Fresh Santa Barbara sea urchin on offer at Little Dom's Seafood.
Fresh Santa Barbara sea urchin on offer at Little Dom's Seafood.

GuidesLos Angeles

The Resy Guide to a Santa Barbara Road Trip

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Now is the time to hop in the car and get away, if ever there was one. The confines of COVID are getting to everyone, and there is an itch to escape. And luckily, Santa Barbara is only 90 miles north of Los Angeles, far enough to feel like there’s distance but close enough for a day trip. Think afternoon beach walks, patios for sipping wine and local beers, and cracking shellfish on the pier.

Everyone has a favorite seafood shack and taqueria in S.B. — we’ve all heard about Julia Child’s praise for La Super-Rica — but there are so many other culinary delights. From the Funk Zone to the Public Market, State Street standards and longstanding family-run joints, there’s something for every taste. 

And while the town has lost a few longstanding places to COVID (RIP, Paradise Cafe), others have carried on with expanded sidewalk seating and patio parklets. (And thankfully most wineries and breweries are still pouring.) Although indoor dining rooms can open for limited capacity in Ventura County, those outdoor options will likely remain. But hey, if it works, it works.

Anyway, pick where you want to go ahead of time, check the hours, make reservations where necessary, and practice all the good safety measures that keep everyone healthy and happy. And enjoy our picks of new and perennial favorites to check out around Santa Barbara right now.

Santa Barbara Shellfish Co.

  • Downtown Santa Barbara

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