Crowds pack Santa Barbara's most popular restaurants (especially on a three-day weekend), so when it comes to dining, look for these neighborhood favorites instead.
East Beach Grill Bike up to this outdoor café, located only steps from the sand in a historic Cabrillo bathhouse. Hearty blueberry wheat-germ pancakes ($8) will fill you up for the day; eggs your way ($6.75) come with a piquant homemade salsa. The grill's coffee is dark, strong and warm, which is a good thing--SB's morning fog isn't always in a hurry to burn off. 1188 E. Cabrillo Blvd.; 805-965-8805
Farmers' Markets The weekly downtown farmers' markets attract many growers who never leave the county, like Mister Drew and his explosively juicy hydroponic berries. While the Saturday market (at Santa Barbara and Cota streets) is the larger of the two, the 50-stand Tuesday market (at the end of State St.) regularly attracts locals, tourists and chefs. sbfarmersmarket.org
Super Cuca's Julia Child loved La Super-Rica, but this family-run Westside taco stand and carniceria is popular with surfers for its mega-sized burritos--and because it's open 24 hours on weekends. Hard-shell tacos filled with well-seasoned al pastor ($6) come buried in chunky guacamole; add the slow-roasted tomatillo salsa verde for some kick. 623 W. Micheltorena St.; 805-962-4028 or supercucas3.com
Seagrass Restaurant This sister (pictured) to SB's popular Bouchon restaurant places an emphasis on local seafood. You'll find dishes like ginger-marinated butterfish ($28) in a not-too-sweet coconut broth with braised bok choy and marbled mashed yams, and a carefully edited wine list featuring Central Coast favorites like Melville and Turley. 30 E. Ortega St.; 805-963-1012 or seagrassrestaurant.com
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