Santa Barbara Hotels
Santa Barbara Restaurants
Santa Barbara Real Estate
 Santa Barbara > Restaurants > Cafe Luck
  
 List your business

Cafe Luck
[closed, no longer in business]

18 E. Cota St, Santa Barbara
Phone: (805) 845-3825


Reviews by the General Public

Miss this place
Reviewer: Ash from Santa Barbara, CA
This used to be our favourite restaurant, and we were terribly disappointed when it closed. Is there any news on when it may re-open? Absolutely loved the cozy ambiance of the place. They had the best lamb and filet mignon :-) Their Madagascar prawn was heavenly!


Bon Voyage
Reviewer: David from Santa Barbara, CA
Cafe Luck's demise was the most disappointing restaurant-closure news my wife, friends and I had in a long time. A big gap in our personal, and this town's, dining options. We really enjoyed this place!


Please update your website
Reviewer: Heather from Santa Barbara, CA
Dear Cafe Luck Owners/Management, I loved your restaurant. Sadly, there is a very polite sign on the door that says it is closed and will be reopening sometime in 2012. Unfortunately for me, I don't usually go to restaurants in person to check them out before a date. I check the hours online. I look over the menu online. I get all dressed up and then drive to the restaurant. So, when I show up for dinner and I see the polite sign, I still kind of hate you. Please update your website.


Goodbye
Reviewer: Ronald Allen from Santa Barbara, CA
I have an inside scoop:

Well, and so it all ends.Thats right
Internet, the sadly catalectic Cafe
Luck has come to its end and has
Levanted to the land of once was

Always my first choice for dinner.
Lovely olive bread crunchy & light.
Wonderful service by either Kian
Ashley or Liz. My wifes face lit by
Yellow candle light...its all now a
Snuffed out and belied sodality.

Lasting in Santa Barbara's Mostly
Onerous restaurant battlefield is
Very tricky, so one really aught to
Expect this. It's just that, well,

Yearning for the desserts found
Only here will be Sisyphean: the
Unapproachable ice creams or the

Amazing Ile Flottante, The always
Superlative macaron treats...
Hell, this was the first place my
Lips touched a steak tartare and
Every visit was a dew delicious
Invitation to better appreciation of
Good food. Thanks for all the noms, and
Heartfelt wishes of Good luck and Good times.



Lucky to find Cafe Luck
Reviewer: Sylvia from Santa Barbara, CA
Girls night out couldn't have been better. Cafe Luck's atmosphere was friendly,staff was very attentive and the food was terrific and the macaroons that came with the check were out of this world! Beef Bourguignon was tender and saffron risotto was creamy. What a great place to enjoy food and friends.


Mashed potato soup
Reviewer: Mike F from Santa Barbara, CA
The ribs were boiled too much not broiled then a bit of BQ sauce bushed on, not good. The mashed potatos were the consistency of soup, this is a first ever in my life. The onion soup had more cheese than soup, couldn't eat. Fish good but small portion. Lg tuna salad gets high marks. OH, one more thing the veg was so small it looked like garnish.


Great visit, just for dessert though.
Reviewer: Ronald Allen from Santa Barbara, CA


I finally got to check out Cafe luck last night with a group of friends and thought I'd share.


Lovely decor and lighting, they were playing The Who when we entered. Excellent.
Ordered only desserts this time, so I didn’t get a look at the apparently controversial new menu.
Very impressed by the desserts though, we all shared, but after learning of it, I had to try the
Earl Grey ice cream. Rich and elegant, interesting, candles, romantic.(wink wink, guys on dates)

All of the dishes were imaginative and delicious, there even a chocolate cake on the menu.
Side note, even if you are only getting dessert, make sure to order some bread.
Holy crap, good, and served with olives in oil, the brininess really setting up the sweetness
Later to come. We also ordered Profiteroles which, were probably more than enough for the
Entire table, the chocolate sauce poured over them made my date just melt.(I'm telling ya guys)
Ile Flottante (floating island) was the third and final dish. A marshmallow filled with
Golden tasting lemon curd, floating in a lavender cream. Wow, honestly I was turned off by even
Hearing "lavender cream" but it was not a hint medicinal, but soft and suggestive, like a kiss.

I guess this is a pretty glowing review, and all together it was a great night out and that may have colored my perceptions, but I plan on going back for dinner, and will, I hope, have another glowing review to post. If not, and the entrees don’t live up to my first visit, well, as long as they don't change the desserts, this will always be a great spot to end the night.


New Menu -- yawn...
Reviewer: Adam from Santa Barbara, CA
Why change a great menu so drastically? I know every chef wants to put his own touches on the menu/food, but c'mon. The old (and exceptional, to say the least) menu was tried and true, it was THE classic French Brasserie menu (who else has Hanger Steak?). This is sad. The new menu is pedestrian and isn't even worthy of first year culinary student. Cafe Luck was my favorite restaurant in SB; there was really nothing like it in the central/south coast, but now it joins the ranks of mediocre at best.


