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Emilio's
[closed, no longer in business]

324 W. Cabrillo Blvd, Santa Barbara
Phone: (805) 966-4426


Reviews by the General Public

TOMA Toma TOMA is OPEN, 7/26/2013
Reviewer: Wayne from Santa Barbara, CA
Better call ahead 'cause everybody else is. Great Food AND service now that Dolan's have opened our favorite spot as Toma. Try tha Ahi Cones!


very nice
Reviewer: lisa from volendam, holland
We loved the food and the service. We have eaten there two evenings, and the waiter recognised us the second time, that was very nice! The location is very nice, too, you can see the sea when you look out of the window.


A nice spot
Reviewer: Monty from Montecito
We're usually at San Ysidro Ranch (terrific!) every two weeks but thought we'd give Emilios another try from a year ago. Staff was friendly and efficient. Salads had very fresh ingredients. Sea bass cooked well and pasta special with chanterelles was ok (Ca Dario or Olio Lemmone would beat it). Cocktails were good and 2 different reds tasted like they came from freshly opened bottles, and fairly priced. Waiter steered us from ordering 2 deserts to one, and he was right (and rewarded). Only weird thing I've never seen in 50 years of dining: check is stamped "cash is greatly appreciated"! Now that's kind of tacky, hope no irs agents dine there.


Excellent cuisine; quiet place.
Reviewer: Lee from Santa Barbara, CA
Superb food. Always good service. Pleasant ambience. We're Montecito residents and dine at Emilio's about twice a month. Always a good experience.


Mediocre food, worse service
Reviewer: Sophie from Santa Barbara, CA
I'm a SB local so I go out to eat a lot. I had heard about Emilio's for years and how great it is. We finally went and, to say the least I was very disappointed. The service was terrible other than the busboys who were the ones who brought all of our courses out and replenished our drinks while our waiter flitted around the restaurant - he almost knocked me over on my way to the restroom, no apology - handing out other patrons' final bills. We tried many times to hail our waiter and he seemed to be ignoring us - we were a large party and he seemed to be distracted by smaller tables of guests. We made open comments about the poor service right in front of the host who clearly heard us a few times but he didn't seem to pass on the feedback to the waiter during our visit. The food was plated beautifully but the taste didn't measure up to the presentation. Nothing seemed particularly fresh except for my appetizer salad. I won't be back - there are too many other wonderful restaurants in Santa Barbara to enjoy!


Chantrelles were excellent!!!
Reviewer: Kirsten from Santa Barbara, CA
Well I work at The Eagle Inn down the road and have never eaten here, so on a whim I ordered to-go for my family and myself. First off, Kate was excellent on the phone and very helpful with me in making a decision on what to order. (as I was starving and wanted everything!!!) We started with the calamari which had an excellent marinara which was very zesty and lemony. I ordered the special of the night which was a pork chop with Italian beans, sauteed onion and pulled pork, it was good, but not my fav. Now the roasted chicken with chantrelle risotto and asparagus was absolutly delectable. The risotto was at least 1/2 mushrooms and they were wonderfully flavorful, perfectly complimenting the chicken. The only complaints I have is that the risotto might better be described as more of a pilaf as it was not creamy. Other than that just great! I have refered people here based on the guests feedback, well... now I have some of my own!!!


Almost There
Reviewer: Amanda from Santa Barbara, CA
I wish I could say that it was the food but some improvements could be made. I appreciate having a handmade dinner but mine was rather salty and salt became the most dominant flavor in my dish, which was not what I had originally ordered. I was disappointed that while I thought I was waiting for my meal, it took my server about 15 minutes to come out and tell me that they were out of what I had originally wanted. I have heard great things about Emilio’s in the past and hope that perhaps they were just having an “off” night. I still think that they have a great space to work with, I just think they could make a few changes with how their food is prepared and then the restaurant would be great.


Egg Flavored Cheesecake?
Reviewer: Brendon Gerrard from Santa Barbara, CA
It seems to be widely known that Emilio's has gone through some changes in the last year or so. I hadn't been back for a while, but figured after a long, busy summer things would have been ironed out by now. However, inconsistency in the dining room & kitchen continues to be a problem. Worth specific mention was dessert on this most recent visit. The creme brulee was not set & therefore not appetizing at all. Worse though was the homemade 'Creamy Mascarpone Cheesecake' which I am still trying to understand. Virtually no crust at all made it texturally one-dimensional. The serving size was probably normal, but seemed small when served on a full-size dinner plate. Surrounding the cheesecake was an aimless pool of chocolate sauce all the way to the edge of the plate. Stranger still was the off-putting egg flavor of the cheesecake. I've eaten a lot of cheesecake in my life, this one was definitely the most perplexing! Maybe I'll return for dessert closer to Easter when my desire for chocolate & eggs is higher...


