In recent times, I ate here once about a year ago, and again today.
A year ago I got a call from some friends, it went something like this: “Hey! Uh…I have a pilot’s license and I’ve just landed at the airport. Wanna have lunch?” And near the airport is Goleta beach and the Beachside Bar-Cafe. There were four of us and we all came away feeling like we’d eaten a fairly nice meal that was better than what we were expecting for beach restaurant food.
I went there today for a business lunch and likewise came away surprised that it wasn’t mediocre tourist fare. Then again, Goleta Beach isn’t exactly on the tourist footpath, not when East and Leadbetter are so close to downtown. But note: it *is* right along an awesome bike path.
The menu has extensive seafood options, yay. Prices seem high initially, but portions are generous, yay. The seafood I had or my companions had was okay! yay.
I had the seafood paella, $15.95. Dining partner had the grande fish tacos ($13?). The tacos were loaded with fish, salad and guacamole, the plate also had savoury rice, and also came with a bowl of black bean soup. My paella had chorizo, pork, squid, white fish, crab legs, mussels, clams and a good portion of rice – not too much rice. I could barely eat half of it, and now I’ve got dinner for tonight.
Eating outdoors is a very decent experience. The idyllic beach scene is balmy blue skies and gentle waves, right? The reality is that it’s often windy and my long hair flies right into my mouth just as I’m about to take a bite of food and that really harshes my mellow. Not so at the Beachside, because the outdoor area has glass walls, so you get the view, but also the windbreak.
And the view is right out onto the sand, water, and pier. The patio area also has umbrellas on wheeled stands, so you can get shade just as you want it. There is also an outdoor fireplace, although it wasn’t lit when I was there.
Really, I am finding this is one of the better choices for beachside casual table dining in town. I can’t say it’s the place to see and be seen, but it’s perfectly decent and very Goleta.