514 State St.
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
11 a.m. to 2 a.m., Monday-Friday
9 a.m. to 2 a.m., Saturday-Sunday
An open-air oasis
’Tis the season to find nice outdoor options to enjoy the beautiful Santa Barbara weather, and Sandbar on State Street in Santa Barbara is worthy of being added to anyone’s short list of go-to spots.
It’s affordable, it’s clean, it features an extensive menu that will fulfill every need and the staff genuinely seems to enjoy working there.
Here’s one way you could approach a meal:
Chips & salsa
Yes, it’s worth a separate category. Second trip back and I was looking forward to the free basket of chips the most because of the tasty concoction that is sprinkled on the fried tortilla pieces. Slightly warm and some nice pico de gallo, and honestly could just sit and eat this for hours.
While not what Americans are used to with a tostada (a tortilla bowl), these open-faced tostadas allow for the chef to pile on the lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, black beans and guacamole. If you order this, you better have an appetite or just ask for a box up front. Be careful of the jalapeño, it can kick your nose into full overdrive. Definitely a nice meal as your enjoying the Santa Barbara weather.
Classico Combo Burrito
It’s big, filling — but could have easily have eaten a second one. The gualillo sauce was tangy and a nice complement to the ground sirloin, rice and refritos blancos. A simple choice on an extensive menu, but a definite must-try if you’re a bit hangry.
Outstanding vibe and sitting outside is definitely recommended, as it gives you a chance to enjoy a meal while people-watching. The service is very friendly and responsive, even to errors on an order.
Yes, Santa Barbara is a bit confined on space, but Sandbar has a few seating areas that need to be re-thought a bit, especially outside. You have to squeeze out of places, sometimes disrupting others while they’re dining. Definitely suggest sticking to the Mexican food on the menu, as the chicken tenders were very fried and very hard, making them difficult to eat.