Santa Barbara, CA

Here’s What You’ll Experience at Santa Barbara’s Zaytoon Restaurant

Michelle Marie Warner

Enjoy outdoor seating while you dine on delicious Lebanese food

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Image of Zaytoon Restaurant’s outdoor patio, Santa Barbara, CAPhoto courtesy of Zaytoon website

We recently ate at Zaytoon restaurant in Santa Barbara, CA, and I couldn’t be more satisfied. It had been many years, possibly over a decade, since I’d last dined there. Here’s their introduction:

A Lebanese restaurant serving fresh and high quality dishes. Our hidden oasis is situated on a large outdoor garden patio in downtown Santa Barbara. Established in 2005, we are proud to have hosted many special memories. — zaytoon.com

They have divine Middle Eastern cuisine and a talented chef offering a creative menu. It was the best meal I’ve had out in a long time.

It helped that my parents took care of the bill since the price matched the quality. Zaytoon is a fine dining establishment. Be prepared to spend around $100 or more on appetizers, entrées, and drinks for two.

We went with a large group and thoroughly enjoyed everything. I especially loved the stuffed grape leaves as an appetizer. They melt in your mouth with lemony goodness. Most of us chose the chicken or lamb kabobs with a fatoush salad. It comes with rice pilaf and a yummy yogurt sauce. One of my kids is a picky eater, and they ate it all up. I loved it so much, I forgot to snap a photo before devouring it. We had elegant glasses of strawberry lemonade as well.

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Image of author’s entrée , chicken kabobs with a fatoush salad, at Zaytoon restaurant in Santa Barbara, CAPhoto by author, taken at Zaytoon Restaurant, July 2021

All of their food is prepared fresh and most of it is locally sourced.

We make every effort to source high quality ingredients from different vendors including our local farmers market. The main focus is to include healthy ingredients, such as olive oil, lemon, garlic, cumin, paprika, thyme, oregano, sumac, coriander, fennel, pistachio, sesame seeds and more. — zaytoon.com

Besides not yet having their belly dancer return due to COVID, the place looked and felt the same. Their outdoor patio dining space is gorgeous and inviting, with fountains and plants nestled between their large round tables with centered fire pits.

They used to have communal hookah pipes but have gotten rid of them because of COVID. The plants are new, allowing for privacy between tables.

The waitstaff is a team, attending to guests with seamless precision. When they made a mistake with a couple of our orders, they promptly fixed it and offered free baklava for dessert. That’s about the time I felt the urge to dance in my seat, as contemporary Middle Eastern music resounded throughout the patio.

Our main server was Camille, who delivered excellent service and efficiently tended to our needs. My oldest daughter showed her their lip gloss ring, and Camille said her 7-year-old daughter would love it. We chatted a little about the restaurant, which is how I discovered their belly dancer would be returning soon.

It’s crucial to support local businesses during the COVID pandemic, particularly restaurants. And it’s easy to do at Zaytoon, with all they have to offer.

Zaytoon is open with reservations 5:00–9:30 PM, Sunday and Tuesday-Thursday, and 5:00–10:00 PM Friday and Saturday. Monday they’re only open for takeout and delivery. They encourage reservations so you can access your preferred time and date, as it’s been quite busy and they run out fast.

Due to high demand and limited seating we may be fully committed. Please check reservation module for any cancellations. — zaytoon.com

I highly recommend dining at Zaytoon Lebanese Restaurant in Santa Barbara. Bring your family or a group of friends and enjoy the ambiance while you eat some of the most scrumptious food in town.

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Grateful single mama with a plethora of passions. Keen observer with an eye for editing. I write about relationships, parenting, mental health, addiction and recovery, creativity/productivity, gratitude, mindfulness, and personal growth. She/her. Let’s connect.

Eugene, OR
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