SoCal: Santa Barbara

Posted on July 14, 2015


IMG_0529The first thing you need to know about Santa Barbara, apart from the fact is a beautiful seaside Spanish-esque town, is that there is great wine. And when I mean great, I mean I-may-be-drinking-Californian-pinot-noir-and-chardonnay-for-the-rest-of-my-life.

We stayed at Brisas Del Mar where the hospitality was incredible. From the constant supply of food – fruit & pastries in the morning, milk & cookies in the afternoon, cheese & grapes in the evening, to complimentary bike hire (even after check out), sparkling wine in the room…. you get the idea. We were off to a good start.

The town is small and you can walk everywhere – State Street is the main drag with a couple of blocks of shops and restaurants either side.  It’s also worth hiring bikes for a day to get along the beachfront, and up to the beautiful  Old Mission (pictured).

After a mornings bike ride we stopped for some food at Santa Barbara fisHouse before exploring the Urban Wine Trail.

IMG_0547Before I get into this, it’s good to know that the area is well known for it’s Pinots and Syrahs. If you have a car, focus around Los Olivos & Santa Ynez.  I’ve also heard that the Danish style village of Solvang  is a charming place to stop for excellent pastries.

Luckily for me, we could stay in town (I was the designated driver on this trip). Many of the regions wineries have opened up tasting shops in town, a large bunch of which are just back from the beach around Anacapa and E Yanonali streets. Mostly they charge $10 for 6 wines and it’s an excellent way to taste the local delicacies and while an afternoon away. Pierre Lafond makes particularly good wines so stop at his place if you get time. All the shops we visited had knowledgeable staff and a warm, friendly atmosphere. 

After a nap, venture out for some food. There are some excellent options. We ate at Olio e Limone Sicilian focused cuisine, which was good, but I think there are better. The Hungary Cat was also recommended as a small, easy restaurant. 

Spend a couple of days if you can, you won’t be disappointed.