Very ordinary
Reviewer: Shelley from Santa Barbara, CA
I have eaten at Emilio's many times over the years--early days it was great, then it went through a period when dishes were often overcooked, overseasoned, just not what you'd expect for the prices. Pete Clements came back and the food improved tremendously a couple of years ago, but now again it is spotty. We had the romaine and radicchio salad and the dressing tasted like it came from a jar, the bacon was hard as a rock, avocado garnish was oxidized. Tortelli with butternut squash--tortelli themselves were quite nice, sweet squash filling, but the sauce was virtually unseasoned, smelled of sage but no sage flavor, not a walnut to be seen. Bland. Bucatini puttanesca seemed to have cream in the sauce--sweet, not spicy. The only thing we liked was the grilled romaine salad. The long-time waiters were not in evidence, service was not that skilled, friendly enough but not knowledgeable. We won't be returning.


A forgettable event
Reviewer: Mike from Santa Barbara, CA
Food was just average. We had the steak (which had a lot of gristle) and the salmon. Both were rather bland, and there are no salt/pepper shakers on the table to help. The waiter was fine but without personality -- no casual conversation, or even a smile. And the room ambiance didn't add anything -- small noisy room, small windows, no music. Quite disappointed.


menu
Reviewer: karen smith from Santa Barbara, CA
Had a good dinner - great service. Could you update your web menu..had my heart set on something and it was not on the actual restaurant menu any longer.


BAD SERVICE GOOD FOOD
Reviewer: Dwayne Wade from Santa Barbara, CA
the mac and cheese was the best mac and cheese ever. we had a reservation for 7:00 but we sat down at 8:45 recomend it if you can take the wait.


Burnt Paella and Dissapointing Service
Reviewer: John from Santa Barbara, CA
We have had many good meals at Emilio's in the past, but not last night. The cocktails were great, the salad was superb and then the main course arrived. The Paella was burnt beyond being edible. Everything crunched including the rice. The burger was crispy. The paella went back, only to be returned with some sauce poured on it. The waiter now had serious attitude telling us this was the best they could do or we could wait a long time for a replacement. I ordered the bolognese which came out a few minutes later. I ate a few bites and decided dinner was not for me this evening. We could have overcome the food issue, it being a very special BDay celebration but the arrogance and attiude of the waiter made us so uneasy we had to leave. When food is returned management might want to become directly involved to learn and improve the next patron's experience.


Wow, Emilio's has gotten SO GOOD!
Reviewer: Steven Swartzendruber from Santa Barbara, CA
Our visit was fantastic. We hadn't been here in a few years. The new chef, new menu, lower prices have all clicked. The food was beautiful and flavorful. The service was attentive without being annoying. We have a new favorite restaurant in SB!


Go for Happy Hour!
Reviewer: Kristine from Santa Barbara, CA
Best Happy Hour in SB! Totally undiscovered for Happy Hour 4-6 PM on Thurs and Fri. Drinks (including pricey martinis) are half price. There is a special Half-Price Happy Hour menu for appetizers which are a steal and not the usual greasy fried fare. We ordered the "double buffalo sirloin burger appetizer" expecting 2 tiny sliders - imagine our surprise when served a HUGE full size burger with 2 patties! Plus it comes with a "cone" of garlic fries (all for $7.50). The Happy Hour menu also has gourmet salads and a couple flatbread pizzas all for $5 to $7.50. My husband and I have been several times, and the food and service have been always been great. The ambiance is nice and casual. It's also usually empty around that time, so we've never had trouble getting a table.


Terrible waiter
Reviewer: Jane W. Watkins from Santa Barbara, CA
I am a local and had not been there in years. It was my birthday and I chose Emilios. Our waiter was a complete idiot. When we arrived I said party of Watkins, his response "yeah, we take walk-ins" When I was trying to get bread plates he waved us off as he was on his cell phone. Unbelievable. Food and wine was good and other waiters good. Coffee delivered without spoons. To top it off the waiter told us a racist joke at the end of the meal. Maybe he's new, but he belongs in a Pizza Joint.


Very good all around
Reviewer: Tiffany from Santa Barbara, CA
We dropped by on a Sunday night which we thought would be slow,...it was packed! The service was great from the moment we stepped in. The hostess was friendly and like previously stated the bus boy was great. We had the cambozola appetizer which was wonderful. My husband had the Pork and I had a great tortili (like a ravioli) with butternut squash for our main dish. They were both very good and I recommend them both. We had the chocolate cake for desert which was incredible. Over all this was a great first experience and we will be back. The prices were very reasonable also (20 for main dish and 10 for appetizer).


