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Brown Pelican
[closed, no longer in business]

2981 Cliff Dr, Santa Barbara
Phone: (805) 687-4550

  • Category: American
  • Hours: Mon-Sun 7am-9pm
  • Price: $20+
  • Serving: Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner
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Reviews by the General Public

Hendry's beach and the perfect sunsets!
Reviewer: Steven from Babylon NY
Brown Pelican (Hendry's beach) is the best place to watch the perfect sunsets and surfers surfing with the dolphins. I mean it's an amazing place to be..... I used to live on the Mesa in Santa Barbara and Hendry's beach (My Choc labs name now is "Hendry") is the best beach for walks, pictures, surf, and just to relax and wine and dine....This place has a special place in my heart...


Now open as "Boathouse"
Reviewer: John Dickson from Santa Barbara, CA
The Brown Pelican closed in December 2007 and is under new ownership, has been extensively remodeled and has a new name. It's listed in the guide in the seafood category as the "Boathouse."


We miss you, Brown Pelican!
Reviewer: deby from buena park, ca
My family had been visiting Brown Pelican for many years and we can't believe it's gone. We never had a bad experience. Such fun to just sit there inside or out and relax.


Missing the Brown Pelican
Reviewer: Judy from Blaine, Minnesota
As a former resident of Goleta the beach was our hang out while attending Bishop High School. After moving on in life and living in the MidWest I always schedule a little "Brown Pelican" time for a special breakfast or dinner when we are in Santa Barbara. Our last visit was in Oct. with friends from Indiana and my sister from Morro Bay!! We all had wonderful food, the sun was setting and it was a gift from God day and evening. Yes, we were Blessed and we hope the "Brown Pelican" will re-open before Aug. when we are bringing our grandchildren to Santa Barbara. Thanks "Brown Pelican"!!


What kind of guest are you?
Reviewer: Sheila from Sacramento, CA
When I was a little girl I was lucky enough to live in Goleta. My Dad who was attending UCSB would sometimes surf here, it was a snack bar as I recall. As an adult my two girls and I dine here at least 1 time on every trip while we are in the Santa Barbara area, 1 to 3 times a year for at least the pass 8 years. It has improved. I have worked in the restaurant industry all of my life. I love to eat out and go to a different place every time I eat out while on vacation, never the same place, EXCEPT here! No the food is not that great, however you get the view!The food is better than most place with a view and the cost is reasonable. The service, rarely outstanding but do you ever take into consideration the check cost? No it's not Morton's, neither is the price and neither is the service. You get what you pay for, and TIP for, be glad for the location, view and reasonable price. They have a full bar, patio and the most unbelievable views. The only place with a better beach location is at Bacara, not in my budget.


amazing
Reviewer: Lauren Fausset from Santa Barbara, CA
Hendries beach is a gorgeous beach and the surfers that surf there are amazing! i was astonished to see these three boys that have had to be only 14 and they were very entertaining to watch. The food we ate was delishes but the price was expensive it was worth it and the service great.


If you are a tourist and have plenty of time to spare...
Reviewer: Vanessa from Santa Barbara, CA
My roommate and I choose to take her family visiting from the bay area here because of the fabulous views and location; however, that is all they have going for them. We came for lunch on Saturday, put our name in and requested inside seating. The hostess quoted a 10 minute wait and after about 20 minutes we were seated. We walked in the dining room and noticed 6 open tables. We were promptly greeted by our friendly server and ordered off their pricey menu. Their sandwiches and burgers range from $13.95 for a burger without cheese, add $1 for cheese, or $2 for an added side of avo or bacon, a Brophy’s burger with cheese is only $9.50. We ordered our food at 12:25 and noticed everyone around us receiving their food even when they were seated after us. Finally, at 1:15, we received three of our six meals; two were returned to the kitchen because they weren’t prepared as requested. Most of us were happy with our dishes and the food was tasty, however, the service was terrible. I would stick to ordering at the snack shop and eat on the sand.


Just visit the beach.
Reviewer: Christina Hale from Lompoc Ca
The view should be one of the seven wonders of the world. But the food was not good. The clam chowder tasted like mashed hot dogs to me. For such an expensive resturant they serve you cold bread. I have been there three times now hoping it was just what i had ordered but now i know their food is not worth the cost.


Lobster Served Raw
Reviewer: Oswald from Santa Barbara CA
This is a lovely place to sit, relax and have a shrimp coctail, which is very good. The menu also offers a lobster coctail, which we were very excited to try. To our dismay, the lobster was raw! The waitress was happy to take it back to the chef and fix the problem. She returned later with simi-raw lobster coctail. It was such a disappointment!


Awesome atmosphere, good food, ok service,
Reviewer: Wayne from Dallas, Texas
I'd like to state that dinner was a little lax.. It seems to me that the best way to enjoy this place is to save it for desert with coffee on an evening when the the moon is at 3/4... Its a little to pricey for dinner, but probably one of the romanic beachfront places I've ever been to. Just awesome atmosphere, and nice staff. Along with Brophie's, I couldn't imagine a visit to Santa Barbara and not go here.. Please note : arrive before 745pm, the'll shut the gate on ya - Thats a real bummer !!!!


Awesome Management
Reviewer: KACEY from Las Vegas/NV
Unfortunately they were short staffed and my family and i had to wait quite awhile to order anything. The manager really came through for us, he took our order and ended up being our server for the rest of the evening. He even brought us free drinks and a free dessert. He really made sure we had an excellent experience and because of that we will definetly be back.


a perfect place for a sunday brunch!!
Reviewer: sammy from santa barbara, ca
a perfect spot to amaze your out of town friends, i had the best salmon here, i had the watermouth salmon plate! and my friend had the delicious and yummy trIple berry pancakes! which were hot and filling, the best were the morning spirits drinks. we had the best blodymarries and mimosas here, and i have been trying in different restaurants in town and you can't even compare them. The food and drinks might be little bit overprice! but is worth for the location, and you can beat the view! our breakafast were yummy and the the service was phenomenal. i would definetevily go back again!!!


