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Kobachi Izakaya Dining
[closed, no longer in business]

4141 State St, Santa Barbara
Phone: (805) 692-0717

  • Category: Japanese
  • Hours: Tue-Sat 11:30am-1:45pm, 5:30pm-11pm
  • Price: $10 - $20
  • Serving: Lunch & Dinner
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Reviews by the General Public

In Decline
Reviewer: Margaret from Goleta
Having been a fan of Kobachi since their inception it's sad to see the decline in Itzakaya menu choices, quality of food,it's preparation and higher prices. Seemed to be pushing rolls, which are inferior to most of other local sushi restaurants. The now grocery store entrance is unattractive. Pasted flyers on walls next to tables tacky. It was so outstanding and had delicious creative menu choices and flavors not in other local Japanese restaurants when it began. Small portions, eggplant, tempura and chicken dish, so greasy. Sorry to see it lose it's quality and uniqueness.


Great!!!!!
Reviewer: Michael Davidson from Green River, WY
This place is definitely an Izakya-style restaurant with cheerful Osaka-style waitresses. The food was fresh and delicious. The decor is not great, but I went for the food. We had the best time. I have eaten in many Sushi restaurants in New York, Denver, Tokyo, etc. Can't say I've ever had a better experience. Thank you!!


Disappointed
Reviewer: Joe from Santa Barbara, CA
Tried this for the first time, for a change from Ahi Sushi and Itsuki. We were disappointed - the seafood was skimpy, both in the Poke appetizer and the rolls, and rather bland as well.


Great deal for lunch
Reviewer: Elena from Santa Barbara, CA
Another meal with my sister! We enjoyed the sushi lunch special and the salmon sushimi was FABULOUS. So fresh and tender. The seaweed salad was flavorful. Everything was really good. The service was a bit lacking but considered that Japan experienced the earthquake the day before, well, one can understand how distracted the service was.


Found a new favorite!
Reviewer: Elena from Santa Barbara, CA
This was my first time at Kobachi Izakaya and found the food to be fresh and delicious. I was so glad that they served soba noodles! Their roll was okay - I like the ones at Edomasa better. The broiled fish was really fresh and not dried out. The fried chicken (small tender pieces) appetizer was so moist and the tartar sauce was really yummy (not really pickle-y). I was surprised about being able to order fried chicken at a Japanese restaurant. The service was excellent - super friendly and helpful.


Clear a little space for the regulars!
Reviewer: Roger from Santa Barbara, CA
I always have to laugh when people leave angry reviews when they miss a few pennies off of happy hour, and will never come back again, or the water glass was not filled within twenty seconds after arrival, so they will never come back again, Or those who do not understand that izakaya dining means the small plates come out at different intervals, to be shared, as you enjoy your company, and they will never come back again. For the rest of us, who love this restaurant, the food, and the style of dining, the one or two less "customers" mean we will be sitting down to dine just a few minutes earlier. The food is beautiful, well prepared, the staff are beyond polite, quality is up, and if you relax with your great company, and great food, you will enjoy it.


Disappointed
Reviewer: Ken Kuroda from Santa Barbara, CA
I read the customer reviews and wanted to try what others had been raving about. I was seated shortly before 7:30pm. I noticed an item on the menu that was available between 5:30pm to 7:30pm. Shortly after I was seated when I tried to order that item, the waitress said that I was too late for that item. I told her that I was seated before 7:30pm. Her reply was that I needed to place my order before 7:30pm. Their business must be really thriving to show such disregard for their customers. Even restaurants that are thriving don't treat their customers like this. I decided to leave without experiencing what might have been a pleasant dining experience.


Expanding for a reason
Reviewer: Phil Gulley from Santa Barbara, CA
I eat at Kobachi about once a week for lunch and 1-2 times for dinner each month. The menu is excellent as well as the food. I try something different each time and the 2 or 3 item lunch menu is a bargain! The staff do a great job though some are English challenged. The expansion is beautiful and I look forward to trying out the new section including a Japanese style dining area.


over a year later, still wonderful
Reviewer: lemonjelly from santa barbara, ca
This is now my fourth review of Kobachi, and I hope I'm not repeating too much. But some things are worth repeating. This is izakaya. This is coming in after work, and sharing a drink and delicious small plates with friends and family. Everything we order, we share. I love that the plates come out at different times, because they are fresh out of the kitchen, and there is time to share them amongst the table. There is commraderie throughout the restaurant, not just the diners at their own tables, but people at different tables sharing recommedations. I've been offered a sample of a dish from another friendly table, and I have offered my food to others. The people who work here eat here in their time off. When foodie and non-foodie friends visit from out of town, this is the place my whole family first thinks to take them. New favorite dishes: agedashi tofu (fried tofu cubes in broth), nasu (broiled eggplant with a rich miso glaze), shochu in oolong tea, anything uni, (santa barbara urchin) like the uni nigiri and the uni shooter, the hanpen katsu (fried fish fillet stuffed with cheese and edamame, with a spicy mustard and soy sauce) and the shiitake nigiri. Plus everything else listed in all those earlier reviews. The chef keeps adding new items and experimenting, that's the joy of small plates!


