Sometimes the best spots to grab dinner and a beer in Santa Barbara have been hiding under our noses for years.
That’s the case with the restaurant Matt Kettmann raved about this week. He’s the editor at the Santa Barbara Independent and Wine Enthusiast. The Dutch Garden might not be for the vegetarian or gluten-free crowd, but for those who enjoy Belgian brews, checkered tablecloths and a good schnitzel, this is your place.
The first thing you need to know about the Dutch Garden is that it’s actually a German restaurant. The name dates back to 1945, when the restaurant first opened and World War II had tarnished Germany’s reputation.
70 years later, don’t let the misnomer confuse you. The restaurant specializes in German dishes like house-made sauerkraut, German potato salad, sausages and schnitzel. According to Kettmann, it also boast one of the widest selections of beer in Santa Barbara, from strong Belgians to hard-to-find American craft brews like sours and farmhouse ales.
And, no German joint is legit without a beer garden.
“There’s more and more of them in Santa Barbara these days, but for decades this was one of the only beer gardens you could find,” says Kettmann.
Disclaimer: vegetarians and gluten-free eaters might have a hard time here (unless they really love sauerkraut and ciders.)
Matt Kettmann catches up with us every Wednesday morning and afternoon on 88.7 FM in Santa Barbara. You can hear his past segments on food and wine here.