The Palace Grill (8 E. Cota St., 805/963-5000, www.palacegrill.com , daily 11 a.m.–3 p.m., 5:30–11 p.m., Fri.–Sat. until midnight, $20–40) boasts of being one of Santa Barbara ’s most popular restaurants and a little piece of old New Orleans in sunny California.
The atmosphere gets lively in the evenings, so this isn’t the place to come for a quiet meal. Live entertainers delight the crowds several nights each week, and every once in awhile a restaurant-wide sing-along breaks out.
The food is pure Louisiana bayou; look for classically prepared etouffes, jambalaya, and gumbo ya-ya. Most of the seafood is flown in fresh daily, the steaks are aged to perfection, and much of the fresh finned fish and meat is served blackened and spiced in Cajun style. Even the appetizers and desserts drip Creole and Cajun flavors. Start off with a house specialty cocktail or a glass of California wine.
While you dine, be sure to take a moment to appreciate the particularly fine service that is a staple of the Palace’s reputation.