Santa Barbara > Restaurants > Kona Ranch House
Ca Dario

Kona Ranch House
No longer in business
Opened: 2006-07 Closed: 2009-03

5685 Calle Real, Goleta
Phone: (805) 967-9400

Reviews by the General Public

Disappointment , 1/12/2009
Reviewer: Jan from Santa Barbara, CA
Ate here on 1/10 for the first time. Really wish we could say only good things. The pulled pork was great, also liked the Portugese soup and potato crusted salmon. What was lacking was service from our waiter--not knowledgeable, bothersome (came to ask for our order at least 5 times inside the first 10 minutes we were there). The kicker was when the chef came and visited with the folks at the table directly next to us for about 15 minutes, right in the middle of our dinner. Did he ever stop at our table (the only other table in that part of the restaurant) to ask how our food was prepared? No. I have never seen such rude behavior from a "professional" chef. Wish our experience was better. We would love a "regular" full service restaurant in the Goleta area. The only good option is the Beachside which never dissapoints.

Don't ever eat here! Expensive BAD food!!, 1/10/2009
Reviewer: Wendy from Santa Barbara, CA
The fish tank was the best part of the whole experience.This was our 1st & last time eating here(Arby's which was once there was superior to Kona Ranch)There were 2 adults & 2 kids.My huband ordered the "Burnt Ends" sandwich & an appetizer of sauteed mushrooms. I ordered the "Portugese" Bean Soup(1 of the least expensive things on the menu $4.95)which is linguisa sausage & a couple kind of beans, waiter said it was a very "hearty" soup. My son ordered chicken strips & rice & my other son got the fish & chips.Waiter forgot about the mushrooms got those 5 minutes into the meal. I took 1 bite of the soup which tasted like Spagettio sauce,gave my husband a bite which had the only small piece of sausage in it, he said the "sausage" tasted like Dinty More.My husband who usually finishes everything on his plate left his plte almost full. Chix strips were fine(how can you screw up those)my other son's fish tasted like it had been dug out of the aquarium(he loves fish & took 1 bite & spit it out, so did I)Waiter did finally bring drink refills and then the check was $49.00 ROBBERY!! I left my take home soup on the table with a note staing the food was awful. Felt like telling this couple who had just sat down to get up & RUN out as fast as they could-Sorry! Why is this place still in business??

Good Eat, 12/16/2008
Reviewer: Melodie from Santa Barbara, CA
This place is pretty good, the coleslaw is really delicious, with pineapples, the perfect combo! The price is reasonable, not 20+ like the website says. The burgers were really good, the service was very nice. Will definitely be back!

One of the waitress is poorly trained, 12/4/2008
Reviewer: Dante from Santa Barbara, CA
First time the waitress was wonderful and made me want to go back what a doll. It made the mediocre food worth another try. I was wrong quite frankly the second time another waitress sucked and had very poor training. Never asked if we wanted desserts, cleared our plates while some of were still eating and even brought our check. At the very end she said " would you like some more water before you get out of here".

Bar food at premium prices, 8/30/2008
Reviewer: Richard from Goleta, ca
I've eaten at Kona 5 or 6 times, and it's just never as good as I expect it to be at those prices. Most recently I ordered a sirloin "medium rare," which in my experience means "pink outside, red inside." It was grey outside, PURPLE inside. I actually couldn't eat it - it was like chewing gum. I took it home (I didn't have time to send it back), put it on the BBQ for 15 minutes, and it was fine. Almost worse, the waitress (whom I informed why I was putting my virtually untouched steak into a take-home box) NEVER APOLOGIZED. Previous times I have just been disappointed with the quality of the food. We won't be going back.

Not very impressive, 8/14/2008
Reviewer: Rich from Goleta CA
I guess air conditioning is too expensive during the summer. Ribs were OK but all in all it was just north of bar food. Do yourself a favor and run downtown SB if you're going to pay $80+ for two people.