I must concur with the below reviewer...
Reviewer: Nick from The Mesa
Laura Leifer from Santa Ynez expressed my sentiments exactly. It seems such a shame to have such an ideal location used for such a poor excuse of a restaurant. Last time I went there was a Saturday morning, the place was filthy. the service was awful and the food was downright bad. We had a window table which was a good start but to my dismay the window had greasy hand marks all over it, fly and spider carcasses all over the window sill and dried food bits on the sill, table and floor. My wife insisted that we stay the course as we already were sitting and had bloody mary's on the way (the high-point of the meal). I will not go into further detail, needless to say, I'm thrilled with the idea of a new restaurant coming into this location and giving it a fresh start. Thank you County of Santa Barbara!!!


From Great to Abysmal
Reviewer: Laura Leifer from Santa Ynez, CA
It has been at least 10 years since I last went to this restaurant and I fail to understand how there are so many rave reviews of the food and service. I first came here in the late 1980s when it was a wonderful place to have breakfast or lunch and ocean watch. My favorite menu item that has since disappeared was the Croque Monsieur. Since the owner when I first patronized this locale sold it and the new owner(s) took over I have seen the food and service decline to the point where it is difficult to say anything nice at all about it. The view is the only thing worth mentioning and fortunately the management has no control over that. On my last visit it was impossible to get a coffee refill although that didn't bother me greatly because the coffee tasted like dishwater anyway and our server couldn't be bothered to check on us at all once we were finally served. The breakfast was cold with soggy pancakes and extremely overpriced. I could have gotten a better and larger breakfast at McDonalds. The service was almost nonexistent. I expected to be told to get my plate myself from under the underheated heat lamps where it languished for at least 15 minutes.


Beautiful Birthday Lunch Celebration
Reviewer: Huyen from Santa Barbara, CA
This is my third year celebrating my birthday in Santa Barbara. Each year has been fantastic, and yesterday at the Brown Pelican was memorable and amazing. I always have an exclusive lunch with my 2 wonderful bosses, and we had such a fun time! The service was not perfect, but very thoughtful and gracious. It was a gorgeous & perfect Santa Barbara summer day; the view, energy and atmosphere was out of this world. We had a wonderful patio table topped with a large bouquet of sunest orange and red tipped roses, compliments of my boss Sharon :) So to get started wtih the actual lunch review..hehee..we started off with Bloody Mary's and Seafood Bruchetta. The combination was wonderful, and the bruchetta was on perfectly toasted bread, topped high with mussels, srhimp, salmon and other goodies. Also had great Oyster Shooters for appetizers. Our main course were all very similiar, each of us had the Maine Lobster, either whole, half or with steak. I had the whole Maine Lobster, cut perfectly in half with plenty of butter on the side, it was easy to eat and enjoy. Sides included creamy, garlic mashed potatoes, and cole slaw. I didn't particulary like the cole slaw, it wasn't creamy like I thought it would be, but not bad. I had a taste of the steak and it was tender and full of flavor without any type of steak sauce. After another round of drinks, oreo chocolate cheesecake from Pierre Lafond, and smiles in the sunshine we were all ready for a long nap in the sand! Bellies and heart content, and blessings all around for everyday spent in this land of paradise!


Worst lunch in my life.
Reviewer: Yoshi from Goleta, ca
I had lunch with my wife and a daughter. It took 45 minutes to get our lunch and food was cold. My wife's burger was under cooked and fries was soggy. My daughter's seafood salad tasted like anmonia, no flaver at all. My lobster taco had maybe an oz of lobster in 3 tacos. I had to stand up twice and look for my waiter to ask for mustard and check. Total was 70 dollars includes tip. You be the judge.


HIGHLY OVERPRICED FOR WHAT YOU GET!!!
Reviewer: Armando Mora from Hollywood Hills, CA.
This was my first time and LAST, we were there for breakfast, the pancakes were cold and overcooked, the rest of the food was at room temperature at best. For what they charge you expect better food and service. Very dissapointed.


Won't be back...ever
Reviewer: Rob from santa barbara, ca
What happens to a restaurant that has been a favorite for years, has a great staff and a superb beachfront location...well? My wife, daughter & I went there last night and will never be back. Two of us ordered their fish & chips and one order of lobster tacos, throw in a firestone ale and one soda plus a miniscule appetizer order of calimari for $82 The fish tasted "moldy", the beer was not cold and on top of that it took forever to get the food !


Nice Breakfast - Nice Walk
Reviewer: Jessica Gardner from Santa Barbara, CA
It's a bit expensive, but the food is worth it. I love eating on the beach and walking afterwards, so location is perfect.


$8 for two pancakes?
Reviewer: Andrea from Santa Barbara
Since when did a short stack become two pancakes? I was expecting something great (or at least moderately good) for an $8 short stack, but all I got was two overcooked pancakes and a waiter who couldn't remember to refill my water glass. I won't be going back - hugely disappointed with the Brown Pelican.


not too shabby at all!
Reviewer: chee from santa barbara, ca
I've only been to the BP for breakie, so I was a bit skeptical and wary of how the food/service would be for lunch given some of the less-than-positive reviews that I've read. however, the food was quite tasty--we got the fish n' chips and the seafood salad (with lobster, shrimp, and salmon)...overall, the lobster was really fresh and sweet, the salmon was nice and mild, but the little shrimp were a bit briny (maybe they came from a can?). I'd definitely hit up the BP again for a leisurely, extravagant lunch :D


GREAT!!!!!
Reviewer: Katya from Westlake Village, CA
i have been here soooooo many times, and every time i went, the sood and service were great. me and my family went here with my grandma once. she is very immobile but she loved it b/c it is right by the beach. I DEFINITELY RECOMMEND IT!!!!!!!!!!!!


