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Gorge out in These Yummy Asian Restaurants in Santa Barbara

santa barbara restaurant guide

Santa Barbara, with its picturesque California coastline town, is road trip perfect. And let us add, food trip perfect. With its sparkling ocean views, growing dining scene, and central location to wine country, Santa Barbara has something for everyone. And when it comes to a variety of Asian cuisines, Santa Barbara definitely delivers. Looking for an Asian restaurant in Santa Barbara, CA? From sushi to Thai curry, our Santa Barbara food guide got everything for you! We curate the best Asian Restaurants in Santa Barbara! We got you covered from your favorite Chinese food to a more elaborate 17-course fancy Japanese dinner. Save it for your next trip to Southern California!

Make sure to check out the city’s outdoor seating options when you visit – they are some of the best in California! And don’t forget, if you’re vaccinated, you don’t have to wear a mask while dining indoors or outdoors.


Looking for a place to stay in Santa Barbara? Check out these amazing hotel deals on Booking.com


Oku

29 E Cabrillo Blvd
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
http://okurestaurant.com/

The menu at Oku, a Californian-Asian food inspired, is constantly changing to reflect the freshest seasonal ingredients, so there’s always something new to try. Whether you’re in the mood for light bites or a full-blown meal, Oku has something to suit your appetite. And with stunning ocean views, it’s the perfect place to enjoy a dining experience like no other. 

Sama Sama Kitchen 

1208 State St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101
https://samasamakitchen.com

Looking to try something new for dinner? Check out Sama Sama Kitchen, where you can find delicious Southeast Asian-inspired cuisine. The star dish is Mie Goreng noodles, a spicy Malaysian delicacy, but there are plenty of other options to choose from as well. Wash it all down with one of their creative cocktails, like Joselito, made with Verde mezcal, ancho reyes verde, green chartreuse, pineapple, orgeat, lime, and fresh herbs. You can book a reservation via Tock or order takeout via their website. Either way, you’re sure to have a good time at Sama Sama Kitchen! 

Sama Sama, one of the best rated Santa Barbara’s Asian food, is so popular it is hard to reserve a seat.

Sushi by Scratch Restaurants

1295 Coast Village Rd, Santa Barbara, CA 93108
https://www.exploretock.com/sushibarmontecito

Sushi by Scratch Restaurants, is an Omakase Speakeasy that serves up a whimsy of its namesake fare in 17 Japanese cuisine-inspired courses—arguably the best sushi in Santa Barbara. And the most elaborate, I may add. Behind an unmarked door lies an intimate counter housing 10 prized seats where you will sit right up to the chef’s cutting boards. Relax and enjoy as the chefs prepare a playful reverie on new wave nigiri and other delicacies from both land and sea in a free form interpretive take on the traditional sushi counter experience where you can expect unexpected riffs on beloved standards.

Sushi by Scratch, a Michelin-studded Asian restaurant in Santa Barbara (Japanese food to be specific), is the perfect place to enjoy an unforgettable night of nigiri and other delicacies from land and sea. The intimate counter with only ten seats offers a great view of the chefs at work, and the 17-course menu for $145 per person is a bargain for the quality and quantity of sushi you’ll be enjoying.

Book your reservation via Tock to ensure your spot at this popular restaurant!

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Arigato Sushi

1225 State St, Santa Barbara, CA 
https://www.arigatosb.com

Arigato Sushi’s modern Japanese food (Santa Barbara style 😉 )and sushi rolls are prepared with high-quality, fresh ingredients. Its casual setting is perfect for lunch or dinner, and its menu features a variety of hand rolls, nigiri and sashimi, as well as combos and entrées.

Some of our most popular appetizers include our hot shot, carpaccio, gold shot, salmon cooler and more. For something hot, try their hot appetizers, or their spicy seafood or miso soup. The entrees include gyoza, soft shell crab, pan seared scallops and grilled chicken breast.

And don’t forget to check out their special rolls! Some of the most popular include the Palm Springs, Pacific Rim, blue-man, Dracula and swinging rolls. For sure, you’ll find something you love.

Bibi Ji

 734 State St, Santa Barbara, CA 
https://bibijisb.com

Bibi Ji, a top rated Asian restaurant in Santa Barbara, is the perfect place to enjoy fresh, local seafood and traditional Indian cuisine. With a menu that highlights the abundance of local seafood and produce, Bibi Ji offers a unique dining experience that is sure to please any palate. Whether you are enjoying the private back patio or inside the spacious restaurant, you will be sure to find the perfect dish to satisfy your hunger. With an atmosphere and menu unlike anything else in Central California, Bibi Ji is not your typical Indian joint and this year was among the new additions to The Michelin Guide’s California Central Coast section. So come and experience the rich colors, fresh aromas, and enlivened sounds of Bibi Ji – you won’t be disappointed! 

