The ambiance is like a cozy fairy-light place that reminds me of Christmastime year-round. And at Christmastime, the fairylights go from “lots” to “scarily over the top.” At least, that’s what I’ve seen walking by the restaurant in the past.
Finally went there for the first time this weekend. I like the big booths, and the dark atmosphere that encourages intimate dining – could be with family, or a date. Either way, go with people you like to be with.
I had a veal dish, that came with soup or salad, and a portion of penne carbonara. Loved the pasta, it was amply packed with finely slivered bacon. The salad greens were crisp and fresh. I did think it was a little heavy-handed on the dressing – next time I would ask for the dressing on the side.
Service was very attentive, from the hostess to the buser. Perfect on all counts.
A special touch of the night – women received a long stem white rose. Sure, it was probably for mother’s day, and we were simply on a dinner date, but who am I to decline the gift of a flower?
Chase Bar & Grill
This is the Chuck E. Cheese of Santa Barbara, meaning there are games to be played for tickets which are redeemed for little plastic prizes. So, good for kids!
The pizza was okay, nothing horrid, nothing super fabulous.
The ordering system still has me confused to this day. We ordered at the counter and were given a little flagged number to put on our table. Someone came along and took the number and walked it over to the pizza kitchen area, and that was somehow the cue to bake our pizza. So we put our reciept on the table, so they could still figure out our number, and they took that away too! I don’t even remember how the pizza eventually made it back to our table. Is this what fuzzy logic is all about?
The large pizza itself was generously portioned. One slice each and we were pretty much done. Leftovers galore.
Luigi’s Pizza & Pasta
A good place for lunch. A bad place for conversation. I’ve been here twice for business, and once for a birthday. On all occasions it was very hard to hold a conversation, and some of those times it wasn’t that crowded.
It’s neat that the staff wear nice jackets and are wonderfully polite. Is this new? The first time I went, our waitress was more of a party girl who kept draping beads on me and my co-workers. Awkward.
I had the crab cakes, which were okay. Accompanying veggies were nicely crisp-tender. An order of beignets went sadly uneaten since we were trying to talk and it’s dangerous to talk with all that powdered sugar flying around.
The lunch menu is perfectly satisfying. Not big, and not small, a respectful portion with an equally respectful price, less than $10.
I’m sure I would have had a better experience if my intent was to party or charm people with my feminine wiles.
From the outside, the restuarant is very unassuming and fairly hidden. The headerboard space is shared with both Palapa and “Luis’ Tax Service” or something like that. And next door is a porn shop.
Regardless, Palapa specializes in seafood. I’ve had the ceviche tostadas, the fried whole fish, and the taquitos before, but I recently ate there with some out-of-town guests and we splurged on the seafood combination platter. Several items to note:
*We didn’t exactly “splurge,” because the platter cost only $40.
*$40 is cheap eats considering the platter came with fried whole fish, fish fillets, fried shrimp, shrimp and fish ceviche, abalone, octopus and even yet more shrimp in both a mild creamy sauce and a hot and spicy sauce, and piles of crisp-tender vegetables, and fresh hot corn tortillas made on the spot about 5 feet away from us on the patio.
* the platter claimed to serve two people. A BLATANT LIE! It serves about 4-5. There were three of us and we took an enormous box of leftovers home.
*we were skeptical that we could order this lunch/dinner dish around 11 am. But the waiter told us that dishes like this could be available at any time. Only stuff like pancakes are kept strictly to breakfast hours. Everything else, just ask.
* I don’t want to give anyone the impression that coming here is nirvana, it’s a hole in the wall essentially. Motel on one side, porn shop on the other, and views of the highway onramps with accompanying traffic noise just a few feet away. Chowhounds welcome, not your picky mother-in-law who’s expecting linen napkins and an ocean view.
The customers were about 60% Latino and 40% gringo.
This is a great neighborhood cafe for breakfast and lunch. Come here with your friends for a casual meal. Sometimes it can be noisy and lively, sometimes it can be quiet, depending on what time you go and whether the parties the night before were rocking.
Judge For Yourself Cafe
I ate here with Sandrine on a late weeknight evening. Even though they were closing up for the night they still seated and served us, which was very nice of them. It was pleasantly quiet inside, we sat at a comfortable table.
The interior is cozy and kitschy, lined with bric-a-brac and tablecloths that looked like the kind your friends bring you back from southern France as vacation gifts. Or at least they bring them back for *me* since I have one on my table.
The savory menu is laden with many crepe offerings, plus salads and sandwiches. We shared the Mont Blanc crepe that was stuffed with prosciutto, delicately grilled potatoes and onion, and melting rochebaron cheese. My first bite of the crepe edge was lacey, crisp and melted in my mouth and the crepe itself was the best I’ve ever had. I’m no expert in the matter, but it appears the crepes are made in the Brittany style and uses some buckwheat flour, so they have a simple and rustic taste to them. It’s delicious.
