Asked why Santa Barbara is a good place to work/have your business, Loquita General Manager Gerardo Ibarra says, “It’s an undisputed fact that Santa Barbara is one of the most beautiful places on earth. The privilege of living in ‘paradise’ is one we never take for granted, and we celebrate it every day. But it’s the beauty of our local community that makes Santa Barbara so special and unlike any other place. We are a diverse group of interesting people who are committed to helping one another and to protecting the incredible place we call home. Being able to work in service to our community is what drives us towards excellence every day.”

Runner-Up: milk & honey

Bagel Shop

Jack’s Bistro & Famous Bagels

The readers have spoken, raving about Jack’s Bistro & Famous Bagels with comments like, “They are the best because everything is fresh and very tasty. Their breakfast bagels are incomparable and so tasty, no matter what you choose,” and “Always the best fresh bagels and cream cheese ever!” With locations in Santa Barbara and Carpinteria both featuring “reasonably priced food and friendly staff,” Jack’s is the spot for bagels on the South Coast.

Runner-Up: I.V. Bagel Café


Renaud’s Patisserie & Bistro

This award truly makes us feel appreciated, says Renaud Gonthier, chef/owner of Renaud’s Patisserie & Bistro. One of his most memorable things? “Opening day in 2008! I had a hard time realizing we were open. We had worked so much and experienced some delays. It was a make-or-break moment, and we did not know what the clientele feedback would be. Would guests understand a more authentic version of the French pastry? I knew we did something great at the end of the first week. Guests were coming back to get more pastry, and we had to increase production, and we could pay our rent.”

Runner-Up: Alessia Patisserie and Café


Shalhoob’s Funk Zone Patio

The family-owned-and-operated Shalhoob Meat Company has been providing premium custom cut meats and poultry to local homes and restaurants from their Funk Zone locale for almost 50 years. It’s no surprise that their patio eatery serves a consistent stream of customers craving their delicious barbecue and excellent salads and sides — they also recently added cocktails to the menu. With expansions to the Public Market in the last few years and another restaurant opening sometime soon in Goleta, expect the Shalhoob family to be dishing up barbecue in town for generations to come.

Runner-Up: Goodland BBQ


Jeannine’s Restaurant & Bakery

Illustration by Ben Ciccati

Part of the Santa Barbara dining scene for more than 30 years, the Hardey-family-owned-and-operated Jeannine’s — with locations in Montecito, Goleta, uptown Santa Barbara, and the newest location at 1 State Street, across from the entrance to Stearns Wharf — is our readers’ pick for best breakfast spot. With mouthwatering offerings like Banana Kahlua French Toast, Florentine Eggs Benedict, Huevos Rancheros, and a mind-boggling assortment of pastries and other breakfast favorites, as one reader said of the food from Jeannine’s, “It tastes like it was made with love.”

Runner-Up: Cajun Kitchen

Breakfast Burrito • Burrito

Super Cucas

Known for their ginormous, forearm-sized burritos, the breakfast version at Super Cucas includes 20 different options on the menu. From the simple #8, with scrambled eggs, cheese, and potatoes; to the spicy #10 Macho Burrito, with marinated pork, jalapeños, scrambled eggs, potatoes, cheese, and macho salsa; to the sublime #17 Huevos Rancheros Burrito with beans, rice, avocado, and ranchero sauce with corn tortillas, Super Cucas breakfast burritos definitely have something to please every palate.

Runner-Up (Breakfast Burrito): The Daily Grind

Runner-Up (Burrito): Freebirds World Burrito


The Habit Burger Grill

Now 300 locations strong, The Habit Burger Grill’s first restaurant opened in Goleta in 1969. And even though local brothers Brent and Bruce Reichard retired and sold off their Santa Barbara County stores in 2020 (after selling off the bulk of the out-of-town chain in 2007), the spirit of our town is still at the heart of these “always char-grilled over an open flame” burgers. As one voter wrote, “The Habit is still the greatest burger in town, especially when you add avocado and bacon. Love their secret sauce and fresh ingredients.”

Runner-Up: Mesa Burger

Carpinteria Restaurant

Padaro Beach Grill

“What this award means to me and the business is the recognition of the incredible effort executed by our staff to offer delicious, quality food and excellent service consistently on a daily basis,” says Will Ransone, owner of Padaro Beach Grill. “This award is a direct reflection on our staff, and their amazing attitudes, resolve, and work ethic. Hats off to everyone involved.” He continues, “Obviously there are many excellent restaurants in Carpinteria, and I encourage everyone to try them all. We are honored to receive this recognition, and we really appreciate the community’s patronage and support.”