The Black Sheep

26 E Ortega St, Santa Barbara, CA 
https://www.blacksheepsb.com

where to eat in santa barbara california

In short, the Black Sheep, now serving Asian delights for 8 straight years, is a sure sign that this place is one excellent Asian restaurant in Santa Barbara. It is a place where you can expect delicious, creative food that will sometimes push the boundaries of your comfort zone. The restaurant is also committed to sourcing their ingredients from local and sustainable sources. Ruben Perez and his family strive to create a warm and inviting atmosphere for all of their guests. Whether you’re looking for an innovative dining experience or a comfortable place to relax with friends, the Black Sheep is the perfect spot. 

Yoichi’s

 230 E Victoria St, Santa Barbara, CA 
http://www.yoichis.com

The heart of the menu at Yoichi’s is Japanese multi-course dining. For the full experience, order the seven-course or five-course Kaiseki Tasting Menu. Chef Yoichi Kamada will take you on a culinary journey, featuring fresh, locally sourced ingredients and beautifully plated dishes.

The best asian restaurants in santa barbara.JPG

If you’re not feeling up for the tasting menu, you can’t go wrong with a selection from the regular menu. Start with the chef’s selection of just-plucked-from-the-sea sashimi. Then try the grilled miso-marinated Chilean Sea Bass or Wagyu Beef – both are delicious choices.

Pro Tip: Trying a sake with dinner is the perfect way to complement Yoichi’s menu. You should also consider one of their other beguiling Japanese wines as a dinner accompaniment.

TAP Thai 

3130 State St, Santa Barbara, CA
https://www.tapthaicuisine.com

TAP Thai, definitely a signature Thai restaurant in Santa Barbara, is a go-to spot for a trendy and delicious Thai meal for many. The contemporary interior design makes it feel modern and chic, while the traditional menu items give you a taste of Thailand that you won’t find anywhere else. The Pad Thai is my personal favorite, but I also highly recommend their pineapple fried rice and panang curry. And don’t forget to ask for a complimentary Thai tea when you check in on Yelp – it’s served in a cute mason jar and is the perfect way to cool down after a spicy meal.

The best asian food in santa barbara

This is not your typical Thai restaurant. At TAP Thai, they believe that healthy food doesn’t have to be boring. Their menu features all of your favorite Thai dishes made with fresh, locally-sourced ingredients. They also offer a variety of vegan and vegetarian options, so there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Noodle City 

5869 Hollister Ave, Goleta, CA
https://noodlecitygoleta.com

Noodle City, specializing in Vietnamese food in Santa Barbara, is the perfect place to go for a steaming bowl of Bun Bo Hue. The traditional spicy beef noodle soup is delicious and will definitely hit the spot on a gloomy day. The soup is also a great hangover cure! If you’re looking for something different than pho, then this is the place to go. The only downside is that it can be a bit pricey. But overall, Noodle City is a great restaurant that I would highly recommend to anyone visiting Santa Barbara.

Vietnamese food in Santa Barbara.jpg

Noodle City is also the perfect place to go if you’re looking for a delicious and hearty bowl of pho—a Vietnamese noodle soup with vermicelli noodles soaked up in beef and pork bone broth that has been slow-cooked for hours. This is topped either with chicken or beef.

Secret Bao 

1201 Anacapa St, Santa Barbara, CA
https://www.secretbaosb.com

The bao is a versatile dish that can be enjoyed at any meal. Whether you’re looking for a quick snack or a hearty meal, there’s a bao for you. There are endless regional variants of the bao, so you’re sure to find one that suits your taste. The fillings for bao can range from savory to sweet, so there’s something for everyone.

the best asian restaurants in santa barbara

If you’re looking for a unique culinary experience, look no further than Secret Bao. This restaurant offers a variety of bao and other Asian-inspired and Asian-fusion dishes that will tantalize your taste buds. From the maitake bao to the KFC (Korean-styled Fried Chicken), there’s something for everyone on the menu. So come on down and give Secret Bao a try! You won’t be disappointed.


Looking for more things to do in Santa Barbara? Check out our hiking guide in Santa Barbara for an adrenaline-pact trip to SoCal!


Empty Bowl Gourmet Noodle Bar

38 W Victoria St #109, Santa Barbara, CA
http://www.emptybowlnoodle.com

If you’re in the mood for some authentic Thai and Taiwanese food, then Empty Bowl Gourmet Noodle Bar is the place for you. They have a wide range of noodle bowls and small plates that are sure to tantalize your taste buds. The beef noodle soup and red chicken curry are particularly popular dishes. And if you have a sweet tooth, be sure to try their delicious ice cream.

asian noodles in santa barbara california

The atmosphere at Empty Bowl is casual and relaxed, making it the perfect place to unwind after a long day. The service is also top-notch, so you can be sure that you’ll be well taken care of. Best of all, the prices are very reasonable considering the high quality of the food. So if you’re looking for a great meal without breaking the bank, then Empty Bowl is the spot for you.

