Best Lunch in Santa Barbara

Best Lunch in Santa Barbara

Clean Plate Club

Clean Plate Club

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With over 450 restaurants in the city alone, Santa Barbara has a lunch option for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a luxurious seafood restaurant on the waterfront, a deli to grab a quick bite to eat, or local favorites, check out our top picks and find your fill. 

Feature Photo: Courtesy of Bluewater Grill

On & Near State Street

Photo: Courtesy of Los Agaves

Los Agaves

Los Agaves takes the bold flavors of Mexico and a variety of high-quality ingredients to create an authentic dining experience. With over 4 different locations in southern California, Los Agaves serves classic dishes with a creative twist. Their signature dishes include their Los Agaves Enchiladas, Chiles Nortenos, and a variety of famous ceviches. The restaurant chain has received awards from the Santa Barbara News-Press and Santa Barbara Independent for “Best Mexican Restaurant” and “Best Salsa.”

sant barbara_secret bao_lunch
Photo: Courtesy of Secret Bao

Secret Bao

Secret Bao is the ultimate lunch spot for modern Asian cuisine. The restaurant was started by chef Peter Lee, who has experience working at a 3 Michelin Star restaurant in Las Vegas before he decided to open Secret Bao. Peter and his co-owner Felicia say that the restaurant “serves food we crave and wish we could order ourselves on our days off.” Their menu features a variety of Asian cuisine including pan-Asian snacks, small plates, sandwiches, as well as entrees and cocktails.

Photo: Courtesy of Lure Fish House

Lure Fish House

Lure Fish House is a family-owned restaurant that offers a seasonally-focused menu featuring the freshest sustainable from local, trusted sources. They offer a variety of classic seafood dishes including mussels, chowders, lobster, ceviches, fish tacos, seared fish, and more. Lure Fish House also features a full-service bar with many specialty cocktails made with freshly squeezed fruit juices as well as a raw bar providing an array of fresh oysters. Their goal is to give customers a fun and exciting seafood experience that’s filled with tasty, healthy, and environmentally friendly choices.

Photo: Courtesy of South Coast Deli

South Coast Deli

3534 State St, Santa Barbara

South Coast Deli is not only committed to making the best sandwiches and salads in the Santa Barbara area but they’re also dedicated to respecting the environment the right way. All the single-use products at South Coast Deli are made from sustainable, renewable, and compostable materials like switchgrass, bagasse, and PLA, a plant-based polymer. The Deli has three different locations across Santa Barbara, so you can get their delicious hot and cold sandwiches as well as salads almost anywhere in the area.

West Side

Photo: Courtesy of Super Cucas

Super Cucas

In 1991, Super Cucas became the first taqueria in Santa Barbara, since then, it’s won “Best Burrito” every year in the Santa Barbara Independent’s annual “Best Of” competition. The award-winning Mexican restaurant offers customers the freshest and most high-quality ingredients. None of the items on Super Cucas’s menu use preservatives or come from canned products. They are committed to ensuring customers get a large, healthy meal at a low, affordable price. They even offer catering services for groups of up to 100 people!

East Side

Photo: Courtesy of The Shop Kitchen

The Shop Kitchen

Located east of downtown Santa Barbara, the Shop Kitchen is a popular brunch restaurant that serves food out of a window. They offer everything from coffee to baked goods to gourmet American-style eats. They serve breakfast and lunch from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. every day of the week. Everything from the Shop Kitchen is made from real ingredients all the way from scratch. They even offer catering services as well as private events right on their outdoor patio.

Photo: Courtesy of Stella Mare's

Stella Mare's

For almost 24 years, Stella Mare’s has been known for its French Country Bistro cuisine that places an emphasis on stellar, seasonal, and classic dishes that can be paired with French and American wines. The romantic restaurant sits on the Bird Refuge, a historic landmark in the Santa Barbara community. Stella Mare’s hosts an abundance of private dining events along with weddings, baby showers, bridal showers, rehearsal dinners, and more. The beautiful house this restaurant is located in was built in 1872 by Captain W.H. Johnson for his family, but since 1996, Stella Mare’s has called it home.

Photo: Courtesy of East Beach Tacos

East Beach Tacos

East Beach Tacos is the perfect taco joint for visitors and locals alike. They serve a wide variety of tacos along with cold beer and local wines. The taco stand offers indoor seating as well as a covered outdoor patio section. Their signature item is the East Beach Taco, which is battered cod, cabbage, radish, cilantro, pico de gallo, and East Beach aioli all wrapped inside a flour tortilla. Employees at East Beach Tacos work hard to provide customers with a culinary experience they will never forget.

