Southern California Logo


Arnoldi's Café Provides Homestyle Italia Right in Santa Barbara

By Elisha Neubauer

Arnoldi's Café has a neat little history. The café was launched in 1937 by Giuseppe Arnoldi and his wife, Ilda. Originally located on East Cota Street, the eatery moved to its present location, on Olive Street, when Arnoldi decided to quarry local stone and craft his own building in 1940.

Today, the restaurant is considered to be one of the oldest restaurants in Santa Barbara and has continued to entertain visitors from all over the world for over eighty years. Not too much has changed by way of appearance for Arnoldi's in all those years, though. Wanting to keep the same warmth, the new owners of this quaint little eatery decided to leave the décor virtually untouched, so that a piece of the Arnoldi family would remain intact.

The mural painted on the restaurant's wall depicts Lago di Como, the location of Joe and Ilda's birth. A Tule Elk named Bucky overlooks the bar, who found his way into the establishment following Arnoldi's hunting trip to Colorado back in 1958. There are many of these small, personalized quirks that have been left in place by the new owners, Dave and Kitty Peri, Jim and Dede Nonn, and Carol Smagala. "We are pleased to preserve the valued traditions of Arnoldi's," they announced on the restaurant's website.

The restaurant continues to offer casual, friendly dining in their two dining rooms and patio area. While the environment is generally more down to earth and casual, the eatery has been known to put off a more elegant atmosphere when needed. Regardless of the event, Arnoldi's has managed to host everything from parties of 20 to a larger scaled event of 200 guests. They have hosted everything from weddings and rehearsal dinners to receptions, graduations, birthdays, holiday parties. In fact, the restaurant even has its own event planner, Sara Peri.

"We are happy to work with you to create a custom menu for your party and handle any special requests you may have, to make your event as special as it can be," exclaims the restaurant's website.

Serving only the best in traditional home style Italian food, Arnoldi's only uses the freshest produce, finest quality meats and fish, and the very best imported Italian meats, cheeses, and olive oil. For those looking to take the fresh Italian tastes home with them, all of these items can be found at Arnoldi's Santa Barbara Farmers' Market stand.

An extensive wine list is also available for those looking to add a little something extra to their dining selections.

Share this:


Leave a comment:

* Login in order to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join for Free

About The Author

Elisha Neubauer is a freelance editor, ghostwriter, book reviewer, and author. She is...

View Profile

Become an Expert Contributor

Have some knowledge to share, and want easy and effective exposure to our audience? Get your articles or guides featured on Southern California Homes today! Learn more about being an expert contributor.

Learn More