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Arts and Letters Cafe
7 E. Anapamu St, Santa Barbara
Phone: (805) 730-1463


Reviews by the General Public

Arts and Letters Cafe, 9/9/2013
Reviewer: Sally Spork from Santa Barbara, CA
Atmosphere: There is nothing like eating in a place where you feel you are in a secret, hidden spot. A bit like the old children's book "The Secret Garden". There are a few places peppered throughout SB like that, and this spot fits that perfectly. Located behind a gallery, it is a beautiful large outdoor seating area. I've come here numerous times for lunch. Service: We were seated immediately and served our food promptly. The place was bustling and the waitress was present but not overtly. Food/Drink: Each of ordered a different lunch entree: burrata cheese with shrimp and heirloom tomatoes; curry chicken salad, and pastrami on rye with grilled onions. Delicious and yes I tried each entree. I also had the cup of curry soup which said it had chickpeas: this was a disappointment because unless they pureed the chickpeas none were to be found. Drat. Summary: ALC is a hidden gem in Santa Barbara, off State St. The menu is extensive, fresh and creative; the service adequate and the ambiance delightful.


Amazing lunch!
Reviewer: amanda from Santa Barbara, CA
Five of us went here for the first time and were blown away on how delicious everything was! We shared the Calamari and it was one of the best I have ever had perfectly cripsy with this amazing basil aioli. I got the burger which was one of the best burgers i ever had with brioche bun, homemade bacon and arugula, yum! Tried my friends homemade hotdog and lamb salad and loved them all! Can not wait to go back!


Loved "Opera Under the Stars!"
Reviewer: Arlene from Santa Barbara, CA
Only the second time I've been for dinner and wow; a very memorable evening! I'm just a 40 something regular person - I've never even been to the opera - but the Opera Under the Stars was delightful! The music was beautiful, performers were so professional- not too loud & perfectly timed so we could enjoy our meal, which was delish and the service was great! (Thanks Jessica!)


This One is Just Right
Reviewer: Tyler from Santa Barbara, CA
The appeal of the location should be evident right away. It is quite a nice experience at night as well when its warm enough for them to open up the ceiling. As far as the food goes it is excellent. You'll find a nice mix of items to suit the taste of adventurous tasters or just the best burger you've had in your life. (they're take on a hot dog is pretty tasty too) Service is great as well although there is a level of surliness I have heard from the staff. Generally though they are looking to make your evening wonderful. Great Date spot.


First Tmer
Reviewer: Rexford from Santa Barbara, CA
I will be back. This is a hidden gem. Where can you find a meal like this in Santa Barbara. The monk fish was superb. My wife thought the cheese burger was the best burger she had ever had...in her life.


Unfortunate Wine List
Reviewer: Margaret from Goleta
Three recent visits to Arts and Letters, same wines on list unavailable. After going for fourth choice, which was considerably more expensive, overcharged on bill. Seems an easy fix to update available wines as the list is just an insert in the menu. Ten dollars minimum per glass is high for the type of restaurant it is, as is the general bottle prices. Santa Barbara has many wonderful wines at quite reasonable prices, even considering twice retail or three times wholesale. A new wine rep and definitely more care in servicing the list is needed. Wine and beer are good profit makers for restaurants if marketed properly. Wine glasses very nice. Food and service was good. Waiter was prompt to adjust bill, when the overcharge was pointed out.


Our new favorite lunch place
Reviewer: P&B from Santa Barbara, CA
Simply fantastic from a chef & rest. manager- Cosmo is extremely talented!!!


A bit pricey at lunch
Reviewer: Larry from Santa Barbara, CA
Nice setting. A pit pricey. Had a so so turkey sandwich for $16.00 served with a small salad. In fact all the lunch items with the exception of a hamburger ($15.00) were $16.00. At those price points I was looking for a bit of wow which was lacking.


Pretty great
Reviewer: Carrie from Santa Barbara, CA
Tonight was probably the 4th or 5th night we've been here and it's been great every time (especially with the 2 for 1 coupon)! They change up the menu frequently and everything tastes fresh (although my husband always goes for the burger because it's so good). The courtyard is lovely, the service is pretty good, it's never too crowded. Thank you ALC!


Wonderful atmosphere & food
Reviewer: Ashley from Santa Barbara, CA
My family and I had the pleasure of dining at the Arts & Letters Cafe this last Sunday. I have lived in Santa Barbara my whole life and never knew there was such a beautiful outdoor eating area hidden in this art gallery. My ALC Benedict was absolutely to die for! The service was also phenomenal, not only did our server make sure we were well taken care of, but at least two of the other servers came over & filled our beverages. The chocolate torte and a coffee were the prefect way to end our meal. We will be back this weekend!!


Lovely patio, food and service left much to be desired
Reviewer: Jenn from Santa Barbara, CA
We arrived at our reservation time and gave our name. They pointed to a table on the patio and said they just had to clear it. I thought great something on the patio opened up. Our reservation had been for indoors. They didn't come into the gallery to get us when the table was ready I had to keep checking on it. My disabled mother and my 90 year old grandmother and the rest of our party were finally seated on the patio. It took us several minutes to get settled. Someone (I believe the manager) then came up to us to ask our names. When we replied, she said, "Oh no you were supposed to be seated inside, you're going to have to move inside." I refused to move. I used to work in hospitallity, and when you make a mistake you hustle to fix it without anyone knowing. You don't inconvenience your guests. Our lunch took 50 minutes to be served, my omelet was cold and potatoes were undercooked.


Easter Delight
Reviewer: Tony Bliss from Santa Barbara, CA
Wow. We got there a little early, before 5 - can you believe it? The hostess checked with the kitchen, seated us, got some wayout drinks that she said were house specialties. Try the Blood Orange Gimlet. Then we launched into a 3 hour feast. The home-made charcuterie was the best we ever had - ever, ever, ever. Then we tried a Pork Pot thing that was one of the finest main courses I have ever had. My date had the home-made noodle. She was totally impressed. Then we waited awhile and had more to drink. Then we started on deserts. One at a time. We realized that nights like this don't come along very often. We were there for a little more than three hours. The waiter was terrific and


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