Jen Villa

Where: 1225 State St., 965-6074.

What: Santa Barbara’s freshest sushi scene.

How much? Special sushi rolls from $6-$20.

The dish: Locals lament Arigato‘s move from the back of Victoria Court to State Street, as Santa Barbara’s premier sushi spot became a larger fish in a much larger social ocean. Now it’s packed to the gills most nights, but all the beautiful people just add to the fun. Your fishy needs will be fulfilled with the freshest, finest ingredients, and always check the chalkboards for daily specials. Despite a menu of Japanese entrees, the focus is on special rolls that value creativity, presentation, and often spice; for instance, the Dracula roll with its red onion and red chili sauce packs quite a bite. Arigato also features several vegetarian rolls that aren’t just sops to the non-flesh-eaters, as you’ll get five fabulous fungi on a magic mushroom roll. Other faves include one of the best renditions of the classic snake roll (is it that the eel is so tender, or that the California roll base is so fresh?) and the smoked salmon-starring pretty in pink, as delectable as Molly Ringwald in its pink soybean paper. Some nights the chefs will even honor a request for the no-longer-on-the-menu whatever roll, in which they go hog wild with fish, concocting a special creation just for you. It will be memorable.


This week at, A is also for Alcazar ( and Arnoldi’s Cafe ( And for all of our restaurants, see Next week, see what B is for :


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