Santa Barbara > Restaurants > All India Cafe
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All India Cafe
No longer in business
Opened: 2006-09 Closed: 2014-06

431 State St, Santa Barbara
Phone: (805) 882-1000

  • Category: Indian
  • Hours: Mon-Sun 11:30am-11pm
  • Price: $10 - $20
  • Serving: Lunch & Dinner
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Reviews by the General Public

New Owners - Food Quality Nose Dives, 8/20/2013
Reviewer: Chris from Santa Barbara, CA
All India Cafe was our favorite place to go for was hands down MUCH BETTER than Flavor of India. Notice I said WAS. New owners took over in mid 2013, and the quality of every dish has changed for the awful. Chicken Tikka Masala was inedible, Palak paneer was a runny pile of goo, and the Chicken Vindaloo was downright horrible. The samosas tasted like they were fried, left out for hours, then refried. I am so disappointed. I refuse to go to Flavor of India. I guess Spice Ave. will have to do.

Wonderful experience, 9/23/2012
Reviewer: Sara from Santa Barbara, CA
Was visiting from Chicago, where we have terrific Indian restaurants. Loved the Chicken curry and the Lamb masala. All of the dishes were hot and flavorful. Service was very strong as well. We liked the atmosphere very much and would highly recommend.

OK food and poor service, 4/17/2012
Reviewer: Mukesh from Santa Barbara, CA
I usually go to Flavor of India which is the best in town, my bad to have given this restaurant a try, the wait staff guy was not helpful and friendly at all, will not go back

Lunch Buffet is Fantastic, 12/7/2011
Reviewer: Emily from Santa Barbara, CA
I frequent the lunch buffet regularly when I don't have a lot of time and it is consistently fantastic. The servers are very nice, and the food quality is very high. The Tikka Masala is delicious; it's not dyed that awful pink/red color, they let the spices naturally color the dish (and it's tender white chicken meat). The other dishes fluctuate and it's nice to have some variety. The chutney selection is fantastic too, it's amazing what a dollop of tomato chutney on naan does, it's like crack!

Good Food, 6/24/2011
Reviewer: Glenn from Buellton
Although I'm a Flavor of India fan this place was a good second. The food was really good. The waiters were really nice. Lots of tables. The mango chicken along with the tandoori platter was really good, they also have the local card 2 for 1($10 off) deal. Definitely a place to try.

Tasteless food , 6/10/2011
Reviewer: Vishal from Santa Barbara, CA
I am a Indian and i know how Indian food tastes. This was probably the worst food i ever ate. Tasteless food. We had to ask the waiter again and again for our naan, but we were ignored. We could easily tell that the food was not fresh. I would rather eat frozen food, than wasting my money there.

amazing food n great service, 5/2/2011
Reviewer: Brenda from Lompoc, CA
i went on sunday night to have dinner at all india cafe in santa barbara and i loved it the food was amazing, i had the chicken curry with fried rice and garlic naan it was so delicious great flavor, and the staff were very nice and made me feel welcome i for sure will go back again..

Worst indian food ever, 3/23/2011
Reviewer: Eric from Santa Barbara, CA
Friendly staff, tasteless food. I had an indian roommate and used to eat indian food every once in a while cooked by his mom. Not even close!

Fantastic Indian food experience, 6/12/2010
Reviewer: Hendrik from Santa Barbara, CA
The nirvana chicken was, well, self-explanatory. The staff was super friendly; we'll be back for sure!

This place needs to pull up their socks., 3/30/2010
Reviewer: Cliff Burton from Santa Barbara, CA
I have eaten at this place before, Honestly this place is lacking it's luster. Their food has no spiciness, tastes what's so ever. They really need to step up their game considering the amount of Indian restaurants are there on State street itself. They just totally suck at everything. Usually they serve food for lunch from previous night, when asked that to the waiter they blatantly deny it even though anybody can tell it's from last night. That is so sad.

worst chicken tika masala, 9/8/2009
Reviewer: hunter johnson from Santa Barbara, CA
we went to all india cafe on saturday night ,the place looked pretty empty,but we wanted to give another indian resturant a try ,we wanted to give it a try ,the quality of food is not good at all,even the ctmasala tasted very weird.

Santa Barbara County's Best Indian Food, 7/26/2009
Reviewer: Roy Hildestad from Santa Barbara, CA
Excellent food, very nice staff. Sister of the landmark All India Cafe in old town Pasadena. The building is average, but the food is superior. Try the Masala Dosa (it's not on the menu, just ask for it.) I'm a consultant who travels 9 months a year to all the major U.S. cities and eats with colleagues from India at their favorite restaurants. All India Cafe compares with the best.

