Where: 721 Chapala Street, 965-4416, esauscafe.com.
What: A Santa Barbara institution for breakfast, known for its “World Famous Buttermilk Pancakes.”
How Much: Three-egg omelets, $8.95-$10.95; Early Bird Special (Mon.-Fri., 6:30am-8:30am), 2 buttermilk pancakes, 2 eggs, 2 strips of bacon, $6.25.
The Dish: The oldest continually operating breakfast house in Santa Barbara relocated to downtown Chapala Street in 2008. Loyal patrons enjoy hearty servings amid the surf-inspired décor for breakfast and lunch. Prideful boasting about their original buttermilk pancake recipe is well deserved for its creamy texture and loyalty to tradition and fresh, thick buttermilk. Breakfast is served all day from the lengthy menu, featuring basic breakfast of two eggs any style with staple side selections (home fries, hash browns, grits, rice, or beans), Esau’s famous Benedicts (try the salmon), and three-egg omelets and scrambles, as well as “South of the Border” specialties. Stellar items include blueberry wheat-germ pancakes and crunchy cornflake French toast (two slices of French toast rolled in crushed cornflakes). Lunch is known for “Really Big Salads,” such as roasted veggie with feta and grilled tofu or chicken, Baja fish tacos with crispy battered mahi-mahi, burgers off the grill (calamari and chili-topped burgers are hits), and a selection of traditional deli sandwiches (BLT and moist meatloaf).