Loquita Branzino (Food of the Week)

Fish Santa Barbara

Branzino was a sensational seasonal special.

Sherry Villanueva and Acme Hospitality have proven to be unrivaled culinary hitmakers in Santa Barbara’s red-hot Funk Zone. Loquita is their modern Spanish restaurant that combines classic and atypical influences in an inviting setting that includes an ivy-lined patio, dining room with floral chandeliers, and tile floors. Loquita also contains a counter that faces an open kitchen, home to a red oak grill and chef Peter Lee, who delivers a fresh take on the time-honored cuisine.

I enjoyed Loquita’s versions of traditional Spanish dishes like pan con tomate and patatas bravas, but left most impressed with a fish special. Whole roasted Branzino ($33) featured crispy skin, beautifully flaky white meat that was mostly deboned, and a bevy of accompaniments that weren’t recognizable as Spanish, but sure tasted great. The fish hosted tangy pickled squash coins, crunchy watercress, and a fragrant dusting of fennel pollen. The rest of the set included a bed of crispy farro and sticky sweet Medjool dates, with the plate painted with judiciously sweet squash puree.

Loquita Branzino (Food of the Week)

202 State Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101, USA
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Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

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