Where: 608 Anacapa Street, 845-2800, archrockfish.com.
What: Santa Barbara’s newest hot spot for fresh seafood, a lively happy hour, and a focused regional wine list.
How Much: Starters $5-$14, Mains $15-$32
The Dish: Named after the Arch Rock at Anacapa Island, whose silhouette breaks off from the blue sky on clear days in Santa Barbara, the new “neighborhood joint” blends hip neon blue backlighting, fresh seafood, and an approachable atmosphere in downtown. The new venture from HJL Restaurant Advisors Group opened last fall to glowing reviews and eager patrons looking for just the formula put out by Arch Rock. The spacious restaurant flows from casual bar space to a more formal dining area, with tall enveloping booths. Starters (most of which can be found at Happy Hour for half off) include a tasty spicy tuna-and-salmon sushi roll with avocado, grilled artichoke sliced in half, oiled and plated, and succulent beer-steamed mussels with grain mustard. The traditional yet innovative poached shrimp wedge salad is thinly layered with Louie dressing and flies off the menu. Sandwiches are complemented by a mixed-green salad or truffle fries, but a substitute of grilled corn with lime butter and paprika isn’t out of the question. To satisfy your sweet tooth, there’s the Arch Rock Sundae, which is made from vanilla and chocolate ice cream topped with caramelized bananas, toasted cashews, and whipped cream.
View our complete restaurant guide here.