When people ask about where to go in Santa Barbara, it is hard to pin down because there are a lot of good choices. I personally think there are no great restaurants in Santa Barbara, but there are a lot of very pleasant ones.
And if that is the case, then almost anywhere someone goes in Santa Barbara, it will be a fairly good experience. In fact it may well be ambiance, price or setting more than food that makes one stand our over the others. And example is Hungry Cat where the food gets good reviews, but I personally have problems with their service attitude. So does it deserve not to be recommended? Nope, they can turn out some good food
Which got me wondering if there are few places we should tell people to stay away from in this town of mainly pretty okay restaurants. I couldn't think of any because if something is really bad, it usually does not last long in this town.
I have a dining rut and stick with my own list of favorites that I have been going to for years. I tend to choose a restaurant in this town because i am in the mood for a certain kind of food. The "better" restaurants are usually the most expensive and end up being infrequent special occasion restaurants for me.
But when I simply want to go out to eat, then it is more likely to those places than are more in the middle end of the dining scale - not great but also don't cost an arm and leg. And in that category, almost any restaurant in SB is good enough and at least has one or two things on the menu worth going back for over and over again.
Bottomline, when someone asks where they must dine in Santa Barbara without knowing more about tastes, price, setting and locale it is a hard question to answer because there are few that are terrible, and there are also very few that are entirely great. Thoughts?