Stinky Oyster
Reviewer: katherine from santa barbara, ca
My boyfriend and I used to eat there all the time. We always orderded the Oyster Rockafeller. Ever since my boyfriend ate a oyster that tasted and smelled bad, we havn't been back. The service was never that great so after that food experience we have not been back.


Slipping down hill
Reviewer: Danny from Santa Barbara
Although it is a great place to be, right on the beach, the food is getting worst. The food used to be very good, but now is getting worst and worst. The service is just terrible.


Don't go.
Reviewer: Allison from Santa Barabara
The food is way over priced and not good at all. You basically pay for the ambiance. As a Santa Barbara local who lives down the street I never go there. If at least the food improved I would go there all the time. Offering a Happy Hour would be a nice idea as well.


the beach makes it worth the packed parking
Reviewer: youni from santa barbara, ca
parking there sucks. because henry's beach is right next door, you fight for parking spaces sat and sunday mornings! but the outdoor area and the beachside ambiance is to die for. their food is mediocre. breakfast is better than any other meal there. they have alright omelettes and great waffles with berries. yuuummmmmm.


high prices for small portions
Reviewer: matt shaw from Isla vista
This restaurant was so over priced. The main courses, including the sides (wedge potatoes and vegetables) were very small and the side salads were about $10.00 each. The $30 dollar steak was like 5 ounces. You are paying for the scenery, which is admittingly beautiful. The service was mediocre. There are a lot of better restaurants in SB for the same price!!


Wonderful breakfast!
Reviewer: susan from Evergreen, Colorado
We arrived at the Brown Pelican about 8 am. There wasn't a wait and we were seated by the window. The food was wonderful! We had the Pasta Scramble, and the Muchacas, and the Belgian waffle. They were all unbelievably good. The Pasta scramble was something different, but when I go back it is what I will order again. The portions were good sizes. Service was good. This was our first visit, and we plan to return asap. I thought the prices were fair! It was under $50 for three. The view was great!


No for Breakfast
Reviewer: Sonia from Santa Barbara
After a lengthy wait to be seated I ordered the Pelican Benedict which sounded very good but when it arrived at my table it had so many cold ingredients that the whole was cold. Cold benedict with cold eggs, cold bacon, cold salmon and cold my toast was not my idea of a gourmet breakfast. I was not satisfied at all and to make matters even worse the bill came out to be $50 for 2 breakfasts and 2 coffees! I was very upset. I have had dinner there before and that was fine but I will not be returning for breakfast, atleast that dish needs to be re thought.


yum-o, but pricey!
Reviewer: chee from sb, ca
I'd recommend going to the BP before 11am in order to miss the crazy morning rush and to avoid circling the parking lot for an empty space. The triple berry belgian waffle is amazing (lots of beautiful and fresh berries and powdered sugar), and the coffee was pipin' hot. Even though the waffle and coffee set me back 20 big ones, the breath-taking view of the ocean and the abundant sunshine made the trip well-worth it!


Good place for breakfast
Reviewer: deborah from torrance, ca
Sometimes the food is a bit too pricey and 'trendy' for my family but we've found the breakfast menu reasonable. Enjoying breakfast there lets us also enjoy their marvelous scenery. The restaurant has always been clean and the service fine.


Awsome view,good food, service needs improvement
Reviewer: Ron Collins from San Clemente, CA
My wife and I visited Santa barbara for the first time for our 26 year, four month and 14 day wedding anniversary. I was a little late on our 25th. The view is incredible on the patio just feet from the ocean. We ordered the shrimp linguine and clam chowder. Both were excellent, rich clam chowder and sauce on linguine had just a touch of spicy that was truly unique. Service was lacking. We didn't need much. I had to flag down the waitress to refill our waters then had to do it again. She must be a slow learner. We would go back. Prices are proportionate to location.


The worst restaurant experience ever!!!
Reviewer: Bo Petersson from Santa Barbara, CA
Went there today with my family...it killed all the mood, appetite, and desire to spend some time on the beach...we ended up going back home. Everything from the beginning.
- Location. Yes, location is wonderful and romantic, but not until you start seeing and dealing with the staff and “enjoying” their food… It is really nice location for an upscale restaurant, but not for Brown Pelican…If I’m ever to go back there is for one reason, spend time on the beach, enjoy the ocean, and some snacks that I’ve packed at home…
- The hostess - the face of the restaurant. We showed her available table inside, but instead she told us to wait a couple minutes that turned to be 15 minutes, and then eventually took us to the table that we pointed out earlier.
- The service. All waiters wear dirty aprons. Next, from the time we ordered the food, our waitress came back 40 minutes later to ask, "How about some more water?"..."What about some food?" I replied. Only then she apologized for the delay. Then 10 minutes later we got our food (clam chowder soup, seafood bruchetta, seafood linguini, and grilled sandwich.)
- The food. Impossible to eat, except for clam chowder! I have to be objective the soup was pretty good. But our seafood bruchetta and seafood linguini were terrible. The food wasn’t got, just warm…like it was sitting in the kitchen for 15 minutes waiting for the waitress to come by. All the seafood ingredients (clams, shellfish, and shrimps in the linguini, and shrimps in the bruchetta) tasted all the same like they were pre-soaked and boiled in chlorine…yuck. The sandwich tasted like it was soaked in grease, and it made it impossible to eat. We left the food on plates, paid $56, and went back home. Here I’m disappointed and upset because it spoiled the whole afternoon for all my family, and typing this negative review. Management should do something immediately.


