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Where to Eat in Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone: The Lark

The cozy outdoor patio at the Lark is kept toasty with heaters

During my recent trip to Santa Barbara, I wanted to have dinner at The Lark, which had come highly recommended to me by a friend. The Lark is located in a building which used to be a fish market in the middle of the Santa Barbara Funk Zone. I’ve always been a fan of re-purposed spaces and was very excited to check it out for myself.

The Lark’s funky space is a renovated former fish market

Since I had my dog, Scarlet, with me on this trip, I decided to keep her in the car rather than leave her unattended at the Santa Barbara Auto Camp. Santa Barbara is a very dog friendly town and the valet made sure my car was parked in the restaurant’s lot so he could keep an eye on Scarlet. Did I mention the valet parking was free? I love that about Santa Barbara. The valet got a big tip for watching Scarlet.

The Lark’s casual chic vibe is so perfect for Southern California

The Lark is very on trend. Their menu focuses on locally sourced tapas and small shareable plates, and they have a wine menu that features a lot of Santa Barbara area wine producers. There is also an impressive cocktail menu (I give a thumbs up to the $12 Maduro Margarita made with green chartreuse, agave, and egg white) and a lot of mircobrews on their menu.

Staying on point, The Lark has an “of the moment” 24 seat communal dining table. I invited my photographer friend who lives in Goleta to join me for dinner. He was impressed that The Lark was doing so well since it opened last year because “there are A LOT of restaurants in this town.”

The Skuna Bay Salmon $14 was a bit tricky to share

Our server was very helpful in suggesting the right amount of food to order and offering suggestions. Instead of bread, flavored popcorn was offered on arrival. Flavored popcorn is like a thing in Santa Barbara.

For our first course, we had the Roast Beet salad ($12)  and it was winner. It was earthy and easy to share with dandelion greens, blood oranges, and feta.

Next we tried the Citrus Cured Skuna Bay Salmon ($14). It was served with black‍ pepper creme fraiche, yuzu, dill, pickled shallot, and brioche. This was my least favorite item of the evening, because it was a bit tricky/messy to share (and salmon isn’t my favorite fish).

We followed that with a trio of sliders which were a special that evening. They were yum but I can’t remember the price. Next we had the Hanger Steak ($15) served  marinated and grilled, with charred broccoli crispy shallots, chile and mint. For me, the Hanger Steak was the standout dish of the evening and the portion perfect to share.

The Lark’s dinner menu

Our meal was so good we decided to try the Passionfruit Pavlova (price forgotten) made with braised pineapple, white chocolate ganache and kiwi. I was underwhelmed by the ganache, but the braised pineapple was unique and tasty and paired nicely with my herbal tea (suggested by our waitress).

The entire experience at The Lark– from valet to dessert– was fantastic, and it’s no shocker the restaurant has been embraced by locals and visitors alike.

TIP: The Lark is hot, I’d advise making reservations well in advance (I made mine via OpenTable). The Lark also is social media savvy. Check out  some of their killer food porn on their Instagram and Twitter accounts.

The Lark

Address: 131 Anacapa St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101, United States

Phone:1 805-284-0370

Tuesday through Sunday

Dinner:  5pm – 10pm

Bar Only:  10pm – 12am

Much thanks to Linda Clark at Glamping.com for giving me this fantastic recommendation. I’m passing it on.