Do you suddenly find yourself craving fresh salads with the turn of spring? Well, so do I, and that’s where my affinity for the Savoy Café & Deli comes in.
This local hole-in-the-wall is a rare find with its organic farm-to-table tasting ingredients and uniquely prepared dishes. Nestled in the relaxing atmosphere of downtown Santa Barbara, this unassumingly chic establishment is well-known for its amazing salad bar that provides the tastiest and most abundant variety of fixings, including organic veggies, meat, fish, nuts and, of course, dressing.
Let’s start with the most obvious ingredient: lettuce. The Savoy Café transforms lettuce into a not-so-simple salad factor, as they supply their customers with options that surpass the typical iceberg filler. The crisp and crunch of your salad can be perfected with the peppery flavor of arugula, the leafy texture of butter lettuce and romaine or a mesclun of wild-harvested greens.
The next step will amaze vegetarians and even the vegetable-haters out there. The topping selection is outrageous, with truly something for everyone — even junk-foodies can appreciate these goods from the earth. I recommend the artichokes marinated in olive oil, fresh hearts of palm, grilled summer squash, flavorful zucchini, roasted eggplant and red bell peppers, but the remaining herbivore options are endless.
Even omnivores like me will be delighted with the protein-packed toppings at this high-end salad bar. Before concocting my healthy meal at Savoy, I had never seen grilled steak or salmon at a salad bar. Looking over the cold case, I was pleasantly surprised to find grilled chicken, sliced turkey and tofu as well. Those in the vegan mood can still satisfy their protein intake for the day with a wide selection of nuts such as sunflower seeds, pine nuts and peanuts.
Of course, the best part of every salad is the savory dressing, and Savoy’s assortment is impressive. If you aren’t in the mood for the simplicity of olive oil and vinegar, get ready to indulge in a delicious vegan Caesar, a poppy seed vinaigrette and many more. The salad bar also carries a full line of the gourmet and all-natural Bragg dressings.
Although the salad bar ($9.99/lb.) is my personal favorite, this quaint spot serves up many other mouthwatering dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Treat yourself to their soup of the day — with four choices offered daily — for only $3.49 per cup or $5.49 for a large bowl. A variety of sandwiches are also served all day, such as the 9-Trails, made up of natural turkey, cranberry, cream cheese, greens, mustard and mayo on fresh ciabatta bread ($8.95). Other favorites include the Naples sandwich (fresh mozzarella, tomato, basil, greens, fig balsamic reduction, olive oil and sea salt on ciabatta) and the Gibralter (roast beef, turkey, bacon, leaf lettuce, tomato, avocado, provolone, sundried tomato, mayo and Dijon on crispy sourdough bread).
If these sandwiches don’t quite fit your fancy, you can always opt to build your own and choose from a wide variety of breads — sourdough, honey-wheat, French baguette, ciabatta, rye — and other toppings like meat or tuna, cheese, veggies and flavorful condiments including pesto and wasabi mayonnaise.
Early birds can say good morning at the Savoy Café with dishes ranging from a spinach and feta scramble ($10.95) to butter-poached wild salmon with eggs, potatoes and toast ($13.95). All items on the breakfast menu are served with their signature “Campfire Toast” — bread toasted over an open flame to achieve that perfect bite. Best of all, breakfast is served until 2:00 p.m. on weekends.
If you slept through breakfast and lunch, the Savoy’s dinner entrées are just as scrumptious. Besides soup, salads and sandwiches, some delectable dishes include their linguini with sautéed Portobello mushrooms ($10.95), handcrafted thin-crust pizzas baked on a natural stone ($7.95) and burgers made from local, humanely-raised grass-fed beef ($9.95).
The already-prepared hot case is ready for hungry clients to grab and go, and offers amazing foods like stuffed chicken, grilled tri-tip, organic coconut and ginger tofu, organic butternut squash puree and quinoa with edamame. One of their specialty entrees, a pasilla turkey fritter with chipotle aioli, was even featured on Food Network’s hit show, Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives and is named after famed celebrity chef, Guy Fieri.
With so many options of organic, fresh and local ingredients, the Savoy Café and Deli is a go-to dining hotspot for Spring Quarter.