Response to What? and New chef ruined restaurant
Reviewer: Annie from Santa Barbara, CA
Just to set the record straight, the previous (and brilliant) chef, David Rosner worked for Daniel Boulud, not Anthony Bourdain. He also worked for other prominent chefs/restaurants, as well as studied at The Culinary Institute of America and in France.


So sad my favorite is no longer
Reviewer: Jane seller from Santa Barbara, CA
Very disappointed that this wonderful restaurant lost it's chef and put Italian food on a French menu ! Please bring david and a taste of French cuisine back. Or at least a competent chef to revive hope


What???
Reviewer: Doug Peel from Santa Barbara, CA
Dear reviewer below....I can't attest to the quality of food put out by the new chef as I haven't dined here recently, but you do realize Anthony Bourdain was a mediocre chef at best right? He got famous for his book, not cooking. Since you have no idea what you are talking about I recommend no one listens to you


New chef, ruined restaurant
Reviewer: Jenelle from Santa Barbara, CA
This used to be one of my favorite restaurants in Santa Barbara. However, after a recent visit, I do not feel the same way. They changed their menu significantly, taking out some delicious items and, as I understand it, also taking out their most popular dish. When our orders arrived at the table, we were disappointed right away. The filet was bone dry, burnt on the outside and raw in the middle. The boeuf Bourguignon, which apparently replaced the popular flat iron steak, was not as tender or flavorful as it's predecessor (you used to be able to cut it with a fork, now you need a knife). Overall, the quality in ingredients and preparation has noticeably gone down. We inquired with our waiter, and discovered that the previous (and brilliant) chef had left to pursue bigger opportunities. This chef had studied under greats like Anthony bourdain and Gordon Ramsay; he was obviously the driving force behind cafe luck's fantastic quality. Fortunately, our waiter was very nice, and completely understood and even agreed with our disappointment. He gave us free dessert. UNfortunately, we don't see a point in returning, since we know it won't be what it used to be due to the loss of talent in the kitchen. So sad! Still good service though, and the food isn't horrible, just not comparable to what it used to be.


Excellent First Time French Restaurant
Reviewer: Terry from San Luis Obispo, CA
I had the duck and my wife had the garlic chicken and onion soup. They were excellent. There was no music on the Saturday night we went. The service was also excellent although we only had water and beer. I have eaten in hundreds of restaurants throughout the US and worked in several so although this is my first French restaurant I know food and service. We would highly recommend this restaurant to our friends and will also rave about it to strangers. We look forward to our next visit to Santa Barbara to try some of their other delicious looking dinners. Their chocolate souffle is an excellent addition.


great food great service
Reviewer: paul from Santa Barbara, CA
Had dinner there the other nite and it was fantastic. Our server Ashley even spoke fluent french which added to the experience. It was like we were eating in Lyon so if you go ask for Ashley as your server.


Expensive fish and fries
Reviewer: Elena from Santa Barbara, CA
I went to Cafe Luck on a late night and though we were nearly the only ones there, we had excellent service. My burger was quite good and replaced the fries with the mac n' cheese (not bad but I'm realizing I don't like truffle flavored anything). My boyfriend thought it was way too expensive for his plate of fries and broiled fish. I agree with him but overall I thought it was a good place. I'd go back again.


Transcendent.
Reviewer: a p c from Santa Barbara, CA
This was the best meal in the most amazing restaurant I have ever experienced. Previous to this that was a tie between the Jockey Club in DC, Chez Panisse, and Julienne. Cafe Luck gracefully combined all of the best aspects of these 3 other experiences. The food was cutting edge enough without being overly trendy, letting the flavors speak for themselves. We had the cauliflower soup (poured tableside; classy and OG), the seared foie with arugula puree, the hanger (the best steak) 'avec frites' with bordelaise sauce and A ROASTED MARROW BONE (unheard of in Santa Barbara; even the osso bucco I had at Mimosa was a knuckle cut with no marrow), the pan roasted dorade with DELICIOUS corn fondue and big delicious bacon cubes (done well like at Billie's, good bacon flavor but not overdone at all)... and then the desserts. This place DOES NOT F**K AROUND WITH THEIR PASTRY. We had a chocolate souffle and a breathtaking and flawless ile flottante with spun sugar on top. NEITHER of these are seen or heard of around here. There was no boring chocolate cake on the menu, no storebought ice cream (no name-dropping mcconnells), no standard creme brulee (pot du creme instead), no filet, no salmon... The server wasn't a featurelessly attractive young thing that asked us how our day was. The service was just old school ,classic, and WITHOUT FLAW, COMPLETELY. I didn't know Santa Barbara could DO something this class and grace like this. Nobody was there in a flannel and sweatpants (though you knew they'd rolled up in a lexus and lived in Montecito)... amazing.


Not there yet
Reviewer: Sarah from Santa Barbara, CA
The onion soup was over salted and the cheese was melted but not browned under the broiler, very disappointing. The bread was also not to my liking. Soft olive bread was doughy, a great baguette was MIA. The garlic roast chicken was nice as was the accompanying cheese polenta & ratatouille. Lovely waiter & atmosphere, food needs work.