Good food, excellent service, 7/24/2008
Reviewer: Judy Ensign from Goleta, CA
The BBQ ribs and sweet potato fries are excellent! My husband had the fish sticks which were also very good. The clam chowder was not as creamy and thick as it could be. The service was perfect and the young lady that served us was efficient and friendly with a cute sense of humor. Overall, a very nice place to eat - we've been there several times and will be going again soon.

Good Ambiance, Service & Food, 6/2/2008
Reviewer: Noelle from Santa Barbara, CA
When we walked in to the Kona Ranch House we all enjoyed the ambiance, cool and dark with soft lighting and a very fun Hawaiian atmosphere with good Hawaiian music. The service was excellent, the Salad Bar was unique and fresh with large chilled wooden bowls and forks. Our Food was very good, the fish (Halibut & Swordfish) were cooked perfectly, the biggest piece of Swordfish I have ever seen! The ribs were lean and meaty with a great smoked flavor and lots of them. The desserts were yummy, huge piece of mudd pie and the coconut cake was unlike any other I have tasted - the best so far. Looking forward to dining there again.

Great place to dine, 2/27/2008
Reviewer: Trish from Goleta, CA
We really liked the great atmosphere, the food, and the service. We have been twice in the last 2 months and have enjoyed the whole experience. The staff makes us fell welcomed from the moment we walked in. I would recommend reservations during the evening hours. We ordered from the menu and also had the evening specials. Our food both times has been superb. The salads on the menu are great and the salad bar is wonderful too. The salad bar is much more than salad and a few toppings. It is nice to have the island spirit here on the main land. “Kona Ranch Noi Ka Oi” (means: Kona Ranch is the best)

Awsome Food, 2/22/2008
Reviewer: Tracy from Santa Barbara
For those of you that didnt like it am sorry but the food both times so far ive been there have been totally awsome and the service has been very tentive. It is some where i will continue to come and for all of you that read these complaints. Try it dont take their word for it you make your own judgement see ya next week Kona

Just Ok, not worth the price, 2/12/2008
Reviewer: Elaina from Goleta, CA
We went here because Outback had closed early, and its accross the street so we decided to try it. I really liked the look of the place when I came in, nice looking salad bar, awesome fish tank, neat decorations, and a cool bar. I ordered the fresh Ahi (specifically asked for seared rare -- which the waitress claimed was the standard way that they prepared it anyway) and my husband got the prime rib/coconut shrimp combination (which isn't priced on the menu.) After the waitress took our order, she came back a few minutes later and said "I'm so sorry, I completely forgot what you had ordered", so I recounted our orders. This would have been fine, and forgiven if the food had been even remotely good. My ahi was cooked so thoroughly, there wasn't an ounce of pink on it. Great for chicken, bad for rare seared Ahi. My husband said his prime rib was "Denny's quality", and he got exactly 3 coconut shrimps. When the bill came, my Ahi was $27, which was to be expected, but his combination was $39 -- when he could have gotten just the prime rib for $19. Some how, 3 coconut shrimps cost $20. The atmosphere was nice, but at those prices there are much better places to go.

Expensive , 9/3/2007
Reviewer: Cris from Goleta
This place is way way way too expensive. Ordinary food topped off with gallons of bbq sauce. Go somewhere else.

In on business, 8/19/2007
Reviewer: Ernie Douglas from Chicago
Came in a few weeks ago and the food was phenomenal! Got seated right away, great service, and the price is outstanding for the quality of food that you get. The SHORT RIBS are amazing!

Double billed, Poor service, 8/9/2007
Reviewer: Lisa Smith from Santa Barbara, CA
We have eaten here 3 times now and have had similar experinces each time. The last time we were told our meal would be put on the grill when we were seen at the salad bar. We had just taken a seat with our salads when our whole entre arrrived. We asked to have it redone so we could enjoy our salad only to have it returned with the fish overdone. We split our bill on 2 credit cards and have now noted that we were both charged for the entire bill. We were really looking forward to another good steak/seafood option in Goleta and after 3 tries it's sad to say we still don't have one.