Best Dinner & Service
Reviewer: Marna from Toluca Lake, CA
My friend & I had dinner at Emilo's for the first time Sun. night ... the service was the best. Everyone was attentive, professional & friendly. The food was outstanding ... really good! I had the slow cooked pork which melted in my mouth .. my friend had the steak & raved about it. Very very good!


Disappointed Yet Again
Reviewer: Joan from Santa Barbara, CA
I like to give restaurants a few tries before I write them off...well, sadly, I'm writing Emilio's off. I have given them chance after chance, mainly because the food's been good...but the service! The service is horrendous! My friend arrived a few minutes early for our reservation, our table was ready, and she proceeded to sit for over 10 minutes (I was a few minutes late) without anyone coming to ask if she'd like a drink...or even bringing water! The place was not too busy. When I arrived the waiter was at the table finally asking her if she'd like something to drink. I sat down and the waiter walked away, not bothering to ask me if I'd like anything to drink. This waiter has been at Emilio's for YEARS. I truly can't understand why. Again, I am not some jerk who rails at servers...I used to serve myself, I know it can be difficult..but this was ridiculous. We noticed our table was really "wobbly" and when the waiter came back to take our order, we asked if we could have a sugar packet or something to stabilize the table. He forgot and when a different server (maybe a busser?) brought our food to the table we asked him. Oh, and I ordered a steak and was not brought a steak knife. I asked for one when the waiter came back with a cork to put under the table and he brought a knife quickly. (This waiter--busser--was kind..we'd wished we had him!) My steak was good, and my friend's pork was delicious. My steak however, had so much gristle that 1/4 of it was inedible. Sad. But it was tasty. We were left alone, the server coming back only once 1 minute into the meal. He came back long after we were finished and asked if we'd like dessert. We did. It was delicious. After we finished our dessert, we then had to wait over 25 minutes for our check. Not ok. Esp. because the place was not busy. It's one thing to let people have their time and sit and relax, it's another to forget about them. This waiter is obviously a staple at Emilio's. I would say that maybe he was having a bad night, but I've had him before and had the same awful service. The food is still good, but because of the terrible service, I will not be back.


Amazing food!
Reviewer: Theo from Santa Barbara, CA
Great food and knowledgeable staff. The chef is creative and his menu offers interesting twists on standard Italian fare. One example of this is the ahi tuna cones appetizer - you HAVE to taste these to believe them! Also, try the paella - it is the best in Santa Barbara. The service is great. The waiter we had has been working there for something like 16 years.


Great food, service and prices!!!
Reviewer: Heath Greenwell from Santa Barbara, CA
Went to dinner with my family at Emilio's. The service was superb! We took children and they were very accomodating. The salads were amazing. The slow roasted pork was like eating gourmet bbq, melts in your mouth! The prices were very reasonable. Starters are $10, flatbread and pastas $15 and main courses $20, combined with a fine house DePaolo zinfindel made for a fine dining experience. I would recommend Emilio's to anyone.


Emilio's back in the action
Reviewer: Andy & Dolly Granatelli from Santa Barbara, CA
After reading the reviews, we reluctantly accepted an invitation from friends to go to dinner at Emilio's. We were really surprised how good the food and service were on Thursday, July 23. The homemade mozzarella cheese and home- grown heirloom tomatoes with basil (caprese)and the flatbread sausage pizza were as good as it gets. The deserts were equally as good. We were also pleasantly surprised at their new lower prices. We can honestly say it was great food and service and we are going back again.


NOT GREAT FOLKS!
Reviewer: TAMARA from Santa Barbara, CA
ON JULY 19TH I HAD DINNER AT EMILIOS WITH A FRIEND. WE BOTH WERE VERY DISAPPOINTED. THE WAITER WAS EXTREMELY SLOW AND WE HAD TO ASK FOR EVERYTHING FROM ADDITIONAL SILVERWARE TO ANOTHER GLASS OF WINE. MY FRIEND HAD EATEN HERE A MONTH AGO AND WAS SO UPSET WITH THE STEAK. THIS MONTH THE STEAK WAS HALF THE SIZE AND NOT AS GOOD. MY GNOCCHI AND SHRIMP - WELL, THE GNOCCHI AND SHRIMP WERE BARELY THERE. THEY NEED TO MAKE SOME CHANGES, QUICKLY!


Great Experience
Reviewer: Nikki from Santa Barbara, CA
I just dined here a few hours ago and enjoyed it very much. We had the Panzanella and Cesar salads. We also had the Grilled Local Sea Bass and Paella. The warm apple tarte tartin for dessert was AMAZING!! The service was fantastic, we had the best waiter and the staff was wonderful. Maybe my expectations are lower than the reviewers below me, but I had a great time.


expected much better
Reviewer: Scott from Santa Barbara, CA
The menu looks intriguing, but the execution of some of the dishes was questionable. For what you pay (~$30/entree), I expect a *much* higher standard of food. The chicken was burnt in the pasta that we had for a first dish. The halibut special for a main was pointedly awful-- dry and overcooked, bland, and with very freezer-aisle-tasting julienned veggies. The salmon main was better but still unbalanced-- gobs of goat cheese and what seemed like marmalade jelly overpowered it. For the amount of money, much better food can be found elsewhere.