pelican takes a dive
Reviewer: mr. stanley from santa barbara
I'm hungry. It's a nice day. I think beach, sun, waves, patio, food- Brown Pelican! How could it go so wrong? After many and my last visit to this once quaint local beach burger stand turned genuine restaurant tourist trap, I hereby officially resign from any further attempts to hand over dough to take in an otherwise serene scene. The service has long be spotty at best with an ever changing array of seasonal college student waitstaff, long jaded from the transient nature of the tourist spirit and dollar. The food is over priced at every turn (dinner entree of fish and chips at 17.00?). My sense is that the city lease is so exorbitant, the owners must pass the high cost along to the customer for this can't miss setting. A great one time place to take out of town guests or first date. After that, this Pelican takes a dive. The clam chowder is good, though. I suggest deeper customer service training for the wait staff, more ala carte items and a $2.50 tap beer for a local zip code. Enjoy the view.


Love the Location but.....
Reviewer: Marcy from McKinleyville, CA
I have been to Santa Barbara many, many times. I Love the beach and I would have to say this dining location has to be one of the best. Sitting outside is so nice. But...the service is very slow, they need one or two more heaters for outside dining, and the food is very over priced for what you get. It either has to go back to the kitchen for repair or it's cold. It's takes a very long time to get a drink. I have dined here about 5 times, always hoping that it might change and become a 5 star restaurant. The last time I ate there, the winds were strong, and the roof top was being swept (bird doo) by some workers. Apparently, the wind was blowing the remnants off the roof...so to try and fix it they swept the roof while everyone outside was eating. Can you only imagine what was flying everywhere, atop people and on the food? I heard another man at a different table become very upset. I feel that a cleaning/sweeping project, such as this, should have been done not only off hours but on a regular basis to eliminate such a unpleasant visit by many. Thank God for the View!!! I have been to Santa Barbara a few more times since the incident. My wings took me to a different roof top! I would like to try dining out there again, someday, only because I feel that everything has a chance for improvement.


Great Service
Reviewer: Carly Walton from Anderson, SC
We had a bridemaid's brunch there last week and it was perfect. The food was great and the service was outstanding. They did everything we asked and went far beyond their job description. We started with bran and blueberry muffins, and they were so delicious. I have been searching the net trying to find a recipe that may be good to make myself, but I'm sure it will not compare to the Brown Pelican's. The rest of the food was also very good. The view of the beach is so peaceful, and I really enjoyed watching the dogs play. It was a good place to get a taste of California living.


Despite bad reviews a good experience
Reviewer: Nancy from Redondo Beach, CA
Obviously the location is the drawing card, you can't beat it for close to the ocean. Our experience was good. The service was prompt and courteous. The drinks were brought right away. The food was as ordered and the proper temperature. I had the seafood bruschetta, quite good, just not enough. (I think that is a compliment.) Other diners with me enjoyed theirs and had an ample serving. It was a little pricey, but these days what isn't? We will return. This was our first time.


over priced
Reviewer: Jennifer from santa barbara, CA
As with most places right on the ocean its totally over priced. Not a place you want to go to all the time. Its great if you have guest from out of town.


Very nice view, quaint and romantic
Reviewer: Mary Ellen Roberts from Livermore, CA
First time here. The view was gorgeous. On the beach, with all the sounds of the ocean and the beach around you, it made for a memorable lunch. The food and drinks were excellent. I could have sat there for days just taking in the scenery.Definitely a place to go back to on our next trip to Santa Barbara.


A Wonderful Memory
Reviewer: E. Craig Crawford from Dayton, Ohio
My two eldest daughters and I flew to Southern California ten years ago to visit my twin brother and his wife, and we all drove up to Solvang for a day. We found the Brown Pelican on the return trip the following day. We could not believe our luck; the ocean view from our table was amazing. The food and service were tolerable, mostly, I believe, because we felt so relaxed in that setting enjoying the experience together. I still have the Brown Pelican T Shirt that I purchased that day, and enjoy answering the occasional question, "What is the Brown Pelican?" I would return, if for nothing more than the atmosphere.


$3 stand for 3rd-Rate?
Reviewer: mary from santa barbara, ca
Incomparable setting but dishwater java for $3 cup? I'm not talking espressed coffee, just a simple cup of joe. It was barely imbibable and at those prices it was clear I was paying for the view.


An Interesting experience....
Reviewer: Ron and Maryann Sfarzo from Belmont, Ca.
During our recent visit to Santa Barbara we had dinner at the Brown Pelican. We experienced BAD service but the FOOD was excellent. We spoke with the manager and explained what had happened regarding our service. The manager "Jose" was EXCELLENT and took care of the issue for us. We would recommend the Brown Pelican for several reasons "Great Food" and "Great Customer Service." Thank you again Jose!


Good food, Great view
Reviewer: Ricky from Santa Barbara
I like the Brown Pelican. The food is pretty good and the views of the ocean are amazing. The food iis well priced. It is totally worth eating there.