Beware of the "mud pie", 6/7/2007
Reviewer: John Dickson from Santa Barbara, CA
I am rating the dessert only. I am not rating our dinner or the service. We ordered the mud pie (the menu said "hula mud pie"). It turns out that "hula" means that the ice cream is macadamia nut ice cream instead of coffee ice cream. And the "chocolate" on top looked and tasted like something else. More like frosting than chocolate or pehaps imitation chocolate. They should have warned us that "hula mud pie" means that they bring you a large piece of macadamia nut ice cream. Please rename your dessert or tell your customers in advance exactly what they are getting. The main dinner was very good. The salad bar was amazing!

Pretty good food, OK service--average but pricey, 6/7/2007
Reviewer: Karen from Santa Barbara, CA
The selections at Kona all sound yummy, but preparation could be improved. Last time we were there, for example, our starter salads were absolutely drowned in dressing. My mahi was dried out. The veggies were over-done. The service is "OK," not outstanding. The servers are bored, uninterested college students. They do the job "OK." Our server didn't know what veggies were in the stir-fry and had to be prompted to tell the specials. Overall, this place is a bit pricey for the experience. The mai-tais are excellent!!

Loved it., 5/3/2007
Reviewer: Jason Hallows from santa barbara, ca
I just at here two nights ago with my girlfriend and we had a great time. I ordered the chicken and loved it and my girlfriend had some fish and loved it. The Mai Tai's were awesome and we even had desert. The cheesecake was really good and we also ordered a giant ice cream dish (I can't remember the name of it) but it was really good too. Also, the service was great and I loved the music selection. A very peaceful meal.

Reviewer: Ramzy from Goleta, CA
Meal started out good with salad and bread. Then the steak came. Looked amazing. Nice thick piece of steak. Then I tried to eat it... they apparently have a magic grill that chars the outside of the steak while keeping the rest of it almost completely raw. Nothing like chewing raw steak for 5 minutes just so you can try to swallow it. Maybe the fish would have been better but definitely avoid the steak.

Great place To Eat!!, 2/6/2007
Reviewer: Vivian from Goleta
great food nice people!!

Who wants to serve food when you can watch the game?, 1/26/2007
Reviewer: Colby from Goleta, CA
A friend and I went into the Kona Ranch House entirely on a whim; we had driven by it several times and wanted to see what it is like. We were greeted with INCREDIBLY high prices and service that makes "lackluster" sound like a compliment. We drank our $3 Diet Cokes and left, unimpressed and very disappointed. Our server chatted with friends in a corner, and the bartender was too into the game on the TV to care about our drinks. However, we were able to pay our bill and exit quickly--the one plus of the evening.

Who ate my dinner?, 11/15/2006
Reviewer: Ann Cox from Goleta CA
Last night (11-14-06) a co-worker and I went to Kona Ranch House for dinner after a highly positive review from a mutual friend. We started by sharing an order of Maui onion rings that were delicious, and then a trip to the salad bar, again a positive. My friend ordered a steak with sweet potato fries and I ordered the chicken stir fry. Her steak arrived overly rare and so she requested that it be put on the grill a bit longer. I had ordered chicken stir fry that featured overdone chunks of chicken and a mound of raw carrots and brocolli. A few minutes later our server returned with my friend's steak, but on someone else's plate that had garlic mashed potatoes. After a moment she came back to the table and said that this was the wrong plate, so removed it and delivered it to another table. She then brought my friend the other person's teriaki steak (that had been sent back to the grill) with her original sweet potato fries and asks if she minds having a different steak. So here we have someone else's steak not knowing if it has been partially eaten or even touched by the other patron. When the server came back and asked how things were we asked for to-go boxes and I reported that the stir fry was all raw vegetables to which she replied that there was a large group next to us. We left. I do not know if I would return based on this service and being given someone else's sampled steak. I think a few food service standards were ignored here! Aloha!

