Few restaurants are more quintessentially Santa Barbara than Brophy Brothers. Situated right above the water, with views of the action at the harbor and the city’s Riviera in the distance, an evening at Brophy’s is evocative of vacation, even for lifetime locals. And, while the setting — as well as the chowder — draws crowds from all over, the lesser-known garlic-baked clams are pure deliciousness, superstars in their own right.
The clams are baked in a mixture of garlicky breadcrumbs and butter, topped with a bite of bacon and a sprinkling of parsley, and served in the shell with lemon. Each is a perfect, self-contained bite — tender and oh-so decadent, but the butter/bacon/breadcrumby sins are mitigated thanks to the fact that there’s only a couple, and you’ll probably share them. And if you’re waiting for a table (which, in all likelihood, you will be), they’ll tide you over handily, as they’re easily consumed even, let’s say, while standing on the deck-side of the bar, drinking, perhaps, a margarita (rocks, with salt), and savoring that salty seaside air.
119 Harbor Way; 805-966-4418; brophybrothers.com