Runner-Up: Little Dom’s Seafood

Chicken Wings

Sama Sama Kitchen

Jake Barber and Pat Cavalier of Sama Sama | Credit: Brian Kuhlmann

With a 2021 Michelin Bib Gourmand Award under their belt for “good quality, good value cooking,” the Signature Wings at Sama Sama Kitchen — messy but worth licking your fingers for the crave-worthy combo of free-range Mary’s chicken, sweet and spicy tamarind-soy BBQ, cilantro, and lime — are no longer a local’s secret. As one reader described them, the addictive “crack wings” are just one of many standouts on Sama Sama’s menu of Southeast Asian food. The Gado Gado, Crispy Rice Salad, and Vietnamese Wings, with fish sauce, caramel, herbs, and pickled Thai chili are but a few others. For a real chicken-wing flavor bomb, try the Half & Half Wing combo plate.

Runner-Up: Wingman Rodeo

Chinese Restaurant

China Pavilion

Our readers’ top pick for Chinese food for many years running, China Pavilion’s top-notch kitchen offers loads of vegetarian options as well as perennial favorites like spicy basil beef, crispy walnut shrimp, orange peel chicken, Kung Pao (pick your protein), and Szechuan spicy peppercorn hot pot, as well as the popular weekend dim sum menu.

Runner-Up: China Palace

Chocolate Company

See’s Candies

We’ve been in Santa Barbara for 60 years, says Pat Egan, president and CEO of See’s Candies. “So we’re committed, and we’re thrilled to have just opened a new shop in Goleta. … See’s will always strive to make the freshest, most delicious candy and provide the friendliest service. As we continue to grow, we will also stay deeply rooted to the traditions and principles that have established See’s as the candy company our customers know and love. … It’s an honor and a joy to have our candies play a part in all of your big, little, and ‘just because’ moments.”

Runner-Up: Chocolate Maya

Clam Chowder • Seafood Restaurant

Brophy Bros.

The view from Brophy Bros.’ patio, featuring the Santa Barbara Harbor, the beautiful Pacific Ocean, and the breathtaking Santa Ynez Mountains, never gets old — and neither does the classic seaworthy fare from this venerable restaurant, which can once again claim bragging rights as the top Seafood Restaurant and Clam Chowder spot in the Best of Santa Barbara® voting. Family-owned-and-operated since 1986, this true-blue waterfront institution is a great place to dazzle the senses, savor Santa Barbara, and revel in the fact that we get to live here.

Runner-Up (Clam Chowder, Seafood Restaurant): Lure Fish House

Corner Store

Santa Cruz Market

“From all of the staff at Santa Cruz markets, we want to say thank you to Independent readers for voting us best corner store,” says owner Tom Modugno. “We value our loyal customers, and we will continue to work hard to keep you happy and to bring you the highest-quality products at the lowest prices possible. This past year has been a challenge with all the constant price increases, and we appreciate your understanding that it is out of our control. Please know that we are trying hard to find the best deals so we can pass them on to you.”

Runner-Up: Cantwell’s Market & Deli


Plow to Porch Organics

Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) has long been appreciated in Santa Barbara, but the convenience of having the bounty of the farmers’ market brought directly to your doorstep in a variety of produce box sizes and themes to suit everyone became even more popular during the pandemic. Plow to Porch Organ-ics sources from approximately 10 different farms in order to bring customers the greatest variety possible, including extras like organic honey; organic eggs; local, gourmet quiches and pies; organic fair-trade coffees; organic olive oils; organic jams; local, sustainable fresh fish; local, hormone-free, grass-fed beef; and more.

Runner-Up: Farm Cart Organics


Crushcakes & Café

Crushcakes cupcakes | Credit: Ingrid Bostrom

Still crushing it in the cupcakery category since hitting the area by storm in 2008, Crushcakes & Café continues to make beautiful baked goods from scratch with love in both their Santa Barbara and Goleta kitchens. In voting Crushcakes the Best Of this year, readers shared comments like “generous, delicious, wonderful,” “great service, happy people, yummy food,” “nice variety of flavors, always fresh,” “best cupcakes ever,” and my personal favorite Indy reader testimonial of 2022: “Always the best; I saw Kanye West there yesterday.”

