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Bella Vista
1260 Channel Drive 565-8237
Located in the Four
Seasons Biltmore, this
elegant dining room
offers sweeping views
of the Pacific. A twilight
meal on the outside
patio showcases
Montecito’s quiet
beauty to visitors, and
reminds permanent
residents to be grateful
for their luck. Executive Chef Alessandro Cartumini suggests
joining him and his talented staff for Bella Vista’s monthly wine
dinners featuring innovative, fresh cuisine especially prepared
to complement wines selected by a local winemaker, on hand
to discuss the selections. Limited seating ensures an
opportunity for a “one-on-one” exploration into the philosophies
of both winemaker and chef.
Café Del Sol
30 Los Patos Way 969-0448
Great margaritas draw
Café del Sol’s evening
patrons to its sandy-
colored interior, but the
food is popular enough
to have made this
restaurant one of the
longest running shows
(47 years and
counting!) in Montecito.
The menu is a mélange
of Mexican, Californian,
and touch of Italian, including a variety of steak and seafood
dishes. On a cool night, snuggle into a side booth by the
fireplace; for breakfast or brunch on a warm morning or
afternoon, Café del Sol’s full patio overlooks the bird refuge and
Santa Barbara Zoo’s Condor Exhibit.
1212 Coast Village Road 969-8500
Cava is a bright and
flavorful collision of
Spanish and Mexican
food with lively and
colorful décor. Light
lunches of salads and
sandwiches precede the
hearty dinner fare. Start
out with some traditional
tapas and follow up with
anything from fresh
seafood tacos to paella with a twist, to a churrasco ribeye steak;
wash down the considerable spice with any number of Cava’s
specialty margarita drinks or a pitcher of sweet sangria. The
outdoor patio seating next to a fresh flower stand is an
unexpected aesthetic surprise, as well as the live flamenco
China Palace
1070 Coast Village Road 565-9380
China Palace offers exotic dishes in an atmosphere of rich
red walls, white tablecloths, and lacquered furniture. Open
for both light lunch and the significantly more serious dinner,
many of the menu items are familiar – phrases like Kung
Pao and Szechuan appear more than once – but there are
equal options for the more adventurous, with a Chef’s menu
of specials decidedly different from the typical American take
on Chinese food. Takeout is available for the cozy evening in,
or sit outside on the well-heated enclosed patio for a pleasant
lunch or dinner.
1187 Coast Village Road 969-1277
Traditional pizza and pasta are the name of the game at this
family-style Italian pizzeria. The modest and comfortable
interior belies Giovanni’s popularity and the draw of its pizzas,
familiarly dressed in such favorites as the meat-lover’s or the
classic pepperoni, as well as with new twists, like Greek or Philly
Cheesesteak. The restaurant offers hot sandwiches, salads,
pasta, beer and wine, as well as a children’s menu, complete
with arcade games.
Here’s the Scoop
1187 Coast Village Road (lower level) 969-7020
Montecito’s stylish take on a cool afternoon treat, Here’s the
Scoop has artisan gelato that puts its ice cream cousin to
shame. The flavors are changed and updated regularly, ranging
from the traditional stracciatella to the more original blood
orange, peanut butter, and even lavender. Many of the fruit-
flavored gelatos are created with locally grown produce, lending
them a taste that’s truly unique to the area.
1253 Coast Village Road 969-7878
This very popular bakery feels like a glorified garden party with
all the delight and none of that society fuss. An order-at-the-
counter sort of place, the restaurant offers fresh salads and
familiar sandwiches, with a pastry case full of fresh-baked
goodies along with specialty teas and espresso coffee drinks.
Little Alex’s
1024 A-Coast Village Road 969-2297
Its out-of-the-way location around the back of Vons Shopping
Center may fool you, but Little Alex’s is a local favorite for fast and
traditional Mexican and California food. Particularly noteworthy are
the veggie chimichangas, fresh tacos, and tamales.
Los Arroyos
1280 Coast Village Road 969-9059
Los Arroyos is a family-
Mexican restaurant serving
fresh, homemade Mexican
food founded by proprietor
and chef Tony Arroyo of La
Piedad, Michocan, Mexico,
and his wife, Maria Arroyo, a
Santa Barbara native.
Specialties include
margaritas, authentic and homemade tamales, mole, and
handmade corn tortillas. Chef Lorenzo Arroyo balances
traditional Mexican dishes with diverse rotating daily specials,
like lobster quesadillas, or grilled fresh salmon over a shockingly
sweet tropical fruit-dressed salad. Weekend live music (during
Fiesta week, expect a full-on Mariachi band); evening valet
parking; patio dining all day.
