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Seagrass
No longer in business
Opened: 2007-12 Closed: 2016-04

30 E. Ortega St, Santa Barbara
Phone: (805) 963-1012

  • Category: Seafood
  • Hours: Sun-Thu 5:30pm-9pm, Fri-Sat 5:30pm-10pm, Closed Mondays.
  • Price: $20+
  • Serving: Dinner
  • Reservations: Yes, recommended
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Reviews by the General Public

Satisfying in every way, 1/27/2016
Reviewer: Wally from Santa Barbara, CA
The food and service and atmosphere were all first-rate. A thoroughly enjoyable experience. Certainly one of the best restaurants in Santa Barbara.


What a great dinner
Reviewer: Marna from Toluca Lake, CA
My friend & I had a wonderful dinner last night. The waiter was attentive & helpful. We both had the steak as our main course ... perfectly cooked ... nice presentation. I ordered the chocolate mousse for desert & I was surprised they put grapefuit pieces to compliment it ... what a taste sensation! We'll be back!


A little gem!
Reviewer: Angelique from Petaluma, CA
I was recently in Santa Barbara to attend the International Orchid Show. Seagrass came highly reccomended by our conference's organizers and it did not disappoint! I was instantly greeted and seated. My host/server was attentive and gracious even though I was only a solo diner. I experienced a level of sensitiviy and refinement of service, food and wine that would easily make this restaurant at home in San Francisco or New York. It was also very reasonably priced and I consider it to be great find!


Unacceptable
Reviewer: Michael from Santa Barbara, CA
Went there Fri. night (11/2/2012) with party of 6. Waited an hour between the salads and the main course. Service was below average and when the meal finally came,everyone did not get their meal at the same time. One of our party got the wrong entre.Mushroom soup had no taste. Sea Bass was accepable but nothing special. Small portions. Mediocre food and 20% gratuity added on. Won't go back.


Total waste of time and money.
Reviewer: Rick from Santa Barbara, CA
We were a party of six on a Friday night with reservations for 7pm. The entree course came at 9pm. The food was nearly cold, tasteless, and outrageously expensive. We were about to order a take-out pizza to tide us over before the entree came but the manager came by to apologize for the delay, saying we would have out meals in three minutes. They arrived thirty minutes later. My group had to hold me down or I would have exploded in outrage and the restaurant would have had to call the police!!!


Perfect!
Reviewer: Jay from Santa Barbara, CA
The food, ambiance, and service were excellent! The food just bursts with flavor and the service was spot on. If you are going out to get stuffed and pork out, then this isn't the place for you. Portions are somewhat small, but I still left with a satisfied stomach. I will most definitely be returning, it's a perfect place for those that simply love food.


Excellent
Reviewer: Greg & Yukari from Santa Barbara, CA
This is probably Santa Barbara's best restaurant. (That may be damning with faint praise). The chef is masterful, and the staff is very knowledge about their wines. It is expensive. You should order starters, sides or dessert if you want that bloated tourist feel. We've been there four times and never disappointed. Recurring favorites include the seared scallops, local fish, the heirloom tomatoes, and sashimi appetizers.


Tried it, but have no desire to return!
Reviewer: Gracie from Santa Barbara, CA
My first time to Seagrass, because i purchased a dinner for 2 Chef special. The food was just okay, nothing AMAZING! They added on 20% tip to our bill, and there were only 2 of us at our table.


Overall very nice
Reviewer: Stuart from Santa Barbara, CA
My wife and I tried the Chef's surprise dinner and enjoyed it. It consists of three courses chosen by the chef. Your only choice is meat or fish for the main course. The first course and dessert offer no choice. They started us with soup. It was potato leek soup and very tasty. I like soup hot and this was served warm. Her main dish was a large portion of black cod. She loved it. It was undercooked for my taste. I had leg of rabbit and it was overcooked and dry. The sauces on the food were excellent as were the veggies. Dessert was a fabulous bittersweet chocolate mouse with a flavorful caramel sauce and bits of pecan brittle on top. We both loved it. They have a nice little patio in front. We chose to sit inside and the tables are situated far apart enough that sound in the room was not a bother. Service was excellent and friendly. Y


Will not return or recommend
Reviewer: Cynthia from Santa Barbara, CA
As a person that manages events and VP entertainment, I have sent numerous parties to the Seagrass Restaurant. While I'll admit the food is tasty, I will not return nor recommend. I made a reservation 5/days in advance for my brother's anniversary. They did NOT have our reservation and were not very apologetic at the front (our waitress was). They put us on the patio on a rainy cold night (St. Patricks). Then the food came and although I expect smaller portions at finer restaurants the portions at Seagrass are rediculous! I literally got 3/baby carrots (X-small) for my veggie and maybe 2/tblspoons of creamy potatoes under the beef filet. (My brother said they had pizza when they got home). Then we got 2/tawny flights one of which they over poured and CHARGED US FOR the over pour! Finally, the CORK CHARGE IS $25!!! Even Lucky's, which is a superior restaurant, charges $15! Not a good experience for us.


