Executive chef Manny Diaz, co-owner of Azul Cocina and Cantina, has introduced a new concept in Downtown Santa Barbara, showcasing Mexican cuisine with a modern contemporary twist. Azul Cocina (unrelated to La Playa Azul) has opened at 7 East Anapamu Street, the former home of Arts & Letters Café which closed in April 2015 and was followed briefly by La Cocina, Smithy, and Somerset restaurants.

“Azul Cocina and Cantina delivers Mexican cuisine and mixology with the finest locally sourced ingredients from Santa Barbara County,” says Diaz. “Our mission is to deliver an exceptional authentic Mexican cuisine with a modern contemporary twist on flavors and traditions. Taste the revitalization of Upper-State Street Santa Barbara with lively offerings, fresh local ingredients and incredible seasonal dishes. Pair your cuisine with a unique one-of-kind crafted selection of Tequila and Mezcal flavored cocktails or choose form our array of seasonally selected wines.”

Executive Chef Diaz is an industry-recognized culinary innovator with more than 40 years of experience at acclaimed kitchens in L.A .including DTLA’s Pacific Grille, Nicola, Nucleus Nuance, Rudolpho’s, and the San Antonio Winery. Hours are 11 a.m.-9 p.m. daily, extending to 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Call (805) 770-5106 or visit

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