Food good-Inconsistent service
Reviewer: Jeff from West hollywood/CA
I have had enjoyable experiences here and appalling ones. The service seemed to degenerate each time I went. One time we could not get a check to leave, our waiter disappeared. None of the other wait staff were allowed to give us a check. I convinced the bartender to give us the check. When I went to hand him my credit card and the bill he said he couldn't take it. Our waiter was the only one who could do this. Finally from somewhere after 20 minutes, the waiter appeared and we were finally on our way. All this said, it's a beautiful setting, when the conscientious wait staff are working it is a pleasurable experience. I'm sorry the good wait staff have to suffer the consequences of what I would consider poor management choices.


Bad steak and other meat
Reviewer: Ike from Goleta, CA
Great view of surfers and dolphins. Make sure to reserve a seat by the window. Nice atmosphere, but definetly disopointed by the food. I ordered shrimp and steak. The shrimp were tough and the steak was overcooked and the meat was bad meat. Tasted like a steak that had cooked by a monkey. Definetly overpriced and the food really sucked. Better luck next time.


How strange
Reviewer: Joane from Santa Barbara
I dine at the Brown Pelican frequently and have always had good service and enjoyed the food. When we have out of town guests this is where we have breakfast. I am really perplexed at all the bad reviews.


Consistently Poor Service
Reviewer: Steve from Santa Barbara
I've lived in SB since 1987 and have been to the Brown Pelican about a dozen times. I've finally been worn down. I'm now convinced that there is no "good time" to go to this restaurant. The service is unbelievably poor - to the point of being comical. If you don't really care about when - or if - you will be served, then the views are nice and the food (particularly the salads) are decent. You can also take a nice walk on the beach after or before eating. Personally, I will not be returning but there is no similar locale in the area and so there will probably always be a supply of customers. Clearly, this is what the restaurant is banking on.


Changes need to be made
Reviewer: Bernd M Schroeter from Santa Barbara, CA
I have been going to the Brown Pelican off and on for some 10 years; every time I swear that this will be the last time. Yet the view is spectacular and there is always the hope that things will be different. Wrong! The food, expensive as it is, was cold and tasteless. French fries seemed have been prepared some month ago. My drink was not prepared as instructed, and the waiter had an arrogant attitude. The ladies room, as my wife discoved, was rather dirty. Water leaked on the floor, garbage can was overflowing, and there was trash on the floor. This is not what a fine restaurant should be. I would not expect this at a Denny's. But, since prices are on par with the Four Seasons Biltmore, both service as well as food should be far better. I learned my lesson - finally - and will avoid this place. (Please owner/manager read all your reviews and make changes). I will still go to Henry's Beach, but will enjoy the view from the outside.


Wonderful Benedict Breakfast
Reviewer: Valentina from London, UK
We've been for breakfast a couple of times and simply love the Pelican Benedict Breakfast with Salmon. The beach views are awesome, and service is helpful and quite OK. Looking forward to our next trip to the Brown Pelican Breakfast Table!


great people and food- the view is amazing
Reviewer: Kevin from Montecito, CA
get the plank salmon. it was great i'll be coming back!


Horrible Food, Horrible Service
Reviewer: Heinrich from Los Angeles, CA
The only thing good about this place is the VIEW, everything else is worse than mediocre. You can't even appreciate the views from the outside, as one is led to believe. It took many minutes to get a waiter. The water arrived with a foreign particle/bug/etc., and had to be replaced. The order arrived not only incorrectly (twice) but undercooked (I had requested it to be WELL). It took another 10 minutes to get my food back, however disappointing it was. The carrots and greens were cold, while the meat was flavorless and not what one would expect for the prices that were on the foods. The waitresses, instead of tending to the needs of the partrons, were flirting with the male waiters in plain sight. This is not the place you want to take your significant other. And yes, I did read the reviews here before reserving the place, but didn't want to believe it. Believe it!


Truly bad service
Reviewer: Bri from Santa Barbara
I am a local and have been there so many times, mainly for the view. If dining with another local, we simply know that we will get the usual lousy service - asking for silverware and drinks numerous times before getting it or standing up to get it yourself. None of the workers smile there which is weird - can't they just look at the water and realize that life isn't so bad? Haven't gone there much but would if things change.


It's sad that the owner and or managers
Reviewer: Larry from Santa Barbara, Ca
Are not rewiewing this web site on a regular basis, because the complaints go on for months on end and they are all pretty much saying, "we'll pay the high prices, just give us good food and service". I was there on a sunny Sunday and yes, it was very busy, as I am sure they expected. The servers and bussers were standing in the outside wait station, I am sure they were discussing the current struggles in Iraq, but failing to work the floor and take care of the things people needed, i.e. coffee, water, "service". Several tables sent food back because it was wrong, one left completely because they were not spoken to for 10 minutes and the overall rumble was of obvious disappointment. Service is vital to any restaurants success or failure, take a hint and invest in the training of your employees and I assure you these review will turn around quickly.


Ohmigod!
Reviewer: Terry Szewczyk from Danville, CA
We are tourists in SB for the weekend and assumed that the Bacara would refer us to only the best. This place needs new management. They served my wife vinegar flavored merlot,were out of sparkling water and took forever to take and serve our order. Once served, the food had obviously been standing for too long as it was now cold. Both the fish and steak were undercooked. Rice and mashed potatoes were both stale and the meal in general was less than mediocre. Apparently large groups of 8,10 & 12 demand so much service a party of 2 is forgotten. I hope that they make money with the bar or at lunch during the day because this is the worst dinner that I've had in 10 years. I must admit that a full refund was given without much debate.


Loved it
Reviewer: Jen from Goleta, CA
I just got back from lunch and I was really impressed. The lobster tacos were great and so was the service. On top of that, watching dolphins and surfers in between bites is my idea of a perfect meal. I really dont see what you all are talking about with the bad reviews. If youre going to be so high maintenance, eat at home.


