Just because Santa Bar is the home of eternal summer and mild temperatures year-round doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy a little winter indulgence come the holiday season. While health is a top priority for locals, there are plenty of wonderful winter menus here to savor and enjoy. Here’s our guide to the best restaurants to visit during the ‘winter’ months of Santa Barbara:
Since it’s opening, The Lark has remained one of Santa Barbara’s trendiest and most popular restaurants. Located in the center of the Funk Zone, the menu here is locally-sourced and seasonal and includes local favorites such as caramelized scallops with roasted cauliflower and pomegranate and lamb shoulder confit. The plates are intended to share, and with a large communal dining table and warm atmosphere, it’s the perfect place to go over the holidays.
The Lark. 131 Anacapa Street. 805 284 0370.
In our opinion, one of the greatest comfort foods is truly delicious Italian. This winter, warm up with a bowl of one of Trattoria Vittoria’s house-made pastas and prepare yourself for something special. Using high-quality but simple ingredients, this is the place to be on a cold night for unforgettable Spaghetti al Pomodoro.
Trattoria Vittoria. 30 East Victoria Street. 805 962 5014.
Finch & Fork, in the heart of Downtown SB, has a cool, sleek vibe that will take you from charming beach town to elegant city getaway. It’s the type of place you can come and relax for hours ordering cocktails from the bar and hot appetizers from the ‘snacks’ menu. Such indulgences include one of the best macaroni and cheeses in town, wild mushroom flatbread, and a beautiful artisan cheese board. Stop by after a day of shopping for the perfect winter meal.
Finch & Fork. 31 West Carrillo Street. 805 879 9100.
Cold Spring Tavern, located off Highway 154, is exactly where locals head when they want to feel cozy, comfortable and faraway. The charm of the restaurant is enough to warrant a visit, seated on a riverbed and tucked behind the hills, but the menu is perfect winter fare as well. Food here is hearty and rustic, and is exactly what you’ll want in the cooler months this year.
Cold Spring Tavern. 5995 Stagecoach Road. 805 967 0066.
On a cold or rainy night, the glass-windowed dining room of Stella Mare’s bistro is one of the most idyllic spots in town. Both romantic and rustic, this restaurant is best enjoyed in winter with your favorite company. Definitely don’t hold back when it comes time to order and opt for French classics such as coq au vin, or anything from the grill. We suggest planning for an extended meal and arriving early for cocktails, just to soak in the ambience.
Stella Mare’s. 50 Los Patos Way. 805 969 6705.