Bacara Resort & Spa, 8301 Hollister Ave., Santa Barbara, CA. bacara.com
Miro: Two original Miró sculptures from famed Spanish artist Joan Miró impress guests who enter a New Basque-Catalonian cuisine-inspired restaurant with the intimacy of one's comfortable living room. Vibrant, rich colors compliment the artwork and stunning Pacific Ocean views. It's a nice place with warmth and charm, understated elegance and superb food, as your nose reveals when catching subtle scents as you enter the dining area and are seated.
Vegetables grown at the nearby 1,000-acre Ranch at Bacara create an impression of absolute freshness and are generously used in most every dish ranging from Duck Confit with Caramelized Pumpkin, Cépes, Leeks, Sage and Madeira Créme, to Atlantic Halibut, Duo of Beef featuring Grilled Rib Eye and Braised Short Ribs, or a four-course Garden Tasting Menu, a four-course Prix Fixe Menu or a six-course Tasting Menu. Santa Baraba County is known for its bounty of wines that are included in upwards of 12,000 bottles featuring 1,200 labels spanning 13 countries and 75 international appellations. Miró Bar and Lounge serves a light menu with tapas and other goodies. Call: (805) 571-4204.
The Bistro serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. You don't have to be a hotel guest to enjoy the best. Many times we have stopped at Bacara while on the road (Interstate Highway 101) and have pulled off for an hour or two of luxury dining to break up the trip. The Bistro is a mainstay, and The Spa Cafe also provides some outdoor seating for relaxing, sunshine moments while dining. The Bistro offers sweeping ocean views, and a menu with items that have all been perfect during our dinner meals there. Mediterranean cuisine, use of wood-burning ovens to cure and smoke its own fish, meats and vegetables, and the local sources such as Bacara's nearby ranch where produce is grown, all create a sensation. Salads are tasty, and like works of art, which the fish preparation--it's wow!
The Spa Cafe is a lighter menu with less than 20% fat content from each dish prepared. Salads, soups, and sandwiches typically are offered poolside with some of the coolest ocean views in all of the world! No joke! During one visit, a handsome man had rose petals strewn at his outdoor cafe seat overlooking the ocean, where he proposed to his soon-to-be wife, popping a bottle of champagne and some eating some chocolate covered strawberries to seal the sweet deal. We watched and realized what an incredibly romantic location this guy had picked.
For those of us who say we've never met a meal we didn't like, well there are exceptions--but Bacara Resort's dining options do not fail into that category of food experiences.