Runner-Up: Nothing Bundt Cakes

Doughnut Shop

Hook & Press

What started as a rotating menu of creative seasonal flavors (think blackberry bourbon basil, pumpkin praline, and vanilla bean sprinkle) in a shared pop-up retail space has quickly become a local institution. With a big space in La Arcada opening in 2022, Hook & Press is on a roll, adding a full breakfast menu to their offerings. “We did it, and by ‘we’ we mean ‘you and us,’ ” writes John Burnett, who owns the business with Denisse Salinas. “We truly would not be here without our amazing customers. Although Hook & Press has only been around for four years, all of us have been through thick and thin, and all of us are so thankful to get the opportunity to make your lives a little sweeter every day. Thank you for voting us Best Doughnut Shop four years in a row!”

Runner-Up: Eller’s Donut House

French Restaurant


“This recognition means guests recognize and appreciate the professionals I have on my staff. Our kitchen staff is passionate about the cuisine, and our service team is truly dedicated to creating a wonderful dining experience for each and every guest,” says bouchon owner Mitchell Sjerven. “The Best Of award is another significant milestone — both looking toward a brighter future and putting the past few years further in our rearview mirror.” He continues, “Locals are the backbone to any successful Santa Barbara business, so it is particularly rewarding coming from our neighbors and friends — we love serving you!”

Runner-Up: Renaud’s Patisserie & Bistro

Fresh Fish Market

Santa Barbara Fish Market

Paco Espiritu, Erika Tai James, Sienna Castagnola, and Laszlo Nemeth of S.B. Fish Market | Credit: Brian Kuhlmann

Located about 30 yards from the ocean, it’s tough to beat the freshness of the daily catch avail-able at Santa Barbara Fish Mar-ket on the harbor. Serving the community for more than 20 years as the only local commercial fishermen’s direct outlet to the public, they focus on locally harvested seafood products as well as seafood products from around the world.

Runner-Up: Kanaloa Seafood

Fried Chicken Sandwich

Kyle’s Kitchen

It’s been more than eight years since owner Jay Ferro (who has had restaurants in town since 1995) introduced the Kyle’s Kitchen concept, which has continued to grow and contribute to the community in a myriad of ways beyond their excellent fried chicken sandwiches. “The community support we receive fuels the philanthropy that is the core of Kyle’s Kitchen, and as the community continues to choose Kyle’s, that support directly impacts each special-needs organization that we partner with each quarter,” says Director of Operations Jeremy Peterson. “We simply couldn’t do the work we do to help individuals with special needs reach their potential, without the support of our community.”

Runner-Up: The Honor Bar

Frozen Yogurt Shop

Mission Street Ice Cream & Yogurt

“Thank you, Santa Barbara! We thank each and every one of you who voted us BEST,” says Mission Street Ice Cream & Yogurt Senior Manager Nicole Moreira. “We love being part of so many after-school treats, weekend shenanigans, after-workout treats, study breaks, puppy walks, after-movie hangouts, pick-me-ups for having a bad day, birthday celebrations, date nights, and the list goes on. We love knowing so many of you guys person-ally, and we want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for supporting small businesses like ours.”

Runner-Up: Yogurtland

Goleta Restaurant • Mexican Restaurant • Salsa

Los Agaves

When the family-owned-and-operated Los Agaves opened its first location on Milpas Street on Santa Barbara’s Eastside in 2008, it quickly gained a rabid flock of followers and hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down since. A perennial Best Of winner for its salsa and as the best Mexican restaurant, and now best Goleta restaurant, it’s the fresh ingredients and an expansive menu combining traditional standbys with unusual fare, such as the piping-hot “sea and earth” molcajetes and the mole poblano, that make Los Agaves your top pick once again.

Runner-Up (Goleta Restaurant): Jane at the Marketplace

Runner-Up (Mexican Restaurant): Los Arroyos

Runner-Up (Salsa): Mony’s Mexican Food

Gourmet Grocer • Health Food/Nutrition Store

Lazy Acres Market

“After winning it more than 20 years in a row, this award signifies that we will always provide the best of what’s gotten us this far — fresh, organic produce, wild-caught seafood, grass-fed meats, and all the other things that Lazy Acres is known for. Most importantly, it reminds us that we truly have the best customers in the business,” says Store Director Bryan Feil. The Lazy Acres team worked tirelessly during the pandemic. “The community supported us by coming in or ordering their Lazy Acres favorites for pickup, and we supported them by keeping the stores clean, well-stocked, and safe for all. It was an extremely difficult time, and we are so proud of how we rose to the occasion. This award definitely reflects that commitment!”

