Photo Courtesy of

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With any great celebration, there should always be great food. Nothing quite says “congratulations” and “we did it!” like a perfectly cooked filet of fish or a decadent stack of French toast. To all the graduating seniors (and hungry foodies alike), here are a few suggestions for wining and dining around the beloved Santa Barbara area on this special occasion.


Scarlett Begonia: A new American establishment serving up a fresh and innovative menu, this restaurant is tucked away from the streets of downtown and features a beautiful dog-friendly courtyard, the perfect ambiance for a peaceful celebratory meal. Scarlett Begonia is kid-friendly while still maintaining a level of class suitable for a celebratory meal. The menu changes often for brunch and dinner to cater to what organic goods are in season.

Bella Vista: As a part of the Four Seasons, the Bella Vista adheres to the standard exquisite food and service. The décor and ambiance does not disappoint with its dreamy, oceanfront patio and warm dining area. Sunday brunch is a decadent, impressive buffet unlike others, featuring caviar, fine seafood, meats and scrumptious desserts. The Italian-inspired coastal fare boasts a delicious dinner menu as well. The good news is you don’t have to be a member of the Coral Club or stay at the Four Seasons to enjoy this dining experience.

Jeannine’s: A very casual option for those who are looking for little fuss and plenty of yummy selections, this is an ideal spot for a low-key meal and is suitable for children. No reservations are needed so you can stop by whenever your schedule permits for a latté and quick bite. The Kahlua French toast with flambéed bananas is a sweet little suggestion.

For any meal:

State and Fig: Located in a magical alleyway hidden from the rest of State Street, State and Fig offers a charming ambience decked with twinkle lights and outdoor seating. The menu offers innovative options for foodies and picky eaters alike that adapt to what is in season. Both smaller and larger parties are welcome — look into booking the private upstairs balcony for bigger events.

Finch and Fork: This hip joint delivers delicious bites that are fresh, clean and simple. The décor embodies what Santa Barbara is — easy-going and elegant. The brunch and dinner menus feature classic American dishes with a modern twist that will certainly satisfy your taste buds. Whether dining with a small or large party, Finch and Fork is able to meet your needs with their private room, rooftop and ballroom are available for whatever your event may be.

Stella Mare’s: This wonderful French American bistro in Montecito is located across the road from the scenic Andree Clark Bird Refuge. This unbelievably adorable 1850’s house was renovated and converted into a gorgeous restaurant and has intimate rooms suitable for medium-sized parties. A reservation in the greenhouse room is highly recommended if searching for a wow factor.

For Dinner:

Jane: This restaurant marries classy American dining with a very cozy, inviting atmosphere. The menu will please most with its classic and delicious options ranging from upscale plates to pasta and scrumptious sandwiches. This delightful eatery is suitable for small groups and larger parties — a private room is available for bigger events.

Bouchon: Though the menu may be a little pricey, a trip to Bouchon would be well worth your time. This restaurant features beautiful patio seating and a warm indoor-dining space. The food is just as delectable and sophisticated as it looks, using only the finest, local ingredients in Santa Barbara. In addition, Bouchon is known for serving authentic, regional wines for those in keen on viticulture. The cork room is accessible for private parties if needed.

Opal Restaurant and Bar: Known for a fairly extensive variety of dishes crafted with global inspiration and a full bar that is sure to please, this spot offers a warm atmosphere in which you can be comfortable while enjoying a sophisticated dining experience. Reservations are necessary for larger parties.

Arigato: For the sushi lover, Arigato is a solid option. This lively and intimate setting is a local favorite and wonderful for small parties on a whim; however you may run the risk of not being able to make a reservation. A romantic patio is located out front for people watching on State and an upper deck inside offers a bit more privacy.