Santa Barbara Restaurant Week started on Feb. 21, and for the next two weeks, Santa Barbara will be flooded with visitors from far and wide who have come to try some of the best food SB has to offer. With over 30 restaurants participating, there are a ton of options to choose from. How SB Restaurant Week works is that patrons can choose from a curated menu and order an appetizer, entree and dessert for a fixed price of either $25, $35 or $45. With so many options to choose from, here are our top picks that can fit in your budget!
Founded in 1937, this SB classic will warm your tummy with Italian delight. For $35 a person, choose from four different appetizers, including the calamari and bruschetta plate, the soup of the day or your choice of two delectable salads. Then move onto your main course, choosing from their Bacon Blue Burger, Tuscan chicken, eggplant parmesan or pasta carbonara. End your voyage abroad with panna cotta, tiramisu al caffe or tiramisu al limon. We are sure Arnoldi’s will have you saying “Mamma Mia!” in no time!
Known for their burgers and brews, this Paseo Nuevo staple is offering their classics for $25 a person. Start your night off with their crispy glazed brussels sprouts, truffle cheese fries, deviled eggs or mac n’ cheese balls. Move on to entrees with your choice of four burgers, including their Eureka! American cheeseburger, Fresno Fig Burger, Cowboy Burger and the Veggie Beet Burger for all my vegans! If none of those suit your fancy, they are also offering a protein chopped salad as an option for your main course. For dessert, choose from a bonfire stout brownie or a bourbon barrel cake. No matter what you choose, you can’t go wrong with Eureka!
Cava Restaurant & Bar
Perhaps you are in the mood for some delicious Mexican food, in which case, look no further than Cava! Cava has been serving a dynamic blend of Latin and Mediterranean flavors since 1997 and encourages patrons to try one of their signature cocktails with their meal. Kick off your meal with their grilled Anaheim chiles, smooth tortilla soup or fresh arugula salad. Continue the journey with your choice of chicken enchiladas suizas, grilled fresh salmon with papaya salsa, carne asada a la tampiqueña or their grilled vegetable tostada. End your love affair with either an order of the caramel flan or their classic besito de cava. For $35 a person, Cava will have you dancing all night long.
Owners Tina Takaya and Ted Ellis are dedicated to having omotenashi or a “heightened sense of hospitality” at the heart of every Oku experience. Oku leverages their access to some of the freshest seafood in town to create a gorgeous menu of Asian-inspired fare. For $35 a person, choose from three appetizers: Saigon wings, crispy Korean cauliflower or baby spinach & sautéed mushroom. You can’t go wrong with any of their entree options; choose from a pirahna roll, seared scallops or flat iron. End your experience with a chocolate & coffee cream brûlée or a yuzu citrus cheesecake. Enter bliss at Oku.
Since its opening in 1979, Chase Restaurant has been part of the Santa Barbara tradition for decades, and now it’s opening its doors to the masses with a prix fixe menu that costs only $25 a person. To begin, choose from a salad or a choice of three soups. Don’t worry if the appetizer seems light because the entrees definitely are not. Imagine a chicken parmesan with a pasta side, or perhaps a grilled salmon baked in a lemon sherry and garlic sauce. You can’t go wrong with the house signature dish chicken piccata with fettuccine alfredo, especially since it can come as either a normal or vegan dish. They also offer a vegan lasagna alle tre carni for all our plant-based Gauchos. End your fever dream of Italian fare with your choice of canole, tiramisu or cheesecake. For $25, why would you not go?!
If Santa Barbara cuisine is known for anything, it’s seafood! Bluewater Grill will not disappoint with whatever you choose. Sitting on the SB Harbor, this picturesque view is perfect for a date night or just a night on the town. Start your evening with a choice of calamari fritti, spicy edamame or a local rockfish ceviche. Catch a wave with your entree, choosing from Chicken “Under a Brick,” gemelli pasta or the chipotle blackened swordfish. End this swimmingly good meal with your choice of a mini keylime pie, small vanilla crème brûlée or a berry cobbler with ice cream. Though they won’t take you under the sea, for $35 a person, you can get pretty close!
These are just some of the amazing options SB Restaurant Week has to offer, so be sure to make your reservations as soon as possible. Although there are so many options, whatever you choose, you won’t be disappointed!