Runner-Up (Gourmet Grocer): Bristol Farms

Runner-Up (Health Food/Nutrition Store): Sprouts Farmers Market

Ice Cream Shop

McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams

“While Santa Barbara has certainly grown up, especially over the last handful of years, it’s still a small-ish town. And there’s still a real sense of community, and of people who want to keep things that way. And I think that’s a wonderful thing,” says Michael Palmer, who co-owns the business with his wife, Eva Ein. “We live in a largely connected world, in technological terms. But with that, I think, to some degree, we threaten real connectedness. There’s something about living and working here that allows us at least the opportunity to retain some of that person-to-person connection that makes smaller communities tick. And working inside of that just makes your work life a richer experience. That, and the butterfat.”

Runner-Up: Rori’s Artisanal Creamery

Indian Restaurant

Flavor of India

Being voted the best means “the quality of food and the style of the surroundings, atmosphere, and service,” says Flavor of India owner Anil Kainwal. “This award makes us feel proud, happy, overwhelmed, and delighted. It gives us validation and boosts our confidence. A big thank-you for voting for us! It’s your votes that made it possible, and words could never be enough to express our gratitude! You are the #BestCustomersEver to sup-port local restaurants.”

Runner-Up: Bibi Ji

Isla Vista Restaurant

Freebirds World Burrito

A Freebirds employee makes a burrito for a customer at Freebird’s in IV. | Credit: Daniel Dreifuss (file)

Serving hungry college students since 1987, Freebirds — which owner Mark Orfalea (cousin to Kinko’s founder Paul Orfalea) reportedly named for the 1974 Lynyrd Skynyrd song “Free Bird” — is our readers’ perennial favorite for Best Isla Vista Restaurant. The original branch of a now-successful Texas-based chain still churns out made-to-order Monster Burritos, nachos, regular (but still big) burritos, quesadillas, and bowls of good-quality, reasonably priced Mexican grub.

Runner-Up: Woodstock’s Pizza

Italian Restaurant


Receiving the best Italian restaurant honors “means a lot to us especially, as this year we have been in business for 25 years, adding to our original downtown location restaurants in Goleta, Montecito, and the Public Market,” says owner/chef Dario Furlati. “We are very grateful to our team of employees, many who have been with us from the beginning and help keep the quality of food and service consistent. We thank the Santa Barbara community for their constant loyalty of support, especially through the challenging pandemic.”

Runner-Up: Via Maestra 42

Late-Night Eats

The Blue Owl

Open ’til 2:30 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights, The Blue Owl has a fusion menu that puts a tasty twist on crave-worthy classic dishes like the cheeseburger — infused with green curry sauce and topped with a fried egg. Try the salads, sprinkled with mint and basil; the delicious báhn mì sandwiches; and the now-legendary fried rice, customizable with various protein options and other toppings like red and white cabbage, Thai basil, cilantro, green onions, avocados, fried or poached eggs, pistachios, bacon, kimchi, chili paste, and more.

Runner-Up: Dave’s Dogs Grill

Montecito Restaurant


“We’ve been so lucky to set up our business within such a supportive community. It is that community that got us through COVID and made our business what it is today,” says Bettina owner Rachel Greenspan. “Beyond that, we’re surrounded by such beauty here in Santa Barbara. Obviously, being in the restaurant business is super-challenging anywhere, but being able to find stress relief and joy where we live has made it way more manageable.” She adds, “Having access to delicious food and building all of the incredible relationships the restaurant brings is a truly special experience.”

Runner-Up: The Honor Bar

Noodle Bar • Thai Restaurant

Empty Bowl Gourmet Noodle Bar

What does being voted the best mean to you? “It means appreciation from our valuable customers,” says Empty Bowl co-owner Emre Balli. “It means we are moving in the right direction and continuing to serve delicious noodles to our community. All our staff worked hard during the pandemic, and I would like to dedicate this award to them — from the kitchen to the front of the house, each of them.” Keep an eye on @emptybowlnoodle; one of Balli’s favorite parts of the job is creating reels for their Instagram page. “Our cooks also love it when I record them.”

Runner-Up (Noodle Bar): Nikka Ramen

Runner-Up (Thai Restaurant): Your Choice

Parklet • Sushi Restaurant

Arigato Sushi

Arigato Sushi manager Daryl Takehara is a big part of why the restaurant has been a reader favorite for so many years. | Credit: Ingrid Bostrom

One of the best things to come out of the pandemic was that Arigato now has more seating and is able to take reservations! The winner once again for Best Parklet and Best Sushi Restaurant, this longtime local favorite has been dishing up fresh nigiri and sashimi and assorted rolls for more than 35 years, along with creative concoctions like Standing Room Only (baked half avocado filled with unagi, snow crab, masago, and scallions) and Rincon Magic (a sushi pizza on a base of crispy rice, topped with snow crab, octopus, squid, smelt roe, and scallions).