In serious decline
Reviewer: John from Santa Barbara, CA
Like every other recent reviewer, we had a bad experience. The service was poor, the portions small, the prices absurd and the food a mixed bag at best (avoid the scallops - $30 for five the size of quarters). Definitely not worth the attitude. The tall waiter with the pony tail became very brusque when we didn't order cocktails or appetizers. Used to be regulars, but can't imagine we'll be back.


Overall Just a Bad Experience!
Reviewer: Jessica from Santa Barbara, CA
Went into Emilio's one evening with high expectations; after all they claim to be one of the best Italian restaurants in town. Nothing about our dinner was good, to say the least! I have never had such horrible salmon in my life, it's creamy texture and awful aftertaste was absolutely atrocious. The others in my party were not satisfied either, each of our dishes firmly lacked flavor, and weren't even very warm when they were delivered, even the cream brulee left something to be desired. The service was severely lacking as well. Our waiter was uninviting and awkward. He didn't seem to care that we were giving him business, I felt as if we were inconveniencing them and they weren't even busy. The bus boy though was very friendly and attentive unlike the waiter which was a plus. I just can't fathom how they are still in business, it was just awful! 30 plus dollars a plate for horrendous food just isn't worth it, especially when SB has so many other great restaurants, don't waste your money here.


Not worth it
Reviewer: micky bitzko from Santa Barbara, CA
Gnocci when good is like clouds, when bad---like emilios. I loved Emilio. There is a disconnect here between what you will expect and what you get in service and food....and VERY overpriced. The food was weak. Overpriced and disappointing. The bill for three people was $300. That was a total of three drinks at the table, not per person. That is enough detail for me not to return to the rest. To me it is an equation of cost versus what you get for it. I don't mind spending $75/person is the food rates it. I also enjoy spending $4.50 at Lilys....I have different expectations there.


Service and food not worth the money!!!!
Reviewer: Mel from Santa Barbara, CA
Server was awful: we had to ask for specials, he refused to look into lobster special that was overheard offered, ordered, then later delivered to table next to us, obviously annoyed when we ordered starter cocktails, unfriendly, messed up our order (wrong sides, overcooked meat), then took too long to deliver our bottle of wine so that we had to let our dinner sit, picking at it until it arrived. We will not go back unless younger water guy takes his position (he was nice, funny and helpful to everyone). It was my birthday celebration so we did not complain as we didn't want to let him ruin our evening since questioning him about special at the beginning of our meal seemed to get him angry with us. Not worth $167 for appetizer, cocktail, wine, and main course for two!


Wonderful Local Fine Dining!
Reviewer: Tilly Govender from Santa Barbara, CA
Emilio's is our long time local favorite. After a long absence, we celebrated an anniversary with our daughters over dinner on Saturday evening. We had an amazing, unforgettable dinner starting with cocktails, an array of appetizers and entrees and a delightful dessert platter. The salmon, scallops and lamb entrees were simply delicious and the presentation of each course was a culinary delight. Our dining experience was a memorable one and we send our thanks and compliments to Chef Pete and our wait staff. We will try not to stay away for too long!


overpriced
Reviewer: mdc from laguna beach
two desserts and one drink $41.00. Way overboard. Had lunch and two drinks up the street for much less.


Emilios is slipping!
Reviewer: Kristine from Santa Barbara, CA
My boyfriend and I have eaten at Emilios quite a few times. The past three times we have been there the food was ugh and the service was terrible. The server acts like he can't be bothered and we only saw him twice during our last time at Emilios. The food has been getting progressively worse each time we go. Stay away from the Paella and the sword fish, it was so disgusting we didn't even bother finishing it. We also had the brulee'd ahi tuna to start- yuck. Maybe they got a new chef? The only positive part about our last dining experience was the conversation and the drinks (hard to screw up a cocktail). We don't think we will be back, which is a shame because the atmosphere is so romantic.


