After a long day of adventuring the California coast, there’s nothing better than coming together for a meal made with fresh, locally sourced produce. Local fare is what makes a farm to table restaurant so unique, and as Santa Barbara is home to an abundant bounty of beautiful and locally harvested ingredients, they have some of the best sustainable farm to table restaurants.
While ‘farm to table’ is often used as a trendy descriptor, farm to table restaurants with local ingredients create delicious, unique dishes that are environmentally friendly and inherently connected to the community. By only sourcing produce that comes from local vendors and farmers, farm to table restaurants offer a more sustainable, authentic experience for guests.
We asked a few of our local friends what their favorite Santa Barbara farm to table spots are, here’s what they recommended:
Discover the Best Farm-to-Table Restaurants in Santa Barbara for Fresh, Local Flavors
The Barbareño Restaurant in downtown Santa Barbara is a farm-to-table restaurant that incorporates coastal twists. Barbareño uses locally curated products to craft dishes vividly reminiscent of the coast. Executive Chef Julian Martinez and Chef de Cuisieston Knox take classic dishes and enhance them with fresh, local additions inspired by the history and traditions of Santa Barbara. From the classic burger featuring house bacon and smoked cheddar, to the savory, spicy Market Fish, to a take on baked Alaska, the baked California, Barareño is the perfect spot for a casual yet refined dinner. Wear a relaxed, elevated style like Maha ‘Olu or Hila and get ready to kick back and enjoy a glass of some of the best wines in California.
Picos Los Alamos
Situated a short ways outside of Santa Barbara is Picos Los Alamos, a farm-fresh produce restaurant, sources all their ingredients, produce, and proteins from sustainable, local vendors on a daily basis. Picos kitchen staff carefully prepares every facet of the menu daily, from the charcuterie that’s smoked and cured in house, to the house-made ketchup. Menu changes are regular to account for what’s available from local farmers and ranchers, but often you can find delicious, fresh branzinos, classic kale caesars, and more staple favorites. Pair dinner with a flight of wines from their renowned list, or try a negroni de caffe, featuring coffee infused vermouth. The Picos General Store is surrounded by lots of other local spots, so wear something comfortable and breathable like Waiau or Maha for post-brunch or pre-dinner walks.
Sama Sama Kitchen
Perfect for dreamy courtyard lunches or dinners, Sama Sama specializes in Southeast Asian cuisine inspired by locally grown products, lending their offerings a coastal flair. Sama Sama’s menu’s feature family-style dishes created to be shared in their hidden gem of a courtyard, peppered with large tables nestled under string lights. Using fresh produce gathered weekly by the chefs from local farmers markets, dishes include a southern take on green papaya salad featuring aromatic herbs, chilies and peanuts. Another tasty favorite is the signature wings, made with free-range chicken, coated in sweet and spicy tamarind-soy barbecue sauce, and fried until crispy. Book a dinner for two or grab a big group of friends–either way ‘Ilikai or Huawai are great picks for a laid-back night under the stars.
Situated in the heart of the Funk Zone, a vibrant arts and entertainment district near the Waterfront in downtown, The Lark offers some of the best farm-to-table brunch in Santa Barbara. Their menu features the highest quality seasonal ingredients and bold flavors, carefully and thoughtfully plated to pay homage to the Coast. Both their brunch and dinner menus are packed with sweet and savory favorites like West Coast oysters on the shell, wild arugula salad, and house-made pastries. Plus their full bar features classic and modern craft cocktails using the best artisan spirits, mixers and seasonal fruits and vegetables. The Lark’s interior is designed in a vintage urban style as a nod to its neighborhood’s past–finish off a casual, cool brunch or dinner look with Kāmola or Kūkulu.
Finch & Fork
A most-friendly spot for casual bites, lavish meals, or fun drinks. Santa Barbara’s coastal bounty inspired the menu for Finch & Fork, a New American farm to table restaurant home to a diverse array of dishes perfect for any occasion. Choose from a traditional menu of plates elevated by coastal influences, such as Finch & Fork deviled eggs, gnocchi sprinkled with locally made parmesan, and dishes featuring mussels, scallops, and salmon caught fresh from the sea. Try Finch & Fork for heightened, delicious takes on popular dishes–we suggest sporting the Mi‘i or Tuahine for this farm-to-table restaurant with a casual yet refined atmosphere.
Cocktails on the Coast
Start your evening with an aperitif or end the night on a high note with a post-dinner nightcap at Good Lion Cocktails, Shaker Mill, or Test Pilot. All three bars feature expertly crafted cocktails with drinks ranging from tropical tiki slushies, al fresco inspired old fashioneds, and sustainably made negronis. Using ingredients sourced from local farmers, vendors, and agricultural producers, the cocktails are thoughtfully crafted to incorporate the coastal energy and look as good as they taste.