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Romantic Spots
updated: Mar 06, 2014, 4:11 PM

What is the best and most romantic/special restaurant in SB? Yes, I've looked at Urban Spoon, Yelp, Trip Adviser, Restaurant Guy, Open Table, etc. I want personal recommendations. It's going to be our anniversary and we're also celebrating a new home! I would love to hear ones all of you love and ones that hold a special place in your heart.

Thanks!


Places People Are Talking About:

BouchonDowney'sEl Encanto
Jane'sJulienneLe Petit Valentien
Opal RestaurantSan Ysidro RanchWine Cask
Zaytoon

What People Are Saying:

 COMMENT 500578P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-06 04:16 PM

San Ysidro Ranch.

 

 COMMENT 500579 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-06 04:17 PM

Pepe's Mexican Food in Goleta ;).

 

 COMMENT 500582 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-06 04:22 PM

San Ysidro Ranch.

 

 COMMENT 500584 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-06 04:24 PM

pepe's if you want a divorce !!!

 

 GRITZ agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-06 04:28 PM

Downeys on State is amazing.

 

 COMMENT 500590 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-06 04:31 PM

Lake Arrellaga !

 

 COMMENT 500591 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-06 04:31 PM

San Ysidro Ranch. I took my wife there for our anniversary and it was pretty magical. Quite expensive but a very memorable dining experience.

 

 COMMENT 500593 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-06 04:35 PM

El Encanto

 

 COMMENT 500594P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-06 04:36 PM

Either San Ysidro Ranch $$$$ or Marmalade Cafe at La Cumbre Plaza $$.

One has a happy hour & the other happy owners after you pay the astronomical tab. :-)

 

 COMMENT 500595 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-06 04:37 PM

I'm a fan of Miro. Beautiful hotel grounds, amazing ocean views, artistic, functional and palate enticing food. Check out my reviews on Yelp. You can see my reviews and pictures. Justin R.

Sure, San Ysidro is beautiful. But I've been high rolling it around here for awhile and I am not impressed with the cuisine. Everything else is wonderfully romantic about it.

El encanto is newer but needs some polish. Plus you can't really park there...it's more for guests of the hotel.

Bella vista has good views and ok cuisine, but it is not very intimate.

 

 COMMENT 500597 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-06 04:39 PM

Pepe's? You got to be kidding. Not a bad restaurant, but far from special. And the only thing I remember about our one experience at Downeys was the check. I don't mind expensive, but I want something in return. We were the only couple there our entire meal. You don't feel special, you feel like a sucker. It's only busy when there's something special at the Arlington. You can't go wrong with San Ysidro. And, if it's real special, spend the night. It would be fun if you let us know where you went and what your experience was like. Happy Anniversary!

 

 MARMA agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-06 04:48 PM

Cold Spring Tavern

 

 COMMENT 500605 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-06 04:50 PM

What about the Harbor Restaurant overlooking the harbor with a sunset!?

 

 COMMENT 500607P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-06 04:53 PM

I wouldn't stay in SB. I'd go to the Ranch House in Ojai (Meiner's Oaks). The drive is beautiful. The restaurant is fantastic and romantic. The whole event is magical.

 

 COMMENT 500610 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-06 05:02 PM

Do not go to the Hell Encanto! They only cater to their guests.

 

 SBSURFERLIFE agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-06 05:05 PM

Jane or Opal. Both fantastic without being over-priced and stuffy.

 

 COMMENT 500614 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-06 05:07 PM

Zaytoon, on the patio near the fountain. Fire pits, twinkly lights everywhere, it's gorgeous.

 

 COMMENT 500620 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-06 05:18 PM

San Ysidro Ranch, request the patio. Wine Cask, ask for a table by the fireplace on a cool night or on the patio if it is nice out. Both do a first rate job with food, service and that extra little something that makes you feel special. If you want to spend a little less, try Zaytoon, ask for the patio. (OK, I am a sucker for eating under the stars, lights twinkling gently overhead, music drifting softly in the breeze.) El Encanto has views to die for, but I agree with other posters that it isn't quite up to local standards.

 

 COMMENT 500629 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-06 05:42 PM

Congratulations on both your anniversary and your home. I have a feeling what ever you choose ya just can't lose. IMO the drive to Ojai can be romantic and offer that little getaway experience.