Runner-Up (Parklet): Opal Restaurant & Bar

Runner-Up (Sushi Restaurant): Sushi Teri


Rusty’s Pizza Parlor

With one of the few phone numbers I can still remember from my childhood (564-1111, no area code needed in those days), Rusty’s Pizza remained a treasured local institution. With nine locations in the area, the family-owned pizza empire is known for its distinct tomato sauce, good service, architecturally varied and interest-ing buildings, and family-friendly vibe. Fun fact: Owners Roger and Carol Duncan opened Rusty’s Roast Beef in Isla Vista in 1969, but they soon realized there wasn’t a pizza place in town and made the shift. The rest, as they say, is pizza history!

Runner-Up: Bettina

Place to Buy Bread

D’Angelo Bakery

The mouth-watering assortment of breads and pastries baked daily at D’Angelo Bakery is enough to boggle the mind, with artisan breads including sourdough levain, sourdough multigrain, rosemary lemon, Rudolf Steiner (multigrain), sunflower whole grain, and German Farmer’s Rye, to name but a few of the loaves available at our Best Place to Buy Bread winner. “Their ciabatta loaf cannot be beat,” wrote a reader, and another offered this comment: “Great bread with a big variety of baked products. You can see the workers take great pride in their bread and their store!”

Runner-Up: Oat Bakery

Produce Stand/Greengrocer

Santa Barbara Certified Farmers’ Market

Providing fresh produce and lots of other great grocery items to our community six days a week, the Santa Barbara Certified Farmers’ Market — with markets in Down-town Santa Barbara, Goleta, Old Town Santa Barbara, Solvang, Carpinteria, and Montecito — is once again our readers’ choice for best produce stand/greengrocer. It’s important to support small businesses with lots of variety and a great community vibe, as one voter wrote in their nomination, “because we’re lucky to live in a land of plenty of fresh organic vegetables and fruit and farmers we know bring them to us.”

Runner-Up: Tri-County Produce

Salad Bar

Savoy Café & Deli

There’s something for even the pickiest of eaters to love at the Savoy Café & Deli, our readers’ pick once again for best salad bar in town! With more than 20 healthy seasonal ingredients to choose from, including wild salmon, grass-fed beef, and house-roasted chicken, along with loads of fresh vegetables and homemade dressings, it’s no wonder that they claim this category year after year. Kathy Shields, who owns the biz with her husband, Paul, is an amazing baker, too — for the veggie lovers who flock to the salad bar, her carrot cake is to die for!

Runner-Up: Chuck’s of Hawaii

Sandwich • Takeout

South Coast Deli

“It’s difficult to articulate how meaningful being voted Best in S.B. actually is,” says South Coast Deli owner Jim St. John. “We have an amazing team who work very hard day in and day out; many have been with us for decades. I know they are proud of where they work and of the product we create. Acknowledgment from the community is something they all appreciate.” And does he have a favorite sandwich? “The Phatty on toasted sourdough, no … the Chicken Caesar Sammie, no … the Robert Emmet, no … .the Viet Nom Nom, no … the BBQ Chicken Sammie … impossible to pick a favorite.”

Runner-Up (Sandwich): Three Pickles

Runner-Up (Takeout): Los Agaves

Santa Ynez Valley Restaurant

Industrial Eats

Just typing the words “Industrial Eats” makes my mouth water. Foodies have flocked to Buellton since this indescribably delicious casual space began serving up high-quality local food in 2013. Roasted peaches, prosciutto and burrata, oysters, uni, and butter beans pair with salty meats and clever pizza combos on the constantly rotating menu. And expansion plans are in the works, as they recently shared on Instagram: “We’ll it’s official. We now have the whole building. Catering, restaurant, private dining, here to go/motley crew and now the space right in the middle with the fancy doors, fireplace, and air-conditioning. Stay tuned.” We can’t wait!

Runner-Up: S.Y. Kitchen

Sidewalk Café/Patio • Mocktail

La Paloma Café

An Aztec mural overlooks the bar at La Paloma Café. | Credit: Daniel Dreifuss (file)

“We opened La Paloma Café during the pandemic and soldiered through some of the most challenging times. We were fierce in our determination to offer our community, neighbors, and friends a place to come together for a shared meal and a connection with one another when we all needed it most,” says General Manager Derrick Clune. “Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We know the locals who voted for us are the heart and soul of Santa Barbara. It is a privilege to be a part of this community, and we are honored to have won these awards.”

