’s all good, home-cooking,” Lyons boasts. “Even our pancake batter is made from scratch.”
A standout item on Beachbreak’s menu is the signature Hawaiian French Toast, which includes six enormous slices of toast slathered in syrup and powdered sugar. And if your waiter asks you if you’d like to add fresh fruit to it, just say yes. When your garcon arrives with a visual rainbow of fresh strawberries, pineapple, mango, blackberries, blueberries, cantaloupe, grapes and kiwi, you’ll know it was a dollar well spent.
For those left dry by their evening activities, Beachbreak offers massive $4 mimosas and Bloody Marys capable of quenching even the thirstiest of weekenders.
Even if you don’t remember the rest of your weekend, you’ll definitely remember your breakfast at Beachbreak Cafe.
Jeannine’s Bakery – Upper State
3607 State St., Santa Barbara
Phone: (805) 687-8701
Hours: Monday-Sunday, 7 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Looking in from the outside, Jeannine’s Bakery doesn’t look like much. A small, inconspicuously decorated bakery tucked away on the upper fringes of State Street, it wouldn’t be hard to pass by Jeannine’s without giving it so much as a glance.
But taking a step inside, especially on a busy Sunday morning, it quickly becomes clear that you’ve stepped into something special… that is, if you can see past the crowd of people flocking to Jeannine’s breakfast tables. Very popular among locals, Jeannine’s isn’t exactly the most peaceful of breakfast spots, but what it lacks in serenity it more than makes up for with its warm atmosphere and attentive, courteous staff.
“We pride ourselves on our service. We’re very clean and our staff is trained very well,” said Connie Ward, manager of Jeannine’s upper State Street location. “We have very high standards.”
And Jeannine’s high standards show. For those who don’t like to go by the book, Jeannine’s offers rotating weekday specials and a weekend brunch menu that would turn other eateries’ menus green with envy. Its weekend brunch offerings include dishes ranging from the traditional, like the Eggs Benedict, to the more decadent Maine lobster and salmon omelettes, which is a definite highlight and a must-order for anyone with even a remote appreciation for an amazing meal.
For those impressed by Jeannine’s fantastic breakfasts, the restaurant’s display cases brim with baked goods ready to be taken home (and quickly devoured). Single-serve standouts include tangy lemon bars and addictive Russian tea cakes, and for those with larger appetites, cakes and tarts practically beg for you to indulge. The oft-repeated refrain “I’ll be back” definitely comes to mind.
Aside from its original location on upper State Street, Jeannine’s eateries can also be found in downtown Santa Barbara at 15 E. Figueroa St. and, for the travel-inclined, in Montecito.
216 W. Cabrillo Blvd., Santa Barbara
Phone: (805) 965-3269
Hours: Monday-Sunday, 6:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Price: Under $10
Although Sambo’s, once a nationwide chain of nearly 1,200 restaurants, has shrunk back down to its Santa Barbara roots, one step inside reveals a restaurant comfortable with its modest size. Founded in 1957, the local family restaurant draws inspiration from a popular children’s tale, with cartoon characters adorning much of the walls and literature. While the breakfast is memorable, Sambo’s long history, polite staff and sense of self provide an atmosphere not easily forgotten.
“We have a special pancake recipe that we’ve had since ’57,” general manager Steve Padilla said. There’s a reason the batter has stuck around for so long: the pancakes, which are fluffier and tastier than most, aren’t exactly a tough sell.
Sambo’s menu features any standard breakfast options you can imagine, offering anything from fluffy pancakes to fantastic omelettes. One memorable menu item is the Bengal Tiger Special, which features a colossal combination of French toast or a waffle, two eggs and sausage, bacon or ham and is a fantastic way to start your day without parting with more than a Hamilton. In fact, most of Sambo’s offerings are cheap enough that to spend more than $15 dining solo might prove difficult.
If you’re looking for a more complex breakfast item, Sambo’s California Benedict, which features a rich homemade hollandaise sauce, is a hot item among locals.
Above all else, Sambo’s location is hard to beat. A clear view of Santa Barbara’s shoreline, which is situated just across the street, makes outside seating a must.
“You really can’t beat the location. People love to sit outside,” Padilla said.
While the restaurant’s cartoony appeal makes it a place more appropriate to bring a bro than a beau, you’d be hard pressed to find another breakfast spot that offers the same level of quality and as low a price as Sambo’s.
Still Hungry? Here are some more excellent places to start your day:
Tupelo Junction Cafe
1218 State Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101
Cafe International Isla Vista
6578 Trigo Rd, Goleta, CA 93117
6831 Hollister Ave Ste A, Goleta, CA 93117
705 Anacapa Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93013