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Oveja Blanca Restaurante is Santa Barbara's Premier Latin Experience

By Kelly Church

The sister restaurant to The Black Sheep, Oveja Blanca Restaurante is a Santa Barbara, CA Latin restaurant. Owner Robert Perez longed to open a restaurant with the quality of a fine dining restaurant, but without the white tablecloths. After his son returned from a trip to Miami feeling excited about the Cuban fare, Perez opened up Oveja Blanca to cover not just Cuban cuisine, but all Latin foods. The purpose of the menu is to offer an authentic Latin experience on the California coast.

"Every dish I put on the menu is there because I want our guests to have new culinary experiences," Perez says. "But if I have to pick out a [favorite] dish, it has to be narrowed down to two. The Tuna Aguachili with heirloom tomatoes and aji amarillo salsa, and the Yucatan style agave and three chili glazed pork belly taco with mango salsa and pickled Fresno chilies. I think it's the best taco in town." 

The Yucatan taco is served with green cabbage salad, garlic pinto bean puree, scallions and cilantro. The Tuna Aguachili is served with avocado, pickled onions, yucca root chips and olive oil. There are also light, vegetarian options on the menu. For a twist on nachos, Oveja Blanca uses roasted cauliflower, crispy kale, pickled chilies, green onions and queso. Guests can also opt for the white fish ceviche for a light, cold dish. Mixed with the white fish is a combination of tomato, cilantro, jalapeno, red onion, lime juice, taro root chips and shaved radishes. 

Many of the ingredients in Perez's dishes are organically grown and locally produced. Perez feels a responsibility to her guests and her purveyors which is why he opts for these types of ingredients. He believes ingredients grown organically and locally have a better flavor profile, are healthier and give support to independent farmers, and the environment. 

"Organic and sustainability have always been important to me," Perez says. "Unfortunately, we cannot obtain all the ingredients we need to create a restaurant menu that would be in danger of becoming monotone over a very short period of time, so we supplement our needs through purchasing ingredients from outside our local markets as well. Even then we take great care and consideration into the ingredients we source, where they come from and use only the highest organic and sustainable quality available." 

The restaurant is just a few blocks from the beaches of Santa Barbara. Guests can make reservations online at ovejablancasb.com.

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