Not impressed, 6/14/2009
Reviewer: Adam Sandler from NY, NY
I ordered samosa, lamb curry, rice and garlic naan bread. The main problem was that THERE WAS LITTLE SPICE AND SEASONING. The lamb curry was watery and bland. The "rice of the day" had mixed veg (the kind from frozen bags) and was also bland. I really regret ordering "curry" which is probably a toned-down dish for the ignorant general crowd who cannot tolerate spice and heat. Apart from tandoori, I did not see many other traditional dishes such as biryani, korma etc., but apparently you can order these specially.

Delicious food with great options for vegetarians/vegans, 5/7/2009
Reviewer: Tim from Santa Barbara, CA
I have eaten many meals here (both dinner and lunch buffet), and my experiences have always been great. The food quality is easily on par with my other favorite, Flavor of India, but I love all of the unique menu items that All India offers, and I feel that All India has a healthier overall style. The All India lunch buffet also offers far better variety. My only complaint, if any, is that the service can sometimes be a bit slow at dinner. But the senior staff has always been attentive and courteous. For example, I recently became a vegan, and the All India staff was extremely helpful and understanding in identifying which buffet items would suit me (there were plenty). I'm looking forward to my next visit, and relieved to know that their no meat/no dairy options are just as delicious as the rest of their menu!

Fantastic buffet, 4/2/2009
Reviewer: Lindsey from Santa Barbara, CA
I love the buffet lunch at All India. There are always new, interesting dishes offered, a lot of options for vegetarians, and the service is great. Try the Garlic Naan with the veggie masala. You won't be disappointed.

Definitely not for Santa barbara, 3/30/2009
Reviewer: Sachin from Santa Barbara,Ca
I went to the restaurant about two months ago and was not impressed keeping in mind the competition few blocks away. I gave it another try two weeks ago, and was not surprised to see that the restaurant was empty. I tried their chicken tikka and lamb masala- tikka was dry and lamb was gamy. When I told this to server, he gave me a look and argued saying that he ate it yesterday and was good. Never going back again.

I Don't like Indian food but I like All India Cafe Buffet, 12/11/2008
Reviewer: Nicole from Santa Barbara, CA
All India Cafe has a wonderful buffet. They have a great deal and advertise often on State street. I normally do not eat Indian food but I will eat at All India Cafe because their buffet allows me to pick and choose and decide what I do and do not like. Their decor is a little outdated but not to the point of complaint. Their service is wonderful, I always apologize for wasting food (as I said, I try a lot to determine what I do and do not like) and explain to them my situation and they are always understanding and even make suggestions for me. If you're nervous about eating Indian food, give this place a try.!

Pretty Decent Indian Food, 10/8/2008
Reviewer: Lew Marklin from Santa Barbara, CA
All India is a great little lunch spot if your craving Indian food with a mellow window view of State St. The food is fresh on the buffet and the service is great. The owners are very friendly. They were sincere and happy, and it made my dining experience very pleasant. I kind of liked the window view of the Haley sign. It reminded me of San Francisco for some strange reason.

Amazing Staff, Amazing Food, 10/2/2008
Reviewer: Christina from Santa Barbara, CA
The staff at All India Cafe is very attentive and alert. They are always there when you need them! The food is incredible. It never ceases to amaze me. The Lunch Buffet is a great deal with such a wide variety!

Great Indian Food, 1/14/2008
Reviewer: Laura from Santa Barbara
All India Cafe was a second choice for my husband and I after being told that there weren't any tables available at Zen Yai. We had never been to All India, but decided to give it a whirl. The space itself is a bit stark, but with the awesome color and music of the Bollywood movies they project on the walls, that was plenty of sparkle for me. The service is ok. Although all the servers are friendly, the restaurant can improve in this area. The food, however, exceeded our expectations. Everything is fresh and hot and the flavors are wonderful. I had the chicken tikka and my husband had the tikka masala and we shared the vegetable briyani and raita. Yum! The wine list is not great, but they have a couple of decent selections that paired well with the meals. Since our first discovery, we have been back several times and have had them deliver to our house once, too. We are definitely fans. (BTW, they often have coupons in the Clipper Magazine for buy 1 entree, get 1 half off.)

Wonderful, 1/11/2008
Reviewer: Cam from Santa Barbara
My husband and I ate here for the first time, and we were very impressed. The food was great and the staff was very friendly and attentive. We had a very nice experience and will definitely be coming back.