1279 Coast Village Road 565-7540
A favorite spot for Montecito
denizens and tourists alike,
surrounded as they are by
vintage photos of Hollywood
past, white linen tablecloths
and napkins embossed with
the restaurant’s name, high
tables, mahogany galore, and
a general sleekness. Menu
holds an extensive wine list
featuring grape derivatives
from the Central Coast, Napa,
France and Italy, along with
cocktails, appetizers, and traditional hearty favorites that lend it
the steakhouse title, with top-tier American beef and sushi-
grade fish from Santa Monica. The handsome bar is a
weeknight home to local celebrities and the Bentley-Ferrari-
Lamborghini crowd.
Montecito Café
1295 Coast Village Road 969-3392
Attached to Montecito Inn, Montecito Café is revered for
the quality of its food, and appreciated for its ease on the
pocketbook. The pleasantly spacious dining room is dominated
by large arched picture windows and a small fountain rumored
to have been installed in homage to Rodgers & Hart’s “There’s a
Small Hotel with a Wishing Well.” Menu features salads, like the
curried crab served in a half papaya, and many pasta dishes.
Montecito Coffee Shop
1498 East Valley Road 969-6250
More than just what its name implies, Montecito Coffee Shop is
located on a charming corner in the upper village, and boasts a
full breakfast menu complete with eggs, omelets, and pancakes.
For lunch, try one of the hearty salads (like the Shrimp Louie,
which is hard to find) or sandwiches with a twist, such as the
turkey sandwich with cranberry cream cheese, or the grilled beef
slathered with cheddar, chilies, and a spicy dipping sauce… just
be sure to have a cup of Joe handy to help out with the heat.
Montecito Deli
1150 Coast Village Road 969-3717
Most people who make their way to Montecito Deli for lunch
do so for one of the wildly popular warm “piadina” flatbread
sandwiches, but this little spot offers much more in the way
of hearty deli fare. Breakfast consists mainly of variations on
a fresh bagel, while the lunch menu offers scores of salads,
wraps, and cold and hot deli-style sandwiches.
Montecito Wine Bistro
516 San Ysidro Road 969-7520
Head to Montecito’s upper village to find Montecito Wine Bistro,
and to indulge in some California bistro cuisine. Chef Nathan
Heil (who recently won the ‘Downtown Chocolate Trade Off’
award for his Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart) creates seasonal
menus that include fish and vegetarian dishes, and fresh
flatbreads straight out of the wood-burning oven. Try the grilled
duck breast or the seared scallops with lobster sauce and dry
aged New York steak frites as entrées. For a sandwich option,
opt for the grilled Kobe meatloaf burger. The extensive wine list
offers selections from Santa Barbara Winery, Lafond Winery, and
others from around the world. The Bistro also offers classic and
specialty cocktails, single malt scotches and aged cognacs.
Pane e Vino
1482 East Valley Road 969-9274
This hideaway boasts comfortable indoor and outdoor seating;
inside, the walls are adorned with ceramic plates and pictures
that lend it the feeling of mama’s kitchen, while the outside
patio is fringed with trees, shrubbery, and white lights. Starters
include a freshly made soup. The Insalata Cappuccina – a head
of butter lettuce served with tomatoes and asiago cheese – is
a recommended salad, and the Bucatini All’Amatriciana is a
classic with a kick.
1014 “C” Coast Village Road 565-0137
Those in search of a good old-fashioned sandwich will find
this unpretentious order-at-the-counter no-frills eatery worth
seeking out. A wide selection of fresh bread, including focaccia,
combined with both traditional sandwiches and those with
a twist, has helped make Panino a favorite not only at its
Montecito location, but also at its other locations in and around
Santa Barbara.
1198 Coast Village Road 969-0834
With wooden booths,
active bar, cozy
fireplace, sports TV, and
an all-American menu,
this ski lodge-like up-a-
wooden-stairway eatery
is a Montecito
institution, both in its
architecture and in its robust cookery. Breakfast is a serious
affair, so come hungry; lunch and dinner consists of salads,
sandwiches, hefty charbroiled burgers, fresh fish and steak. Both
the surroundings and the menu are extremely kid-friendly, but a
daily happy hour from 3 pm to 6 pm with appetizer specials
attracts its share of grownups. Peabody’s is so much a part of
bygone Montecito lore that it’s even open until midnight.