Very good bistro food and a great setting
Reviewer: Jonathan from Santa Barbara, CA
Four of us ate dinner on a Saturday night. The french onion soup was VERY good. Two of us had appetizers for dinner after the hearty soup, which was more than enough. The fish of the day was very good. The setting is very nice. Next time I plan to sit at the bar and try the burger that sounded very tasty.


The quintessential French Bistrot!
Reviewer: sasha from Santa Barbara, CA
This is the quintessential French bistrot, similar to the one (Cafe de Paris?) in Los Feliz in LA, where you almost feel like you're in Paris, though the service is not as superb or professional. It is the only restaurant I know in Santa Barbara where you can always get confit de canard with a delicious mushroom and thin fried potatoes and frisse melange. And it is the only restaurant in Santa Barbara where I have found Pineau de Charentes, my favorite sweet wine apertif, though they ran out of it last time I was there. The hanger steak with a sauce bearnaise was divine! And the creme brulee is always good here. My friends thought it rather pricey.


Cafe Luck, Upstairs Private Dining
Reviewer: Cindy from Pleasanton, CA
Cafe Luck "Upstairs Private Dining" is the perfect place for a party! Service is excellent and the restaurant has a quaint, warm French-style bistro ambiance about it. The food—especially if you choose "family Style"— is superb and fun to share. We had a party of 14 for a Graduation Celebration on June 12 beginning with a Lucky Plateau featuring the famous Raw Bar—the best oysters, prawns and lemon ceviche scallops I had ever had—it did not disappoint—paired with a Champagne toast—it started off our party right. We next enjoyed a variety of small plates & entrees —moist, tasty halibut in parchment with mushrooms and asparagus, to-die-for flat iron steak and unique spicy Madagascar Prawns, along with perfectly seared scallops with fennel and orange zest! Outstanding & my favorite appetizer! It was a culinary delight for all—along with great wine pairings all recommended by our amazing server Ashley. Chef Rosner and staff are very talented and they went over and above to make sure our evening was special as well as memorable. We were heroes for putting on such a wonderful and special evening. Thank you Cafe Luck!


Really Very Nice First Experience
Reviewer: Steve from Santa Barbara, CA
Well, we are pretty jaded from a lot of experience about what impresses us about a restaurant. I am highly distrustful of Santa Barbara restaurants in general, so was not expecting much. Suprise.....Really Really good drink Upscale Vodka with a touch of Plymouth Gin and Lillett deftly used. Yum. We prefer French wines in excellent years...so finding a 2005 Bonnet for only $9 was just deliciously like that great vintage..and in large Riedel Glasses no less(could have been just a little cooler).-Then an exceptionally interesting 2008 Cotes Du Rhone Viognier $9. Thinking about going back soon. Onion soup was complex and reduced just like the best in Paris. Bread was lovely with superb olives on the side and the oil therin to dip with.(I would ask for a little hard butter in addition next time). Foie gras fine, but too small a portion and a touch under-done. Octopus was not as fresh as hoped for, but not lousy either...a bit small in portion. Chimay Beer on tap was a bit tired tasting...keep those lines better cleaned please.(so many lower scale places keep their draft beer clean and perfect,-we always wonder why so many of the upper scale places often have trouble with this...perhaps they do not move that much beer...but management...if you kept it colder and fresh..people do notice and would love you for it...but one off-beer, makes for not wanting to order it next time!!)Will try the Blue Moon next time. Hoping for change on this. Wonderful decor to us...very upscale Parisian feeling. Professional engaging help..our waitress gal had spent years in France and made a few interesting comments...really felt authentic to us. The gal who seated us too...very appropriately dressed and relaxed in her welcome to us. Felt genuinely inviting. Heard the burger is wonderful and a few other things for trying next time. This place has real potential...the little things will work themselves out...you can tell someone involved cares there. Haven't come across a newer place in a while we would return to...but this place is one. Hope this helps you sort the better from the not good.


Back in the day!
Reviewer: Philippe Mazure from Miami, Florida
I worked as a chef there when it was owned by Odile Matthieu and called "Mousse Odile"... We would serve +200 lunches nothing fancy at the time just some good French cooking at an affordable price! We had a great time...I am glad another good restaurant took over instead of a realty company! Bon Appetit! Philipppe Mazure


Taste Buds Still Singing
Reviewer: Tyler from Santa Barbara, CA
This was the third occasion I've eaten at Cafe Luck and it has been great every time. We couldn't have been more pleased with our experience last night. The olive bread was house baked and so soft. The Warm Lentil Salad with spinach and salmon confit was an exciting variation, deftly prepared. If you go, you simply have to try the Octopus a la Plancha. It is braised and then grilled, giving it the most bewitching taste and texture. All the accompaniments were perfect like pickled fennel, radishes and frisee. A main dish of Duck Confit kept our eyes rolling back in our heads. Attentive service and expertly-mixed cocktails sealed the deal.