Great food. Great service. Clean, clean, clean!, 10/2/2007
Reviewer: Jim from Camarillo
Had the chicken vindaloo and the lamb biryani, a special item not on the menu. Also tried the aloo paratha and the onion naan bread, both of which were new to me and terrific. They also brought me a small tasting of a lentil dish for free, which we really liked. Haven't been to India but I've had Indian food in places much closer to India than here, like Bahrain, Dubai, and Singapore. All have large Indian and Pakastani populations. The food at All India Cafe was as good or better than what I have had there. Loved it. The staff was friendly and attentive but not obnoxiously so. The cleanliness of the men's rest room, which can be a good indicator of the cleanliness of the kitchen as they are often cleaned by the same people, was beyond reproach. Also, has an open kitchen viewable from the dining area, so if you are squeamish about the cleanliness of your restaurants, this one should please you. Highly recommend it. Am planning on returning to this location or the one in Santa Monica. Didn't know until after that there were 3 of them (Pasadena too).

Not pleased at all, 5/31/2007
Reviewer: Kaye from Santa Barbara
I have eaten at pretty much all the other Indian restaurants in Santa Barbara and decided to give All India Cafe a try. Sadly, I was very disappointed. I ordered the chicken curry which was priced at around $10. What I got was a chicken curry soup. It was not thick or hearty at all, with not much meat on it. My boyfriend got the lamb tikka masala and at $13, he only got a handful of meat on it. It was not a good value at all. Moreover, they didn't serve the couple next to us well at all, they only gave them 1 menu and totally forgot about the wine list and the boyfriend had to come up and get it. And, it wasn't even that busy. They don't even give you the naan (they charge over $3 for 4 pieces), and the only good part about the whole thing was the beer. Never again.

Excellent Tandoori Chicken, 5/30/2007
Reviewer: Ranjit from Santa Barbara, CA
This place definitely has the best Tandoori Chicken and Chicken Tikka I have ever tasted in the US. The food and service overall is excellent. I just love this place.

Good Indian Food, but perhaps not the Best in Town, 5/27/2007
Reviewer: Krista and Tony from Goleta
Let me just say up-front that I have a favorite Indian restaurant in this town. Its tough to NOT go there whenever I feel like Indian or just want some great food. That said, I realize that there are other places too and those places deserve a chance to show what they can do. With that in mind, we made our way to lower State St and the All India Cafe. On Memorial day Sunday the place was jammed full by 7pm (always a good sign), luckily we snagged a table for two near the back and left several larger parties waiting. The menu here is varied and complete with some iteresting things I hadn't seen on other Indian menus in town. We started off with a traditional favorite, Samosas, which we're served piping hot with an excellent sweet/savory/spicy tamarind sauce. After a long deliberation I went with the Nirvana Chicken as my main entree ( coconut milk and Indian Masala sauce) and my fiancee chose the chicken Mango (mango, onion ginger and garlic). And, of course, we had to have some Garlic Nann (a personal tradition). I felt that both dishes were very good but I ended up preferring the Mango Chicken over my own dish in the end. Overall I was left feeling that while satisfied with the qality and taste, there was just a little something missing that I was used to in my Indian food. That somehing was the intensity of flavor. While very good, our dishes (more-so the Nirvana than the Mango) seemed like they'd been toned down a bit and should have been a bit more intense. I'm certain that many people prefer it this way but for me I'd like just a little bit more flavor and zest all around. On the service side things were fine here, we were seated quicky, food came quickly (even thought it was crowded) and the wait-staff were knowlegable and courteous. Bottom line here is, if you go to the all India Cafe you'll more than likely have a good meal. For me personally though, I prefer in a close decision, to step a few blocks up the Avenue for a little more lively Indian food. -Tony-

Best Indian for veggies, 2/24/2007
Reviewer: Steve Colwell from Santa Barbara CA
For vegetarians, the best Indian food in town. Especially for lunch, the buffet has more veggie choices. They're nice, clean, etc too but I'm there for the food. _ _ _ I like that they have one special dish every day. Nothing earth shattering but good varied food. Even if it's just cabbage with anise or special mushrooms and onions, it's nice to try something that's not one of the standard Vindaloo-or-Tandoori Indian-restaurant staples. Keeps the buffet from being boring. _ _ _ Currently (Feb 06) they're particularly uncrowded and welcoming because the construction project on the street is keeping cars away. But parking in the nearby city lots is as easy as ever.

Reviewer: Doug Elder from Santa Barbara
Everytime I go to this place its such a great experience. The food and service is amazing. The ambiance is awesome. Its a great place for lunch and dinner.

New interesting food, 1/28/2007
Reviewer: Violet from Goleta, CA
This was our first time here and we would go back. The Malai Korta was rich in flavor and spices. yummy! The Chicken Frankie was good and different from other Indian restuarants in town. (a lot of south Indian dishes) The service was good but could have been a little better since the restaurant was not very busy. There was lots of Indian artwork displayed.