 

 NATURE BOY agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-06 05:57 PM

I had a memorable and romantic meal at El Encanto Hotel... despite what was mentioned above. Great views, great atmosphere.

 

 COMMENT 500639 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-06 06:09 PM

So what's the "inside" joke about Lake Arrellaga? I don't get it :(

 

 COMMENT 500641 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-06 06:15 PM

Spongie's Dinner House!

Fantastic linguine and mushroom al a mode truffle's with ginger snap pea reduction. Yummy!

 

 COMMENT 500645 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-06 06:56 PM

Stella Mare's

 

 COMMENT 500654 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-06 07:26 PM

597. haha. I wrote Pepe's initially one because I was craving it for dinner and did end up going. Two because I can afford anywhere locally and even internationally and find romance and more importantly romantic dinners are usually in the eye of the person across from you, your connection, and one's state of mind.

Beautiful surrounding help as does wonderful, even sexy looking cuisine. But if one is in a bad head or the couple aren't comfy the best of places can be a waste. vs a place where two people are comfortable and connecting no matter what the food or surroundings

This comes from a very spoiled wife. :)

 

 YIN YANG agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-06 07:27 PM

I had one of my first "gourmet experiences" at Downey's in the early 80's. I think the food and ambiance is great; much better than the Harbor and better than most restaurants inside Santa Barbara.

I've never been to San Ysidro; I'm sure it's good. Possibly Julienne? I've only heard wonderful things about their food. I haven't been to El Encanto in decades.

If you can afford an overnight stay somewhere with good food, that would be very special. But I'm all about the food - and the other stuff. Congrats.

 

 COMMENT 500656 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-06 07:28 PM

El Encanto is a a great choice. Opal is delicious but not very intimate because it is loud and crowded, like The Palace. You can have some privacy at Pascucci's though or you can go the other way and go to Kyoto and get a tatami room and be barefoot, sit next to each other and share one of their boats that has everything with some saki mmm

 

 COMMENT 500657P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-06 07:31 PM

Cold Springs, by transport with champagne and no worries, might be wonderful! Maybe spend the night in the Valley? Ballard Inn?

 

 COMMENT 500663 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-06 07:42 PM

Spongie Dinner House????

 

 COMMENT 500676 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-06 08:22 PM

The window table at Downey's (if you want the best food and you like people watching). Bella Vista at the Four Seasons if you want great, but really spendy food---but you get an ocean view, firepit and moonlight. Wine Cask is a good option, too. The "old" El Encanto was great--the "new" one, not so much. Julienne is okay, but fairly impersonal and the seating is too close to be romantic.

 

 COMMENT 500681 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-06 08:36 PM

Stonehouse at San Ysidro Ranch; Wine Cask; Bouchon; Arnoldi's (booth); Julienne; Petit Valentien; Jane (balcony).

 

 GRITZ agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-06 08:36 PM

Zaytoon allows Hookah on the patio...I wont eat anywhere that smoking is allowed...not romantic for me at all. If you are non smokers...and dont enjoy second hand smoke with your romantic dinner...I would avoid Zaytoon.

 

 COMMENT 500685 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-06 08:40 PM

@681

Will you marry me? :)

 

 COMMENT 500687P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-06 08:41 PM

Wine Cask is also a good choice. I had an anniversary dinner there.
be sure and make arrangements with the management wherever you go to let them know it's special.

 

 COMMENT 500688P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-06 08:47 PM

I thought Spongies could be a pop-up restaurant due to 641's using foodie talk, but it must be troll bs. Of course the "name" alerted me. Edhat is editing this thread as I type, thanks edhat.

 

 COMMENT 500689 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-06 08:48 PM

The old El Encanto worked to get the "Most Romantic" in the 90's and up until they closed. This new El Encanto needs more reviews from locals.

$400 for dinner? That's a great view, great atmosphere and a delicious meal.

 

 YIN YANG agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-06 08:55 PM

El Encanto dinner menu
http://4c6c364fdf1082a37bcf-54493dc0d9255706a1b
8a801c97a6044.r8.cf2.rackcdn.com/ele_Dinner_Menu.pdf

 

 YIN YANG agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-06 08:57 PM

Select the El Encanto link, right click and open in "new window" or "new tab."