Wabi Sabi

38 W Victoria St #119, Santa Barbara, CA
https://www.wabisabisb.com

 Santa Barbara Public Market is the perfect place to enjoy a meal with friends and family. With its convenient location and wide selection of food and drinks, the Public Market is a great place to relax and unwind after a long day. Wabi Sabi is a great choice for those looking for an authentic Japanese dining experience. With its delicious food and friendly staff, Wabi Sabi is sure to make your visit to the Santa Barbara Public Market a memorable one. 

santa barbara food guide

At Wabi Sabi, you’ll find an incredible variety of sushi, sashimi, and sushi rolls, all crafted with the freshest ingredients and expert precision. Whether you’re in the mood for something light and refreshing or something heartier, Wabi Sabi has something to tantalize your taste buds. So come on down to the Santa Barbara Public Market and explore all that Wabi Sabi has to offer! 

Sushi Go Go

119 Harbor Way, Santa Barbara, CA
https://www.talech.com/biz/ordering/456576/SUSHI-GO-GO-SANTA-BARBARA-CA#/menu

Sushi Go Go, childish it may sound, strives to provide you with a fantastic sushi experience by using only the freshest ingredients and preparing each dish with care. Their menu features a wide variety of sushi rolls, nigiri, and sashimi, as well as traditional Japanese entrees. They also offer a selection of beer, wine, and sake to complement your meal.

the best asian restaurants in santa barbara california

Whether you’re a sushi lover or trying it for the first time, we welcome you to come and enjoy our food and hospitality.


Still figuring out what to do in the American Reviera? Check out our ultimate travel guide to Santa Barbara, California.


Lao Wang 

6530 Pardall Rd SUIT.B, Goleta, CA
http://www.laowangstreetfood.com

Lao Wang is go-to spot for a late night bowl of noodles for many. Their premade combo, the “Our Way Choice” is my favorite, as it features their traditional soup base with egg noodles, assorted veggies, chicken, and beef balls. It’s savory and hits all my requirements for a delicious bowl of noodles. They also have various condiments to spice it up, including chili oil, spicy mayo and prickly ash oil, also known as Szechuan peppercorn oil!

Your Place

22 N Milpas St Ste A Santa Barbara, 

I would definitely recommend this restaurant if you are looking for some good Thai food! The menu has lots of options and variety, and the food is great. I got the basil chicken and the beef stir fry, and they were both delicious. The Thai tea was also very good. It wasn’t too sweet and you could really taste the tea itself. The mango sticky rice was also great. The mangos were sweet and fresh, and the glutinous rice itself was not too sticky or overcooked. Overall, I would definitely recommend this restaurant if you are looking for some good Thai food. It is a bit more on the pricey side compared to other places, but it is worth it in my opinion.

China Pavilion


1202 Chapala St
Santa Barbara, CA

Of course, this list will never be complete without some of the locals’ go-to Chinese food! The Santa Barbara’s locals’ go-to for a variety of Chinese eats & weekend dim sum, China Pavilion is known for its authentic dishes on a special menu. From Szechuan to Cantonese, there’s something for everyone at this beloved restaurant.}

China Pavilion is the perfect place to go for a delicious and authentic Chinese food in Santa Barbara Whether you’re looking for a quick bite or a leisurely feast, this restaurant has something for everyone. The menu features a wide variety of Chinese dishes, including Szechuan, Cantonese, and Hunan cuisine. And on weekends, you can enjoy a delicious dim sum brunch. So come on by China Pavilion and experience the best of Chinese cuisine!

Shanghai Chinese Restaurant

Known for their yummy Chinese food, Shanghai Chinese Restaurant in Santa Barbara is a great place to visit when you’re craving something Chinese and delicious. With a wide variety of menu items to choose from, including vegetarian options, there’s something for everyone at this popular spot. So next time you’re in the mood for some good old fashioned Chinese cuisine, be sure to check out Shanghai Chinese Restaurant! You won’t be disappointed.

Whether you are looking for something spicy and hot or something more rich and flavorful, experience Asia in a plate or bowl. If there are other Asian restaurants that you think that should be part of our top Asian restaurant in Santa Barbara, ping us up!

Jona of Backpacking with a Book

Hi there, I’m Jona! I’m in my early 30s and is currently based in Ha Noi, Vietnam.I primarily write poetry and short stories in Cebuano and lengthy travel essays in English. Blogging has become an outlet to think out loud. I live the life I set for myself. I try to live an unapologetic life. For collaborations, projects, and other things, please email me at backpackingwithabook@gmail.com. Find me somewhere else!

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  1. […] you’re looking for sushi, Thai curry, or anything in between, our Santa Barbara food guide has got you […]

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