Not Recommended
Reviewer: Steve from Santa Barbara, CA
Went here for dinner with some friends last night and will not be going back. Disregarding the fact that the tea was served lukewarm and had to be microwaved and that each dish came out in 5 minute intervals so nobody ate at the same time, the food is actually pretty decent. I would put the sushi on the level of Somethings Fishy, the rice dish maybe 6/10 as good as Ichibanís, and the manager/server was very pleasant, but they lost me when I saw on the menu that they had a 10% off special starting at 8:30p that night, and the server then proceeded to tell me that since we got there at 8:21pm then we were not eligible. Well can we wait 9 minutes before ordering to get the special? No, because she wrote down what time we got there so we were just out of luck. I donít really care that I didnít get a $4 discount on the $40 tab, but it just bothered me that they would not make the slightest accommodation to make us not feel cheated. Hope they enjoy their extra $4 they made from me because I wonít be a repeat customer.


Wonderful birthday dinner
Reviewer: Diane from UCSB from Santa Barbara, CA
My birthday dinner with my husband and another couple was a delicous meal tonight. This was my fourth visit, my husband eats lunch here once a week with his business partner. I always order the fried oysters which are perfectly cooked. I am from Massachusetts and appreciate great seafood, their oysters beat any seafood restaurant in Santa Barbara. The waitstaff is sooooo polite and you will never hear them say, "No, problem." They actually say, "Thank you."


The day I fell in Love
Reviewer: 松田久志 from Santa Barbara, CA
Let me start off by saying that this restaurant has amazing customer service and even more amazing food. The owner of the Izakaya will even go as far to see how you are doing. He personally creates some of the recipes for the food on the menu. The food is amazing and I can't do anything but let my eyes roll into the back of my head as I eat. You can get a full Izakaya meal for about $13 including tip and leave full. The sushi is amazing and taste really fresh. If you like Japanese food, I HIGHLY SUGGEST GOING TO KOBACHI!!!


Good
Reviewer: Rian I from Santa Barbara, CA
Nice little place, very friendly staff, excellent flavor. However all five of our rolls were very small, with small slices, not to filling. And takes a very long time to receive your food. But might try it again.


Great Food, Charming waitress!
Reviewer: Andrew from Santa Barbara, CA
Having traveled to Japan several times, I've always wished S.B. had an Izakya-style restaurant with cheerful Osaka-style waitresses and Kobachi now has that combination... The lunch waitress was just like Osaka people who are warm, friendly, and have an excellent sense of humor! She makes you feel immediately very comfortable in the restaurant and cheers up everybody! If you want to try something different, try the Hamachi Kama (broiled yellowtail collar). The Tsukune renkon shiitake-an is also a great new taste sensation for adventurous people.


#1 fan!
Reviewer: lemonjelly from santa barbara, ca
Hi, it's me again, talking about Kobachi. I swear I am going to adopt the ladies working there because they are too sweet. Kobachi is an absolute gem in Santa Barbara, and their already extensive izakaya menu has recently expanded. Still, I cannot resist the aburi saba and the tsukune renkon shiitake-an. I recently sated with my desire to try as much as I could on their menu by having my birthday dinner there. Absolutely no regrets, I got to try many new dishes, and though I lost track of the plates coming out of the kitchen I did see the bill and it was dead reasonable. About $25/head, for a birthday dinner! With sake and beer! And the ladies kept the bills and tables and ordering more dishes throughout the meal totally in check. For those hesitating on the izakaya - and I understand, not everyone likes natto with quail egg - try the mushroom roll. Several kinds of mushroom, drizzled with truffle oil. Hello.


