Above: Stearns Wharf, Santa Barbara, California - GETTY IMAGES

Waterfront Seafood Dining in Santa Barbara

When I asked friends to name the best waterfront seafood restaurant in Santa Barbara, two establishments were consistently cited: the Santa Barbara Shellfish Company and Brophy Bros. Seafood Restaurant & Clam Bar. We decided to try both.

Santa Barbara Shellfish Company

Shrimp tacos from Santa Barbara Shellfish Company in Santa Barbara, California - Photo by Hideaway Report editor

The Santa Barbara Shellfish Company is located at the end of Stearns Wharf and offers panoramic views. Alas, even at 11:30 a.m. the waitlist was almost two pages long. There is a side window through which you can order food to go, but the benches nearby are restrooms for seagulls. After waiting for nearly an hour, we were seated at a prime table on the waterside deck. The staff was efficient without being pushy, the view was beautiful, and we could smell the salt of the ocean. Our appetizers arrived at the same time as our mains, which was irritating, so as my guest ate his scallop ceviche, he watched his shrimp tacos get cold. My clam chowder starter seemed to be virtually clam-free and consisting primarily of large chunks of potato. And the Dungeness crab Louie salad was served over mixed greens that had been drowned in Thousand Island dressing. Although the service and the views were first-rate, the food was extremely disappointing.

Santa Barbara Shellfish Company
230 Stearns Wharf Tel. (805) 966-6676

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