The 6 Best Places to Eat and Drink Vegan in Santa Barbara, California

|Updated Feb 11, 2022
Oliver's Montecito, Santa Barbara -- One of the Best Vegan Restaurants

Santa Barbara may be known as a quaint beach town just north of Los Angeles, but make no mistake, the foodie scene in Santa Barbara is on-point. It has some incredible vegan restaurants and veg-friendly menus that rival the best in LA. Here, we guide you through some of the best places to help eat (and drink) your way through Santa Barbara in plant-based style.

1. Oliver's Montecito

Oliver’s is the fine-dining vegan gem of Santa Barbara. It’s entirely plant-based menu will surely impress carnivores and veggies alike. Sitting atop the main drag in the quaint Santa Barbara town of Montecito, the elegant digs offer several seating areas both inside and out, plus a plush bar/lounge space. Here you’ll find thoughtful craft cocktails and a solid wine list with a well-educated staff consistently delivering a first-class experience.
Calling All: For those who like the finer things, minus the pomp and circumstance, Oliver’s will suit your needs. And, if you are looking to impress a meat-eater, you’ve come to the right place.
Plant Yourself: at a table on the outdoor patio, surrounded by olive trees strung with lights looking over an open skyline.
Order for the Table: The Artichoke “Crab Cakes” are perfection; so impressive you’ll be tempted to order a second. For some heat throw in the Kung Pao Cauliflower, also great to share.
Don't Miss: The Pear & Gorgonzola Pizza is a must, and fun to start with for a share amongst a group; it’s with its perfect amalgamation of sweet and savory and will pair nicely with red or white wine.

2. Zaytoon

The Lebanese cuisine at Zaytoon is to die for, and so is it's classy secret-garden like setting that could not be more perfect. Zaytoon does serve traditional cuisine including meat dishes, but the menu is very veg-friendly and includes soups, Mezza and entrees, suitable for vegan eaters with all items clearly labeled. Be prepared for some live entertainment that may pop-up during dinner; a lively and fun belly dancing performance takes place on some evenings.
Calling All: Hopeless romantics...and those obsessed with finding the best falafel. And, for the claustrophobic who want a spacious, open-air place to dine, Zaytoon is for you. If you’re with those that want a meat option, they’ll appreciate the non-veg items on the menu.
Plant Yourself: At one of the tables around the fountain in the center of the outdoor patio.
Order for the Table: Any mix of Mezza—hummus, baba ghannouj and tabouli should be at the top of the list.

Don't Miss: The Vegetarian Choice entree which includes a generous portion of falafel and a number of accompanying sides.

3. Satellite

For a fun, upbeat spot on lower State St. with great beer on tap—and a 100% plant-based menu—visit >Modern Times. Santa Barbara may be best known for its wine, but good beer is also abundant in the city. With plenty of indoor and outdoor seating, and surrounded by funky wall art, the setting is cool and casual. Modern Times has over 30 beers on tap, and also cold brew coffee, kombucha and wine. 

Calling All: hipsters that geek out over good beer, and anyone with the need for some good-ass elevated bar food.

Plant Yourself: along the gold fork art wall inside to do some people watching while admiring the hip and playful digs. 

Order for the Table: the Chili Verde Cheese Fries which come topped with lots of fixings including Beyond Meat crumbles. 

Don't Miss :Make sure to opt for one of their beer flights so you can get a taste of all the beer goodness they are brewing up.

Since it is Santa Barbara, we end on a note about drinking some vegan wine in the city. Recall not all wine is vegan (this article explains) since many use fining agents like egg-whites and other animal products not listed on the label so you would have no idea of knowing. Here are a few recommended places to taste that you can trust make clean and quality vegan wine:

5. Folded Hills Montecito Tasting Room and Wine Shop

Just a short walking distance from The Fours Seasons Biltmore in Montecito, is the Folded Hills wine tasting room, perfect for a stop before heading to dinner at Bella Vista (or Oliver’s, both mentioned above). Here you can lounge and drink award-winning vegan, organic wines produced locally just 30 miles north at the Folded Hills Homestead estate (which is also worth a visit if you are headed to wine country).

At their Montecito tasting room, you’ll encounter knowledgeable passionate staff pouring wine flights and wines by the glass; this juice is some of the best in Santa Barbara, and sure to please any pallet. Pick up a few bottles to go, or consider joining their wine club that gives you special access to events plus wine shipped direct to you twice a year.

6. Pali Wine Co. Tasting Room

If you are head out in the popular Funk Zone of Santa Barbara—which you should if you are seeking a hotspot that 20 and 30-something-year-olds converge to eat, drink and party—pop into Pali wine Co., a hip winery on the main drag. They are known for their Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines but try a flight to get a little taste of everything. Also, enjoy their outside patio and take in that glorious Santa Barbara sun while you sip. Note that they do serve some bites, but offerings are not very vegan-friendly; in fact most wine tasting rooms still have a way to go in terms of the bites they offer with the wines. So go for the wine, and then venture onto one of the above-mentioned spots for your vegan food fix.