Great place for happy hour
Reviewer: Jonathan from Santa Barbara, CA
We went to Emilio's on a Friday afternoon for happy hour a.k.a Indulgence Hours in Emilio speak. We had the prosciutto flatbread and the mushroom tart. Both were very tasty. Bar apps and specialty cocktails are 50% off during happy hour. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and will definitely go back.


excellent food, as expected for price
Reviewer: Michele from Santa Barbara
Both my husband's and my meal were excellent- fresh ingredients used creatively and cooked perfectly. We had the paella and the scallops (out of this world- so tender). Our server was "subtle", meaning he sort of blended into the woodwork. No chatty server, just did the job without any frills, which was fine for us, but not for everyone. We didn't find the restaurant particularly romantic, but it was a warm, casual atmosphere with a nice view if you get a window seat. I don't think that an obtrusive bar a few feet away from where we were eating was especially romantic, but the atmosphere did seem to suit small groups well. Really the only thing that bothered me was the unisex restroom - what is up with the college bar bathroom? It was completely overlooked in the decor plan and wound up as a storage/toilet area. Yuck. But, that aside, we'd go back and get the scallops again.


Beautiful Food & Atmosphere - SB Elegance!
Reviewer: Kimberly from Santa Barbara, CA
Emilio's has been our #1 choice for Valentine's Day year after year. The food is fantastic and the atmosphere is always elegant. I am currently pregnant & I can't wait to be able to eat their ahi sesame cones & smoked salmon flatbread again...maybe someone can deliver it to the hospital : ) The service could be improved - you expect professional wait staff. Emilio's is our choice for a romantic, special occasion dinner. It is a bit pricey but worth it for the quality.


Food is wonderful - service, um what service...
Reviewer: Kristi C from San Diego, CA
I just asked my husband what to rate the service, he said a 1.0 since we got the food hot. That sums up the service. Stay away from the tall guy with the pony tail and you will probably have a better experience. The food was amazing. A bit rich, but you have to splurge once in a while. Salads were amazing, gnocchi was amazing, sirloin was amazing. If you want to take a chance on the service and don't let it ruin the meal, this is a great restaurant.


veramente unico!
Reviewer: Giulio Scalise from Milan, Italy
Sono un giovane italiano di Milano e di origini Calabresi. I'm an Italian young man from Milan and who's parents are from Calabria (Italy). Emilio e' un ristonate unico e lo consiglierei a tutti, sia per il cibo che per l'ospitalita' Emilio's is a unique restaurant. I will suggest it to everybody, because of the food and the hospitality. Giulio Scalise (Milan 01/12/2008)


good food, too expensive
Reviewer: Tim Matherly from Thousand Oaks, CA
$21 for a plate of pasta with tomato, garlic, and basil (pomodoro) and a few more dollars for a meat dish doesn't make sense. Most places charge between $9-$14 for pasta pomodoro, and this weren't homemade pasta noodles or anything special. The prices here are rediculous. The food is good but there's nothing that warrants a 100% higher per plate price. Granted, the food was good, the service was good, overall a good experience, but the prices in general don't make sense.


no no no
Reviewer: Monica from Goleta CA
It's way too expensive for what it is..the walls were all chippy and like they were 1/2 way done with a remodeling experience...there was some exposed sticky-poster tacky stuff on the wall next to where we were eating our $21 pasta. I think the cheapest glass of wine was about $8 and it wasn't even a good pour. My pasta was OK ( way overpriced) and my boyfriend had a flatbread with prosciutto...that was WAY too thick and fatty. People need to slice prosciutto pretty thinly for it to be appetizing on a pizza.......... Come ON! I had to ask for water like 3x...no music..lack of atmosphere. I won't be back.


Wonderful Anniversary Meal
Reviewer: Jen from Port Hueneme, CA
The food and service were exceptional! Our waiter was very patient and I appreciated the fact that he was willing to humor my husband as he does enjoy talking, A LOT! The setting was very romantic, excluding the biker getting dressed in his van... I mean dinner and a show is nice and all but come on dude, go park somewhere else. Aside from that, we had the special for the evening: filet mignon, garlic mashed potatoes, and broccoli...GREAT FOOD! The dessert was good (chocolate cake) but a little small... maybe it is meant to help people watch their girlish figures. Whatever the case, I highly recommend this restaurant to anyone and will definitely visit again!


Emilio's Regular
Reviewer: Lisa from Santa Barbara
I have been a regular at Emilio's since it's opening and it is one of my favorite restaurants in Santa Barbara. The service is attentive and I have never had a bad service experience there. It is true that I never go on a Saturday night, but I don't go to any Santa Barbara restaurant on a Saturday night. There are plenty of times we have gone somewhere else and said "We should have gone to Emilio's". The food is consistent and the fish specials are my favorite as well as the salads.


Maybe Bad Reviews Don't Get Posted - Hope This One Does
Reviewer: Kevin from Santa Barbara, CA
Due to the censorship of this website, I will not accurately be able to describe my experience because I can not do so in a constructively critical manner. All I can say is don't believe everything you read in a review, and know that you are not reading those negative reviews that have been fitlered out.


Great FOOD, Great HOST, Great STAFF
Reviewer: Margret from Santa Barbara/ New York
My husband and I have been going to Emilio's for ten years. The food is amazing and so is the staff. The host Carlos is a cherry on the top. He makes you feel like you have been freinds for years-they are lucky to have him. The white fish was amazing, as well was the ahi tuna roll's. CARLOS- thanks for such a great night!!!!


