A Taste of Santa Barbara

We’ll be headed to Summerland for vacation soon. That is if Olive the cat continues to be on the mend. So far, I’m happy to report that she’s doing better. Summerland is a town of about 2,000 people in the Santa Barbara area. I love it because it’s on the beach which is my favorite place to be. I looked back at my posts from last August while we were there and I found this one about my favorite food — seafood! Santa Barbara Harbor is home to two of our favorite restaurants which have the same owner.

One of the best things about beach vacations to me is fresh seafood. For more than 30 years, we’ve gone to a restaurant with fresh, fresh seafood in Santa Barbara. It’s called Brophy Bros. and it overlooks the boats at the Marina.

steamed clams at Brophy's Santa Barbara
Linguine and clams at Brophy Bros. at the marina in Santa Barbara

Brophy’s added a small taco shop with outdoor tables downstairs called On the Alley.

Whenever we’re in Santa Barbara we stop at On the Alley. This past trip we went twice for fish tacos. And we took our good friends to Brophy Bros. to treat them to dinner after enjoying many of their home-cooked meals. They introduced us to the restaurant in the early 1990s!

Yesterday, my husband and I went to the Farmer’s Market and had a hankering for a fish taco. On the Alley had a huge line out the door to order. They had people milling around in droves waiting for picnic tables to sit. They held on to their order numbers, hoping to to sit down before the food arrived. I saw some people sitting on the curb.

wave crashing at breakwall Santa Barbara marina
A wave crashing over the breakwall at the Santa Barbara Marina. We walk here after meals.

My husband suggested going upstairs to the main Brophy’s restaurant. The hostess stationed at the bottom of the stairs told us it would be an hour wait for a table. But the bar was first come first serve.

Guess what? Two seats smack in the center of the bar — complete with open air marina views — were ours! We each had a cup of chowder and split an order of fish and chips. My year-long quest for the best fish and chips is over! The fish was piping hot, moist, delicious and the batter was light, crunchy and not heavy.

View from the Brophy Brothers bar
View from the bar at Brophy’s Santa Barbara where we had cups of chowder and fish and chips.

Well worth the wait — but even better without it.

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Baja fish tacos from On the Alley.
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Sunset at the harbor.

Do you have favorite restaurants to go to on vacation? Or certain food you savor? What are they?

16 thoughts on “A Taste of Santa Barbara

  1. Glad kitty is doing better. Summerland sounds like a great place to visit, both for the beach and the food. I love a great fish taco. Last time I had a decent (not great) one I was in San Diego.

  2. I’m happy to hear that Olive is doing better. Santa Barbara and the surrounding area look gorgeous. Any time spent on the beach works for me as my wife and I began our world travels spending much time by the shores of Southeast Asia. Peace and relaxation finds one there. I love it. We hope to return to the tropics come winter-time.

    Enjoy your trip.

  3. The pictue of that wave is awesome! Enjoy your vacation! The beach is my ” Happy Place!” too. We don’t really have a special place to go too, just love to try new places wherever we go.

  4. The beach does sound delightful now. A few days back we saw tons of people tubing on the Truckee River to beat the heat. Maybe I’ll try that here on the Animas.

    I “discovered” steamed clams in Homer, Alaska, one year. The next I had them a couple times in California and my body then decided to reject bivalves altogether! Such a bummer.

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