The recently renovated El Encanto Hotel holds much history and charm as well as remarkable views. Their terrace restaurant is a lovely place to have a fancy lunch. And after lunch, make sure to walk around the grounds and admire all the architectural details and landscaping.
You know it's fancy when they serve two kinds of butter. European and pepper sage infused. A bit over the top and unnecessary in my opinion.
I went there on two occasions and the first time I enjoyed their BLT. Pretty straight forward sandwich, with ample bacon.
The passion of the chef, I believe, lies in the true courses, not in the sandwiches and salads. During our second visit, I chose the roasted Jidori chicken breast with market vegetables and brown butter mashed potatoes was glorious. The sauce, the vegetables, the butter and sage, all had layers of flavors that required many steps and time to achieve. As you can see, I dove right into it before taking a photo.
My mother had the Seared Ahi Tuna salad with ginger soy vinaigrette. Which she enjoyed, but didn't find special by any means.
Though I normally do not order dessert, I had a bit of a hankering for crème brûlée. It was delectable. The photo makes it look like a deep bowl of brûlée, but the custard was really thin and the sugar crust perfectly breakable. A compressed apple pile on top as well as milk ice cream. The white chocolate stick on top was over kill. Great expressos too.
Perhaps the service is excessive with people checking in all the time to make sure you are okay and there are even little "seats" for your purse, but overall it's a fun experience and if you stick to real dishes, you'll feel like you ate something special.
800 Alvarado Pl, Santa Barbara, CA 93103