Outstanding Service/Food
Reviewer: Rick B. from Nipomo, CA.
What a meal! Started with the steamed mussels and clams, then received the grilled prawns over creamy gorgonzola polenta. The bread that was baked there at the restaraunt was the best I have ever had of its kind. My waiter had excellant knowledge of wine. I was a little concerned about service because of previous posts, but I found bright, pleasant and attentive folks serving my table all evening. Male host was very nice. Absolutely the best Italian meal I have eaten in 20 years. Not for the overly budget conscious, but worth every dime. Quiet, beautiful atmosphere, and again fantastic service. I am a general contractor staying in SB from out of the area and am overjoyed that I have another weeks work as I will be returning at least once before I depart. P.S. I found out about the restaraunt, while riding the trolly, from the owners mom. Thanks for the tip!!


Lights out
Reviewer: Makoto Lee from Irvine
This was a fabulous experience. My girlfriend and I visited Emilio's on a windy Wednesday nigth. When we arrived, we were seated promptly at a nice table for two by the window. The atmosphere is very intimate and the wait staff and host was not at all intrusive or snooty. Our waiter recomended that we order the chef's special. there is an option of either a three course or four course dinner arrangement chosen by the chef. the first course was an assortment of salads and a sesame tuna appetizer, followed by rack of lamb and rib eye steak with sides of polenta, mashed potatoes, and spinach. the last course was a tiramisu and chocolate cake combo with vanila ice cream and fresh berries. the desert was not overly sweet and had a great combination of flavors. the wind caused a power outage during ouer meal. the waitor explained to us that this was the first time in his 16 years that a powre outage hade occured. although there were no lights or electricity, the staff and diners were extremely calm and the diner experience was actually quite unique.


A very good experience
Reviewer: Dave Toussaint from Riverside, CA
We stayed next door to the restaurant on our trip to S.B. and decided to give this restaurant a chance after reading the reviews here. It was my dates birthday, a Sunday, and we made reservations just incase it was busy. We were seated right away at a nice little table for two. Our drinks were ordered and arrived quickly. We even asked that our meal be paced slowly and the waiter was great with this, it gave us time to enjoy our wine and appetizer. Everything we had, from the sesame tuna appetizer, the fettuccine chicken pesto and the rib eye steak was incredible. Our waiter was fabulous to say the least. The atmosphere was great and every other diner seemed to be enjoying themselves. I would go back again and again!


Great Food, Great Waiter, Bitchy Host
Reviewer: Celeste Marx from Santa Barbara, CA.
We had a great time at Emilios, our waiter was funny and considerate and the food was great. The wine was great, everything was great apart from the bitchy host, who firstly ignored our booking, then promised to keep the door closed and after a couple of polite requests to keep the door closed as it was chilly and we had been seated in the doorway. To which his response was he 'he had promised no such thing' and was quite frankly bitchy about it - which he clearly had, otherwise we would have taken the open tables that were not in the doorway when we arrived! Luckily our waiter was so nice he offered to move us to another table out of the doorway. Funny how I thought the role of a host was to be welcoming and friendly. If they changed the host I would definitely go back.


Very nice atmosphere, good service and food
Reviewer: Ava Stewart from San Diego, CA
Emilio's was a really nice restaurant, very warm and inviting, good service and food. We were looking for someplace special to eat in Santa Barbara at the last minute and we really lucked out finding it.


A Wonderful Dining Experience
Reviewer: Christine Carr from Santa Barbara, CA
This was our first time here and I was a little apprehensive because of previous reviews regarding service. Not to worry, the maitre'd escorted us to our window table immediately upon arrival. Our waiter appeared almost instantly to tell us of the specials. Another waiter stopped by and adjusted our table so that it was centered in front of the window, rather than back in the corner! Our waiter was very friendly and helpful and would arrange a substitution if needed. Oscar's Paella was out of this world and more than my husband could eat; the leftovers went home. I loved the belgian endive salad and my grilled prawn entree was perfect. The only thing that disappointed me was that there is no dress code. This was a special celebration and I told my husband he would have to dress up a little. In otherwords wear long slacks instead of his usual shorts. Imagine my consternation when seated next to us was a young man wearing a dingy t-shirt, baggy shorts and flip-flop sandals. The woman in tank top and shorts. This really surprised me since this restaurant is only open for dinner. Once again the food is SUPERB!! We'll definitely return again and again! One other thing, they need to update the menu displayed on their web site.