In & Near The Funk Zone

Photo: Courtesy of OPPI'Z Bistro and Natural Pizza

OPPI'Z Bistro and Natural Pizza

1026 State St, Santa Barbara

OPPI’Z Bistro and Natural Pizza reimagines the Italian Bistro experience in Santa Barbara. Dishes at OPPI’Z Bistro and Natural Pizza are a celebration of authenticity and simplicity, as every bite is carefully curated to delight your taste buds. They have a commitment to ensuring high-quality food and service. Their menu has a wide variety of options from gourmet pizza to exquisite pasta, Italian food has never tasted so good. Every recipe has a family memory behind it, and every bite has an age-old authentic Italian taste to it.

Photo: Courtesy of Intermezzo


Intermezzo offers modern American cuisine with a Mediterranean twist. The restaurant offers a welcoming environment for both locals and visitors to the Santa Barbara area. Started by Proprietor John O’Neill and Executive Chef Josh Brown, Intermezzo is the sister restaurant to Wine Cask, only with a fresh new design, menu, and energy. Their menu features a distinctive list of hand-picked wines that pair well with their tasty appetizers and rich entrees. There are specials offered every night to reflect the current season and environment.

Photo: Courtesy of Shalhoob's


220 Gray Ave, Santa Barbara

Shalboob’s Meat Company is a family-owned and operated meats/poultry restaurant in Santa Barbara’s “Funk Zone.” They’ve been a staple of the local community since 1973, providing customers with premium custom-cut meats, poultry, beef jerky, seasoning, and vegetables for over 50 years. Customers can enjoy the meats while sitting outdoors on Shablhoob’s “Funk Zone Patio.” All of the meat sold at Shalhoob’s is hormone, antibiotic-free, and grain-fed without any by-products to ensure customers are getting the high-quality food they deserve.

Photo: Courtesy of Mony's Mexican

Mony's Mexican

Mony’s Mexican is a laid-back Mexican-style restaurant also located in the Funk Zone district of Santa Barbara. They’re known for their traditional restaurant fare as well as their wide selection of salsa flavors served in causal digs. They have everything Mexican including burritos, tacos, nachos, quesadillas and so much more. Their mission as a company is to provide their customers with excellent service, tremendous food, and a taste of Mexico. Be sure to add this to your bucket list while visiting Santa Barbara.


Photo: Courtesy of Bluewater Grill

Bluewater Grill

Bluewater Grill is the perfect place to eat seafood while having a view of the sea itself. Located right across the street from Cabrillo beach, the award-winning restaurant features a high-quality, seasonal menu that has everything you want including seafood, salads, tacos, meats, beer, wine, and more! The Santa Barbara location offers an extensive selection of locally sourced wines, thanks to its proximity to Wine Country. The restaurant’s nautical theme is central to everything about Bluewater Grill, from the lighthouse shape of the building to the decorations inside.

Photo: Courtesy of Reunion Kitchen + Drink

Reunion Kitchen + Drink

Reunion Kitchen + Drink’s Santa Barbara location offers guests a delicious meal with a stunning view of the Pacific Ocean. At Reunion, they try to capture modern comfort in everything they do. Customers will see this in the food they eat, the drinks they’re served, and the exceptional service they receive. The restaurant believes it’s their duty to create an environment for people to find something that they love, whether it’s a place to unwind or a spot to catch up with friends. Be sure to check out this unique dining experience on the Santa Barbara Waterfront.


Photo: Courtesy of Mesa Verde

Mesa Verde

1919 Cliff Dr, Santa Barbara

Mesa Verde is the perfect restaurant for those looking for Vegan Mediterranean cuisine in the Santa Barbara area. They’re a seat-yourself restaurant that has a hip but laid-back vibe that’s great for sitting outdoors or just grabbing a bite to eat with friends. The restaurant offers a wide variety of food options whether it’s their grilled flatbread and hummus or their jackfruit chorizo tacos that come with a blueberry chipotle salsa. It’s very popular with vegans and on weekends, so be sure to check it out!

Who’s writing these?

Meet our always-hungry team of foodies who compiled this list.
Please let us know if we’ve missed your favorite

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