Windmills, thatched roofs, Danish bakeries, and wooden clogs—Solvang still delights with its old-world charm. But it’s not just the same old fare from family road trips of yore. An infusion of new cuisine, tasting rooms, boutique shops, and nightlife has given Solvang a burst of energy, solidifying this walkable haven as a destination in itself.
Start the day with coffee and baked goods
Step into the handsomely decorated Good Seed Coffee Boutique for your morning espresso, cold brew, or Israeli tea and a savory bite. Its organic bakery offers 8 types of sourdough bread loaves (preorders highly recommended), along with cinnamon rolls, seasonal biscuits, cookies, and more (with vegan and gluten-free options).
Find something to read
Sip and snack
Across the street from the Hans Christian Andersen Museum is Parc Place. The newly renovated retail space of tasting rooms and boutique shops surrounds a courtyard with ample seating and firepits. Alma Rosa Winery is a standout, with an airy, modern tasting room and a friendly staff pouring wines from Bosnian American winemaker Samra Morris. Tasting fee, $25.
The seasonal, made-from-scratch food at Peasants Feast highlights the relationships that chef Michael Cherney and his wife, Sarah, have with local farmers. Try the couple’s Instagram-famous sandwiches, addictive tacos, impressive wine and craft beer list, and killer frozen lime pie. Across the street, the Cherneys’ Peasants Deli & Market has sandwiches and gourmet provisions to go.
Choose from stacks of fromage in the display case at the European-style Cailloux Cheese Shop (named for owner and cheesemonger Janelle Norman’s late family dog). Also try some of the goodies that line the shelves (including crackers, olives, pasta, wine, beer, and cider), or order a custom “care package” to take with you to a nearby winery.
Sit down for lunch (try the artisanal grilled cheese or a cured-meats plate) on the spacious patio that overlooks the Parc Place courtyard.
While away a few hours in the lush garden at Buttonwood Farm Winery & Vineyard, sipping wine (or frosé when it’s warm) and noshing on a cheese plate or exploring the peach orchard. Known for its sustainability practices, Buttonwood is also a working farm with almond and olive trees, a beekeeping area, and 10 acres for growing seasonal produce. Musical and culinary events attract weekend crowds.
Buttonwood is currently expanding to include a full food menu and a general store featuring produce grown on-site. Wine tasting, $25.
Discover new dining options
Coast Range & Vaquero Bar serves seafood, steaks, and pasta; try the hamachi crudo and the miso-glazed black cod, and the brioche doughnuts for dessert. After dinner, listen to records in the adjacent bar while sipping drinks with imaginative twists, such as the Ramblin’ Man margarita that includes pineapple and champagne.
Sear Steakhouse pays as much attention to its vegetarian and seafood dishes as it does to its steak. Owner and Executive Chef Nathan Peitso keeps things local by relying on his close network of farmers, fishers, and ranchers while highlighting Santa Barbara County wines. Try the steak frites and the local whole snapper, fried and smothered in fermented chile garlic honey, with strawberry butter cake for dessert.
Imbibe at a tiki lounge
Before opening High Roller Tiki Lounge, which recently moved to an expanded location, owner Michael Cobb worked in Disney hospitality for 17 years. You’ll find a bit of that influence in this colorful tiki bar that serves wine-based and liquor-alternative cocktails in intricate mugs and glowing glassware. Listen to live music on weekends while you sip a Suffering Scandinavian and try to find the hidden Mickey.
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