Embark on a Culinary Adventure in North Santa Barbara County

Photo by Visit Santa Maria Valley

In the heart of California’s picturesque coast lies Santa Barbara Wine Country, boasting a collection of esteemed eateries that consistently garner top ratings. Our chefs and dining establishments have proudly secured Michelin Stars and Bib awards, multiple awards from Food & Wine, Wine Enthusiast, and Wine Spectator, plus too many California and Local Foodie awards to count! And this lively food scene, plus the home of Santa Maria-style barbecue, is right outside your door at Valley View Estates.

Here, amidst the birthplace of Santa Maria-style barbecue and further afield, you’ll discover a diverse array of culinary delights. From acclaimed Italian and French fare to artisanal bakeries and authentic Santa Maria-style barbecue spots, the options are plentiful. Indulge in award-winning pizzas, tantalizing Thai cuisine, savory Mexican dishes, and comforting down-home cooking. And for those with a sweet tooth, our local ice cream parlor awaits, alongside the trendiest spots offering breathtaking vistas.

Origins of Santa Maria Barbecue: Tracing the Heritage of a Legendary Culinary Tradition

Once mere ranchlands, Santa Maria blossomed into a culinary hub in the mid-19th century, where vaqueros were treated to Spanish-style feasts. Picture dry-rubbed beef tri-tip sizzling over red oak fires, served alongside zesty salsa. Today, this iconic barbecue style reigns supreme, gracing the tables of steak houses and backyard gatherings alike, often accompanied by regional pinquito beans and freshly baked bread.

Santa Maria’s Top Barbecue Hotspots

  1. Far Western Tavern: Orcutt’s culinary gem offers a contemporary twist on traditional ranch cuisine, paying homage to Santa Maria-style barbecue with flair.
  2. The Hitching Post: Nestled in the quaint town of Casmalia, this historic eatery exudes authenticity, serving up some of the finest renditions of Santa Maria barbecue.
  3. Century Room at the Historic Santa Maria Inn: Step into elegance at this renowned establishment, where fresh, inventive California cuisine meets timeless Santa Maria flavors.
  4. Jocko’s: Since 1926, Nipomo has savored the delights of this legendary steakhouse, celebrated for its hearty portions and unwavering dedication to Santa Maria’s culinary heritage.

Discover the Allure of Old Town Orcutt

Established in 1906 amidst the Santa Maria Valley’s oil boom, Orcutt emerged as a bustling hub of commerce. Today, it stands as the quaint heart of the Santa Maria Valley, enchanting both locals and visitors alike with its array of culinary delights, libations, and charming boutiques.

Trattoria Uliveto, in the heart of Old Town Orcutt, invites guests to savor Chef Alfonso Curti’s culinary prowess. Delight in a tantalizing array of authentic Italian dishes, complemented by an extensive wine selection, craft cocktails, and delectable desserts.

For a taste of home-cooked comfort, look no further than Kay’s Orcutt Country Kitchen, renowned for serving up the finest breakfast fare on the Central Coast. Meanwhile, several bakeries and delis dot the charming streets, including homemade Orcutt Ice Cream, found at Gina’s Piece of Cake. Pizzeria Bello Forno specializes in artisanal wood-fired pizzas that perfectly complement the region’s renowned wines.

Embark on a culinary adventure at Presqui’le Winery, just a short drive from Valley View Estates. Treat yourself to the Mezze Picnic paired with a delightful wine flight—an indulgent lunch experience featuring a medley of savory delights such as Gazpacho, Hummus/Bean Dip, Farmer’s Cheese, Marinated Steak, and more, accompanied by house-made focaccia, crackers, and pita. Prepare to tantalize your taste buds and leave fully satisfied.

Exploring the Charms of Los Alamos

Just a short drive from Orcutt, Los Alamos exudes an effortlessly cool vibe that’s as captivating as it is charming. This hidden gem, situated just 15 minutes down the 101, boasts a vibrant culinary scene teeming with gourmet chefs, tantalizing comfort fare, and chic boutique hotels—all set against the backdrop of local wineries and historic buildings.

Bell’s Los Alamos, recently crowned with the prestigious Food & Wine Best New Chef award, beckons food enthusiasts with its French-inspired bistro cuisine. Formerly known as Bell Street Farm, this culinary haven is the brainchild of Daisy and Greg Ryan, whose culinary journey includes stints at iconic Michelin-starred establishments.

Meanwhile, Bob’s Well Bread captivates patrons with its artisanal, handcrafted bread, earning accolades from Travel + Leisure Magazine as one of the top 15 bakeries in small towns.

Plenty on Bell, helmed by the visionary Chef Jesper Johansson, promises a symphony of flavors with its comforting creations, tantalizing breakfast burritos, and renowned peanut butter cookies. For a modern dining experience, Pico, housed in Little LA’s historic General Store, delights diners with its seasonal offerings sourced directly from local farmers and winemakers, complemented by an extensive wine selection from around the globe.

Norman at Skyview Los Alamos emerges as the town’s latest hotspot, offering a chic ambiance and elevated culinary delights, all against the backdrop of breathtaking views.

Exploring Exquisite Dining Further Afield

Venturing beyond Los Alamos, culinary explorers are rewarded with an array of gastronomic delights in the Five Cities region, including Spoon Trade, Ember, Ventana Grill, and the Oyster Loft. Meanwhile, wine aficionados will find bliss in the Santa Ynez Valley, home to First & Oak, the area’s only Michelin-named restaurant, alongside Coast Range, SY Kitchen, and more.

No matter where your culinary journey takes you, our local wine country restaurants deliver a heavenly dining experience.

Related Posts:

American flag outside building with barn mural.

Things to Do in Orcutt

Orcutt, California Orcutt, California, nestled in Santa Barbara County, holds a charming blend of history, contemporary delights, and natural beauty,

Scroll to Top