Cold Spring Tavern
11:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
11:30 AM - 3:30 PM
Friday
11:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
11:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday
11:30 AM - 5:00 PM
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About
A popular mountain for hiking outside of Santa Barbara.
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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4.5
594 reviews
Excellent
379
Very good
165
Average
35
Poor
8
Terrible
7

RonboNJ
Tinton Falls, New Jersey, Usa136 contributions
Jul 2022
So, East Coast guy here visiting the Santa Barbara area with my girlfriend. Her Uncle, very familiar with the area, showed us around and made a point of bringing us here to try the tri tip BBQ.

We visited on a Saturday around 2pm. It was busy, but not overcrowded. We had to park further down the road but certainly within a 2-minute walking distance.

The tri tip sandwich is what you want to come here for. It's loaded with meat and there is a toppings station to apply your favorite sauce. I would highly recommend the Apple Horseradish sauce and if chosen, be sure to put plenty of it on top. The meat and bread soaks it in quickly and my biggest regret was not loading it up with more sauce.

There is live music and a general sense of "fun" at this hidden stop. Make a point of visiting here.
Written August 3, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

marhow2001
Palm Springs, CA189 contributions
Feb 2020
Cold Spring Tavern dates back to 1868 when it was a stage coach stop located in the San Marcos pass above Santa Barbara. The Ovington family has owned and run the place since 1941 and has built a strong following along the way. The historical significance makes this a destination eatery even if you go for just a drink but we found the food to be excellent and noticeably home made with unusual choices like venison and buffalo. The service was casual and friendly, which reflects the whole vibe of this isolated restaurant. There is very limited parking which means most folks park along the two lane blacktop highway and walk. We dined on a Sunday morning around 11 am and it was moderately busy. By the time we left at 1 pm it was packed with cars parked over a mile away. Also, due to the rustic nature of the location this is not ADA friendly venue.
Written February 24, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

SuzQTravels
Gilbert, Arizona109 contributions
Sep 2021 • Friends
If you’re in Santa Barbara or on your way to the wineries of Santa Ynez, this is a must visit restaurant. Tucked in the Santa Ynez mountains about 15 minutes out of Santa Barbara, this historic stage coach stop offers history, great food, cold beer, and a friendly staff. My friends and I had their famous tri-tip sandwich which was on a fresh, crusty roll and served with three yummy sauces: creamy mustard seed; barbecue; and salsa. Our sides ranged from coleslaw to fresh greens and potato salad. All was delicious.
Written September 11, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Diane D
Westminster, CA777 contributions
Jan 2020
A little bit off the main road, this hidden gem is treat for the history lover living in California. This lovely cluster of old wooden buildings sits nestled among lots of trees and is covered with ivy and moss. The inside is rustic in design and warm in feeling with the stone fireplace glowing with a small fire. Parking is hard to find if the restaurant is busy and wheelchair accessibility is just barely there...the ramp to the door is narrow and steep and the small door opens outward, making the wheelchair rider back up the ramp while trying to hold the door open. Thankfully another patron saw our dilemma and held the door open for us. As for the food, I had wanted to try their chili but i found it to be no better than my favorite canned version. But, their tri tip sandwich was amazing. The smoky flavors they were able to impart tickled my tongue as I took a bite of my husband's lunch. Our server was pleasant, and the crowds soon filled the tables. A fun adventure to a time long past...hard to find in California.
Written February 18, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Juliet Wolf
3 contributions
May 2021 • Family
Absolutely delicious food in an idyllic historic setting. We chose outdoor seating, shaded by blossoming trees, listening to birdsongs (We went in early May, when everything in the canyon was fresh and growing). The tri tip, ribs, pulled pork, and burgers are exquisite! The onion rings are seriously the best I've ever had, generously battered, golden, with a delicate crunch so perfect it makes you close your eyes in bliss! Dipped in ranch, they're the epitome of indulgence. The desserts were all excellent, the service was great, and we left stuffed and happy. If you're hungry after a hike or a long drive, this place will make all your appetite's dreams come true!

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Written May 6, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Chris K
Cleveland, OH14 contributions
Feb 2020
This felt like I was visiting the home of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, except Snow White is a BBQ pitmaster and the dwarves play in a Grateful Dead cover band and serve drinks. Tucked away on a curve in the road on the way up a mountain from SB, this was a lively scene on a Saturday afternoon, with bikers, families, couples and singles all eating and drinking at picnic tables and socializing while enjoying some live music. Memorable experience.
Written March 12, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Gayle M
Chicago, IL253 contributions
Feb 2020
We visited on a weeknight for dinner is a small room with a fireplace in this former stage coast post. Wines are delicious; steak and baby back ribs with garlic mashed potatoes delish. Bread includes warm white and a brown with a molasses crust. Menu includes venison and rabbit. Very busy on weekends.
Written February 8, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Scott G
Long Beach, CA10 contributions
Aug 2020
My daughter and I visited during the COVID-19 pandemic, so the dining was all outside. The tri tip sandwich and burger were both very good and the service was attentive. we had the seasonal blackberry cheesecake and it was really excellent. Part of the experience of dining at this place is the experience of the scenic drive up here, which is spectacular. I would have loved to be able to go inside the tavern to look around, but COVID-19 restrictions precluded that.
Written August 27, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Lori985
Cary, NC41 contributions
Feb 2020
This place used to be a Stage coach stop.a lot of history. When you walked in there was a bar to the right and tables to the left and a wood burning fireplace straight ahead. There were a few more rooms attached. The rooms were dark decorated with oil lamps,covered wagaons,antiques etc.. I got the burger which was very good along with salad and great fries. My husband got the chili trio and loved all of them. Great place to visit.
Written February 28, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Carlin35
Oxnard, CA115 contributions
Feb 2020
Friends and I took a ride up to Cold Springs. They open at 11am. Very interesting building - old with moss on the roof. Former stage coach stop. Wonderful place to visit. Great ambiance. Lots of history related to the building. Had a very nice lunch on a cold day. Several great fireplaces roaring away. Neat. All old wood planks on the floor. It will motivate you to read about the history of this building when you get home. Very interesting. Service excellent. Food was reasonable and tasty.
Written February 5, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Cold Spring Tavern (Santa Barbara) - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go

Frequently Asked Questions about Cold Spring Tavern

Cold Spring Tavern is open:
  • Thu - Thu 11:30 AM - 3:30 PM
  • Fri - Sun 11:30 AM - 5:00 PM
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