Too Greasy
Reviewer: CAP from Santa Barbara, CA
I ordered the skate. It was good, but a small portion and a bit greasy. My friend made the mistake of ordering a sandwich and fries. The sandwich was greasy. Would have been ok with a green salad...but way too much with fries.Nice, but inexperienced waitstaff. We won't be back.


okay, not amazing
Reviewer: sally from Santa Barbara, CA
i wasn't really impressed with menu. the atmosphere beautiful


Excellent Food, Beautiful Bar
Reviewer: Anne Bussone from Santa Barbara, CA
I go to Cafe Luck more than any other restaurant in town because the chef consistently cooks me excellent food and changes the menu seasonally. The Salad Paysanne is always a winner (thick chunks of bacon and fresh green beans--how could one go wrong?), as is the Warm Brussels Sprout Salad. Last night I tried the Spinach & Ricotta Pizza, and I'm pretty sure it's the best pizza in town--the crust was super thin and crispy, and the combination of the ricotta and spinach were perfect. Other favorites of mine are the Onion Soup, Mushroom Ravioli, Slow Roasted Pork Belly, and Braised Short Ribs. Oh, and did I mention the fries or the creamy polenta? You'll think you've died and gone to heaven! Eating at the bar is the way to go--beautiful lighting and very knowledge and friendly bartenders. This place is a winner!


not french at all, very greasy
Reviewer: maya from Santa Barbara, CA
I was so exited to go there looking at the menu from the advertising pages. So sad I was, greasy bad service, music to loud. My food was burned like charcoal. I was told this is the way it was done in Europe... Please do not take people for fools! The wine came to late.


A bad experience
Reviewer: Jacques from Santa Barbara, CA
Went there last night (4 guys). Friendly but very slow service. 2 guys ordered the roast lamb and could not eat it (they removed it from our bill). Everything was too greasy. Skate was fileted off the cartilage and greasy too. Onion soup was OK. Had to wait 10 minute for an extra glass of wine while our food was getting cold. In summary, a good idea for a French restaurant but it's not Mousse Odile.


Unacceptable service
Reviewer: cathrine from Santa Barbara, CA
Wow did this restaurant go wrong in terms of timing our meal. We got in, and like normal, ordered a bottle of wine. 15 minutes later there was still no wine, but we ordered food. 5 minutes later we got a basket of bread, but still no wine. Finally the manager came with the wrong bottle of wine. She went back to search for the correct one. Our food arrived a mere 2 minutes after the bread came and before the waitress came back to tell us they were out of our wine. Isn't a French restaurant supposed to have excellent service and attention to detail?? We were both in a bad mood, and it off-set the entire experience. I won't go back.


Best place in town, hands down
Reviewer: Jason from Santa Barbara, CA
Cafe Luck hits the mark every time! Great wines, top-notch food, fresh seafood, and friendly, attentive service. The music volume could be lower, but if you want to have a smashing good time with friends or family, this is the place to be! The kitchen has really outdone itself. Bravo for having the gusto to serve the delicious foie gras in an ever-growing world of gastronomical whimps! The hanger steak with roast bone marrow is superb. The confit de canard is delectable. My hat is off, Keep up the good work.


Never again...
Reviewer: Bonnie Blau from Santa Barbara, CA
The food was decidedly mediocre, the service was very slow, and the noise was excruciating! Perhaps the music is not needed to add to the din. Unfortunately, the evening was just a dragged-out and somewhat unpleasant experience. Solution: Cut the music, speed up the service, and work on the food. The crowd was exceptionally noisy, but I don't know that you can do anything about that -- but certainly you can delete the music behind the noise.


Wonderful Bistro in Santa Barbara
Reviewer: Cassandra J from Santa Barbara, CA
My husband and I have been here numerous times and have always enjoyed the consistently excellent food, good service and a nice wine list. The atmosphere is inviting and relaxing. Last week we ate here twice with friends who were visiting from NY. The second night we suggested taking our friends someplace else to give them some variety, but they insisted on returning to sample more of the fare, which was fine with us. Raw bar is always fresh and dishes are cooked to perfection with real depth of flavor. Always a treat! See you soon.


Totally Underwhelmed................
Reviewer: Lynn from Santa Barbara, CA
Last night after seeing Julie & Julia, we decided to stop by Cafe Luck for a late meal. After having our tastebuds tantalized by the wonderful French food in the film, we were looking forward to having Cafe Luck satisfy our craving. We started off with a very bubbly glass of Louis Roederer that was lovely and chilled to perfection along with a basket of fresh baked olive bread that was warm and yeasty. The waiter, young and personable brought our first course, Madagasgar Prawn which was as he said, one very large prawn. It looked lovely and the sweet flesh was not overcooked, but why it was called Madagasgar Prawn, we were not sure as the sauce lacked any distinct flavor. Our next course was the roasted beet salad and the presentation was beautiful, but the dish did not have the wonderful sweet flavor that roasting usually brings out. It seems they were marinated in a vinegar that over powered the beet and the goat cheese that was paired with it was light(had it been whipped?) and bland. Along with the beet salad, we were served the sweet pea and ricotta ravioli which is a warm dish, so we had to either eat them together or eat the ravioli lukewarm. This dish looked great but again, it completely lacked the contrast of flavor and the broth was tasteless. By this time, we were regretting our order of Duck Confit knowing that we would be disappointed. It was lukewarm and it lacked the contrast between the crispy skin and the moist, tender flesh that one would expect. The mushroom sauce was not a complement to duck, it lacked depth. We decided to skip dessert and cut our losses especially in this economy. We'll stick with Julienne, our hands down favorite, even if it means seeing the early show.


