Just spent three wonderful days in Santa Barbara and checked out some restaurants, some of which we'd read about on Chowhound.
Aja - Didn't know of this place and happened to stumble upon it. It's located on the upper part of State Street, far away from the downtown scene. Wonderful California cuisine with authentic Asian flare (the chef is Japanese American and really knows good Japanese tastes). Service is personable, wine list is reasonable and eclectic. I had scallops with a very delicate teriyaki sauce (not that sickeningly sweet glop you get in a lot of places). Nice art on the walls too.
La Super Rica - Had heard all about this place on Chowhound and on our last trip to SB, the line was too long and we skipped it. This time we went for lunch on a Friday and it didn't take too long to get in. While we enjoyed the food (very light tasting), we're still not quite sure what the big deal is. We had eaten at Bajio down the street on the last trip and that was just as good, if not better.
Ca Dario - Went here based on recommendations from Chowhound for Saturday night dinner. Charming atmosphere but very cramped and noisy. We were underwhelmed by the food, but neither of us had pasta or risotto, which might have been the better bet. I had trout and my husband had roast chicken (kind of dry). However, service was quite good and it definitely was a very happening place.
Shoreline Cafe at Leadbetter Beach - Love this place. Basic pub grub and nothing outstanding but you can't beat being right on the ocean, either on the deck or on the beach itself. On a gorgeous day it's wonderful.
Saw some intriguing restaurants on Victoria Street as we were strolling pre-dinner at Ca Dario. What do SB locals think of Epiphany, Bouchon, Primo Enoteca and Lime and Olive? Also Gisele's and Brigitte's on State Street?
3132 State Street
La Super Rica
622 N. Milpas
37 E. Victoria St.