Food **1/2 ; Service *** ; Ambiance **1/2; $
Overall rating: ***
A super-hero sandwich dude hanging from the rafters, blush-worthy names for their sandwiches and a rowdy atmosphere — it all simply works for the South Coast Deli.
They might not take themselves all too seriously, but their food is nothing to joke about.
It’s downright good.
Now The Fork likes a quiet meal just like anyone else, but you have to expect restaurants to be buzzing at lunchtime — and it’s nice to see a place embrace the crazy.
Add in an impressive online ordering line that gets people in and out quickly, and the South Coast Deli makes it less about themselves and all about you.
The portions are quite large, with most sandwiches good for two meals unless you are absolutely starving.
Here are a couple of options that The Fork highly recommends:
Alright, The Fork will admit that it was hard to order the sandwich, almost like my grandmother would wash my mouth out with soap if I continued — but the meatball sub is well worth the embarrassment. The bread doesn’t come out over-toasted and the marinara sauce does a nice job of bleeding into the bread to really create a nice experience. Listen, it’s a basic sandwich, no doubt about it. But, if a place can’t get the basics right, why would you ever try anything more creative? Thankfully, this one is worthy of its name.
Alright, if you thought the first name was a bit tough, thankfully the restaurant is a bit loud so no one can hear you stumble with your words. The turkey breast, capicola and salami make a unique trio — not to mention the triple layer of sourdough bread that allows you to break this monster up into four smaller sandwiches. The red onions are a perfect complement to the meat trio, as is the pepperoncini. The 3-Way will make your nose run a bit, as there is a kick here and there, but it definitely makes it memorable.
The care-free environment is a welcome distraction from the many restaurants that take themselves too seriously. It puts the focus on great conversation with company, the food itself and enjoying a break from the daily grind. The sammies will become a lunchtime staple for The Fork, especially considering there are like a billion items to choose from. The service is very friendly, as well as quick.
Finding parking is rough, especially if you go right at lunchtime. It might be worth walking a few blocks to avoid the headache. And, while The Fork loved it, the restaurant is loud, which means that your table neighbor is likely to get louder in order to be heard. Here’s to hoping you know how to tune things out.
South Coast Deli
1436 Chapala St.
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
(Additional locations on Carrillo Street in Santa Barbara, as well as South Patterson in Goleta and Pardall Road in Isla Vista)
7 a.m. to 4 p.m., Mon-Fri.
9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sat.