The sweet menu was also extensive and even offered one of my addictive indulgences – profiteroles. But we settled on a crepe with caramel sauce and bananas. It was so good and warm we actually ate it before the savory crepe. Next time I will try the simple lemon and sugar crepe and hopefully also the profiteroles. Many of the sweet crepes cost about $4, which was very reasonable.
Update: 6 December 2007. Went here again late in the evening. The French waitress was super nice to me and other patrons in the restaurant. My companion had the Ile de Jersey savory crepe and it was quite the meal. I finally had the profiteroles and it was quite the dessert. Two choux pastries filled with ice cream, topped with chocolate sauce and set in a bowl of whipped cream, only $4.
There is another Los Arroyos in downtown Santa Barbara, but the version in Montecito has the air of being slightly more upscale. I rarely saw a big filling burrito on a patron’s plate or hurried lunchers, instead I saw proper main dishes and lingering diners.
I ordered the shredded beef sopes, my companions got grilled shrimp salad and crab enchiladas. The sopes and enchiladas came in sets of two, so two of us split and shared the dishes evenly.
Which was better? Well, they were both very good, but the Dungeness crab enchiladas were very new to me so I’ll tend towards those, simply for the new wow factor. They were very light and fresh tasting. Instead of a heavy red sauce it was covered with a fresh salsa of light green chopped chiles, lemon juice and…perhaps cucumbers? $14.95, and quite filling.
But I’m not about to ignore the sopes, they were very good too. Heartier, and rich. It was highly portioned with slow-cooked and seasoned shredded beef and fresh greens. Perhaps a little overwhelmed with sour cream, but that was easy enough to push to the side.
If the main dishes seem too heavy, it is easy enough to substitute out the side dishes of rice and beans for a caesar salad at no extra cost.
The interior was nice enough, nicely decorated and comfortable. But it tended to be a bit loud with lots of voices and music. I was there to have a power talk with some friends and I found it hard to hear them at times. Outside on the patio might have been nicer.
Parking wise, it’s pot luck. There’s a private lot, but there are few spaces and it fills up fast. It’s also very narrow, so big cars beware. In fact, big cars please avoid altogether because you take up two spaces and make it near impossible for a little car like mine to even navigate through. Thanks!
Decent and very cheap meaty treats for the working class. I don’t go here for anything fancy, just piles of bbq ribs.
Standard orders of ribs (beef, pork, pork babybacks) or bbq chicken hover in the $10 range. A basket of fries is ginormous and spiked with a chile salt. I feel full everytime I look at my photo.
You order and pick up at the counter, everything’s fairly self serve
This is not the place to come on an intimate quiet date, the Main Street Grill is one big open space with simple booth and barstool style sitting. It is loud and energized indoors, what with all the sports showing on the big screen tvs and red meat umami pervading the room.
Vegetarians will shake and quiver uncomfortably in the corner.
Main Street Grill
The Bayside is close enough to the tourist tracks in Morro Bay to be a convenient dinner spot, but just far enough from the tourist tracks that they won’t find it!
This is good news if you want a pleasant dinner without the Embarcadero prices and without the overbearing tourists wandering around looking for…
“burgers ‘n shit.” — yes, I overheard a father say this to his family.
The atmosphere is inviting and cozy, like you’re in an old beach house. The Cafe itself is right on the Bay, and within the State Park. Beautiful surroundings of both water and trees.
We ordered the fresh salmon, which I felt was underwelming – perfectly average – and the seafood pasta, which was absolutely delicious. Piles of white fish, salmon, mussels, clams, in a cream sauce and lots of parmesan. Also there was a good bowl of clam chowder, and a simple side salad. I regret not ordering the fish and chips in place of the salmon – the plates I saw going to other tables looked really good.
The prices were very reasonable, given the quality, the portions and the ambience. That family I overheard closer to town probably did end up getting their overpriced burgers ‘n sh*t, and paid the same we did for our seafood dinners.
Edit: I went there again over memorial weekend 2007. I can still recommend the seafood pasta and the fish and chips. I can now also recommend the dish called Bayside Steamers. It’s in the the appetizer section, but if it’s just you eating it, it’s a full meal. It’s a large plate piled high with mussels, clams, scallops, shrimps, lobster, crab legs, and a delicious lobster broth. It also comes with a basket of bread to soak up that lovely broth. A bargain at $19.
Also note: they do not take reservations! Get there early, or be happy to wait. There is a friendly striped kitty who snoozes on the wood fence surrounding the restaurant that might keep you company.
Putting the grease on your greasy spoon, that’s Garrett’s!
I like coming here and sitting at the counter, it’s got that dive atmosphere that presents the young urban dweller showing accute symptoms of hangover in an optimal and most natural habitat. Bedhair, ragged clothes and baggy eyes go hand in hand with hot buttery toast. You can get a simple plate of pancakes, eggs and bacon for about four bucks, too.
What a bargain in a town where the median price of a home is $1.2 million.
Garrett’s Old Fashioned Restaurant