You can find better for your buck, 10/9/2006
Reviewer: John Wardlaw from Santa Barbara CA
The last food establishment in this location was BELLYBOARDS which had a great concept but horrible food. Now we have more of a restaurant than a burger joint. My wife and I recently dined here. The hostess was very friendly and we did not wait long for a table. However once we were seated we waited forever for even a menu (don't you usually get those from the hostess?) One we finally met our waitress the service was...OK. We had to ask twice for water and iced tea refills. As for the food. My wife had the Teriyaki chicken. I tasted this. I think this chicken was cured in Teriyaki rather than marinated. I think they left it in the marinade too long. The quality of the actual chicken was good but the salt was over whelming. I had the chicken stir fry. It was all white mean high quality chicken. However I would have to say that the stir fry vegetables were at least 80% Celery (or at least looked like celery). If I based my experience on just the one visit I would not return, but eveyone can have a bad night. So I MIGHT try it again. Outbacks may be the chain across the street but I have never had a bad meal there.

Good Service bad food., 9/27/2006
Reviewer: David Gonzales from Santa Barbara
I ate at the Kona ranch house and was very pleased with the service, however the food was really bad. I ate the coconut shrimp and paid $25 for 5 shirip which did not taste good and arrived luke warm if not cold. I now know the food quality is currently the same as the second and third tier eating establishments it is surrounded by only 3 times the price.

Great steak!, 9/12/2006
Reviewer: Deb Pringle/Jan Cooper from Goleta, CA
This was our first time since Bellyboards, it was wonderful. You don't know you are in Goleta, once you walk through the door. The clam chowder and bean soup were wonderfull, my sirloin steak was actually cooked the way I like it and very tender. Everything we had was very very good, we are going back tonite with a group of 10 for another round of great steak! Thank you for having a nice place to eat steak and be open late and the food was still fresh!

Interesting place, 8/29/2006
Reviewer: Krista and Tony from Santa Barbara
The Kona Ranch House is an interesting restaurant. It lives side by side with over a dozen fast food and family style restaurants and by the looks of the outside you'd think its right in there with the rest of them, yet once your inside its a surprisingly upscale place. The menu is heavy on fish and beef entree's (ok by me) but there are also selections of pork, chicken and salads as well as a fine salad bar. Others have mentioned that its not a cheap $$$$ place and I'd have to concurr with that. Although I was in a burger mood $8-10 (which is normal), my fiancee had a Halibut dish that topped $28 (which is high for a pretty common fish). Their Filet choice was $33 and their other steaks lived in the $23-28 range. My Fiancee really liked her dish and I loved the Maui burger so its a judgement call. If you forget about the sandwhich menu, two entrees, two drinks, a dessert and tip will always bring you close to $100. Not at all unheard of in SB, but this is Goleta. I'd say overall this is more of a special occasion restaurant than a "pack up the family, I don't feel like cooking place". No question that the food is good, the service is good and the atmosphere is good so you gotta pay for it. One thing I absolutely did not like is the lack of item descriptions on the menu. OK most people know what a Filet Mignon is but I'd guess many people wont know what Muli Muli chicken or a Maui burger is. There are no descriptions of any of the menu items and thats an annoying oversight.

Better than Outback, 8/29/2006
Reviewer: Silvia from Goleta, Ca
Food was great! Nice Hawaiian decor. The prime rib and halibut were yummy. If you go there the Pyramid dessert is wonderful. Stay away from the Crème Brule has pineapple and is not as creamy as it should be.

Good Food, Good Service, 8/13/2006
Reviewer: Scott from Santa Barbara, CA
Our family of 7 dined on Friday evening at 6:30 and were seated immediately. The staff was friendly and efficient. We all commented on how nicely everything was prepared and tasted great. Portions were ample. We'll be back.

Local Steak House to Goleta, 8/2/2006
Reviewer: TVT from Santa Barbara, CA
First, the service is excellent. The waitress occasionally checking to see if everything was okay. Indeed it was, great atmosphere. Very welcoming. The food was pretty good. Little bit on the pricey side, but all premium steak house are usually like that. Overall A+

Excellent Food!!!!!!!, 7/22/2006
Reviewer: Susan from Santa Barbara, CA
My family and I went to The Kona Ranch House just the other night and we were all very amazed. Our waitress was very sweet and made sure that we were taken care of. The food came out very prompt and it was incredible. This restaurant is great, my family and I will definitely be back soon.

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