Great drinks terrible table service
Reviewer: Jack Haas from Santa Barbara, CA
I had high hopes for Cafe Luck. The decor and the bistro style menu looked great but from the moment we were seated the mood shifted as the service immediately disappeared. We sat for 10 minutes watching and waiting for a server before we finally waiving down the manager to ask if there was someone who could help us. But to our surprise, instead of being kind and active she was rude and appeared bothered. Either she is doing someone a favor by being there or she needs a new job. We placed a quick order with her and waited. The bus boy brought our water, our bread and our food while our cocktails sat waiting at the bar. As for the food: The Steak Frites is mediocre at best - an over reduced and salted sauce with less than avg Frites. It’s Lucky’s so the beef was from a great cut and was cooked to order. But the dish was generic, especially the frites (they were more like McDonald’s fries than the classic shoestring style that soaks up the juices so well) The Halibut was a bit better. However, being oh so common with Halibut, It was a little overdone- The presentation and the dish was a bit bland lacking in any one direction besides salt. I’d say it needed a salad just to cheer it up. The highlights are definitely the libations. Hats off to the bartender for great cocktails even if his drinks sit idle while the manager and servers chat amongst themselves. They are well made, served in a tall glass and full of spirit. Next time I’m going to stick to the bar, avoid the pretension of the table with their lack of proper attention and let the cocktails do their thing before wandering next door for a wonderful meal at Square One.


Very unorganized
Reviewer: Ryan from Santa Barbara, CA
My wife and I tried to have dinner at Cafe Luck last Wednesday because we had heard great things about it. The hostess said she would need to check with her manager to see if she had room for us. I could hear her tell the manager that she had a few tables free, and we could also see 4 open tables. However, the manager told us we would need to wait at the bar for 20 minutes before they could seat us. I have never heard of a restaurant choosing not to seat people when they have open tables. All I could figure was that the waiters or the kitchen were too busy to take more tables. Maybe they should consider staffing the restaurant better.


Looking forward to next time
Reviewer: Taryn O. from Santa Barbara, CA
Overall: We will be back! Original & innovative cocktail list, good Charcuterie special starter, main courses had depth of flavor, and wine list is solid with local and french wines. Service is attentive and friendly. BEST: Confit de Canard - was delicious, crispy and cooked to perfection. Excellently paired with the Carr Syrah. LEAST: The overall decor is missing a little spark. The diamond shaped frames on the wall do not fit in with the decor and do take away from the overall European charm. Additionally, dimming the lights would improve the overall ambience.


AAAAAAAAPlus
Reviewer: Billy Cordero from Santa Barbara, CA
I'm a 9th generation Santa Barbaran who eats out almost every night. Cafe Luck is top shelf.


disappointing
Reviewer: Linda from Santa Barbara, CA
A great interior and well designed restaurant. We heard a great review on NPR and went with high expectations. The service was quick, interupting and quick to remove plates before we were done eating. The food was most disappointing.. duck was tough and warm(not hot), boulabaise average, halibut O.K. The presentation was good and veges a bit better than entre. Oysters were O.K. but not as fresh as the ones in Paris... Accoustics not great as it is noisy. The bar is inviting and probably a better place to hang...This was our first and last visit...


Not That Fabulous
Reviewer: Lisa from Santa Barbara, CA
We ate at Cafe Luck on Friday for the first time - I was a bit under whelmed by the whole experience. The menu font was very difficult to read, it was pretty noisey & I felt crammed into my space. The food was good, the presentation very nice, but the service made the experience not so great - and this is hard to explain. Our wait staff was attentive but they interupted our conversation so often that we could not even concentrate. I actually had to move out of the way of the wait staff so that they could service the table. The 2 of us just felt uncomfortable the entire time we were in the restaurant - something was just not embracing about the experience. Hope it improves - we'll give it another shot soon.


Great athentic french restaurant and baby friendly!
Reviewer: Crystal from Santa Barbara, CA
My husband and I took our 9 month old baby to have dinner at Cafe Luck, and just had a great experience. We felt like we were in a cafe in Paris. The waitress and manager were very sweet to our daughter, and even had the chef steam some fresh vegetables for her! The food was great, but perhaps a little on the expensive side. We will definitely go back!


Talk About an Improvement!
Reviewer: Ms. Kush from Santa Barbara, CA
I was so happy to go back to Cafe Luck and receive deliciously effective mojitos, the most rich and filling french onion soup I have ever had and very friendly service! The squeaky wheel gets the grease. Thank you Cafe Luck for exceeding my expectations on my return visit. I plan to have many more. On a side note, if you do not eat ham or shellfish due to dietary restrictions your menu options are limited.


