Three Openings: The Dutch Garden, Oat Bakery, and the Inn at Mattei’s Tavern

••• The Dutch Garden announced a reopening date of this Wednesday, November 16. At first, it will only serve lunch (11 a.m.-3 p.m.) Wednesday through Sunday.

••• And Oat Bakery‘s Old Town Goleta outpost is also due to debut this Wednesday. UPDATE: Some more info came in. “We are going to be open Wednesday through Saturday for now. With mostly breads, focaccia, hygge buns, and cookies. Plus offer/test a few light menus items—salads and sandwiches.” A grand opening, with a more permanent menu, will happen in the new year.

••• Up in Los Olivos, meanwhile, the Tavern and the Bar and Lounge at the Inn at Mattei’s Tavern (pictured at top) have quietly soft-opened for drinks and dinner Wednesday through Sunday. The menu isn’t online yet, and you appear to have to call to reserve until OpenTable is activated.

••• Congratulations to the four area restaurants added to the Michelin Guide: Ama Sushi, Bar Le Côte,  The Dutchess, and Peasants Feast.

••• Sama Sama Kitchen is now offering happy hour Tuesday through Friday, 5-6 p.m., with a menu of $11 cocktails and $6 beers.

••• On the November 17 agenda of the city’s Planning Commission: the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum wants to convert its 564-square-foot gift shop into “a small coffee bar with limited retail space.”

••• Chez Justine is retiring from the home-baking business. Her last pop-up will be on December 10 at the Organic Soup Kitchen’s holiday market (more on that closer to the date).

••• An update to the recent post about the debut of L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele: A press release came out with the hours—Tuesday through Saturday, with counter service lunch 11 a.m.-4 p.m., takeout 4-6 p.m., and full-service dinner 6-9 p.m. Also in the release: a Gelato Festival cart will show up sometime this winter.

••• Commenting on the item about the forthcoming closure of the 7-Eleven at Hollister and Patterson, SL said the 7-Eleven on Milpas (at Gutierrez) will be closing, too.


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Sam Tababa

The SB restaurant scene continues its decline from a fine dining destination to “Mediocrity on State”. We’ve lost the best chefs, servers and the best food as SB continues to slip down the demographic and economic ladder to satisfy the unchecked need for cheap tourism tax revenue. Choosing to foster cruise ships, T-shirt shops, cheap tacos and beer halls over fine dining and high end clientele.

Great work SB CoC! Maybe if the CoC was populated with actual entrepreneurs and business owners instead of real estate agents, accountant, lawyers and corporate hotel chain middle managers, the city might actually grow instead of shrink in every measure but the number of bums and fees & taxes…


Santa Barbara has never been a “fine dining destination”, ever. We have, in fact, always been know to have a dearth of good food. It’s always confounded me, considering the affluence here.

Sam Tababa

What we had for most of the last 20 years, was a steady stream of entrepreneur/ chefs who came to town to try and crack the code and build something new. What we have now is anything but… Chains, recycled food ideas – another pizza place, another cafe, another tequila bar in the same location that 3 others have failed… etc.

Whether or not you see SB as a destination or not, *(it is,) the city’s overall appeal has gone from attracting lux vacationers to bargain hunter cruises and day tripper from LA. All the talent is going elsewhere and that’s a problem. Look north for the new scene. SYV, Los Alamos, Paso and SLO are where the talent is headed and where the awards, the fans and the big tourist $ are following.


I would both agree and disagree. Santa Barbara has never been big enough, and is too seasonal to truly be a “fine dining destination” like LA and SF. The proof is in the many fine dining restaurants that had perfect service, great food but couldn’t survive the downtime during slow tourist months, and in any town, locals don’t do fine dining enough to be their bread and butter. However, we’ve had Bouchon, Downey’s, San Ysidro Ranch, El Encanto, Wine Cask and a few others for decades (granted, John Downey retired).
If anything I’d say there’s been a resurgence of MORE fine dining establishments than we’ve ever had before: Toma, the numerous restaurants at Mirimar and Bacara, Rare Society, Olio E Limone, Bella Vista, Yoichi’s, the list goes on.
I’m not sure why you mentioned taquerias and clothing. We have arguably some of the greatest Mexican food in California, period. Have you been to the newish “Casa Comal” on State St. for tacos? It’s amazing. State Street also put several independent clothing designers on the map before rent was too high to make it work. Brian Lee and True Grit come to mind.
I agree with Elle, we’ve always had great food, fine dining has always been here if you want it, and currently there are more fine dining options than ever before. My only gripe is the quality of many restaurant’s food once they establish themselves has greatly declined. Broad Street Oyster Co, Holdren’s and especially Brophy’s immediately come to mind.


Dutch Garden sounds incredibly promising. They’re keeping the quirk, the charm, and the menu we all loved (with some nice additions). I can’t wait to patronize it!

Sam Tababa

Charlie is the real deal but will the place survive its poor location and steady stream of stingy regulars? Doubtful…