UCSB is a big part of Santa Barbara’s identity, but it’s important to note that it’s not actually in Santa Barbara. It’s in Isla Vista, a tiny enclave 15 minutes down the highway. And Freebirds is its most iconic eating spot. The 30-year-old burrito joint is a full-blown national chain these days, but we simply don’t care, and neither does the mob of stoned college kids waiting in line. The original Isla Vista location is required eating.
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Santa Barbara’s Brophy Bros. is a touristy seafood spot with good clam chowder and even better views.
The Blue Owl
The Blue Owl is one of the few late-night spots in downtown Santa Barbara, but this Thai-fusion restaurant is great no matter your level of sobriety.
Sopes are the thing to order at Cuernavaca, an order-at-the-counter Mexican joint in Santa Barbara.
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A casual, neighborhood-y Tex-Mex restaurant from DTLA’s best chef. This is a spot Downtown needs.
Paco’s Tacos in Del Rey is a neighborhood staple that serves very classic Mexican in very huge portions.
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