Love Cafe Luck
Reviewer: Lisa from Santa Barbara, CA
One of the best things about Cafe Luck is the wait staff. My husband and i have been twice and each time I was impressed at the level of interest and cheerful service. They made me want to go back. Now, keep in mind, we don't go out on Friday and Saturday nights as a rule, as it is too crowded and noisy in every restaurant. I love the salad topped with poached egg and the fish soup is marvelous! Nice wines by the glass selection too. Very cozy bistro-type ambience. We love it....


A much awaited experience
Reviewer: Patricia Gossen from Santa Barbara, CA
Having lived in France, I was excited at the arrival of a new French restaurant in Santa Barbara. I should not have been. The food was rich, unrefined and overpriced. The onion soup was heavy and sweet, and the mussels came in a soapy, tasteless broth. Some were overcooked, the rest like rubber. The restaurant is lovely, but pretentious. I real disappointment.


Great food, service getting better
Reviewer: Mary from Santa Barbara, CA
From the reviews it seems like people have experienced varied qualities of service at Cafe Luck, which is what we have experienced as well. The first two times our servers were not very knowledgeable about the menu and were a bit too laid back. But the food was so good we came back. The last two times we have dined there we've had the sweetest server, Emma. When my husband and I came in on Wednesday night, she looked like she was really busy, but was still very collected and helpful when she came to talk to us. She answered tons of questions about the food and gave excellent recommendations. Don't give up on this place. The food is amazing and it looks like the staff is improving.


Fantastique!
Reviewer: Amy from Santa Barbara, CA
This was one of the best dining experiences I have ever had. The service was perfectly attentive, the hostess/manager was welcoming and gracious, and, finally, the food was unbelievably good! I don't remember the last time I tasted anything as delicious as my meal at Cafe Luck, but I will never forget the exquisite flavors of this food. My dining companions felt the same way about their meals. Our every request was cordially accommodated. This experience was perfect in every way.


Many good parts but it doesn't all come together.
Reviewer: Patrick from Santa Barbara, CA
We ate here last night. It was a busy Saturday and, although we arrived at 6PM, the pace was already noisy. It was a business diner so we had requested a table upstairs. That helped some but, by 7PM, we were having to shout to be heard. The music - which the manager turned down for us - wasn't much help. Sorry, but a French restaurant, even one in SB, shouldn't have Pink Floyd as dinner music. The food was very good - I had fois gras and the duck. The duck was good, large portion (too large actually) and my companions had the lamb which was even better. The desserts were great. Te wine list was so-so and the red arrived at the table on the warm side. The service - totally Californian. I don't want to be addressed as "you guys" and have the waitress tell us about how she hopes to visit France. Get more professional help, train them to at least pronounce the names of things, and impress on them that are working at what hopes to become an upscale restaurant, not Sharkeys. Overall - many things work at Cafe Luck but it doesn't all come together to make for an excellent dining experience.


Wonderful
Reviewer: Colette from Santa Barbara, CA
I didn't check the menu before going to Luck, and unfortunately don't eat seafood. I though I'd make a mistake, but decided to stay and try the burger because the waitress was so nice. I was not disappointed. It was one of the tastiest burgers I've ever had and the fries were similarly amazing. I can't wait to go back.


excellent
Reviewer: lucky guy from Santa Barbara, CA
excellent!!! the former chef@balthazar brought fine flavors of nyc. french onion is insanely good. the owner of this place "gene montessano" is a really good guy and he knows his food. the decor and the bathroom is incredible. a


Disappointed
Reviewer: Jim from Santa Barbara, CA
First the noise level was way too load. Second, when we wanted to substitute potatoes with spinach we were told they would charge an extra $2 for the change, which turned us off and finally nothing on the menu really struck our fancy. In general the food and it's presentation left us cold and as regular diners out, we will not be coming back until they get their act together.


Unpretentious French cuisine, Good service, Great bar!
Reviewer: Kristen J from Santa Barbara, CA
We went here last night just to sit at the bar and get a quick drink and try out a couple small dishes on our way elsewhere, and had a great experience. The staff was very welcoming - Jessica, the bartender that night, made me a great sidecar, recommended a wonderful wine for my dining partner, and offered tastes of another. They brought of a basket fresh bread and olives for us, and were very attentive. The farmer's salad with lardons and poached egg was one of the best things I've eaten in ages - everything was perfectly balanced. We'll certainly be back!


Must try
Reviewer: liza and mark from Santa Barbara, CA
Our first time here and we loved the service and the food. Not too frenchy and very classy for a bistro! Bring a date!


Too Noisy
Reviewer: margo from Santa Barbara, CA
Went for the first time. Miss Mousse Odile, and knew this was a much more upscale, LA type of place. But food and service were excellent. A bit above a bistro experience, but still French in feel and taste. One thing that needs attention is the noise level. Montecito Cafe had this problem before Margaret Huston and her brother took over. There was a parade of different restaurants in that wonderful location that failed because of the noise. When dinner companions can't hear each other speak, it tends to make diners choose another place. It would be a shame to cover the beautiful wood floors with carpet, but that and some other acoustic dampening devices would go a long way to making us want to return. My husband and I decided it would be a good place for just the two of us to come to eat at the bar, and that way we could hear each other speak. As for two or more couples, don't plan on catching up socially, as it's as though you're in a disco. Great food, though.


