I spent quite a bit of time researching where to go for our 10yr anniversary trip to Santa Barbara October 22-26. Thanks to all who have posted their recommendations on other threads. We arrived Saturday afternoon without a hotel or restaurant reservation, due to the intent of wine tasting in the Northern Region and picking up a room in either Solvang or Buelton. Bad idea. Everything was sold out, so we headed for Santa Barbara. We exited on State Street and began our long trek toward the beach. I was able to identify many of the numerous restaurants along State Street that were recommended in other posts. We called a dozen hotels to find the same result as Solvang and Buelton. Everyone was sold out for the Saturday evening. We lucked out and got a small room at the Hotel Santa Barbara for $190 a night. Considering it's locatiion on State Street, it seamed like a good value. We could see the glowing lights of Joes across the street. A recent publication that we picked up was a "Best Of Santa Barbara", which ranked Joes as having the strongest drinks. After an afternoon in in Los Olivos, the last thing I needed was a stiff Tanqurey. So we walked a few blocks and ended up at Blush. We got a great outdoor sofa/table combination and enjoyed a fare of cocktails and appetizers to begin our dining experience in Santa Barbara, We had an excellent experience, considering our afternoon of wine tasting and drive down the coast from Carmel during the day. We enjoyed the olive/nut plate, stuffed peppers, lobster macaroni (predominate claw meat) and the truffled fries (parmesan would have been a nice addition).
Sunday evening I had reservations at Downey's. I would highly recommend this restaurant to anyone looking for a restaurant to celebrate a special event. We got the table in the back, tucked away in a nook. I really wanted to try the Colorado Lamb which was featured on the menu the night before, however it was not available. My wife got the Veal tenderloin and beet salad, while I went for the Taste of Santa Barbara, which featured duck. The breast mealted in my mouth and the dark meat had an incredible crusty finish.
We picnic'd on the beach for lunch on Monday (63 and cloudy), after visiting C'est Cheese, for an assortment of snacks. A nice selection of cheese and salumi's, but a liitle over price.
Since we didn't have a reservation for Monday evening, we decided to try some local sushi. We remembered that on our way over to Downey's we passed a very busy restaurant named Arigato. It did not disappoint. We sat at the bar and enjoyed a variety of fresh sushi and watched the various patrons, including a 12 year old boy that ate at least $100 worth of fresh fish by himself.
Tuesday was our last full day in the city, so we decided on a seafood lunch, since the sushi Tuesday night left us desiring more. We ended up around the corner from our Hotel (Harbor View Inn) over at the wharf at Brophy Brothers. We got a cramped outdoor table and both ordered some tasty Bloody Mary's. We started with a hot Combo Appetizer, which included; oysters rockefeller , garlic baked clams, peel-n-eat shrimp, mussels, and clams. I ordered the blackened sea bass, and the wife got the shrimp scampi. Both meals came with a cup of chowder and were delicious. I purposely passed on fresh oyster with the intent on eating a dozen over at Enterprise Fish Company. They were rated best happy hour in the recent publication we picked up. We dropped in about 4:30 to try the happy hour. The oysters were not as briny as I like, especially being a pacific coast oyster (BC). But the Stella Artois was cold, and the bartender was friendly.
We had dinner reservations at Stella Mare's. This was my favorite meal of the trip. Great Restaurant. Great Service. Great food. We were given complimentary champagne to celebrate our anniversary. We enjoyed the French onion soup, beet salad., cheese course, Alaskan Halibut, and Red Deer Osso Bucco. We moved from our table to a romantic setting in front of the fireplace to enjoy a complimentary desert and a nice glass of iced Freixnet.
We got up early on Wednesday morning, hit the French Press for coffee on the way out of town and headed home for Sacramento.
We will definately be back!
1559 Spinnaker Dr, San Buenaventura (Ventura, CA 93001
50 Los Patos Way, Santa Barbara, CA 93108