Are you looking for a sit down restaurant where you can get a nice gluten free meal in Santa Barbara, California? Or maybe you are looking for a fast casual spot where you can grab a gluten free meal on the go? Well either way, you are in the right place! In this article, we tell you all about our favorite restaurants that offer gluten free options in the Santa Barbara area.
For each restaurant we discuss in this article, we will provide information on a few specific characteristics. This information will help you decide which gluten free restaurant best suits your tastes and preferences. We start out by describing these characteristics. After that, we discuss some of our favorite sit down restaurants in Santa Barbara. Then we discuss some of our favorite fast casual restaurants in the Santa Barbara area.
Note. We are just starting to explore the Santa Barbara restaurant scene. We will continue to update this article as we find more spots that we love.
Characteristics of restaurants in Santa Barbara
What characteristics will we use to describe each restaurant in Santa Barbara? Here are the main characteristics that we will describe for each of the restaurants in Santa Barbara.
- Gluten free status. First, we will discuss the gluten free status of each restaurant. This will include information on whether the restaurant is dedicated to gluten free food or not. If a restaurant is not dedicated to gluten free food, we will provide additional information to help assess the risk of cross contamination.
- Other dietary restrictions. After that, we will provide information on whether each restaurant caters to other food allergies and dietary restrictions. Some of these restaurants are specifically dedicated to gluten free diners, whereas others cater to patrons with multiple different food allergies and dietary preferences.
- Cuisine. Next, we will provide more information on the food that is served at each restaurant. This includes information about what type of cuisine the menu focuses on. It also includes information on any specialties that the restaurant has.
- Atmosphere. After we talk about the cuisine that is served at each restaurant, we will provide information on the atmosphere of the restaurant. This will include information about the energy level and the level of formality of each restaurant. It will also include information about the decor and ambiance at each restaurant.
- Location. Then we will include information about the location of each restaurant. This will include information about whether each restaurant is in a bustling downtown area or whether it is a more remote location. It will also include information about whether each restaurant is located in Santa Barbara proper or in a neighboring suburb.
- Seating. Finally, we will provide information about the seating options that are available at the restaurant. This includes information on whether there is indoor or outdoor seating available. It also includes information on whether seating is competitive and whether reservations are recommended.
Gluten free sit down restaurants in Santa Barbara
Now that we have described the characteristics we will use to provide more information on each of the gluten free restaurants we discuss in this article, we will talk about some of our favorite restaurants in Santa Barbara. We will start out by talking about our favorite sit down restaurants that offer gluten free options in Santa Barbara.
Mizza is an Italian restaurant and pizzeria that is located right in the heart of downtown Santa Barbara. Mizza is a popular choice among locals and tourists alike because it has a large storefront on a popular street that is lined with shops and restaurants. Mizza makes some of the best gluten free Italian food that we have had in California and have some dishes that are truly exquisite. In fact, Mizza is probably one of the reasons that we have not explored more restaurants in the Santa Barbara area – it is hard to go somewhere else when you know how good the food is at Mizza!
- Gluten free status. Mizza is not a dedicated gluten free restaurant. That being said, gluten free options are clearly marked on the menu and the restaurant takes precautions to prevent cross contamination. Some of the items that are not naturally gluten free can also be modified to be gluten free upon request.
- Other dietary restrictions. There are also vegetarian and vegan options available at Mizza, though there are more vegetarian options than vegan options. Vegetarian and vegan options are both clearly labeled on the menu.
- Cuisine. The menu at Mizza focuses primarily on Italian food. They have a fairly large menu that contains everything from eggplant rollatini to lobster risotto. They also have a large selection of pizzas that can be made with a gluten free crust.
- Atmosphere. Mizza has a lively and upbeat atmosphere, so it is a great place to meet friends for drinks or celebrate a special occasion. They have live entertainment some nights. This makes the atmosphere even more fun.
- Location. Mizza is located in the heart of downtown Santa Barbara. It is located on a popular section of State street that is lined with many shops and restaurants. Since it is located in such a popular downtown area, it is accessible via public transportation and has many public parking garages nearby.
- Seating. There is a large amount of indoor and outdoor seating available at Mizza. Since Mizza is located in such a busy area, seating can be competitive at times. We recommend making reservations at least a day or two ahead of time if possible, especially if you plan to go during peak dinner hours.
Gluten free fast casual restaurants in Santa Barbara
Now that we have discussed our favorite sit down restaurants in the Santa Barbara area, we will discuss some of our favorite fast casual restaurants and cafes that offer gluten free options in the Santa Barbara area. Note that these restaurants are ordered roughly in order of preference, with our favorite restaurants appearing towards the top of the list.