Cafe Out of Luck
Reviewer: James from Santa Barbara, CA
A party of five dined at the restaurant, after reading reviews and the understanding that the owners were the same as Lucky’s in Montecito. My review is as follows: bread was dry & tasteless; French onion soup was cold; onion tart lacked flavor; ravioli was too rich; and, the hanger steak was chewy & did not come with anything else. Finally, the table did not have linens and the chairs were uncomfortable. Not acceptable for an average entrée price of $25. A far cry from Bouchon.


Good first impression
Reviewer: Brian from Santa Barbara, CA
We tried Cafe Luck for the first time on Saturday night and it was a very good overall experience. The place definitely has the feel of a French/European restaurant and we loved the high ceilings and decor. Our table was a little odd in that it was in the corner at the front and it was very hard to access due to surrounding tables "locking" you in. Not hard for us since we don't get up a lot but I felt bad for our server. Staff seemed fairly knowledgable and gave us some good advice. Overall meal was very good. I had the beef braised in red wine and my wife had the skate wing. The desert was a little off however. The pastry under the apple tart was too overworked and it made for a tough time cutting. The prices were reasonable. The wine list is not the best I have seen but I am glad they gave more focus to French wines than to Central Coast. I would definitely go back.


Only One Complaint................
Reviewer: Nancy White from Santa Barbara, CA
My husband and I were taken to Cafe Luck as guests of a very good friend who had dined there before. We were (happily) seated in a banquet in the bar area for a 7:30p.m. reservation on a Friday night;the restaurant was about eighty percent full. We had dined at Lucky's the week before and it was eighty percent empty (on a Thursday night). Our dinners were delicious and the service was great. The steak frites are 'too good.' Our ONLY complaint: It is SO loud you cannot hear yourself think! There is no reason to play music, along with the horrible acoustics, which makes for a constant hum/buzz that floats up to the ceiling and down again. Fortunately, I do not have any hearing problems. If I did, I could never go back!


Fantastic food, fun and bustling ambiance at Cafe Luck
Reviewer: Cindy from Pleasanton, CA
We came to Cafe Luck on a recommendation for great new French Bistro in SB. My husband and I were visiting our daughter and were celebrating our birthdays. A smiling hostess greeted us and seated us for glasses of wine at the Raw bar.We had a delicious Raw Bar feast with octopus, prawns and Oysters.So fresh and good! Seated in a cozy corner table, we dined on Bib salad w mustard vinegrette, a scallop brochette with fennel appetizer—(to die for)and then added the Braised beef in wine with mash potatoes and the Skate Wing with lemon and capers. Absolutely perfectly prepared.Great sauces and flavors on both entrees.Mouth-watering comes to mind!Ended w/unique bread&butter dessert and a lemon tart.Kudos to Chef Rosner and the entire staff including our delightful server Liz!Wonderful night!


cafe luck -- a real birthday treat!
Reviewer: Kacey from Santa Barbara, CA
On Sunday, October 5, I went into Cafe Luck for my birthday dinner with a few of my friends. We started with some oysters from the raw bar, which were incredibly fresh. We also had the beet salad (a real burst of flavor!), house salad, onion soup, and the lamb, which was tender and cooked to perfection! All of the food was great and I was completely stuffed. However, when my waitress found out it was my birthday, she treated me to some of their homemade gelato and a lit birthday candle, in addition to some tasty espresso macaroons! My experience was wonderful and despite the negative (and most likely spiteful) reviews that have been posted on this website, the service was fantastic! The staff was incredibly friendly and made me feel like every guest should: as a part of the family. This was a birthday dinner to remember...I will definitely be back again and feel confident that my friends will be as well. Thank you, Cafe Luck!


Fell short of my expectations :(
Reviewer: Ms. Kush from Santa Barbara, CA
We are frequent adoring Luckys patrons and were excited to try the new spot. When we arrived they informed us that the "kitchen had just closed". I really don't like when they say that, just say the kitchen is now closed. I don't need to feel admonished for missing your idea of appropriate time for dinner, or like we shold have gotten there sooner. I got there when I wanted to get there! They sat us right by the door, always a great spot (ha!). We ordered cocktails, but I think they forgot to add the alcohol. Our waiter was painfully awkward and lacking in social skills. Constant interruption in attempt to make small talk with us when all we wanted was to finish out weak drink and leave. Think plenty of pauses on his end and holding back giggles on our end. I guess at least he tried.... We decided to give it another shot a week later. We arrived around the same time, but this time got told that it was last call so we had to pick our drinks right away. We ordered two mojitos and the bartender informed us they ran out mint, which is usually bartender code for "I really don't feel like making that drink right now". Boo! Being avid Lucky's customers, I have faith that they will raise the bar and hopefully next time we shall not be disappointed.


am i missing something?
Reviewer: alli from Santa Barbara, CA
the stuffed veggie app. was bland and the sausage inside was tasteless and chewy. we ordered veal and beef, the veal was mostly fat and basically indedible. the beef however was great but nothing came with it, same with the veal. veggies or rice would have been nice on the side, anything really. not much of a wine selection for a french place. we won't be back


Wow!
Reviewer: Geneva from Santa Barbara, CA
we were a group of four adults on a Wednesday evening when there were plenty of tables for four on the main level. However, we were shoved into a hot, dark corner in the loft adjacent to the storage area [while John Cleese enjoyed his table in the window] we were left for 20 minutes in the dark. Nobody cared to offer us a drink or dinner for that matter so we finally left and went next door to The Palace Cafe for a fine dinner. This place is tres poseur from the service to the decor! And the wine list is bizarre to say the least.


