Foodie Awards 2019

Our 10th Annual Ode to Eating Out in Santa Barbara


by Matt Kettmann and George Yatchisin
Images by Paul Wellman

The year 2010 was a fortuitous time for the Santa Barbara Independent to launch the Foodie Awards, our annual celebration of the region’s restaurant scene. While still emerging from the depths of a recession, Santa Barbara’s culinary community built upon its historic farm-to-table ethos to blossom like never before, welcoming waves of restaurant openings that explored fresh concepts and focused on new neighborhoods, including the much-buzzed-about Funk Zone. Looking back, it’s been a rather delicious decade.

For our 10th annual awards, we’ve shifted back to one of our original goals for this issue: to showcase specific dishes that epitomize each restaurant’s unique offerings. That’s the bulk of this year’s honors, from classics, such as Tino’s Super Deluxe sandwich, to fancier fare, like The Monarch’s Abalone à la Flambadou.

We’re also kicking off a new tradition to honor a purveyor each year — in this case, Bernard Friedman of Santa Barbara Mariculture and his Hope Ranch mussels. And, as always, we’re bestowing “The Izzy,” our lifetime achievement award named for its first recipient, Isidoro Gonzalez of La Super-Rica. This year, that honor goes to Los Arroyos Mexican Restaurants, founded 20 years ago by Tony Arroyo. 

Please enjoy this year’s menu of Foodie Awards. We hope they will inspire you to visit these establishments and experience their gourmet glories all for yourself.

Foodie Awards Ceremony & Restaurant Discussion
Join The Santa Barbara Independent as we present this year’s Foodie Awards to our honorees on Wednesday, September 4, 5:30 p.m., at the Modern Times Academy of Recreational Sciences at 418 State Street. The brief ceremony will be followed by a discussion of Santa Barbara’s restaurant scene with Mitchell Sjerven of bouchon, Alejandro Medina of Bibi Ji, and our own senior editor Matt Kettmann, who started writing about Santa Barbara restaurants 20 years ago.