Awesome Views - Good Food
Reviewer: Steve Bryant from Long Beach, CA
I was at the Pelican on Sunday for breakfast -- the surf was so high it almost came up to the restaurant -- the food was awesome -- the service was pretty good. I'd go back in a minute. I had the Eggs Benedict with smoked salmon -- yummy -- and a few Mimosas.


Bad service allows for more enjoyment of the view, setting
Reviewer: JL from Santa Barbara
Bad service allows for more enjoyment of the view and setting. The prolonged wait in getting a waiter or any type of servie, allow me to enjoy and relax. The scenery is extravagent, peaceful, relaxing...a spa in a restaurant. During the day, you may see some dolphins, sea otters, sea lions, and other animals. In the eveining it is a nice place to see the sun set, while enjoying a simple meal with wine. The simpler the order, the better it might taste...maybe. Definately, a place to relax, perhaps even a date, but not to make first impressions (unless your date is open minded..hahaha).


Great Location...
Reviewer: Tar from Santa Barbara
I have dined at the Brown Pelican many times since I have lived in SB my whole life. I seem to forget how overpriced the food is and how the restaurant can use a deep cleaning. A few weeks ago I went to have lunch at noon, and they were still unable to serve anything but breakfast!!! I love the clam chowder and they have some other desent lunch and dinner items. I doubt I will go back as it only seems to get worse. Perhaps the owner should check this website and take some advise from his customers. It would be nice to see some responses from the owner on this site, at least that would show they care about their business & customers.


Not one to write bad reviews, but ...
Reviewer: J from Santa Barbara, CA
... after dining here about 6 times in the past 5 years I have had the same feeling each time I walked away from Brown Pelican ... did I really pay that much money for such mediocre food and service? Really, the service is not that great. They don't make you feel special. And things take forever and are sometiems forgotten. The food, sometimes it was appealing but other times it was just tasteless. The salads (they only have about 3 to choose from) are far below par. I am unimpressed with this restaurant. It's been 5 years and nothing has changed. One thing that is very beautiful about this restaurant is the location! Bring the family (and a picnic) and enjoy Hendry's beach anytime ... it's spectacular!


Nice location, good food, terrible service
Reviewer: Lori from British Columbia
We visited this restaurant based on a recommendation in Lonely Planet and from locals. While the locale was lovely and the food was good, our waiter was terrible. He brought my husband the wrong food, left us sitting 20 minutes before taking our drink order, brought us the wrong wine, asked if we wanted a heater then never came back, etc. That being said, the bus boy was very attentive, bringing bread, water, etc.


The best thing about this restaurant is the view!
Reviewer: Jessica from local
I have eaten at the Brown Pelican three times- each time hoping the next would be better. The service is AWFUL. My girlfriends and I had to track down our waiter several times. No one knew we were even seated. The food is also awful. I am not sure how you mess up a Cesar Salad but they do. I will never go back. I hope they get new managment soon it is a waste of a restaurant with such a great location.


very relaxing and awesome views
Reviewer: Jim from Ventura, Ca
Three of us dined there for lunch, and enjoyed the experience. The food and service was good. We all decided we would return often. A great place to bring out of town friends. I look forward to my next visit. We were so enjoying the peacefullness of the setting that we hated to get up and leave.


Are you kidding me?
Reviewer: JB from Santa Barbara
Waiter brought out the wrong bottle of wine...and opened it. No refills on sodas/waters until a member of the party got up and tracked down a server to request it. My sister's pasta tasted weird - the whole thing tasted like rubber, the server didn't offer her anything else or give a discount to us...just took off that one item from the bill. We spent $200 and it totally sucked. What a joke of a place. NEVER GOING BACK.


One of the best breakfasts in SB
Reviewer: Amy from Santa Barbara, CA
I have been to the Brown Pelican several times for brunch, and every time it has been super tasty. I was really surprised to read all the negative reviews. Yeah, if you are a culinary student, you could probably make some of the dishes at home, but that not the only reason why you should go out to eat. All I have to say is: Triple Berry French Toast! Yum!


Needs improvements...
Reviewer: Harold Sax from Santa Barbara, CA
Overall, we got very small portions and lukewarm, unappetizing dishes, not at all what you'd expect for the prices and outward appearance. Great location for a sunset dinner, however, the service is slow and for about the first half-hour to 45 minutes, non-exhistent. The manager was briefly seen talking and laughing with the bartender and a waitress while we desperately tried to flag somebody down to take our order, the staff seemed to be oblivious or inattentive to other customers needs as well. I wouldn't set expectations too high, and probably wouldn't bring a date or somone your trying to impress.


Great View, Adequate Food
Reviewer: Jesse from Thousand Oaks, CA
This was the first time I came to the Brown Pelican with my Fiance. We sat outside on this beautiful Saturday morning; there was a breeze, the sun was on my face, and they played nice classical music...just a perfect day to sit outside. Our server was nice and prompt but did not check on us too often to see how we were doing. We noticed our food being delivered to the incorrect table, brought it back to the kitchen and then brought our food to our table 5 minutes later. The food was good but not enough to order it twice. It was delicious but it´s something that I can make at home if the recipe was given to me (I´m a Culinary Student). I like the restaurant´s atmosphere and the food, enough to come back and try the rest of the menu. Overall, my Fiance and I had a pleasant experience.


it is peaceful....no expectations

it is a terrific, peaceful, settling place, and as long as you don´t order anything too complex, and don´t have any expectations for prompt service, most of the time you will leave in a better place (state of mind) than when you arrived...good place for a business meeting that you don´t need to rush through.....the pace is slow, and the staff´s competence isn´t in their ability to be of service...but you may see a dolphin, or a beautiful sunset...i keep going back, and i just do not have any expectations...it´s easy


