Lao Wang Asian Street Food restaurant has upgraded and relocated to the heart of Isla Vista on 6530 Pardall Road, the former home of Otaco, Angry Wings, Chino’s Rock & Tacos, Eclectic I.V., China Garden and Kung Pao Kitchen. They were open last year in Old Town Goleta from April to December. You can chose to create your own noodle bowls with over 15 topping options or you can enjoy noodle bowls created specially by the owners. If you’re just looking for a light snack, Lao Wang offers french fries, popcorn chicken or their classic buns. Dine inside and watch sports games or choose to sit outside and enjoy our (usually) perfect weather. Follow Lao Wang on Instagram (@laowangstreetfood) for updates on when they get their 18 craft beers on tap. Lao Wang is open daily 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Call 845-1614.

Leave a comment


Readers tell me that a new business named Tahgonadas has opened at 1014 State Street that serves empanadas and other goodies, along with coffee and tea. This address has not been the home of a restaurant for as long as I have been tracking the local dining scene.

Leave a comment


This just in from Warren Butler, owner of Butler Event Centers:

“Hi John,

The High Sierra Grill at 521 Firestone Road in Goleta is under new management. I have taken over as of January 1st as the Managing Partner. This is a great opportunity to utilize my vast experience in the hospitality industry which will be put to good use in enhancing not only the restaurant side of the business but also the entertainment and special events capabilities.

We have already made improvements to the menu, Happy Hour and live music programs. Come on down for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or our noon to 6:30 p.m. Happy Hour. Don’t forget about our Sunday all-you-can-eat brunch. We have instituted a new fast track lunch menu for those on a time limit. Enjoy live entertainment on Friday night, Saturday night, and  Sunday day with Tri Tip sandwich specials.

If your readers mention The Restaurant Guy and they will get 20% off their food bill now through the month of March! I guarantee everyone will have a great experience.

– Warren Butler”



Reader Fay says that paper has been put up in the windows at the former home of Sam’s To U at 5979 Hollister Avenue (at Fairview) in Goleta.

Leave a comment


Lao Wang Asian Street Food restaurant, that I recently learned had a location in old town Goleta from April-December last year, has opened at 6530 Pardall Road in Isla Vista, the former home of Otaco, Angry Wings, Chino’s Rock & Tacos, Eclectic I.V., China Garden and Kung Pao Kitchen. I am told that Lao Wang offers Chinese street food, noodles, and buns along with local and craft beer.

Leave a comment


Caffe Primo at 516 State Street closed in January. Reader Barry stopped by recently and encountered new activity and wrote to me about what he saw:

Hi John, As my wife and I were walking out of Holdren’s last night (from our annual night before Valentine’s Day, save money tradition) we noticed a whole team of workers inside Café Primo scrubbing the place from top to bottom.  The only thing on the door is a sign that says closed.  Does your crystal ball have any answers?

Happy Valentine’s Day to you and yours.



“What on earth happened to Little Door?  I am dying for their steak au poivre!! Thank you!
– Skye”

1 Comment


The land that is the home of The Daily Grind’s second location is listed for sale on LoopNet. To be clear, it is not the business that is for sale, but the property itself at 2912 De la Vina Street.

1 Comment


Reader Steve H. tells me that Isabella Gourmet Foods has closed their East Figueroa Street / La Arcada Court location and reopened inside the Honey-B Cafe, upstairs in the Antioch building at 602 Anacapa Street.



Reader Steve H. tells me that the Grocery Outlet has made it official that they’re coming to the old Ralph’s location at 2840 De la Vina Street by posting a large sign that reads “Future home of Grocery Outlet bargain market.”



Reader Mary tells me that Leonardo Ristorante & Pizzeria has opened at 632 Alamo Pintado Road in Solvang at Nielsen’s Plaza.

Leave a comment


“Do you know of a restaurant in Santa Barbara that has a piano?? My son wants to propose to his girlfriend by a song he wrote.
– Reader Fawn Ray”



A prominent restaurant building in Old Town Goleta, known for being the home of The Natural Café, was sold last year. The same family had owned 5892 Hollister Avenue property since the 1930’s. Until recently all that I have been able to report is that it will be an Asian-Fusion restaurant. Readers Cris, Christine and others let me know that the name will be Gimeal Cafe.

