SURVEY RESULTS: THE BEST OF 2012

Here are the winners of the SantaBarbara.com Restaurant Guide online poll that was conducted during December 2011. The results will be displayed online throughout 2012 and beyond.

Click here for The Best of 2012

Survey participants considered 110 different food & drink categories. New categories this year include: Best Sushi, Best Fish & Chips, Best Food Truck, Best Drive-In, Best Buellton Restaurant, Best Solvang Restaurant and Best Place To Bring Your Pet.

Winners of multiple awards (including first place or finalist) are: bouchon (6), Brewhouse (5), Brophy Bros (5), Fresco Cafe (4), Opal Restaurant and Bar (4), Renaud’s (4), Whole Foods Market (4), Alcazar Tapas Bar (3), Bella Vista (3), Cajun Kitchen (3), Mac’s Fish & Chip Shop (3), Natural Cafe (3), Pascucci (3), Sojourner Cafe (3), Wine Cask (3), Arch Rock Fish (2), Arigato Sushi (2), Beachside Bar Cafe (2), Burger Bus (2), Ca Dario (2), Corktree (2), Costco Food Court (2), Enterprise Fish (2), Freebirds World Burrito (2), Harry’s Plaza Cafe (2), Holdren’s (2), Hollister Brewing Co. (2), Jane (2), Jeannine’s Bakery (2), Lazy Acres (2), Lilly’s Taqueria (2), Los Agaves (2), Los Arroyos (2), Milk & Honey (2), Oreana (2), Palace Grill (2), Paradise Cafe (2), Sly’s (2), South Coast Deli (2), Stonehouse Restaurant (2), Summerland Beach Cafe (2), Three Pickles (2), Tri County Produce (2), Tupelo Junction Cafe (2), Zaytoon (2)

New restaurants that received awards include: Cadiz, Cafe Stella, Cecco Ristorante, Killer B BBQ and Bar, O Street Truck and Scarlett Begonia.

 Best Overall Restaurant: bouchon


bouchon at 9 W. Victoria St. was voted Best Overall Restaurant on the South Coast and received the most awards (6). Top Row, left to right: Nicholas Markovitch (Kitchen Staff), Abe Shelton (Server), John Loewen (Restaurant Manager/Sommelier), Ryan Smith (Server), Byron Wood (Server), Mitchell Sjerven (Owner). Seated, left to right: Eric Hanson (Server), Madeline Sachs (Hostess), Chef Greg Murphy, Simon Lewis (Kitchen Staff), Noe Tecu (Kitchen Staff)

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23 Responses to SURVEY RESULTS: THE BEST OF 2012

  1. Glenn says:

    Interesting switch with Los Arroyos now on top of Los Agaves again and Your Place over Zen Yai again, I thinking people need to go out their way and try both Los Agaves and Zen Yai before selecting the others unless food quality has gone done at those places recently.

  2. a p c says:

    Why does Sojourner keep winning best dessert? Like, how close are the votes on this? Also ugh, get rid of the stiffest drink category; it’s tacky and it goes to Joe’s every year, and it’s nothing to be proud of there.

    • John Dickson says:

      I plan to trim off 10 categories next year to keep the total at an even 100. I’ll consider putting Stiffest Drinks on the chopping block, though not because one business wins it every year. There is nothing wrong with that. Many people who visit the Best Of page throughout the year are seeing it for the first time.

      • a p c says:

        It’s still a lot of categories for you to take the time to manage for us. Thanks all the same =D

      • Brendan says:

        It would make sense to remove the categories that have only a tiny number of eligible contenders. The guide only lists two restaurants serving Korean food, so how could they fail to win? Likewise for German, and Cajun only has three unless you count each Cajun Kitchen location separately.

        • Charlotte says:

          Exactly! Not really fair playing ground is it.

          • Glenn says:

            It does tell you which is the better of the two which is what this guide is all about, letting people know which place to go in a majority opinion though they could just read the reviews of the two and figure it out that way as there does seem to be a disconnect with votes and reviews on some, maybe a lot of people are too shy to speak their opinion on the comments?

        • Chris says:

          I am more in favor of eliminating categories that get a tiny amount of “votes” which tells me nobody really cares or has a big opinion. APC needs to relax on the categories that he personally does not care about. I agree with John’s response that alot of tourists find this site very informative and appreciate where to go to find quality.

          • a p c says:

            On the contrary, I actually care very much about desserts and I’m always looking for great ones. I’ve never found great desserts at Soj, so in this regard, the best-of is failing me =(. I actually am genuinely curious, not being rhetorical about asking who votes for Sojourner’s desserts. I’d like to go on a dessert run through downtown with a bunch of Sojourner fans and see what’s up.

      • Chris says:

        John, I say do what you want to do. But I do recall when I moved here and reading the Best Of link, it made me go check out Joe’s for the first time. I don’t think it is a bad thing. If you changed it to “Best Bartending” or something maybe it opens it up more. This should be both informative and fun.

        • a p c says:

          Maybe just give them a crown and say they’ve won it forever. They can be the king stiff drinks. Then they could make “Joe(‘s) King” puns on their shirts instead of trying to tempt me to eat pancakes/binge drink by touting biological inaccuracies.

  3. Richard says:

    Big job, well done, John.

    I’m a little disappointed not to see Downey’s listed anywhere.
    Maybe the top three in some categories (such as best overall)
    could be considered for 2013.

    It’s a bit odd to see Mac’s Fish & Chips as a finalist for best clam
    chowder since it isn’t on their menu that I can see.

    • Mac says:

      “Olde England Style” Clam chowder has been on the blackboard specials menu in our shop for over a year now after we put it on for the winter in 2010 and nearly incited riots from our regulars when we suggested removing it when summer came around. As such, it is now an ever-present on our in-shop menu but I didn’t get round to putting it on line yet. I’ll make that a resolution resolution for 2012 (alongside eating more fried food and being less addicted to this blog). $3.50 for a cup and $6 for a bowl by the way. Thanks for the votes by the way – we continue to be humbled by everyone’s support.

      • Glenn says:

        I’ll have to try it and see if it rivals Brophy Bros(about the only thing I like at Brophys), your fish is the best fish n chips type I’ve had and the mushy peas are good too!

  4. Chaz says:

    Question For All – I’ve been wracking my feeble brain trying to remember the name of the restaurant that existed at 1129 State Street BEFORE it was the “1129.”

    Anyone recall?

  5. Art says:

    Jan I think you are correct. Before 1129 it was just called Paseo San Marcos and had a snack bar or coffee spot
    As i remember it 1129 came next. I think Ron Uhles was the first operator and then it had other owners over the years. It did have at least one other name before Nu

  6. Chaz says:

    I’m thinking the owner of the restaurant was named James Strickland (?) when it was “1129″ back in the mid 70s. We shuttled back and forth for food/drinks/entertainment between “1129″ and “Ace Diamond’s Teasers,” located further up the street at what is now Cantwell’s. Then maybe a late night dessert at “Frimple’s.”

    That area was our “lower State Street” of the day.

  7. VT says:

    Seagrass blows Bouchon away.

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