My top choice is Norton’s Pastrami and Deli. They have six sandwiches that are $5 each when you order them to go, including a B.L.T., an American sandwich with bologna and salami, an Italian sandwich with ham and salami, a meatball sub, a vegetarian sandwich with four types of cheese, and tuna. Order to stay and you are required to buy a drink. Other sandwiches run $6 to $7.50.
I chose the meatball sub. Ordering at the counter was brisk and efficient. My sandwich, above, had four large meatballs, marinara sauce, melted provolone cheese and was served on a thick, fresh baguette. The meatballs were soft and mildly flavored. There was just enough…… sauce to satisfy me without making the bread soggy. The sandwich’s quality and quantity made it one of the best Lincoln Lunches ever.
To top off the great food, Norton’s is terribly cute. The small restaurant has exposed brick walls and limited seating. Mounted signs encourage the patrons, from businessmen to UPS drivers, to share the handful of bar-height tables. The bathroom was cleaner than I expected. 18 West Figueroa St. 805-965-3210.
A great option for a cheap meal is Vons Pavillions. A breakfast bran muffin was $.99 – not a price you will see at Starbucks or any other coffee shop. For lunch the deli has sandwiches for $5.50 and up. Look for a coupon in the weekly flyer. When I stopped in they had a $4 sandwich lunch special. 34 W. Victoria St. 805-963-2420.
Other restaurants that looked promising even though I did not eat at them:
Gino’s Pizzeria – Slices are $2.75 each. The $5.50 combo includes a slice, salad and regular soda. If you are eating with a friend, split the “huge calzone” for $10 with your choice of two toppings. Italian sandwiches are $5. The Milanese and Cesar salad are both $5; the Mediterranean is $6. 12 West Figueroa St. 805-962-9442.
Greek House Cafe – This tiny eatery had more than a dozen options priced less than $8, including a tri-tip gyro for $5.85. 5 West Haley St. 805-560-0809.
The Taj Cafe – Prices were slightly higher than other options listed here but reasonable for Indian food. The $6.50 vegetable lunch special includes an entree plus lentils, rice, naan and salad. Three dinner specials for $15 each were an affordable evening option. 905 State St. 805-564-8280.
Chilango’s – Burritos were $7 to $8, one of the lowest prices I saw on the main drag. 503 State St. 805-897-1160.
La Super Rica – This taco joint is famous for good food and great prices. Many readers recommended it! 622 N Milpas St. 805-963-4940.
Rudy’s – Fast, casual Mexican with few Lincoln Lunch options other than a bean and cheese burrito for $4.75. Add ride and it costs $5.25. For breakfast (served until 11:30 a.m.) there are eight options for $5.50 or less. 811 State St. 805-564-8677.
Mad Dogs – They are open until 3 a.m. and serve $2 drafts of Bud or Bud Lite. Hot dogs are $3.25 and up. Hawaiian shave ices are $3.45. 505 State St. 805-963-4233.
Readers also recommended:
Sojourner Cafe – “They have good value and tasty food,” says reader Wendy. “Their side dish portions are quite generous.” 134 E. Canon Perdido St. 805-965-7922.
Santa Barbara Shellfish Company – “Our one and only spot for seafood when visiting Santa Barbara,” Andre says. 101 E. Cabrillo Blvd. 805-966-6676.
Brophy Bros. – “It’s been there for years, and their cioppino is to die for… amazing depth of flavor in the tomato-y broth,” Ellie says. 119 Harbor Way. 805-966-4418.
Summerland Beach Cafe – “It’s an old house with outside porches with a view of the 101 and the Pacific Ocean beyond,” says J. Open for breakfast and lunch only. 2294 Lillie Ave. in Summerland. 805-969-1019.
Santa Barbara Farmer’s Markets – There are two downtown Santa Barbara and two in Goleta each week, plus there are four other regional markets. Headquarters at 232 Anacapa St # 1A in Santa Barbara. 805-962-5354.