The Central Coast's Best Restaurants
Collected by Jill K. Robinson, AFAR Contributor
131 Anacapa St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101, USA
Named for the overnight train that served Santa Barbara from 1910 to 1968, the Lark restaurant showcases the Central Coast’s seasonal bounty. Located in the Santa Barbara Fish Market Building, in the heart of the city’s Funk Zone, the...
702 Anacapa St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101, USA
Since 1983, food lovers in the know have headed to Santa Barbara’s renowned Paradise Café. Housed in an early 20th-century brick and stucco building with a relaxed atmosphere, the café’s oak wood grill is fueled by Santa...
734 State St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101, USA
This stylish wine bar, bottle shop, and all-day restaurant is the brainchild of two food and wine world forces: Jessi Singh, the chef from San Francisco and New York City’s acclaimed Babu Ji, and James Beard Award–winning sommelier...
1208 State St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101, USA
Growing up in Indonesia, chef Ryan Simorangkir says he only craved kid’s food. But as an adult, he fell in love with the local street food of his home country and began to cook from family recipes. After attending Pasadena’s Le Cordon Bleu school,...
406 E Hwy 246, Buellton, CA 93427, USA
You can’t leave the Central California Coast without filling up on Santa Maria barbecue. This regional style of barbecue dates back to the 19th century, when ranchers held Spanish-style cookouts, grilling simply seasoned top-block sirloin and...
225 Bell St, Los Alamos, CA 93440, USA
The heart of this Los Alamos restaurant is the 22-ton stone behemoth of an oven that owner Clark Staub built in 2003. Almost every dish at Full of Life Flatbread owes its smoky flavors to it, and all diners share space with it, as it takes up a...
71895 CA-1, Big Sur, CA 93920, USA
Before glamping was a phenomenon, there was Treebones Resort, its yurts set on redwood platforms with views of the Pacific Ocean. But the swanky yurts at Treebones aren’t the only reason you should stop here. The Sushi Bar at Treebones...
48510 CA-1, Big Sur, CA 93920, USA
A fictional medicine for chasing away sorrow mentioned in Homer’s Odyssey gives this restaurant and shop its name. Perched high above the Pacific and in the shadow of the Santa Lucia Mountains, Nepenthe offers miles-long views of the coast. It’s...
481 Lighthouse Ave, Pacific Grove, CA 93950, USA
Brunch lasts nearly all day at Crema in Pacific Grove, and you need that time to explore the array of separate quarters in the restaurant’s converted Victorian mansion. Investigate the historic photos, antique furniture, and artistic decor in the...
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