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New Downtown Santa Barbara Restaurant: La Cocina

Release Date: June 27,2019

By Joshua Molina, Noozhawk Staff Writer | @JECMolina | June 27, 2019 

Maybe the third time will be the charm. 

La Cocina restaurant, at 7 East Anapamu St., plans to open its doors Friday.

The restaurant will specialize in Meso-American, Spanish and Mexican-Californian cuisine.

“I love this city, and am so excited to offer a unique experience with wonderful Mexican food, perfect for families, large groups, or a lunch or dinner date,” said owner Steve Hermann. “We hope this will quickly become a locals favorite and offer the community a place that pays homage to our local Santa Barbara food and culture in a relaxed and casual setting.”

The restaurant has hired Mario Alberto as executive chef, whose style of cooking is inspired by Asian flavors and his travels through Latin America, the Amazon, and Europe, according to a news release.

“I want to offer locals is food that is flavorful, clean and light, as an ode to our favorite Mexican dishes, but with a subtle and unexpected twist,” Alberto said in a statement. “This may be with a flavor or spice, or how the dish is presented. I am looking forward to welcoming the community through our doors.”

The previous restaurants at the site, Somerset and Smitty's were both quickly rebranded over the past few years, paving the way for La Cocina. 

The food will combine the Central Coast’s cuisine with Rancho cuisine, which consists of cattle, corn, legumes, native chilies, fruits and nuts. Meats and wild fowl will be cooked barbecue style over an open flame, and marinated or slowly simmered in chilies and spices, according to a news release. Dishes range in price from $12 to $31.

All of the food at the restaurant is homemade daily, using organic, non-GMO and locally-sourced ingredients whenever possible from farmers’ markets.