Runner-Up (Sidewalk Café/Patio): Goat Tree

Runner-Up (Mocktail): Test Pilot

Steak House


Impeccable service; top-notch steaks, chops, and seafood; and chicken entrées, wonderful salads, and six different potato dishes. Not to mention an excellent martini. Lucky’s embodies everything that even the most discerning customers might expect from a high-quality, classic American steakhouse. With standout professional service at a time when restaurants are struggling to find staff, even in tony Montecito, this place is definitely a cut above the rest.

Runner-Up: Chuck’s of Hawaii

Stellar Service • Restaurant Wine List • Hotel

San Ysidro Ranch

“Ty Warner’s San Ysidro Ranch is integral to the identity of Santa Barbara, serving as an icon of the American Riviera for more than a century. We take great pride in delivering exceptional service alongside world-class amenities, luxurious accommodations, and an exquisite food and beverage program. Winning the categories of Best Hotel, Stellar Service, and Restaurant Wine List from the Independent is especially meaningful to our entire team who works tirelessly to provide memorable experiences for every guest,” says General Manager Ian Williams. “We’re thrilled to be recognized as the best locally — and also nationally and internationally,” says Williams, noting other top awards from the past year such as “Forbes five-star distinction, Travel + Leisure’s #1 Resort in California, North America’s Leading Boutique Resort from the World Travel Awards, and a Grand Award from Wine Spectator, which the Ranch has secured consistently since 2014.”

Runner-Up (Stellar Service): The Palace Grill

Runner-Up (Restaurant Wine List): Intermezzo by Wine Cask

Runner-Up (Hotel): Rosewood Miramar Beach

Sunday Brunch • Bloody Mary • Restaurant with a View

Boathouse at Hendry’s Beach

2981 Cliff Dr.; (805) 898-2628

Boathouse at Hendry’s Beach | Credit: Ingrid Bostrom

Way more than just a pretty face — although the sparkling ocean views at the Boathouse at Hendry’s Beach are certainly extraordinary — the fresh seafood selections, excellent cocktails (including a terrific happy hour), and brunch delights keep us coming back again and again. Try the crab cakes, lobster and truffle mac ’n’ cheese, smoked salmon eggs Benedict, and huevos Hope Ranch, not to mention the award-winning Bloody Mary, and enjoy the view. If you were any closer to the water, you’d be in a boat!

Runner-Up (Sunday Brunch): Scarlett Begonia

Runner-Up (Bloody Mary): Brophy Bros.

Runner-Up (Restaurant with a View): El Encanto, a Belmond Hotel


Lilly’s Taqueria

The sure sign of a good taqueria is when people from all walks of life line up at lunchtime. With locations in Downtown Santa Barbara and Goleta, Lilly’s Taqueria is the real deal, with a variety of well-priced tacos that include the standard veggie, chicken, beef, and pork as well as the more exotic beef head, cheek, eye, intestines, lip, and tongue. The only downside: There are no Taco Tuesdays at Lilly’s; that’s the one day of the week that they’re closed.

Runner-Up: Corazón Cocina

Vegan Food

Mesa Verde

Specializing in vegan Mediterranean cuisine, Mesa Verde is our readers’ top pick for vegan food. Recognized by none other than the prestigious Michelin with a Bib Gourmand Award for “good quality, good value cooking,” they describe the menu as “the kind of food that even meat-eaters can instantly love.” Menu highlights include squash blossom quesadillas, polenta fries with jalapeños and caramelized onions, Brussels mushroom tacos, and, for dessert, bird’s-nest baklava with vegan ice cream.

Runner-Up: Oliver’s

Vegetarian/Vegan Restaurant • Veggie Burger

The Natural Café

The Natural Café has been dishing up Santa Barbara’s favorite vegetarian and vegan offerings since 1993. That’s almost 30 years since founder/Managing Partner Kelly Brown began encouraging people to make better, more conscious choices when dining out. Clearly he was onto something. With a fast, casual, and healthy array of different types of dishes from all over the world — including three different types of veggie burgers — Natural Café has something to please just about everyone.

Runner-Up (Vegetarian/Vegan Restaurant): Mesa Verde

Runner-Up (Veggie Burger): Mesa Burger

See all of the winners in our “Best of Santa Barbara® 2022” cover here.