Arlington Tavern Grilled Tofu
Joanne Howard

As a vegetarian, I often find it difficult to agree on a restaurant with my non-vegetarian friends and family. Brasseries, breweries, and burger joints rarely have any vegetarian options, and steakhouses? Forget about it.

So I’m happy to report that, for vegetarian diners who are hungry for more than just the bread basket, you can now consider Arlington Tavern. Located on West Victoria Street, the restaurant is pleased to accommodate vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike.

“Some restaurants tend to shy away from vegetarian dishes, but we are in the hospitality business,” said Ron True, head chef and owner at Arlington Tavern, and that’s what makes his restaurant so unique. The menu’s grilled tofu main course is a welcomed change for vegetarian diners who are tired of house salads being their only option at any restaurant that is non-vegetarian. The dish contains hearty strips of tender grilled tofu on a bed of locally grown market vegetables, rice pilaf, and a ponzu sauce.

“I have friends who are vegetarian,” True said, “so I want this place to be available for them to come in and get a dish like that.” Serving tofu at a tavern is a brave move, but with flavors that pop and a perfect combination of comfort and originality, the dish is gaining popularity. “We sell quite a bit of tofu,” True said, “and people come in specifically for it.”

Can it be? With Santa Barbara’s growing variety of healthy vegetarian eateries, it may come as a surprise that Arlington Tavern is now a go-to restaurant for vegetarians. It is the restaurant’s commitment to the best produce available that makes it a success among all diners. “If we have quality ingredients going into the kitchen, then we’ll have quality food coming out of it,” said True. As a member of the Farmer’s Market Certification Program, the tavern shows its commitment to environmentally friendly business practices that vegetarians can appreciate.


Arlington Tavern is located at 21 West Victoria Street. Call 805-770-2626 or see

Joanne Howard is continuing her hunt for veggie-friendly eats in unlikely settings for the next few weeks. If you have a suggestion, email


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