Lilac Patisserie is a lovely cafe and bakery that is located in the heart of downtown Santa Barbara. It is also located on State Street, just a few steps away from Mizza. This is a great place to go if you are looking for a cute cafe where you can pick up some breakfast or lunch. It is also an amazing spot to check out if you are just looking for a quick dessert.
- Gluten free status. Lilac Patisserie is a dedicated gluten free facility. Everything that they serve in their cafe and their bakery display is entirely gluten free.
- Other dietary restrictions. There are vegetarian options available in the cafe, though they are not clearly labeled. There are often vegan options available at the bakery, but the availability of these options can vary from day to day.
- Cuisine. Lilac Patisserie serves the usual types of dishes that you would expect to see at a small American cafe. Their breakfast menu consists of items like eggs and waffles. Their lunch menu is made up of items like soups and sandwiches. Their bakery serves a large variety of sweet treats and desserts.
- Atmosphere. Lilac Patisserie is a nice spot that is tastefully decorated with clean and chic accents. It definitely has a nicer ambiance than the other fast casual restaurants and cafes that we discuss in this article.
- Location. Lilac Patisserie is located on State Street, right in the heart of downtown Santa Barbara. It is in a popular area that is lined with lots of shops and restaurants. Since it is in such a bustling downtown area, there are lots of parking garages and public transportation options nearby.
- Seating. Most of the seating at Lilac Patisserie is located inside, but there are generally a few tables set up outdoors as well. Many people grab their food to go, so it is often possible to get a seat without having to wait long.
Poke Ceviche is a fun poke spot that is located in the neighboring town of Isla Vista. Poke Ceviche is located right on the outskirts of the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) campus, so it is a great spot to hit up when visiting someone at the university. Poke Ceviche makes some of our favorite poke bowls in Southern California and they are not shy about piling their bowls high with lots of sauces and toppings.
- Gluten free status. Poke Ceviche is not a dedicated gluten free restaurant. That being said, their menu is carefully labeled to denote exactly which items can and cannot be made gluten free. If you are building your own bowl or dish, they also label all of the individual ingredients as gluten free or not. The vast majority of the ingredients they use are gluten free.
- Other dietary restrictions. Vegan items and items that contain soy are also clearly marked on the menu. There are lots of vegan options available for anyone who maintains a vegan or vegetarian diet.
- Cuisine. Poke Ceviche serves poke bowls and similar dishes that can be customized to your liking. They serve burritos, salads, tacos, and nachos that can be loaded up with the same toppings as the poke bowls.
- Atmosphere. Poke Ceviche is a relatively casual spot that is popular with UCSB students.
- Location. Poke Ceviche is located in downtown Isla Vista, just a few miles outside of Santa Barbara. It is located on the outskirts of the UCSB campus, so there is generally a decent amount of parking available in the neighboring area. There are some bus lines that serve the campus nearby.
- Seating. There is both indoor and outdoor seating available at Poke Ceviche. Many people grab their meals to go, so it is generally easy to find a seat.
Just like Poke Ceviche, Woodstock Pizza is located right on the outskirts of the UCSB campus. That means that it is another great option if you are visiting someone at the university. Woodstock Pizza is a chain with multiple locations. In our experience, some locations follow better allergy protocols and have a better reputation in the gluten free community than others. The Isla Vista location happens to be one of those locations that is trusted among the gluten free community.
- Gluten free status. Woodstock Pizza is not a dedicated gluten free facility. Many of their pizzas can be made gluten free by substituting in a gluten free pizza crust. The staff that operate this location are generally well informed about cross contamination and follow a set of protocols to reduce the risk of cross contamination. For this reason, their gluten free pizzas can take significantly longer to prepare.
- Other dietary restrictions. Woodstock Pizza also has many vegetarian options available. Vegetarian options are not labeled on the menu, but they are generally pretty easy to spot.
- Cuisine. Woodstock Pizza is a pizzeria, so their menu largely focuses on various pizzas. That being said, they do offer other options such as salads and wings.
- Atmosphere. Woodstock Pizza is another relatively casual spot that is popular among the UCSB student body. The atmosphere is generally relatively laid back.
- Location. Much like Poke Ceviche, Woodstock Pizza is located in Isla Vista. Woodstock Pizza is also located on the outskirts of the UCSB campus, just a few blocks away from Poke Ceviche. That means that there are parking lots and public transit lines nearby.
- Seating. There is both indoor and outdoor seating available at Woodstock Pizza. It is generally fairly easy to get a seat.
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