Leave a comment


Readers have been telling me that Aldo’s at 1031 State Street is gone, the phone number has been disconnected yet a sign at the restaurant says they are only closed for a remodel. Reader Matthew let me know that CraigsList has cleared things up with the following posting: “Liquidation Sale! 1031 State Street: Refrigeration Equipment, Cooking & Ventilation Equipment, Flatware, Cutlery, Drinkware, To Go Supplies, Industrial Espresso Machine, Cushioned Dining Chairs, Patio Chairs With Optional Cushions, Round And Square Tables, Industrial Microwaves, and much more.”

1 Comment


Kanaloa’s Seafood is offering a Valentine’s Dinner featuring a fresh Arugula Salad, Lobster Risotto, and Red Velvet Cake, for $34.95. Call 966-5159 or visit

Leave a comment


Readers Annie and Louie let me know that things have changed at 718 State Street, the former home of Gandolfo’s New York Delicatessen, Kozmo’s, California Crisp, and Fat Burger. The for-lease sign disappeared last week and the windows are now covered with paper. My guess is that a new tenant is on the way and The Restaurant Guy will let you know who it is ASAP.

1 Comment


This just in from reader Annie:

“Restaurant Connection (food delivery service) is now delivering from HONOR BAR & HONOR MARKET! I’ve been waiting so long for this “

Leave a comment


“What was the name of the restaurant in La Cumbre Plaza in about 1975? (The one that was Red Robin and Marmalade Cafe and maybe others)
– Winifred”



The long-awaited kitchen has opened at Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company in Buellton. Appropriately called “The Kitchen” at FigMtnBrew, the new restaurant offers a full menu featuring gastropub fare such as a Breakfast Burger (bacon and eggs), a fried chicken sandwich, tacos, salads and more.  Additional dessert and kids menus make sure there is something for everyone.  Nonalcoholic drinks and wine are also available in addition to the full list of craft beer, beer cocktails and cask beers.

The new kitchen is located on the bottom floor of the two-story brewery with a counter for customers to order directly from the kitchen.  Seating is open and servers will bring your meal directly to you.  “We wanted to provide top-notch food with great prices,” says General Manager Jeff Hawxhurst.  “The casual environment helps us keep prices affordable while offering fresh, farm-to-table cuisine.

In some cases the farm-to-table concept goes one step further.  Executive Chef Brian Champlin explains: “Our brewery actually gives our spent grain to a local farm who then feeds it to their cattle.  We are then able to serve the local beef on our menu.  It’s a sustainable cycle that ensures we know what’s in our food and where it is coming from.  We call it ‘brewery-to-farm-to-table’ cuisine.”

Champlin comes from a background in both the catering and restaurant industries, recently as co-owner and Executive Chef of Succulent Café in Solvang.  There Champlin focused on made-from-scratch cuisine, a style he is continuing at The Kitchen @ FigMtnBrew with his own sauces such as the Dragon Sauce for their carne asada tacos.

The public is invited to attend the Grand Opening of The Kitchen at FigMtnBrew in Buellton located at 45 Industrial Way from 11 a.m.-9 p.m. on Saturday, February 11, 2017.  The Kitchen will be offering free root beer floats to kids under 13 years old with purchase of a kids meal.  Meet Chef Brian Champlin in the beer garden as he grills up a special barbecue plate in addition to the regular menu: half-rack of baby back ribs with potato salad, corn on the cob and cole slaw.  Pair it with a new seasonal beer cocktail called “Pomegranate Shanty” and enjoy live music from Brian Titus Trio at 4:30 p.m. and The Soul Cats starting at 7:30 p.m.  The restaurant will be open daily from 11 a.m.-9 p.m. and welcomes guests in for lunch and dinner.  More information about the Grand Opening and Figueroa Mountain’s Buellton restaurant can be found at

Leave a comment


The popular rice bowl & boba tea restaurant Hana Kitchen has completed their move from 5 West Haley Street (formerly Tacos El Rey, Magic Pita Cafe, and Greek House Café) to a new location just around the corner at 503 State Street (formerly Mac’s Fish & Chip Shop, Chilango’s Mexican Restaurant, and The Open Door). Hana Kitchen first arrived on the South Coast at 6558 Pardall Road is Isla Vista in October 2012. In addition to a variety of boba tea drinks Hana Kitchen offers a three rice bowls:

