Gaby’s Guide to Santa Ynez (and surrounding areas)

When one of your best friends picks up and moves to Santa Ynez there’s only once sensible thing to do… quarterly trips up north to explore the area, get some quality time with one of your besties and eat ALL THE FOOD!

Santa Ynez is magic. It’s one of my favorite places in all of California. The food, the people, the vibes, the cute shops… it’s absolutely worth a visit. Below you’ll find my must-see, must-do, must-eat places if you’re ready for a trip!

COFFEE + BREAKFAST + BRUNCH:

Bob’s Well Bread – Can’t miss this stop for all the pastries! Truly some of the best pastries I’ve had stateside!

Queen Cup Coffee – you know I love a latte when I’m off on vacation!

Good Seed Coffee Boutique – Obvi… the more the merrier! Thomas will stop at every amazing coffee stop on any trip!

LUNCH:

Belle’s – Would never pass up a trip to Belle’s in Los Alamos. It’s truly such a wonderful French restaurant! It’s a splurge so just be aware. But really a special place!

Bubbles
“Chips & Dip”
Wild Burgundy Snails
Steak Frites

The Lucky Hen Larder – if you’re looking for a quick lunch or cheeseboard or sandwich… this is the place!

Panino – more sandwiches! Kinda a local institution!

DINNER:

Bar Le Côte – Run, don’t walk, to Bar Le Côte. It’s a seafood Tavern in Los Olivos and it’s darling.

Crab Claws
Gambas
Arroz Verde

SY Kitchen – one of my favorite places to stop for dinner and a bottle of wine!

Nella Kitchen & Bar – same owners as SY Kitchen. Great for a brunch on the patio.

Industrial Eats – a little bit outside of SY but great pizza and a perfect place to take kids.

THINGS TO DO:

Wine tasting at Brave and Maiden – omg the chicest winery in town! I’m obsessed.

Carhartt Family Wines – another great stop for wine tasting.

Santa Ynez General Store – TAKE ALL MY MONEY. I love this place so much. The candles are out of this world and their inventory is beyond.

Forage Florals – a super cute floral store if you need some fresh stems. They also offer flower arrangement classes too!

Finley Farms Honor Stand – omg an honor farmstand! Can you even! How cute is that! Just swing by for whatever produce you need.

New Frontiers Natural Marketplace – perhaps one of my favorite grocery stores of all times.

WHERE TO STAY:

Hotel Ynez – an old motel that was converted into a cute little hipster hotel! Minimal but perfect

The Landsby – if you want something more in town, this is a great and walkable to everything in Solvang.

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12 comments

  1. Lisa

    From someone who lives in the area, I will absolutely agree with your suggestions. Bob’s Well Bread had fantastic foods in addition to their pastries. And Industrial Eats…fantastic!

  2. Suze McClellan

    I’m on a trap shooting league & every Wednesday night my buddies & I eat at the brothers restaurant/Red Barn in Santa Ynez. It’s sooo good! In the old days it was The Red Barn. It was good then, better now.
    I hope you’ll try it one day.

  3. Debbie G

    Lucky me. I live in Long Beach, Ca & we frequently go to Santa Ynez. We time our trip to be at Bob’s when they open. He gives us tips on wineries we should try. There is so much to do & eat without needing an agenda. Relax & let the experience flow.

  4. amy

    Some of my favorite places….Bob’s, SY, Nella and Industrial Eats. Gahhh SO SO good! Agree also with Panino if you need a quick bite. Another note the food at Roblar Winery Tasting room is VERY good. Can’t wait to check out a coffee shop. That’s one thing I’ve not done in Santa Ynez.

  5. Nancy

    My daughter moved to Solvang last year. Love visiting her there! So many places to check out!

  6. Kitty

    Trattoria Grappalo in Santa Ynez! It’s not on your list but it should be! We sit at the bar so we can watch all the action in the kitchen!

  7. Ellen Bryant

    Hey Gaby, such a neat town. Your Friend is a very lucky person. Thanks, for Sharing. Loved It!!! More Please

  8. Joan Wechsler

    My mout is watering and my desire to travel (from Florida) to see the sites is palpable.
    How sad it’s impossible for us.
    I’ll just have to see it through your eyes.
    Joan Wechsler
    PS I love and TRUST your recipes

  9. Cinde Lou Johnson

    Hi there,

    You lucky girl…SY area…! Next time go a bit further up Foxen Canyon to Foxen Winery and chat with head vintner Billy Wathen. There is a lot of good history with that place.

    You could chat about food with each other while sipping some very nice wine!

    Hope you make it there…

    Take care,
    Cinde Lou Johnson

  10. Lucia Donahower

    Wow Gaby, Santa Ynez looks terrific! I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and love taking trips down to Santa Barbara and nearby areas.
    Thank you for this tip.
    Lucy

  11. T

    I just booked a tasting at Brave and Maiden thanks to your rec, and we are looking forward to trying your other recs when we visit Santa Ynez area next month. Thanks so much for these guides!