The rural town of Los Alamos, about an hour from downtown Santa Barbara, has become a food- and wine-lover’s destination. It’s an easy spot to explore, just take US-101 to CA-135 to Bell Street, and you’re there.
Bell Street Farm (406 Bell St., 805/344-4609, bellstreetfarm.com) is listed in Yelp’s “Top 100 Restaurants in the U.S.” for its soups, salads, sandwiches, rotisserie chicken and charcuterie plates, all of which are prepared with the finest local ingredients and served with a nod of the cowboy hat by owner Jamie Gluck.
Full of Life Flatbread (225 Bell St., 805/344-4400, fulloflifefoods.com) is known for inventive combinations of ingredients on its namesake flatbread, but “We’re not a pizza restaurant and never have been,” says chef/owner Clark Staub, pointing to menu items like salmon tataki and goat ravioli. Table 14, by the bar, is perfect for people watching, and you may just spot famous fans, such as actor Ashton Kutcher.
Bob’s Well Bread Bakery (550 Bell St., 310/200-9194, bobswellbread.com) is the new kid on Bell Street. Owner Bob Oswaks has turned what had been a gas station and café in the early 20th century into a showcase for artisanal bread and pastry.
Global Gardens (380 Bell St., 805/344-2222, globalgardensonline.com) is an olive oil lover’s delight, selling its own oil and vinegars—and even olive oil ice cream and cookies! Don’t miss the crab cakes at lunch on the patio, where the salad greens are harvested from tower gardens.
Also try Cafe Quackenbush (458 Bell St., 805/344-5181, generalstoreca.com) for breakfast, lunch and specialty coffees and Charlie’s Restaurant (185 Bell St., 805/344-4404) for burgers and Mexican fare—it’s where the locals eat.
You’ll find Emilio Estevez pouring flights of craft beer from around the world at Babi’s Beer Emporium (448 Bell St., 805/344-1911), the brainchild of the actor/producer and his partner, Sonja Magdevski. Also nearby, the couple has a tasting room for their Casa Dumetz winery (448 Bell St., 805/344-1900, casadumetzwines.com), where Magdevski is the winemaker.
The Union Hotel Wine Saloon (362 Bell St., 805/344-2744, unionhotelvictmansion.com) in the historic Union Hotel features wine from actor Kurt Russell’s GoGi Wines, actress Kate Hudson and Muse frontman Matt Bellamy’s Hudson-Bellamy label and the award-winning Ampelos Cellars, owned by Peter and Rebecca Work. Russell’s sister, Jami Way, manages the place and makes everyone feel welcome. Friday-night shuffleboard tournaments add to the fun atmosphere.
Originally published in the Fall 2014 issue of Santa Barbara SEASONS Magazine.