  • Chicken Rice Bowl with fresh grilled chicken leg meat over a bed of white Calrose rice, lightly stir-fried vegetables (cabbage, broccoli, and carrots). Served with made-from-scratch teriyaki sauce;
  • Beef Rice Bowl with traditional Japanese style beef, thinly sliced and marinated in house sukiyaki sauce. Served over a bed of white Calrose rice and lightly stir-fried vegetables (cabbage, broccoli, and carrots). Marinade contains onions and white wine; and
  • Vegan Chicken Rice Bowl which includes soy-based vegan chicken over a bed of white Calrose rice, lightly stir-fried vegetables (cabbage, broccoli, and carrots). Served with made-from-scratch teriyaki sauce.



Reader Laura sent me a photo taken of a sign in front of Something’s Fishy at 500 State Street that shows that, after decades in business as Something’s Fishy in Santa Barbara, the popular restaurant has a new name: Hibachi Steak House & Sushi Bar.



This spring, annual “Chefs Cycle” riders Chef James Siao and Chef Peter Cham of Finch & Fork, will be holding a series of pop-ups all over town to help raise money for No Kid Hungry. First up is Saturday, February 25 with a Ramen Pop-Up at Telegraph Brewing Co., then March 3 from 4-8 p.m. with a Ramen Pop-Up at M. Special. Money raised from the sales of the ramen dish will go towards the ride. On Tuesday, March 21, Chef Cham they will hold a CHAMiLY Meal, 7-course pop-up dinner at Sama Sama. The price will be around $85, and tickets can be purchased by calling Finch & Fork at 879-9100.

Leave a comment


Reader SY Foodie says Figueroa Mountain Brewery has moved to its new location in the old Malibu Winery tasting room on Alamo Pintado. I’m also told that on April 1 the new Bear & Star restaurant at Fess Parker’s Wine Country Inn will open and that it will have a farm-to-table menu and a full bar.

Leave a comment


Owners Alex Noormand and Tracy Clark tell me that Yellow Belly at 2611 De la Vina Street now has live music every Saturday night. You can find out who is playing on their website Yellow Belly is serving bottomless mimosa’s during brunch every Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m.- 2 p.m. for $15.

Leave a comment


Chef Peter Lee and the team at Loquita, 202 State Street, has announced their Valentine’s Day Dinner Menu for romantics on Friday, February 10th through Valentine’s Day, Tuesday, February 14th.

The Valentine’s Day Menu is served in addition to their complete à la carte dinner menu. Start the evening with Pintxos (choice of four) –Manchego, Membrillo with 3 Month Manchego & Pistachio; Gildas, White Anchovy with Spicy Piparra Pepper & Olive; Brusel, Brussel Sprouts with Jamon Serrano & PX Vinegar; or Datil, Da Vall Honey Date with Valdeon & Chorizo. A course of Roasted Oysters with Shallot, Lemon & Parsley is next, followed by Chef Lee’s special presentation of Tapas (choice of two) – Albondigas, Lamb & Pork with Spiced Yogurt & Agridulce; Hinojo with Fennel, Apple, Manchego & Walnut; Bunnuelo de Bacalao, Salt Cod with Nora Chili Aioli & Potato; and Patatas Bravas, Yukon Gold Potatoes with Parsley & Brava Aioli. For the larger platters, or Raciones, guests choose two to share – Vaca, Prime Hanger Steak with Chermoula; Cerda, Pork Belly with Butternut Squash & Apple Chutney; Pulpo, Spanish Octopus with Black Garlic Aioli & Potato; or Coliflor, Cauliflower with Idiazabel & Pimenton.

Loquita’s Valentine’s Day Dinner is priced at $65 per guest and includes a glass of sparkling Cava Rosado.  Guests may also opt for the complete à la carte dinner menu. Reservations are recommended and are available from 5-10 p.m. on all five nights.