Incredible Dinner
Reviewer: Steve from Santa Barbara, CA
We had a party of four tonight at Seagrass, where the food was incredible, and service was perfect. One of the owners, Ruben, took care of us for most of our dinner; he was very friendly and offered great suggestions for our meals. We shared some oysters in the half shell and the warm hazelnut breaded goat cheese to start; the goat cheese was perfect with the garbanzo beans and surprisingly tangy mango chutney that it came with.

Two in our party ordered the duck, another the black cod, and I the salmon. The salmon was perfectly cooked, apparently slow in olive oil at 120° until just barely done; it was so tender that the knife almost fell through it by itself. The duck, which we have enjoyed before, was tender and full of flavor, and the black cod and its seared skin sandwiched a thin layer of fat which helped it go down like butter.

Thanks, Ruben! You'll definitely see us again!


Lovely Experience
Reviewer: Ixchelle from Santa Barbara, CA
We had our first dinner at Seagrass a few weeks ago and were happily surprised by the experience. First the ambiance. It was sophisticated without being stuffy. Calm without being sleepy. The staff was very professional but equally approachable. Each attendant was pleasant without being intrusive. The food was just as enjoyable. We ordered the scallops and sea urchin, butter poached wild striped bass, and sauteed black cod as well as two desserts. I would sum up the dishes as delicious but subtle. If you are looking for over the top strong flavors this probably won't be the right fit (at least for the items we tried). Rather the dishes were exquisitely prepared with subtle finesse. Each item cooked perfectly and quite delicious. To state the obvious, yes it is expensive (check out the menu online) so this probably isn't your everyday kind of dinner out. Overall it was a lovely experience with great service and delicious seafood.


Incredible Experience
Reviewer: clark from Santa Barbara, CA
Amazing on so many levels. Sometimes there are parts of a dining experience that are lacking. This is not the case with Seagrass. Other restaurants that are trying to do fine dining in the area should take lessons from Seagrass. All of the points were covered- from water/bread service to plate presentation to server knowledge and enthusiasm to delicious and creative food preparations. There are many examples of good food in the area, but not many times can I say I've been floored with the service in this town. Seagrass is the entire package, they believe in their food, and they should.


Wonderful
Reviewer: Steve from Sherman Oaks, CA
Food was great, service was terrific. Were in the Santa Barbara area for another reason, but will make a special trip to eat here again. This was an extremely pleasant surprise!


Susie from Santa Barbara
Reviewer: Susie Thomason from Santa Barbara, CA
I adore this restaurant and think it is one of the finest in Santa Barbara. The food is beautifully prepared and presented. The flavors blend beautifully and makes me long for more. Since I had a friend visiting naturally I took them to my favorite restaurant. The meal was superb and the service friendly and spot on. We shared the 5 course "chef's choice" menu which did not disappoint. The scallops served sushi style with a tomato mouse melted in our mouths. This was followed by small pieces of lobster on a potato puree which were cooked perfectly and delighted our taste buds. We had ordered the foix gras from the specials menu and the chef included the one from the regular menu. Both were delectable. The meal finished with venison which was also delicious in what seemed like a red wine reduction sauce with a few wonderful gnocchi on the side. The veal was not gamey at all but was a little chewy. The red wine recommended by Richard was perfect with the meal. We declined dessert and instead were served coffee and tea. Chef Robert came to our table and we were able to tell him how much we enjoyed the meal. I will try the pre-fixe menu next time just for fun.


Wonderful Dining Experience
Reviewer: Marna from Toluca Lake, CA
Everything about our Sun. night dinner was excellent .. the food was amazing & plated with such creativity. It was a work of art! Each dish was explained in detail & our server, Richard gave us great suggestions. The bus person never let a finished dish sit on our table & always kept our water glasses full. The food was so good ... we enjoyed every course & will be back many more times.


Great Service, Excellent Food
Reviewer: Vic from Santa Barbara, CA
Had a very nice dinner here Saturday night. The menu is very diverse with wonderfully creative specials. The appetizers and entres were fantastic and beautifully presented. Very good wine list as well though a bit pricey. Service was spot on. Highly recommend.


Overreacting?
Reviewer: Richard Lambert from Santa Barbara, CA
Offering you another table as an option sounds reasonable to me, John.


