Reader Jonathan L. sent me a message: “A new restaurant opened yesterday (Wednesday) called Gala across the street from La Paloma. The old crepe place but totally remodeled and very hip vibe.” Consequently I stopped by Gala at 705 Anacapa Street to check it out and was told by the hostess that it is a tapas/share-style eatery with Spanish-Mediterranean farm-to-table influences. During my visit they also had bigger items like burgers, risotto, duck, and steak, but I am told that the menu is currently changing daily as they experiment with different dishes and that it will be finalized soon.

Owner Tara Penke, who also owns a restaurant in Spain (named “Picnic”) but grew up in the Santa Barbara area, gave me a list of Gala menu items that have a good chance of making the final cut. They include Kusshi Oysters (served chilled with apple cucumber mignonette or hot with parm and herbs), Duck Confit (confit’d in house white leaf farm duck leg, silky mash potatoes, leafy greens, herbs, duck gravy, preserved kumquats), Olives (kalamata, frescatrano, castelvetrano), Shrimp Croquetas (lemon parsley aioli), and Potato & Quinoa Hashbrowns (herb creme fraiche). Numerous sides and desserts are available.

The restaurant also has a variety of cocktails  (Margaritas, Gala’s Beet Margarita, Pisco Sour, Yola Eastside, Turmeric Gimlet, Guava Caviar Sour, Tangerine Dream, Silky Cigar, Campanelli, Hollister Spritz) and craft beer/mead (Peroni Nastro Azzuro, Figueroa Mountain Agua Santa, Topa Copa Chief Peak IPA, Made West, Institution Ale Mosaic, Third Window, Tarantual Hill, Apiary, Stone Delicious, Negra Modelo). A list of wines, lemonades, and ice teas fill out their beverages menu.

Hours are Wednesday-Saturday 4-9 p.m. Brunch (coming soon) will be 9 a.m-2:30 p.m. Call (805) 869-2813 or visit

Photo by The Restaurant Guy

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