While 2016 has been a great year for the restaurant scene in Santa Barbara, this year is even better with the hottest new restaurants setting new boundaries for good food and great ambiance. Local favorites and international cuisine were given new twists and flavors one should not miss.

If you're looking for a new place to take your S.O. for date night or the entire family for Sunday dinner, and to the serious foodies out there that are always on the prowl looking for the next new restaurant in town, check out the hottest restaurants in Santa Barbara!


1. Los Agaves

Where:       600 N Milpas St., Santa Barbara, CA 93101

Menu:         Mexican

Image Source: los-agaves.com

Mexican restaurant & bar for enchiladas, chile relleno & more in a casual, hacienda-style space. Los Agaves offers a wide selection of dishes and features an extensive salsa bar as well that features a wide variety of different salsas to try. Generally, this place is great and the atmosphere is lively.


2. Bouchon

Where:       9 W Victoria St., Santa Barbara, CA 93101

Menu:         French, American (New), Seafood

Image Source: bouchonsantabarbara.com

Upscale, cozy, charming, modern with a patio and visible kitchen. It's romantic and fancy yet at the same time friendly and casual definitely perfect for date nights. Bouchon offers farm to table food and French cuisine at its finest. The menu changes often based on what's fresh and in season.


3. Toma Restaurant and Bar

Where:       324 W Cabrillo Blvd. Santa Barbara, CA 93101

Menu:          Italian

Image Source: CaliforniaBeaches.com

Toma is spectacular- from the romantic ambiance to the mouthwatering, perfectly cooked items on the menu, anyone will be delighted dining at Toma. Their menu had a lot of options for people with diet restrictions, like Paleo, gluten free, and vegetarian items. Overall, Toma Restaurant and Bar is a must try if you're in Santa Barbara.


4. The Black Sheep

Where:       26 E Ortega St., Santa Barbara, CA 93101

Menu:         American (New), Asian Fusion

Image Source: theblacksheepsb.com

Amazing, eclectic, unique place with awesome food and ambiance. The Black Sheep offers a wide array of American and Asian Fusion cuisine and Chef Ruben, the in-house chef, is not only passionate about is creative culinary skills but will definitely satisfy even the most meticulous guest.


5. Lure Fish House

Where:       3815 State St. Ste. G131, Santa Barbara, CA 93105

Menu:         Seafood

Image Source: lurefishhouse.com

If you love seafood, this is a must if you're in Santa Barbara. The menu had a good variety of seafood, with prices ranging from $15 - $40, depending on what you order and you can be guaranteed that everything is fresh. The Lure offers exceptional service and great ambiance and a top place to take your family out for Sunday lunch.


6. Santo Mezcal

Where:       119 State St., Santa Barbara, CA 93101

Menu:          Mexican, Latin American 

Image Source: santabarbara.com

If you're a fan of Los Agaves, this newly opened restaurant along State St. will definitely satisfy your Mexican cravings. The restaurant was from the same great minds that operate Los Agaves and the newest addition to restaurants by Carlos Luna. How does this place compare to Los Agaves? It has the same great taste and flavors but definitely with a twist. Most of the choices in the menu do look familiar but they are different and offers more variety of seafood. A must try!


7. Somerset Restaurant 

Where:       7 E Anapamu St., Santa Barbara, CA 93101

Menu:         American (New). French, Italian

Image Source: santabarbara.com

Steve Hermann Hotels and Restaurants has created an old world European Grand Cafe designed to be an instant classic. Absolutely timeless, the interior is both classic and modern simultaneously, with references to a “Grand Cafe" one would find in London or Paris. If you are looking for a restaurant that spells romance all over, then Somerset Restaurant is the place to take your significant other. The restaurant is absolutely gorgeous and the patio is lovely with its cozy fireplaces and dim lighting. Somerset has beautifully remodeled the former Arts & Letters Cafe and exudes elegance and class right as you enter the doorsteps. The restaurant offers farm to table food and has a wide selection of California favorites as well as French and Italian cuisine. Whether you're stopping for cocktails or getting the fine dining experience, Somerset is one place you shouldn't miss!