Good Food, Great service
Reviewer: Glenn from Buellton
Really nice hostess/waitress there. Food is good and similar to Ahi Sushi on state which they are affliated with. Portions I got on the lunch special were bigger than Ahi's lunch special. In the El Mercado shopping center hidden away. They charge extra $1 for to go orders. Nice decor inside, tables close.


happiness in my mouth
Reviewer: lemonjelly from santa barbara, ca
I've written a review before, but I've been back several times and want to confirm that it keeps getting better. Again, it's all about the small plates for me, and the company of course, but I'll just chatter on about the food. The bill always seems to hover around $25 per person. A group of 3-4 is better because there are more plates to share round. My new favorite is the aburi saba - seared mackerel finely sliced and dressed with ginger juice, carpaccio sauce and spring onions. There are so many slices to nibble on, it seems a steal at $7.50. And I always get the kama, with succulent meat in two textures. My experience has been satisfactory when I order things I know, and amazing when I order things I don't know. If you take anything away from this review, it's to try being a little adventurous. Please! I tell everyone about Kobachi, and do my best to get them riled into a hunger frenzy for the place. I think it's working.


Great Food
Reviewer: Billy from Santa Barbara, CA
I went to this place with my girlfriend upon reading the reviews on the Santa Barbara Restaurant Guide and we were not disappointed at all. The food was delicious and served fast. Even though it's a Izakaya style restaurant, be sure to try the signature rolls. The Hola Amigo roll was incredible!: Tempura Halibut with jalapenos and a spicy aoili. The spicy tuna tempura and seared salmon rolls were also very good. The service was a little slow, but that was probably due to the patrons/server ratio. Good eats at a great price.


Yummy, will be back for more!
Reviewer: Christine from Santa Barbara, CA
Went with my husband last Friday night (early) and were pleasantly surprised. The dining area is clean and there are tables outside. The menu is two pages, front and back, and was a little confusing at first until we dug in with sushi which is what we were familiar with. It was great! The "Favorite" roll was so light and really different from anything we've had before. Next time we want to try the roll with the 5 mushroom types in it! As for the "little plates" we had the beef short ribs which were yummy and the roasted duck, which was good but not great. We had a small sake and two big Sapporos and the bill was under $70. The place was packed by the time we left, even the outside tables. As the tables filled while we were eating, the wait for our "little plates" was a bit extended and our waitress apologized many times (too many times, really) and even offered to buy us a beer, but it wasn't that long and the food was worth the wait. She hello to a few regulars, which I thought was nice, (considering the restaurant hasn't been open that long) and we plan to come back soon.


Great authentic izakaya
Reviewer: Kristen J from Santa Barbara, CA
I've been here twice now, once for lunch and once for dinner, and this is definitely going to be one of my new favorites. The lunch menu is limited to bento-style combinations and sushi, and at dinner in addition to the lunch items they have a more extensive menu of small plates, meant to be eaten tapas-style over drinks. They have an awesome selection of premium sake - and you can order a tasting flight even! Overall it was inexpensive (even with 3-4 people eating til we were full and drinking lots of sake the bill never topped $100), the food was great and the wait staff was super nice. Definitely worth a visit, and a nice change from the usual sushi joints.


delightful small plates
Reviewer: lemonjelly from santa barbara, ca
I came here with an excited party of four. One of us had spent time in Japan and was very happy to have an izakaya-style Japanese place in Santa Barbara. We were not disappointed with the food and service. We had mixed pickle, lotus root chips, lamp chops, fried chicken, hamachi kama, halibut carpaccio, yakitori, seaweed, cucumbers and, of course, lots of smooth cool sake! The staff seemed just as happy to have us there, even though the place was already bustling with lots of business. It seemed like every table was full. Decor is much improved from the Japanese place that formerly occupied the space. Still, location is a little inconvenient, due to the limited parking in the general area, that will never change. Note: lunch menu is more sushi and rolls, not izakaya. Evening and nights only for these delicious small plates.


This is the place to go
Reviewer: Elizabeth from SB, CA
We stumbled upon this restaurant and are so glad we did very good with more than pleasant service. Dishes are prepared with nice ingredients. We will be back to this Japanese restaurant. If you like eating early try the combination dinners, beef short ribs & chicken kara-age.


Nice addition to the Japanese scene
Reviewer: Joe Allegretti from Santa Barbara, CA
I enjoyed my first experience at Kobachi last week. Extremely friendly staff & management, and the food was good too. The Agedashi-tofu was delicious and delicate and I'm craving more right now. Also tried kampachi-kama (broiled yellowtail collar) and fried soba dumplings, which were also good. The yellowtail tasted great, but I suspect it was frozen due to the time it took to make it to the table (I could be wrong). Though this is the first place to have "Izakaya" in its name, I would say other restaurants have plenty of izakaya-style offerrings on their appetizer menus (Edomasa & especially Takenoya come to mind). As expected, the price of izakaya small plates can add up, but I enjoy this style of eating when I'm not in the mood for more sushi-focused places or the generic "teriyaki" entrees. I definitely can't wait to eat here again. I hope the out-of-the-way location doesn't doom this place -- it's going to need to drum up a lot of local business to stay afloat, so give them a try!


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