This is not only the best Japanese restaurant in Santa Barbara; it well may be the best restaurant altogether in this town. Located at 1225 State Street (phone 805-965-6074) don't let the small facade and lack of reservations disuade you. Having lived in the Bay Area for 10 years, and eating out nearly every night there, I think I know the difference between good and great food. This restaurant falls in the category of great. If you try this place, don't stop at the sushi. The many small elegant dishes that leave you rolling your eyes in ecstacy include seared scallops with balsamic drizzle, gyozo (shrimp with halibut are best), popcorn shrimp with spicy sweet/sour sauce, organic greens with ginger dressing, and green tea ice cream. Savor it all with a hot sake and a large ice-cold Kirin beer--a small subset of the menu that I can't wait to sample in its entirety. I waited until visit number three to post this. I am convinced--you'll not want to deny yourself the pleasure of Arigato's.