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Azuma Japanese Restaurant
[closed, no longer in business]

24 W. Figueroa St, Santa Barbara
Phone: (805) 966-2139

  • Category: Japanese
  • Hours: Weekdays: 11:30am-2pm & 5pm-10pm, Weekends: 5pm-10pm
  • Price: $10 - $20
  • Serving: Lunch & Dinner
  • Map
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Reviews by the General Public

Those were good times!
Reviewer: Andy from Fallbrook, CA
I don't care what anybody says, maybe it was just a period of my life, but the food and atmoshpere was second to none. My friends and I would go there every other week (paycheck friday, or more) and have some of the best nights I could remember. Mitsu and Jose were awesome! The food and price was better than any other sushi joint in SB at the time. Cute waitresses. Mitsu would hook us up with all sorts of crazy randomness and play pink floyd and bob! AMAZING!! I moved away and came back one day and they were gone... I think I silently shed a tear.


I´m with you

Azuma used to be one of my favorite places. I left town to do a road trip the week that the ownership changed. After a year, I came back and immediately went to Azuma. Not so good. I went back a few more times to give them a chance. I always sit at the bar and eat nigiri, so I don´t notice the wait staff as much. However the service behind the bar was really bad. Once I sat for 15 or 20 minutes before anyone acknowleged me (water or wasabe or anything). Many times it´s difficult to get the chef´s attention even when he is standing there doing nothinf. I miss Jose! The sushi selection was sparse, and sometimes what they served me was not too fresh. Now I go to edomasa for the grass-roots experience akin to Azuma, and Piranha for the more high end experience.


Not the same

I totally agree with Josh regarding the change in ownership. Azuma used to be one of my favorite places to go, but I can say that I won´t go back until it changes ownership again. The new owner used to be one of the chefs at Arigato and I think that he was trying to create something comparable with his version of sushi fusion, but instead he ended up alienating all of the regular customers. Rather than trying to compete on Arigato´s level, he should have tried to kept it more traditional. It seems as though the entire staff was replaced as well, probably of their own choice. If you are really craving sushi in Santa Barbara, try Taiko - definitely better than both Arigato and Azuma.


Talk about sushi!
Reviewer: Camey Barber Olds from Santa Barbara, CA
I have been to Azuma in the past few months and can tell you the new Sushi chef, Kevin is out of this world! He is friendly, humorous and very attentive. My husband and I never get any of the specials, just straight for the good stuff. We have tried many of their new and delicious rolls. The Figueroa roll is perfectly wrapped, chock FULL of fish, and just enough rice to enjoy each flavor, the marina roll is terrific as well. The sashimi portions, although expensive are HUGE portions with the best yellowtail I´ve ever had at any of the other established sushi bars in town. Since enjoying every experience there, we have not gone anywhere else. The servers are friendly, and the sushi is out of this world. Sit at the bar and let Kevin take it from there. Camey Barber Olds


Change of ownership = poor service and menu
Reviewer: Josh from SB, CA
Azuma has been a SB mainstay for decades and has recently changed ownership. For Azuma, this has meant a true disaster in service, quality and value. What´s good: 1) The interior has received a little renovation by adding unique artwork that is pleasant to view. 2) The daily specials are now visible from most seating areas (whereas you literally had to walk up to the sushi bar). What´s bad: 1) On the front door there is an extremely tacky "Help Wanted" sign posted for at least three months now. What is even more pathetic is that it lists every single position possible (I wish it had included "new owner/management"). 2) The Lunch Special 1 year ago used to be the best deal in SB at $6.95. Since then, they have raised the price to $8.95 while providing less quality and quantity of food. For example, the Cali Rolls used to be thick, hearty and tasty. Now the rolls have been slimmed down significantly and are almost as thin as a regular maki (cucumber) roll you can get at ralph´s. Moreover, the Spicy Tuna rolls USED to be the best in town. However, the new chef has not only changed the generous helping of tuna, he has also gone cheap. The Spicy Tuna roll now is very meager in terms of actual tuna used and now is simply mixed in with store-bought Sra-Cha (popularly known as "rooster" sauce because of the picture of the rooster on it). Why not just go cheaper and use Costco ketchup and pepper since you have already ruined Azuma´s respectable menu? 3) Part 1: Service has diminished almost to the point of Burger King. I joke not when I say that in the past 5 times, our waiter/waitress has absolutely no idea what we are ordering (even if it is on the menu) and does not make any effort to go beyond "Teriyaki Chicken and Tempura." The manager clearly has done a poor job in training. The least the waiters/waitresses can do is READ THE MENU. Part 2: Three waiter/waitresses working at the same time, and not one refilled my drink on several occasions. No, the restaurant was not busy. Yes, the workers were too busy socializing. On several occasions, customers were waiting to be seated because the hostess simply would be socializing. With the exception of the normal Japanese waitresses who have always been sweet and helpful, the new hires are clueless and unfriendly. Please learn from your predecessors... 4) It´s okay to play unique music...but you play the same lounge music EVERYDAY. Moreover, it would be nice if your restaurant was considerate enough to play your music at a comfortable level. It is often too loud and negatively affects my dining experience. 5) Menu is boring and should take a hint from local favorites such as Arigato, Maeda, Piranha and even Sushi Teri. My suggestion: make new rolls...please. To conclude, every sushi restaurant I have been to has acknowledged my party and always recognizes a frequent customer. This is the only restaurant who does not even show a sign of gratitude.


Bring back the sushi special!

This was my favorite sushi place, until they re-did the menu and did away with the suhsi special - which was a lot of good food at a great price. Still, if you are willing to spend a lot, it´s great food.


Average

Not at all how I remember. I had Azuma five years ago and I remember the udon and the sashimi being quite good. i went a week ago and the fish was below average and the service was inconsistent. The creepy beatles musak drove me nutz as well.


It was very good real japanese restaurant
Reviewer: midori canwill from Japan
I like Katsu, tenpura and real edomae sushi


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