Imagine yourself sitting on the pier, next to the water, eating a giant spider crab on a nice sunny California day. We drove about 4 hours from the Bay Area to the Santa Barbara Shellfish Company in Santa Barbara, CA just so my mom can have that experience.
The Santa Barbara Shellfish Company is located at the very end of Stearns Warf. There’s a few parking lots on the pier, but it’s crowded and you have to pay for it. If you get to the area early, there’s street parking near the wineries close by that’s free. Get there after noon and you might be circling for a bit.
The restaurant is at the end of the pier so it’s surrounded by water, which is a nice atmosphere for eating some seafood. You can eat inside the restaurant, on the patio next to the water, or if you don’t want to wait in line, there’s also a to-go window where you can grab your food and eat it at the first come first serve picnic tables outside. We opted for the patio seating and put our name on the list and waited about an hour before we got seated. There’s some cute shops to browse around to kill time.
We had a party of 5 and we really came for the giant spider crab, but of course we had to get a few more items so we don’t go hungry.
We started with the ceviche and I was really happy with this choice. There was a generous portion of fresh scallops which had a nice tang from the lime juice and a nice sweet balance from the pico de gallo (tomato, onion, cabbage, cilantro). I also love the thin crisp chips as they were so addicting!
We wanted something a little filling and what better to do the job than with some carbs! We got the lobster pasta and sadly I wish we hadn’t. There wasn’t much flavor to the pasta except for a hint of butter and garlic and the lobster pieces were kind of sad.
On the other hand, the lobster pieces in the lobster roll was really good! The lobster was meat-y, fresh and tender. They were tossed in a delicious aioli and came with a nice surprise of 2 onion rings.
And then it was time for the main event. We rolled up our sleeves and dug into this 6 lb spider crab. This thing was huge! The shells were a little tough to crack as they were pretty thick, but once you get through them, you’ll be rewarded with juicy, meaty pieces of crab that just needs a squeeze of lemon to bring out it’s natural sea flavors. Only order this item if you don’t mind getting dirty and spending the time to dig around for crab meat. This is not a quick meal.
Overall, it was fun to eat this with the fam. Come here on a nice day, sit out on the pier and enjoy some fresh and delicious seafood.