Well worth a visit!
Reviewer: Tim G. from Glendora, CA
The ambience, food, and service were excellent in our experience. My wife and son's pasta dishes were a little spicier (hot) than they were expecting, but they were delicious nonetheless! They are very accomodating with special orders, so ask them to go lightly on the red pepper seasoning if that's a problem. The atmosphere is cozy and the decor, tastefully done. Our service, unlike some other reviewers, was very good and our waiter was attentive and personable, regardless of our late arrival (15 minutes before they stopped serving). The desserts and cafe latte's were also very good (although expensive... $9 for a single scoop of homemade ice cream)! Overall, our best dining experience in Santa Barbara. We will definitely return on our next visit!


Excellent food, waiter outstanding, host horrible
Reviewer: Sue & Jerry from San Gabriel, Calif
This was our first time to dine at Emilio's. The host was horrible. we almost walked away. I am glad we stayed. Our waiter more than made up for the host. The food was outstanding. We will come back.Atmosphere was great.Get another host he sends people away. We were there at 6:00 when the doors opened, a few people were waiting but the dining room was not full, the host demanded we have reservations very rude.We were there on Aug4,2006. We watched and there were at least 6 open tables for 2.


Compliments to the CHEF....NOT the wait staff!!!
Reviewer: Lauren from Santa Barbara, CA
When I first heard about Emilio's, I was excited to enjoy the experience that so many people had raved about. Unfortunately, I was disappointed to say the very least. As other reviewers have mentioned the service there is unmentionable. Our waiter seemed aloof, impersonal, and incompetent. I expected good service to accompany the excellent food, yet received the polar opposite. The hostess was very unprofessional and could not seem to multi-task for the life of her. The ambiance and food at this restaurant are beond words, I just wished the service would have accompanied. My advice to the owner/general manager is to hire a new front manager.


Excellent Food Bad Service
Reviewer: Liza from Pasadena, California
The food was excellent, however when we got there the waitress sat us away from the other guests of the restaurant in this little room which made us feel like we did not fit in with the other guests in the restaurant. Our server was more interested in looking at the Audi parked on the street outside of the restaurant instead of taking our order. He finally took our order after 15 minutes of waiting. We asked for the specials for the evening and was told that there were no specials just what was on the menu. When we were ready to leave we over heard our waiter, tell the other guests at one of the other tables the specials for the evening. We were very disappointed on how we were treated. The only thing that made the evening was the food, and it was excellent. I am sorry to say I will not be dining there again based on the horrible service.


MMMM...Yummy
Reviewer: Austin and Tink from Santa Barbara, CA
The paella was excellent and it was a very generous portion!Very excellent restaurant a bit pricey, but good food and very nice decor, spacious :)


I'll come back after 14 years!!!
Reviewer: roberta sorano sposato from rome/italy
I found Emilio's 14 years ago at the end of a long trip around the west. I am italian, and I never eat italian food abroad, but Emilio's was a wonderful exception. olive oil on the table (not butter!), and excellent food. good service, quite and relaxing atmosphere, friendly the all situation. In these days I'm managing a new trip (next august) in the western states of Usa, and I'll come back surely.


Santa Barbara's Hidden Gem
Reviewer: Bill M. from Santa Barbara, Ca.
Time and time again, this restaurant never fails to disappoint. As a long time resident and businessman, this is the place to show off the very best that Santa Barbara has to offer. From the service, food and lastly the finest wine list between San Francisco and Los Angeles.


One of our favorites and we've been there a lot
Reviewer: Bri from Santa Barbara
We come here often. Food is wonderful - the best paella, excellent steaks and seafood. One of the best linguine with clams. Service has always been good. Once in awhile we get a waiter with a bit of an attitude but not enough to bug us. 90% of the time our experience there is excellent. The other 10% is good. Never been bad.


great anniversary dinner
Reviewer: Jolene from Folsom, CA
They were very accommodating for our anniversary...they gave us special attention and the service was fantastic. I had the cauliflower soup which was sooooo yummy and the presentation was incredible - even for soup! My husband had the halibut and I had the salmon, very good. We'll be back next time we're in town.


FANTASTIC...all around!!!
Reviewer: Katie from Santa Barbara
I had never been to Emilio's before tonight and was quite surprised. I didn't know what to expect after reading the previous reviews...but our night was absolutely FANTASTIC!!! Our server was kind and helpful, giving us wonderful reccomendations (nice wine selection) and the food was incredible! Emilio's was a night we'll remember, so thank you for the wonderful, romantic and memorable experience.


