Cristal's Blog


September 11, 2023

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Santa Barbara, often referred to as The American Riviera®, has long been celebrated for its stunning coastline, picturesque landscapes, and vibrant culture. Adding to its allure is the dynamic Santa Barbara culinary scene that continually evolves with the introduction of exciting new restaurants. If you're a food enthusiast looking to indulge in delightful dining experiences, below you will find some Santa Barbara restaurants that are sure to tantalize your taste buds.

Some of my personal favorite places to eat include:

A delicious looking Indian chicken dish with cheese and green chutney
Bibi Ji. Photo by The Last Peach, courtesy of Bibi Ji

Bibi Ji: Where Indian Cuisine Meets Fine Wine
Experience a harmonious fusion of reimagined Indian cuisine and a remarkable wine list at Bibi Ji. Owners Alejandro Medina and James Beard award-winning sommelier Rajat Parr offer a menu that highlights traditional Indian curries and chutneys paired with fresh produce sourced from the farmers market. As such, the menu changes seasonally. Don't miss the chance to pair your favorite vintage with the Santa Barbara uni stuffed with biryani, a delightful blend of spiced rice and ocean flavors.

The brown shingle exterior of Oliver's Restaurant in Montecito
Photo Courtesy of Oliver's of Montecito

Oliver’s: A Vegan Haven in Montecito
Discover the epitome of chic vegan cuisine at Montecito's gem: Oliver's. Led by plant-forward guru Matthew Kenney, this stylish spot serves up delectable vegan dishes that redefine the culinary landscape. Indulge in their mouthwatering avocado toast, artfully presented on turmeric oat bread and garnished with shaved cucumber. For a truly enchanting experience, opt for a table in or near the patio, where lighted trees create an ambiance reminiscent of an enchanted forest.

Wine glasses behind a steak dinner at Blackbird Restaurant
Image courtesy of Hotel Californian

Blackbird: Old World Luxury with a West Coast Twist
Treat yourself to the best of both worlds at Blackbird, the in-house restaurant of the Hotel Californian. This culinary haven combines Old World luxury with the laid-back vibes of the West Coast, delivering seasonally inspired dishes and craft cocktails with a Mediterranean flair. Prepare to be enchanted by their obsessively curated menu that captures the essence of Santa Barbara's culinary scene.

Flor de Maiz: Oaxacan Cuisine on the Waterfront
Santa Barbara's waterfront dining scene includes Flor de Maiz, a novel culinary concept that pays homage to the rich and innovative cuisine of Oaxaca, a region in Mexico with an illustrious culinary heritage dating back centuries, and whose gastronomy enjoys global acclaim. The heart of Flor de Maiz is its open kitchen, where patrons can marvel at the art of crafting fresh tortillas while enjoying the lively ambiance of the adjacent bar. The restaurant also boasts prime patio seating that provides stunning vistas of Stearns Wharf, the Harbor, and the striking Santa Barbara coastline. 

The veranda of Brophy Bros. restaurant over looking the Santa Barbara Harbor
Damian Gadal, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

• Brophy Bros.: A Harborside Institution
Brophy Bros. is renowned for its exceptional, fresh seafood offerings. As a family-operated bar and restaurant, they uphold the highest standards of food quality. Their prime harbor location adds to the allure of the dining experience. With its picturesque setting, the view from Brophy Bros. is truly captivating. Few experiences rival the pleasure of savoring delectable cuisine and sipping cold beverages while gazing out over the harbor. It's important to note that reservations are not accepted, which means you may anticipate a wait of approximately 30 to 60 minutes for a table on most days. Nevertheless, the outstanding food and the breathtaking view more than compensate for any wait endured.

The landscape of the Santa Barbara culinary scene continues to evolve, with each restaurant adding its own unique flair to the city's dining palette. Whether you're a vegan food enthusiast, have an adventurous spirit seeking to dine on the waterfront, or someone looking to relish in divine dishes, Santa Barbara has something to delight every food lover. So, embark on a gastronomic journey and experience the wonderful offerings of these new culinary hotspots on The American Riviera.

Another landscape that continues to evolve in Santa Barbara is real estate. Check out my website for information on amazing properties currently on the market in Montecito and the surrounding communities. Find something you like? Just give me a call at (805) 886-9378 or email me at Meanwhile, enjoy the Santa Barbara culinary scene!

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Client Reviews

“It was an emotional experience selling our mother’s home in Montecito that we all loved so much but Cristal made the process easier on our whole family by guiding us through the transaction every step of the way. She knows the market so well and everything she recommended was on point including the asking price, painting, and staging the home, which looked beautiful and helped the buyer envision her new home. We sold it the first day it hit the market with an offer above asking! Cristal did an incredible job communicating with us and the buyer to ensure that the transaction would run smoothly. We highly recommend using Cristal, she was a pleasure to work with! ”

- J & A

“Cristal is a pleasure to work with! Her knowledge of the local real estate market coupled with her amazing listening skills resulted in her showing us an array of homes that were all excellent choices. Her low-pressure patient attitude made us feel extremely comfortable with the whole process. I cannot recommend her highly enough.”

- M.F.

“Cristal Clarke is #1 in her field - and you don't become #1 by luck. Cristal works harder, and longer, and with more charm and patience than any real estate agent I have ever worked with in the past; her calendar has no weekend, her days have no clocks, her only concern is selling your property as soon as possible and for the best price on the market. Am I a fan? You bet!”

- P.B.