Mediocre food and very poor service
Reviewer: Andreas Pyper from Santa Barbara, CA
Having recently moved to Santa Barbara from Pasadena I had been told about the Brown Pelican and the wonderful view by several people. The view was wonderful however the food and servce was a disappointment!! My wife and I went there for lunch on Saturday. We had to wait over 20 minutes at our table for a waiter to get our order. When the order came, not only was the sides we had ordered wrong, the food was luke warm and tasted as bland as a McDonalds Burger. Having spent many years as a waiter and shift leader myself during my college years I know how tough it can be - however this must be the worst service I had ever received. I actually saw three other couples leave after waiting for the waiter to come take their orders. One word of advice to the owner - you had too many waiters on Saturday, standing around talking to each other and far to few people in the kitchen. I believe that service is at it best when there are fewer waiters, orders are slightly stacked as that keeps the energy level going. I am prepared to give them one more chance


"OK" food that´s overpriced
Reviewer: SantaBarbaraDianne from Santa Barbara
Though a native here in SB, I went to this restaurant today for the very first time with my brother and sister and we had a mostly pleasant experience. I ordered the Lobster Tacos while my brother and sister split two entrees that included a Crab Cake which they said was skimpy and overbreaded. The Lobster Taco was very delicious but didn´t have the bells and whistles I would expect from a 17.00 meal (The side was a very small amount of black beans and salsa.)


Lovely and tasty
Reviewer: Val from Columbia, SC
I´ve only had one or two full meals here, which were very good but quite expensive (the goat cheese crostini were delicious). I generally stick to their desserts, which are to die for. Coffee and cake by the ocean at sunset, what more could you ask for? I´ve never had a problem with service, and my only tip is to bring a sweater, it DOES get cold at night in Santa Barbara, especially by the ocean. (And as much as you may hate the place, you can´t blame that on the Brown Pelican.)


Nice View, Be Ready for Bad Service
Reviewer: Russ from SB, CA
We live nearby and go more often than we should. Food is not memorable, and that´s being kind. Service is generally abysmmal. It´s location is the only reason to visit. If it were anywhere else, it would have been closed long ago.


Breakfast with the Dolphins

I have been a regular here, 2 breakfasts and 1 lunch a week, for the last three years. If you´re able to get there early, say between 7:30 and 8:15 am you have a 70% chance of seeing dolphins. It´s magic, especially if you have out of town guests. Good food too, and excellent service if it´s not too busy. Weekend lunches, you may have to wait a bit, but if you´re not in a hurry, it´s well worth your time. Be sure to try the clam chowder, best on the west coast.


Gorgeous- both the view and the staff!

I went to the Brown Pelican with girlfriends last Monday night and it was empty. The food was good but the same specials have been on the menu since I was there over the summer. The only reason that we keep going back is the sunsets and our gorgeous waiter!


WOW

2 Beers , some oysters, and a burger.......$53.94 Oh yea, that took 1 hour. No THANKS !!! Go to Goleta !!!!


Not at all what I expected

The food at the Brown Pelican was dry and very bland, not to mention everything was highly overpriced (I had the fish and chips, which was reviewed in a previous entry as good, but was terribly disappointing I almost had to buy another dinner to eat afterward because it was so bad) However, if you´re into scenery the view of the beach, especially at sunset is very nice but not nice enough to make me want to return to this place.


Over Priced for Quality

the price you pay is the price for the view.... The food is bland, I would not go back at all. The view is nice, to bad the food is not. Dont waste your time for the food...


Pretty Beaches

After being seated quickly, in a lovely seat on there patio, we were given 2 glasses of water, and nobody returned to our table for 25 minutes. I spilled water hoping that would draw their attention. When nobody cared about the spilt water, i got up and left. that as they say was that.


A delicious oasis!

I was thrilled to discover this beachside restaurant a couple of months ago and have been back several times since. If you´re like me, and would rather eat in a quieter atmosphere while enjoying the ocean, please do yourself a favor and come here for breakfast, lunch or dinner (I´ve done all three). Your guests will be impressed with both the food and the wonderful atmosphere, just steps from the sand and the water. No millions of tourists roaming around; just serious beach lovers and locals. Recommended: Fish tacos; herb omelette with brie; fish and chips (the best I´ve had in the United States). When I´m in the mood to eat by the ocean, this is where I will be!


Excellent, Memorable
Reviewer: John from Palm Springs, CA USA
My mother and I had one of our last meals together at The Brown Pelican before she passed away. It means a whole lot to have had a significant, memorable meal at such a nice place surrounded by natural wonder.


Very good Hoiday Luncheon spot
Reviewer: Ernie Myatt from Los Angeles area
I don´t know what some people expect. We found the atmosphere delightful, the service average, and the food most certainly acceptable. AND! if the weather is cold enough to bother you - -then don´t eat outside FOOLS! DUH ??


No heater, no waiter, no silverware...

Poor service. We had no heater because it was broken.. and the other table had asked for a new one first. Didn´t get much service, 30 minutes for bread, no plates, napkins, or silverware till 45 minutes later. Took almost an hour for a cup of soup and our food was plain yuck. I´m still not sure what happend to our waiter..didn´t see him after he took our orders..…


Breakfast on the water

I met my wife in Santa Barbara and we had our first breakfast at The Brown Pelican. We both love the ocean and good food, and this place has both. We lived there for 14 months and ate there about twice a month. We´ll be going back this summer and we will be there every morning during our stay ordering the Ocean Hash with crab cakes. It is the best...I order nothing else. Wear your shorts and flip flops so you can go for a walk on the beach after a wonderful meal.


