Costa Benedict | Credit: Tyler Hayden

It’s a funny quirk of Santa Barbara that there are only a handful of (good) restaurants directly on our waterfront. The Mar Monte Hotel’s Costa Kitchen & Bar is one of them, with outdoor seating that looks onto East Beach and a dozen anchored sailboats bobbing beyond. When they say they’re just feet from the ocean, they mean it.

That’s where we found ourselves on a recent Saturday morning, soaking up the sun on Costa’s front patio and deciding between mimosas or Bloody Marys. We went with the former (saving the latter for a Super Bowl pregame the following day) and dove into Costa’s new weekend brunch menu.

I’m usually a good listener, especially when it’s my belly doing the talking, but had a hard time deciding between all the tasty-looking à la carte items, shareable plates, and charcuterie boards. I finally went with the Costa Benedict, a take on the classic with added shortrib and a Italian salsa verde hollandaise. My wife went with the lemon ricotta French toast, featuring brioche, lemon curd, blueberries, and Chantilly cream.

My Benedict had all the buttery, salty savoriness I’d hoped for without tipping the scale. If you think short rib might be too heavy for eggs Benedict, think again. Meanwhile, the salsa verde hollandaise added an extra bit of tang that balanced the sauteed spinach. The French toast was as sweet and light as it promised, the dollops of cream mixing beautifully with the curd and the spongy brioche positively bouncing with freshness.

Cups of coffee at the end helped get us out of our seats. The sand beckoned, and a walk to the pier was the perfect dessert. We passed a boy flying a kite and a dog chasing seagulls and wondered why we don’t do this more often. It might very well be that this new brunch menu is what beckons us back.

Lemon Ricotta French Toast | Credit: Tyler Hayden


Please note this login is to submit events or press releases. Use this page here to login for your Independent subscription

Not a member? Sign up here.