Where: 1114 State Street, 966-0222
What: A quaint French neighborhood bistro in La Arcada, open for lunch and dinner.
How much: Appetizers from $5-$8; entrees from $15-$17.
The dish: A 16-foot tall clock on the north end of State Street’s shopping district marks the entrance to La Arcada Court, where Petit Valentien is tucked away amid tiled fountains and vine-covered facades. The French bistro has a quiet charm and a fantastic section alongside the narrow brick walkway for outdoor seating in the architectural gem’s courtyard. Chef Robert Dixon changes the menu weekly, taking advantage of Santa Barbara’s surplus of seasonal produce whenever possible. When dining on a summer evening, the quaint blue tables in the courtyard glow as the sun slowly disappears and lovely little lights twinkle. Service is unhurried yet attentive as long as you are not expecting to be in and out in fewer than 30 minutes. Beautifully presented small plates at affordable prices leave room to spread out the meal over a glass of wine, warm rolls, appetizers, entrees, and a crme br»lee not to be missed. A plate of frog legs and crab cakes with fresh tarragon have been consistently popular.
This week at independent.com, P is also for: Palace Grill (independent.com/palacegrill) and Pane e Vino (independent.com/panevino). And for all of our restaurants, see independent.com/restaurants. Next week, see what Q/R are for :