The widely-read Zagat Survey of restaurants, now a division of Google, just released their results for 2013 and I had an opportunity to glance at the booklet covering the Santa Barbara region. Zagat only surveyed about 60 local restaurants so if your favorite place didn’t make the list, it doesn’t necessarily mean it received a low ranking.

1) Downey’s, Julienne
2) Ballard Inn, Bouchon
3) Arigato, In-N-Out, La Super-Rica, Opal

1) Bouchon, Downey’s
2) Ballard Inn, Opal
3) Julienne, Seagrass, Stella Mare’s

1) Bouchon, Coast, Plow & Angel, Stella Mare’s, Wine Cask
2) Cava, Cold Spring Tavern, Zaytoon
3) Arts & Letters Café, Bella Vista, Blue Agave, Downey’s, Lucky’s, Seagrass

1) In-N-Out
2) California Pizza Kitchen
3) Outback

1) In-N-Out
2) Cajun Kitchen
3) Fresco Cafe

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  1. Chris says:

    I don’t even bother looking at Zagat’s anymore. I prefer Gayot now. Zagat’s reviews have really declined for me.

    • Liz w says:

      I feel the same way about Zagat. After reading your post I did a search on my ipad for Gayot but most everything related has the statement “this site may harm your computer”. Any idea what is up with that? I don’t recall seeing that before.

  2. SL says:

    Congrats Julienne, well deserved.

  3. N says:

    I like In -n- Out for fast food as much as the next person, but I question any survey that lists it under the “Top Food” category, lol.

  4. Dianne says:

    Opal is totally mediocre.

  5. RexOfSB says:

    Judging from this list, Zagat is as out of touch with reality as the bogus “best of” contests run by the local newspapers. Cajun Kitchen? In ‘n Out? C’mon!

  6. Lily says:

    For great value, I would rather go to Natural Cafe, South Coast Deli, or any of the cheap taqueria dotted throughout the city.

  7. Gerald Bostock says:

    (shrug) Zagat’s is rather like Yelp.

    • Lily says:

      I beg to differ. At least on yelp, you can read the different reviews and find other reviewers who have similar taste as you. For example, if a Chinese restaurant receives high marks from people who are particularly impressed with their General Tso’s chicken, then I know to not take these reviews seriously.

  8. Sandi says:

    Well I will never fully trust Zagat’s again.

  9. Alisa says:

    Zagats has become completely irrelevant. If you take a look at the reviews used for the ratings, you find that the sample size is ridiculously small and outdated. As one example, there are only FIVE reviews for Cajun Kitchen(since it was noted above). Only two of those were dated in 2012. The remaining three reviews were dated back in 2010.
    While I agree with Julienne & Downey’s as having top food, I dont rely on Zagats for guidance when I’m travelling anymore. It’s likely a moot point anyway. Since Google purchased Zagats, it is widely expected to be re-organized or eliminated.

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