Where: 3811 Santa Claus Lane, (805) 745-5505, thegardenmarkets.com
What: A surprising oasis of tranquility and tasty breakfasts and lunches between the freeway and the beach.
How much: Sandwiches, salads, and breakfast burritos, $8-$10
The dish: Although this stretch of Carpinteria has fallen on some hard times since Santa moved down the 101, the Garden Market remains an extremely pleasant, civilized spot for a quick bite that might turn out to be more leisurely. While there are several tables inside, which is dominated by the deli case on one side and a wonderful wall of retail wine on the other, the tables out back are the best bet, where the market has its garden. The food is California done right, fresh and often organic, from terrific breakfast burritos to Florentine ravioli, filled with spinach and ricotta and napped with homemade marinara. The baked goods will tempt, so leave room or bring some home, along with some organic produce so you can make your own fine meals, too.
More like this story
View our complete restaurant guide here.