“We have used Cristal now several times and cannot express how grateful we are for her expertise, dedication, and unwavering support throughout the entire home-buying process. Cristal is knowledgeable, patient and attentive. Her attention to detail is remarkable, and she consistently went above and beyond to provide us with all the information and resources we needed to make informed decisions. Cristal is a skillful negotiator and advocate. She can navigate complex negotiations with professionalism and grace and felt like a true partner to us in the home-buying process. Cristal has a genuine passion for real estate and a deep commitment to her clients' satisfaction. I cannot speak highly enough of Cristal and her exceptional service. She is a true expert in her field and her dedication to excellence, combined with unwavering support is the reason we choose to work with her for all our real estate buying needs.”

- T.C.

“Cristal is a top-notch realtor who sold my home before it ever went on the market. I had two competing offers that enabled me to get top dollar for my home. Not only is Cristal superb but her team is extraordinary. I cannot say enough about Cristal and her team. They are simply phenomenal, the consummate professionals, who took care of every possible detail, making the sale and transition period, smooth from our end. They are also lovely, caring people, who knew all the right professionals, to get the job done. Thank you, everyone!”

- D.R.

“I could list lots of cool adjectives to describe Cristal. All good by the way. But, that is not why I or anyone should hire Cristal. My reason for hiring her, which proved to be correct, is very simple. She got the job done. And, she does it time and time again and with zero issues. And, that is why she is one of the top agents in the country. End of subject. ”

- M.A.

“Working with Cristal was a complete pleasure. Cristal was extremely patient with us as we evaluated nearly 2 dozen homes over a span of 2 years. Her knowledge of the market is unmatched. Cristal provided us with exceptional counsel as we evaluated opportunities and negotiated pricing. The closing process was handled thoroughly and efficiently. We could not be happier with our purchase and even more happy to now call Cristal our friend.”

- D.K.

“Cristal Clarke has conducted numerous real estate transactions for me beginning 13 years ago with the purchase of a Lemon Ranch. She has handled both large and small purchases and sales with equal dedication. As a negotiator, you can’t find anyone better. Her transactions are always conducted in the most appropriate and professional manner. Cristal has considerable knowledge of the Santa Barbara market.”

- S.N. Decker Ph.D.

“Living in Europe, we were to say the least, unaccustomed to the nuances of Real Estate acquisition in California and Cristal steered us through the process with absolute professionalism and personal attention to detail at every turn. Her in-depth knowledge of the market place combined with enthusiasm and drive was the only reason we secured the property of our dreams and will be forever grateful. If you are looking for personal discrete and private representation of the highest quality we suggest you look no further than Cristal Clarke.”

- Johan and Paula van den Berg

“Cristal is very straightforward, cheerful, helpful, professional and trustworthy….we felt very lucky to work with her.”

- John and Lacey Williams

“After considering our many choices, we are grateful it was Cristal Clarke of Sotheby’s International who represented the sale of our Montecito cottage. We are familiar with Cristal’s reputation of hard work and dedication to clients, but it was her attention to detail that made our experience so positive. She offered suggestions for staging the property, worked in harmony with potential buyers and was even able to secure back up offers. The sale of our cottage was completed much sooner than we expected, due in great part to Cristal’s professional skills and support. We highly recommend Cristal as a first choice for anyone needing representation with real estate.”

- Michael & Nancy Lee

“Our experience in working with Cristal Clarke resulted in the successful and discrete acquisition of a property which was not yet on the open market. Her knowledge of the Montecito/Santa Barbara area and vast expertise blended with her passion for real estate and architecture, provided us with the very highest level of professionalism and personalized services. Cristal exhibited a rare combination of excellent communications, attention to detail, creativity and patience.”

- Richard and Catherine Frinier

“Cristal really breaks the mold. She knows every nook and cranny of this real estate market, understands value, and follows up on everything, all the time. She was incredibly patient with our two year quest to find the perfect house. Every house hunting trip from across the country was well planned, and our time was never wasted. On top of her professionalism and expertise, she is delightful to spend time with. We are thrilled with the home we purchased, and grateful to Cristal for so wisely advising us through this process, right through to the close and beyond.”

- Laurie Siegel

“We met Cristal first in the course of renting a winter home (for three years), then buying a house using her as our agent. She was amazingly good at listening to our wants and showing us homes that fit our needs. Her mastery of the paperwork was perfect. Most importantly, there was never a situation where we doubted her straightforwardness or integrity. If we do another real estate transaction in Montecito (which I doubt, we’re happy with what we purchased), without question we’d use Cristal again.”

- Ken Saffir

“Susan and I just want to thank you for your efforts in the sale of our home. You are really quite amazing. Your competence, persistence, optimism and humor made the entire process effortless. Every problem that arose, you somehow fixed; any obstacle, you overcame. We have bought and sold many homes. It has never been such a painless and enjoyable process!”

- Michael & Susan Marquart

“A little something about “our” realtor, Cristal Clarke. My wife and I came to Santa Barbara about fifteen years ago looking for a seasonal home from which to enjoy the weather and amenities of the central coast. Being in the real estate business myself I was familiar with agents and brokers so entered the market with open eyes. We “flipped” a few houses in the early years, dealing with various agents and finally ended up in Montecito. That’s when good fortune put us together with Cristal. To say we were impressed is to put it mildly. Cristal really knows the market. She is familiar with the area, its history and trends. When we have questions about a particular property she either has the answers immediately or gets back to us by phone or email. There is no waiting or wondering with Cristal. She is an agent who is “on top of it.” Her recommendations as to price points, contractors, inspectors and title agents have proven to be exceptional, showing great insight and the highest professional standards. We consider ourselves exceedingly fortunate to say that Cristal Clarke is our realtor and would recommend her services to any serious buyer or seller.”

- Rob & Judi Kelch