Good food and Service!, 1/17/2007
Reviewer: Christian Marx from Santa Barbara, CA
The food was yummy, the service friendly, and the prices reasonable. We will definitely go back!

bad service, food competetively good for indian in SB, 1/15/2007
Reviewer: Seth from Santa Barbara CA
I felt the price was slightly higher than flavor of india and the quality slightly lower. Combined with the bad service, I would not go here again. The server looked visibly annoyed or angry even before we started ordering; the menu has a "chicken curry of the day" item - the server was confusing when we asked about what that was, my roomate ended up ordering it... and then they brought him "chile chicken"... which was odd and not that tasteful. He wanted a curry.

first impressions are important, 1/13/2007
Reviewer: Jessica from Carpinteria, CA
My husband and i had dinner there the other night, and were going to use a "buy one, get one" coupon. Our experience was pleasant until our waiter brought us our bill, and charged us for both dinners. It was difficult to understand him because of the music, talking, and his accent, but he very rudely refused our coupon, and said that we should have asked about it when we ordered (which we did). We left with such a bad taste in our mouths that we'll never go back! As a new restaurant, you only have one chance to make a first impression. We were confused why he chose to argue with us about such a small misunderstanding.

an off night, we hope, 1/5/2007
Reviewer: Ben from SB, CA
We had been looking forward to our first meal at all india after hearing some good reviews. We went here on new years day for dinner with friends and were startled by how rude the waiter was both before, during and after our meal. It was extreme to say the least..."YOU DONE YET!" But, the food was quite good.

The Good Newcomer, 12/27/2006
Reviewer: Lisa from Santa Barbara,Ca
I've had lunch here twice and enjoyed the food. The staff is attentive and eager to please. While I can't remember what I ordered, I do recall that it was good. The other two Indian restaurants on State Street have disappointed me and this one has not. I'd go back again, happily.

best indian in town, 12/16/2006
Reviewer: Linda from Santa Barbara, CA
I have tried the new All India Cafe several times now and was delighted with the food, which I find to be more like the food actually served in India that other attempts in town. The samosas are great, the eggplant vegetable dish excellent as are several of the curries I have tried. The staff has been very nice & brought me samples of a couple things I was curious about trying. A good addition to Santa Barbara.

Good food but could have better service, 12/12/2006
Reviewer: Sonia from Santa Barbara, ca
I dont eat a lot of indian food so its hard for me to really know how it was compared it to other places but I can say I liked what my table ordered and ate everything on my plate. The service however, was not great. I felt we were ignored and had to ask several times whenever we needed something. It made me a little uncomfortable.

Overall Best Indian Restaurant on State Street, 10/23/2006
Reviewer: Robert Paulson from Goleta
We've eaten dinner here twice in the last 3 weeks. The food is consistedly good. And they make a near perfect mango lasse. It is both family friendly and a place where two can have a quiet meal. We appreciate the ambiance and the very warm and friendly staff. We welcome them to the Santa Barbara and hope that they are here for a very long time.

Lunch at All India, 10/6/2006
Reviewer: M. Fuller from Goleta, Ca
A fine lunch at All India today. Very busy with two large parties and Friday noontime crowd, but service was attentive. No buffet, which was great. Nice sleek design, good aroma. Lamb Curry,and Shahi Paneer were tasty , served with dal of the day, basmati, salad and naan from tandoor. More spice for us, familiar with Indian cuisine, would be welcome, but know that's not for all. A welcome addition to good, healthy, tastes in our environs.

sadly I was disapointed, 9/28/2006
Reviewer: Jen from Ventura/CA
I love Indian food and was excited to try a new one in town.The atmosphere was great,with the big screen playing Bollywood movies.The service wasn't bad either,unfortunately I found the food to be totally bland.We didn't really eat much of it and ended up packing it up to go and giving it to a homless man.Maybe it was an off day but I don't think I'll be tring it again anytime soon.

Very Good Indian Food!, 9/25/2006
Reviewer: Justine from Santa Barbara, CA
I ate there just a couple of days after they opened. The group I was with all enjoyed mild food, so we ordered several different dishes that were more on the creamy/mild side and they were very good. The service was attentive and pleasant, and we also were treated to mango ice cream on the house. It was delicious! The Bollywood musicals shown on the flat-screen tv in the back were entertaining, and the decor was nice enough. It felt a little sterile... more fabrics on the walls would help, but all in all it was a very good experience and I will go there again for sure.

another good Indian choice, 9/25/2006
Reviewer: Neil from Santa Barbara
I'm not an expert in Indian food but All India seems at least the equal of the other Indian restaurants downtown. The menu has mostly familiar Indian options, with a few things that were new to me like paneer balls (very tasty). After dinner they gave us a sample of their homemade ice cream - mango and ginger. The mango was the best mango ice cream I've ever had. The ginger was beyond good. Tangy, sweet, spicy; totally refreshing and unique.

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