Great Everytime
Reviewer: Seth from st. petersburg, fl, usa
My wife and a girlfriend and I spend summers in Montecito, and at least three times a week we make the 7-mile drive over to the Brown Pelican for a meal. The service has always been great and the food above average. Most often we sit on the patio, but sometimes inside. And there exists my only complaint. I hate flies and the place is always full of them because the doors stay open. Otherwise I´d give it 5 Stars. Breakfasts are our favorites at the Pelican. Combined with the atmosphere/view, the service, you can´t beat ´em.


yes - a waste of a perfect location

I will just add to what has already been said: the food here is godawful and definitely overpriced. They use canned vegetables (mushrooms) - who has heard of such a thing in Santa Barbara? I would not recommend. Bring a picnic lunch instead i think.


What a waste of a great location!!!

I live in Santa Barbara and brought some visiting family there for breakfast yesterday. Unfortunately, the location is the only thing good about The Brown Pelican. The service was awful, we waited for close to an hour even though there were empty tables abound. When they finally seated us, the 7 of us were squeezed into a table meant for 5. We asked for a bigger table and our request was meant with much attitude and a longer wait. The waiter was pleasant but seldom seen, we couldn´t even find him to get coffee refills. I was very embarassed to have chosen this restaurant for my family.


overpriced, undercooked mush

I went here two weeks ago with some friends from work. The service was poor and not one of our four entrees would I reccomend to anyone. The only plus is the location,but if you must enjoy the sunset- I suggest only have a cup of wine


Great Location. But you can´t eat location
Reviewer: Don from SB
Have been there a number of times because of family or friend recommendations. I have yet to be impressed. The food is overpriced for the taste/quality. The service is mediocre. It is a popular SB landmark. If you want good food try one of the other listed restaurants.


three strikes your out !!!
Reviewer: tim from santa barbara
after the first visit here the service was good and the food was typical.we thought that this will be a good place to eat maybe once a week. after the next two visits it just didnt get any better,the service was horrible and when i asked to see a manager all i got was a waiter. we sat a little longerand thirty min.later we got water. we wanted to see how bad it can get 45min. later we got bread, NO SERVER! so we left. if you want to eat by the beach please drive down to leadbetter beach and eat at the shoreline cafe. it´s worth your visit.


Great Food! Locals Love It!
Reviewer: Candice from Santa Barbara
The Brown Pelican truly is a great restaurant. The service the is wonderful, and the waiters and waitresses are never to busy to help you. The Brown Pelican is a Santa Barbara favorite, and tourists will love it just the same.


Great location...too bad the service stinks
Reviewer: Jessica from Santa Barbara
When my boyfriend and I went there for dinner one evening, we were happy to get a table immediately; however, after waiting half an hour just to get water, we were more than a little annoyed. After complaining to the hostess, we managed to get water and bread, but still no server. For the first time in our lives we actually left and went to another restaurant. I thought this incident was just a fluke, and about a month later I met some friends there from out of town. Again, the service was horrible. I was so embarrassed that I had chosen to take my guests there. I admit that the location is prime...it´s only worth going to if you have a few hours to spare and aren´t particularly hungry.


Bad Meal - Pretty Location Doesn´t Guarantee Quality
Reviewer: Terry from Los Angeles, CA USA
Went to the Brown Pelican on a Sunday for Brunch and after ordering were told that they were out of bread and potatoes. This put a damper on our breakfast dishes...got our food, one of our dishes was the Pumpkin Pancakes: four tiny rounds for $8.95. Crab Cake Hash didn´t come with potatoes since they were out, so they substituted a tiny cup of grilled peppers...for $10.95 it was barely enough food to cover a piece of toast. Our waiter was apologetic and attentive, and after some complaining the manager took the crab cakes off the check (although one of our substituted sides-two strips of bacon-was added as an extra charge after we were assured that we were getting it as a substitution). The place was packed so they probably don´t worry too much about how the food/service impacts their business. Overall we walked away hungry, dissatisfied and irritated. Food wasn´t good and there wasn´t much of it. But the scenery´s lovely.


It is the beach not the restaurant that is spactacular!

My parents wanted to celebrate their Wedding Anniversary at the Brown Pelican. I called BP and asked whether we could be seated next to the window. They said they can´t guarantee. Then, I spoke with the manager and asked him whether they could arrange a window table for them since this was a special day for them. The manager said he wouldn´t be able to guarantee. I asked him several times and reiterating the fact that this was a very special evening for them. He didn´t care but said he would try. I thought he really would try. When we went there, we found out that he didn´t take our request seriuosly. I must say I was quite disappointed. I guess, just because someone is a manager doesn´t mean they are "good" or "successful". As a marketing director for many years, I must be very sensitive to customer service. He truly blew it. The food was average, so was the service. Go there if you like the ocean view...and Brown Pelican is lucky to have a place next to the ocean. Otherwise, with the current manager, they would, without a doubth, go out of business!


I saw dolphins!!
Reviewer: mary from san francisco, Ca
While having brunch on a Sunday morning, about 20 dolphins came up to the shore and were hangin out. It was great!!


Dinning Experience
Reviewer: Dave from LA
We drove up from LA for a nice Brunch. We sat outside and enjoyed a wonderful day watching the surf. We ordered steamed clams and mussels. They were dynamite. Then the bloody marys. Then enjoyed the seafood penne(I recommend-it was the best). If you have never tryed the Brown Pelican, try it you´ll like it. They even have killer burger, for those that aren´t into seafood.


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