Mushroom Soup, Best Ever at Emilio's
Reviewer: Margaret from Goleta, Ca.
Husband and I had a superb dinner at Emilio's last Fri. Hostess a bit abrupt, but other than that, great experience. Waiter was excellent, despite a crowded evening with 2 large parties. The special, Mushroom Soup, was absolutely the best. Mushroom flavor stood out, not overwhelmed by other ingredients. Rack of lamb special and steak salad, both wonderful entrees. Wine list a bit short, but offerings good, fair pricing. Definitely one of the best restaurants in Santa Barbara for overall fine dining experience. Also nice not be overwhelmed by noise level as in so many of local places. Really helps to add to the serene ambience.


great food, lousy service and $$$$$
Reviewer: Ron from Los Angeles, Ca
My wife and I have been going to this restaurant since it first opened 15 years ago and it has always been a memorable experience. Its been a couple of years since our last visit and this time I was very disapointed. The hostess was very unprofessional and not friendly, she sat at the bar watching TV most of the time and goofing of with the waiters. Miguel our waiter was inattentive and kept us waiting he seemed more interested in the hosted than us. The food was very good but it took a very long time to get served and the restaurant wasn't that busy. So if you don't mind bad inattentive service for a high price then go to Emilio's.


Appetizers Amazing, Service Sub-Par

The atmosphere was enchanting, but the hostess was HORRIBLE!!!! Appetizers were much more savory than main course.


Chic, cozy, yummy, and not a bit "stuffy"!!!

Food was wonderful! Service was intuitive! The atmosphere is just my style with relaxed low ceilings, quiet for the amount of people there, and just plain "warm" and cozy. I give it five stars!


View from an Older Santa Barbaran who Dines Out A lot
Reviewer: Greg from SBA
Unpretentious, nice fine dining experience. Food is always excellent and the waitstaff are experienced, professionals. Visitors - look to go slightly off the well trod path - this is a romantic place with always a good dining experience. Have been living here in Santa Barbara for 37 years - some of the Italian Restaurants are too mediocre, crowded, noisy, service is just so-so at best - Emilio´s is a one of the best restaurants in town.


Dinner in our room

We were passing through Santa Barbara on my birthday last year and my husband promised me a nice meal out. On our way to the locally brewery my older son became ill with the stomach flu. We were forced to return to our hotel room for dinner. We finally decided to take a chance on a nearby restaurant called Emilio´s. Even in take-out boxes, it was one of our most memorable meals and we still talk about it to this day. We are constantly recommending the restaurant and can´t wait to return.


Could have been better

Try the restaurant other than on Saturday nite. Staying at the Simpson House and they made the reservation for us. We arrived on time only to wait almost an hour. We also watched them seat two parties who came in after us. We were offered a free drink to compensate for the wait time but... the food was terrific and the service dismal. A SWEATY but nice waiter was overworked with too many tables. Too bad it was our wedding anniversary. We do visit the area often an may try again. 3 stars for the food only.


reservation rudeness
Reviewer: Linda from San Francisco
We have eaten at Emilios in the past and enjoyed it. On our upcoming trip to Santa Barbara, I called for reservations two weeks in advance. The person who answered was somewhat curt and, after taking the reservation, asked for my credit card number. Halfway through giving it, I asked her where this information is kept. She told me it was simply written in the reservation book (type of card, number, and expiration date). I was very surprised, and was told that in 14 years of doing this, there has never been a problem with other people using the card information. I was not comfortable with that answer and decided to find another restaurant in Santa Barbara that is more welcoming to its customers.


Excellent place

This is truly a great restaurant--on two separate visits there (approximately five years apart) the food has been consistently good, and it has a great atmosphere. The layered goat cheese salad is something that I still think of fondly!


View of the pier
Reviewer: Todd from Valencia, CA
Whenever my wife and I want to spoil each other it´s off to Emilo´s we go. Atmosphere and delicios food with an ocean breeze. We generally stick with the seafood.My personal favorite is the paella. From the bar the grappa selection probably best in SB.Avoid weekends unless your an avid people watcher.


A Favorite
Reviewer: Irene from Los Altos Hills, CA
We dine at Emilio´s whenever we´re in SB. Definitely one of the best restaurants in CA.


my experience

I took a date to this very nice restaurant, which has both great atmosphere and great wine. Why the 2 star rating? Neither of us found the food to be very good. I had a rib-eye and she had halibut. My steak was very fatty, and also very salty. In my opinion, if you spend $120 for a two person meal it should be some of the best food you have ever had. Emilio´s didn´t even come close.


Outstanding
Reviewer: Emma Vincent from Grover Beach, CA
My experience was outstanding. Atmosphere was lovely and it´s right across the street from the ocean making for a nice after dinner stroll. Prompt and attentive service. Dinner was salad, lamb with veggies & polenta followed by creme brulee & coffee. All was delicious but the polenta was the absolutely the best. The crowning glory was to find out that the owner will be opening another restaurant in Arroyo Grande sometime in November 2002.


Exceptional experience

This restaraunt is as close to 5 star dining as you will get in SB. Very cosy, quaint, and off the beaten path. You are sure to see a celebrity on occasion.


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