Where to Eat in Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone

Five places to taste the local cuisine in this cool neighbourhood
 

Lucky Penny, photo by Rob Stark

Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone comprises about 10 industrial blocks of converted warehouses and manufacturing plants turned tasting rooms and restaurants. Adjacent to the ocean and downtown core, the area is home to some of the city’s freshest restaurants, serving up hyper-local fare.

The Lark

Named for the Pullman train that serviced Santa Barbara from 1910 to 1968, this indoor-outdoor space turns out ridiculously pretty plates that celebrate Central Coast fare made with fresh, local ingredients.

Must-try dish: Harissa and honey glazed roast chicken with olive oil smashed Yukon potatoes, caramelized broccolini, cippolini onions, picholine olives, mission figs and shaved fennel.

Lucky Penny

The Lark’s more casual sister, Lucky Penny serves delicious breakfast dishes and is known for its wood-fired eggs and pizzas as well as tasty sandwiches such as pulled pork braised with cold-brew coffee.

Must-try dish: The Lucky Margherita, a traditional Margherita pizza amped up with burrata mozzarella.

Mony’s Mexican Food

It’s criminal to visit SoCal and not eat your weight in tacos. This no-frills food truck-turned-restaurant in the Funk Zone is one of the best taquerias in town.

Must-try dish: All the traditional and unique salsas you can eat—from tomatillo to pistachio salsa—at the complimentary salsa bar.

Metropulos Fine Foods Merchant

A mainstay in the area for years before the Funk Zone made this part of Santa Barbara cool, this gourmet food shop and sandwich counter is a great spot for a casual lunch or breakfast. Or, load up on picnic fixings and head for the beach.

Must-try dish: The house-made gyros or a custom-made cheese and charcuterie platter.

Helena Avenue Bakery

One of the newest spots in the Funk Zone, Helena Avenue Bakery turns out a whole lot more than mere baguettes: think egg croissants stuffed with arugula pesto and prosciutto, fruit galettes and peanut butter brittle cookies.

Must-try dish: Cold fried chicken sandwiches with blue cheese and house-made pickles from The Picnic Counter, the bakery’s retail section.

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