Great Southern French Bistro
Reviewer: Patrick from Santa Barbara, CA
Went to dinner at Cafe Luck on Saturday night. It was lively and had a fun yet authentically French atmosphere. All the meals at our table were very good and the service was quality. Brought our own wines and were treated to quality stem service and attention. I ordered the scallops to start, slow cooked veal, and finished with the tarte de prunes. All were fantastic.


yummy:-)
Reviewer: Heidi from Santa Barbara, CA
This was the first time my husband and i had eaten at Cafe Luck and the atmosphere was amazing, the food delicous and the service second to none, thanks to our waitress Lizzie!! My husband and I could not find fault with anything, and cannot wait to eat there again on Friday:-)


'french food' can mean many things
Reviewer: Adam from Goleta, CA
This is indeed French food. This is not haute cuisine it is comfort food. The absence of a sommelier,tasting menu and ringed/stacked food ought to give that away. It does not pretend to be haute cuisine. Thus far, I've had: a chef's tasting menu (due to some connection to the restaurant), which included pretty much everything on the menu sans a few Hors d'oeuvres and an à la carte meal. Some things need to be ironed out (e.g.the soupe du poisson for example needs to be hotter). The onion soup is great, that is: rich, thick and onion-y. The steak frites are fantastic, with fantastic fries (the best in SB). My scallops the second time around were ambiguous: were they to be served hot or cold? Their chicken is fantastic, with the panisse and garlic and the wonderfully prepared skin. It is a full leg of chicken, not some boring breast meat. The veal is fantastic as is the lamb. The braised short ribs are the wet dreams of meat eaters. One question that can be asked: where is the pork and the guts? At any rate, the food is sensational. The desserts are inventive and wonderful (e.g. the plum tart and the pistachio and mousse are absolutely lovely). I have loved every dessert I have tried (all of them including the swiss chard thing). The pastry chef gets my seal of approval as s/he is obviously talented and creative and SB has lacked great restaurant desserts. The menu is full of southern French classics, through which I plan to eat once a week. I would like to see more specials and more pork (give us sausages and pork belly)and more offal. The dinning room is very charming and very French (e.g. just like a Toulouse Bistro/Brasserie). The biggest grip seems to be the wine list: to which I can say I don't care. The food is classic comfort food via a French Brasserie. Thanks Café Luck. I can't wait to eat at this place again. (They are teaching people how to eat good food.)


Absolutely Nicoise cuisine
Reviewer: barbara bailey from carpenteria, ca
On Friday I was walking by and to my surprise a french restaurant just off of state street.(perfect) My friends and I shared everything, the boullabaise, steamed mussels, and duo of lamb all sensational! I should start every weekend there for the rest of my life.


still no real french food in SB
Reviewer: toby dennison from Santa Barbara, CA
if anyone has ever been to france then cafe luck is a HUGE disappointment. Onion soup was average, the onion tart more like an american doughy pizza, scallops were served well-done, lamb that was fairly bland. and a wine list, though mostly french, that is totally unimaginative. boo!


Ok, but Not great...
Reviewer: luke campbell from Santa Barbara, CA
We looked forward to the opening of Cafe Luck after several years of being closed. The restaurant is beautiful and the servers attentive. We were disappointed in the limited menu choices and settled on the hanger steak and fries, which were good, but the onion soup was really flavorless and the mussels entree just okay. I would probably return though and give them another chance.


Good food
Reviewer: Matthew from Santa Barbara, CA
Good food. Good service. Worth checking out, especially if you happen to be washing your car down the street and end up hungry. Still at odds with the after bill brownie/circle bites. I'll go back again.


Fantastic Food - Great Atmosphere
Reviewer: Annie from Santa Barbara, CA
Cafe Luck is a lively inviting french brasserie serving wonderful food. My husband had the Boeuf en Daube (braised beef in red wine), which was so tender, rich and savory, he couldn't resist mopping up every last morsel and bit of sauce with bread. I had the salmon with artichokes. The fish was cooked to perfection and was served in a broth with fresh braised artichokes. Our friends had the roast leg of lamb and the sea bass, which they also raved about. Appetizers and sides were equally as delicious. The frites were thin, crisp and golden. We had the "bread and butter" for dessert, which was slices of pistachio cake and pats of chocolate ganache that we spread over the cake. Definately worth the indulgence. The service was friendly and accommodating.


Have you eaten here? Write a review of this location!  Terms of Service