Lady at the front is old school, has no customer service
Reviewer: John from Santa Barbara, CA
My parents were visiting from San Diego and specifically asked me to find a great seafood restaurant. I had never been to Seagrass, however, I have heard many positive things about it. I made reservations 3 days prior and when we arrived, we waited about 2 minutes before the lady at the front actually acknowledged us. She was too busy writing something down to even look up and greet the customer. From there we were taken to our table...we were seated at a 2 top, which had a leaf pull out to add a third. The problem was I was facing the wall with my back towards the whole restaurant. I could not even enjoy the atmosphere, it felt like i was put in time out and had to face the wall as punishment. After expressing to the waitress (who was great and cute) how we felt, she immediately went to the lady to see what she could do. The lady came over, with no remorse and just said this is the best you she can do or we can go sit outside. Such a rude response, we actually just got up and left and went to Holdren's for a great meal like always. Thought I would just let the community know how they treat their customers over there.


This is NOT the old Seagrass!
Reviewer: Kia from Santa Barbara, CA
I had been to Seagrass a couple years ago, and while it was good, it wasn't really a standout for me. A friend told my husband and I a couple weeks ago that they'd changed hands and had a new chef and encouraged us to try it, so we thought what the heck. On a night where it seemed like every other restaurant was loud and packed like a can of sardines (graduation weekend, ugh!) Seagrass was like an oasis of calm - still busy but somehow they managed to keep things relaxed and cozy. I *can't believe* we didn't go earlier. I've had a lot of amazing meals at some very, very nice restaurants, but what I had at Seagrass last night was one of the best meals of my life. We decided to splurge and do the 5-course tasting with wine pairings, and with every course (and the extra amuses and palate cleansers in between) all we could say to each other was "Wow, did you taste that? Did that happen for you too? Oh my god, you have to try this..." Totally forgot whatever else we were talking about as our senses were completely delighted by the beautifully-presented, inventive and complex dishes that kept appearing before us. We woke up this morning and were still talking about the flavors we never would have thought to put together but were incredible pairings... The waitstaff was wonderful, non-stuffy and very gracious - and knew when to chat and when to leave us to enjoy our food and company. The wine pairings were right on, and I think every single person involved in running the restaurant, from the chef to the wine buyer, came by to tell us about the food and make sure everything was perfect. You can tell they really love what they're doing. Now that I also know about the $28 prix fixe, we will DEFINITELY not be waiting for another "special night" to go there.


My new downtown favorite
Reviewer: lemonjelly from santa barbara, ca
I never went to the old Seagrass, it seemed good, but fancy and expensive. The new Seagrass I thought would carry over the same kind of menus, but it's not been the case, at all. In fact, I now really love eating here and have found it to be very high quality, yet still approachable.
Their Tues-Thursday prix fixe is a bargain. It's a selection of their daily menu, 3 courses. I've had it twice and both were amazing, especially when the pork cheek is one of the main course options. I've gone a la carte once with a friend, sharing the foie gras with caramelized unagi, spaghetti with bottarga, butter and champagne lobster, and oyster shooters with salmon roe and ginger jelly. Price was still about $50/head!
Now they've added a sunday supper, that's just $28/pp for three courses. This is one set menu, on the night I went it was a market greens salad with toasted hazelnuts and goat cheese, then an amazing seafood stew with really soft buttery scallops, and raspberry sorbet with fresh fruit and blood orange, grapefruit, raspberry coulis. There was also an amuse buche of corn chowder with crab and little fried parsnip chips (I love parsnips!). $28 on Sunday! Casual dress encouraged.
It's one family running the show, in the kitchen and front, so most of the time they'll come by to say hi and answer questions about the food. Really nice people. I'm totally happy here.


Oh, Yes!
Reviewer: CC from Santa Barbara, CA
New owners clearly know what they are doing! They have achieved an amazing and seamless transition in a very short time. I predict they will earn and keep a top rating in SB.


Hot and Cold
Reviewer: Judy & John from Santa Barbara, CA
This was our first visit to Seagrass. We really enjoyed the atmosphere of the restaurant and the service, the hostess and the waitstaff were both pleasant and attentive. We were disappointed by the lobster bisque starter. The chef's creativity seemed to overtake the classic flavor you would expect from this dish. The halibut & seabass were fabulous. We were underwhelmed with the choices in the dessert menu and decided to pass - how ofter does that happen? Not likely to return soon, too many better choices in SB.


Lovely dinner experience
Reviewer: jinelle from Santa Barbara, CA
Hands down, this is one of the more lovely dining spaces in downtown Santa Barbara, almost on par with Downey's for quiet yet slightly casual elegance - no stuffy formality, just a more gentile place in contrast to the brittle noisiness too many of our other establishments seem to cater.