Leave a comment


Chef Jason Paluska and the team at The Lark, 131 Anacapa Street, will present four nights of Valentine’s Day dining with dishes created for the a romantic dining experience. The holiday will be celebrated on February 10th, 11th, 12th and Tuesday, February 14th. Each night guests may begin with Chef Paluska’s Beer Battered Local Spot Prawns with Celery Root & Anaheim Chile Remoulade, Grilled Meyer Lemon & Lovage and share Dungeness Crab Risotto with Preserved Lemon, Calabrian Chile, Pinenuts, Santa Barbara Sea Urchin & Fennel Pollen. The Lark’s Valentine’s Day dessert is an Affogato with Roasted Vanilla Bean Soufflé, Handlebar Coffee Caramel, Candied Espresso Bean, Dark Chocolate & Pixie Tangerine.

The Lark also offers the complete market-driven dinner menu, with signature dishes of Crispy Brussels Sprouts with Medjool Dates; Prime Hanger Steak Tartare; Spanish Octopus ‘Carpaccio’ with Cara Cara Orange,Yellowtail Hamachi Crudo; The Lark Charcuterie Platter; Grilled Lamb Belly; Crispy Duck Confit; Cast Iron Roasted Diver Scallops; Harissa & Honey Glazed California Chicken; and 72 Hour Marinated Wagyu Flat Iron Steak.

Dinner may be paired with a selection from The Lark’s wine list, menu of craft ales or lagers, one of their craft cocktails – JP’s Paloma, Oaxacan Negroni, Salty Surfer, Old Aztec or Aperitivo Americano. Pricing is à la carte and ranges from $10 to $42 for the menu of small plates and large platters designed for sharing.

Leave a comment


Kanaloa Seafood has announced that they recently achieved their Marine Stewardship Council Certification, a globally renowned recognition in the sustainable seafood industry. The Marine Stewardship Council’s (MSC) science-based standard is the standard for environmentally sustainable wild-caught seafood. The MSC has developed standards both for sustainable fishing and seafood traceability. They meet the world’s best practice criteria and are helping to transform global seafood markets. Kanaloa’s detailed sustainability assessment included extensive review by science experts, peer review, and stakeholder consultation.

“Since we began our business over thirty years ago, we have felt a deep responsibility to promote and support environmentally responsible fisheries,” shared Randee and Don Disraeli, owners of Kanaloa Seafood. “We approached the business of fish with a rigorous scientific perspective, and understood early on that development, support, and promotion of sustainable, environmentally sound fishing practices are necessary to reverse the dangerous depletion of world fish stocks, and bring an end to destructive fishing practices. Clearly the stakes are huge, and when it comes the health of the oceans, we are all stakeholders.”

Leave a comment


Angel Oak at Bacara Resort & Spa has received one of the top national honors for restaurant development + design magazine’s inaugural “rd+d” awards. Only five restaurants across six categories were selected, each representing the best of the best in both restaurant development and design. Taking home the Form + Function Innovation Award, Angel Oak was chosen for its use of space and creation of more intimate zones within a larger footprint. The judges praised the restaurant for “its striking modern approach” to a seafood and steakhouse concept.

Other design highlights of Angel Oak include an exterior mosaic wall mural that reflects the “angelic” face of a young woman, a host podium made from a hand-carved slab of black marble, a linear bar featuring a top made from “Amazonite” stone, a decorative chandelier made from hand-blown glass globes and a dimensional black brick feature wall.

“Our goal was to create an upscale and sophisticated modern steak and seafood dining experience, without the stuffy exclusivity of a traditional ‘fine dining,’ ‘hotel’ restaurant,” said Nate Tanner, vice president of food & beverage, Pacific Hospitality Group – Angel Oak’s parent company. “We wanted to build a beautiful and functional space that would stand the test of time; we are honored these efforts have been recognized by such an esteemed group.”

For a list of the other categories and corresponding award recipients, visit

1 Comment


S.Y. Kitchen at 1110 Faraday Street in Santa Ynez now serves lunch Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. They have discontinued Italian breakfast on Sundays and replaced it with their new lunch menu.

Leave a comment


Lucky Penny at 137 Anacapa Street no longer serves breakfast and has updated hours to be Sun-Thur 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri-Sat 11am-10 p.m.

Leave a comment