A new game? I'll see if I can get up to $400. ;-)

 

 COMMENT 500724 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-07 07:48 AM

595 has some great insights that I mostly agree with, though I tend to be sentimental about El Encanto.

Its also fun to drive in there every year or two in an ancient Escort (used to be a Studebaker) that's worth less than the ignition key from the Bentley sitting next to it. Of course the valets are great - they just extend a gloved hand to receive the cheap tin key and park it somewhere among the supercars without ever smirking (I think I give them better tips than some of the Bentley drivers). Hey, I'd rather save my car money for a nice evening out with my wife from time to time.

Enjoy your special evening, wherever it ends up being!

 

 COMMENT 500729 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-07 07:59 AM

Yeah. I LOVE Spongie's too!

Especially how they derived their name.

Using your bread to "sponge up" all those delicious flavors!

 

 COMMENT 500751 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-07 08:46 AM

If you really want bonus points at San Ysidro, see if you can get the Old Adobe private dining room. Not cheap, but if you're all ready spending SYR money, go all the way and really knock her socks off.

 

 COMMENT 500755P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-07 08:54 AM

Louie's at the Upham has always been a really sweet place for my wife and I.

 

 COMMENT 500769 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-07 09:16 AM

#681 nailed the good places to go! Happy Anniversary! Petit Valentine is in La Arcada and it is very intimate!

 

 COMMENT 500814 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-07 10:27 AM

We have had excellent experiences many times for anniversary at the Biltmore. Tell them it's your anniversary, they treat you very special, oceanside views and excellent food, take a walk afterwards, beautiful gardens and beach. Also San Ysidro sit on the balcony restaurant and watch the stars, delicous foods, sit by the fire inside our outside and enjoy your drinks, so lovely. Happy Anniversary.

 

 COMMENT 500819 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-07 10:38 AM

Spongie's a pretty genius concept and we really enjoy it as well. Often time the bread is the best part of the meal and you always fill up on it. So why not make a place where using bread to sop up all sort of deliciousness IS the meal. they are smart folks. Love it!

 

 COMMENT 500828 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-07 10:57 AM

Le Petit Valentien in La Arcada Court is wonderful and a little secret spot. Small, romantic inside and out, wonderful food. Highly recommend.

 

 ANIMALLISTNER agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-07 12:16 PM

Cold Springs Tavern! Hands down!

 

 COMMENT 500955 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-07 01:57 PM

The Sportsman Lounge

 

 COMMENT 500967P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-07 02:10 PM

Went to San Ysidro not long go for wedding dinner at the private adobe. Excellent service, decent food and surprising - artificial flowers in the table centerpiece.

 

 COMMENT 501049 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-07 05:01 PM

Downey's has never disappointed me, and I also love the lower patio at San Ysidro Ranch under the stars. Happy anniversary!

 

 OLD TIMER agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-08 01:52 AM

Japan tsunami - amplitude plot.

This image was created by NOAA's Center for Tsunami Research and graphically shows maximum wave heights (in centimeters or cm) of the tsunami generated by the Japan earthquake on March 11, 2011. It does NOT represent levels of radiation from the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant. For more information please visit the original image and background information at http://nctr.pmel.noaa.gov/honshu20110311.

Download here (Credit: NOAA)

 

 COMMENT 501148 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-08 06:26 AM

I'm rather surprised by some of the response herein. Edhatters usually are more spot on...and offer locals' opinions. Of course food is subjective still here come ours:
The new El Encanto is wonderful out on the patio. We weren't guests and were given excellent service and excellent food. The Stonehouse at San Ysidro Ranch is pretty good and very intimate. Buchon and Olio Limon are excellent on all counts as is the Winecask. Haven't been to Louie's for years but always found it a wonderful experience. Our mainstay restaurants in town are Petit Valentien, Opal, Jane, and Pane Vino. I think the best choices for the most romantic and memorable evening would be the upstairs table at Petit Valentien, one of the Komodo rooms (sic) at Kyoto, upstairs at Jane, and at the edge of the patio at El Encanto. Ojai Ranch House is now a bit disappointing. Mattie's maybe. Cold Springs is you don't drive.

 

 

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