Food was not up to what is could or should be, but it was very pleasant. Calamari appetizer nicely battered, but not having the promised flavorful punch per tantalizing menu description. Crab cakes were sweet, tender, moist, very nicely handled parcels of something flavorful, but missing any discernible crab flavor.

The bouillabaisse was disappointing, again without any variety of flavor and a weird pasty mouth feel to the insipid broth. Not bad, but not good either. It was warm and satisfying, but I would never order it again. The "white fish" with the bacon cream sauce was more successful. And the pineapple upside down cake was perfect, along with a credible creme brulee.

Notwithstanding the culinary disappointments from my personal perspective, this was a lovely dining experience and we will return and poke our way around the menu. No restaurant can hit home runs on every item. But they really should take the bouillabaisse off the menu or just call it a fish soup until they can inject the classic flavors, texture and haunting appeal of its original namesake.

Service was friendly, professional and went the extra mile to make it a very pleasurable dining experience from their perspective. Kitchen needs to put a little more love in what they hand over to the wait staff. Management needs to refine consistency of output, regardless of back stage crew.


Best Creme Brulee in California!
Reviewer: Nicole from Santa Barbara, CA
The food here was great, the starter courses were only ok (seagrass chowder, yellowfin sashimi), but I will say the sashimi had an excellent texture and the greens served with it were amazing. The main courses were excellent, we got the cod and whitefish. Both were crispy on the outside and firm. The curry with the whitefish was delicious, I hate curry but I still ate every bite of it on my plate! We split creme brulee for dessert....BEST CREME BRULEE EVER! The sugar crust on top was thick and delicious, the lemongrass had a nice, subtle citrus flavor. The servers and host were polite, funy and prompt! The atmosphere was relaxed, which is rare in a place that expensive. I love this place and will definitely be back.


Lovely Evening
Reviewer: Jill & Mark Brouillard from Goleta, CA
Dined at Seagrass Saturday evening and had a wonderful experience. Celebrated our 33rd anniversary and the service was both courteous and efficient. The presentation of the food was lovely and the flavors out of the ordinary. The dining room is all eastern shore in look and feel. Congratulations!


very average
Reviewer: Laila from Santa Barbara
I was excited to eat at this restaurant because of the hype about the Bouchon connection...have to say, I was pretty disappointed. The service was friendly but very slow. I appreciate being allowed to dine during a high-end meal, but there is a fine line between being allowed to dine and being left unattended. The timing between our courses was noticeably lengthy, to the extent that my guests and I wondered if they had forgotten our order. In addition, the food was not terribly memorable. They were out of the "signature" ceviche (that the server raved about during his introduction) at prime dining time on a Saturday night. So we changed our order to the albacore carpaccio, fortunately it was tasty and fresh, probably the high point of our meal. On the other hand, the main dish I ordered, the grilled giant prawns, came with a single, albeit large, overcooked prawn, very disappointing. I would not recommend that dish or this restaurant.


Extremely Well Done!!!
Reviewer: Brendan from Dallas, TX
Relaxing… The service and food couldn't have been better at Seagrass. I travel frequently and eat very nice meals often around the country. The laid back atmosphere mixed with their upscale dining never felt more comfortable... The service was impressive from everything from their recommendations and they even took the time to take a photo of my wife and me. The food was impeccable both in taste and delivery. Amazingly fresh… I would recommend Seagrass to anyone looking for awesome seafood!


Amazing
Reviewer: Jonathan from Santa Barbara
I have had many fine dining experiences in Santa Barbara but Sea Grass has surpassed them all. The chef josh(who came to our table personally and introduced himself) prepared a seven course tasting menu for us and paired everything with different wines. It was truly a one in a million experience and I would recommend it to anyone...


Best new restaurant in town
Reviewer: Stu from Santa Barbara
We've been to a good number of nice restaurants around here, and this was the best overall experience we've had. The food was extremely tasty and presented very well. Very unique seafood tastes and good dessert also.


Impeccable
Reviewer: Doug from Santa Barbara
Every dish we ordered was delicious and beautifully presented. The service was absolutely impeccable. The wait staff was extremely knowledgeable, helpful, and personable, without ever being intrusive. Our finest dining experience in recent memory, in a city that is full of excellent restaurants.


off to an impressive start
Reviewer: Danica Wood from Santa Barbara, CA
Every bit as good as bouchon (same owner, same executive chef, so that's no real surprise). The menu is a little short, but there's something for everyone--even people who don't eat fish. Service is flawless. Wine list is good, but could use more by-the-glass options. They've done a beautiful job making the space feel like a whole new restaurant in a very short time.


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