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205 W. Canon Perdido St, Santa Barbara
Phone: (805) 963-9591

Reviews by the General Public

Probably the best tri-tip on the planet…
Reviewer: Rex Of SB from Santa Barbara, CA
As an SB local who pretty much grew up on tri-tip, it's a meal which, while I like it a lot, hardly blows my socks off. I see why tourists get crazed over tri-tip, but since it's a regular staple in my house, I just don't get excited over it. Until I ate the tri-tip at Barbareño. Wow! On a scale of 1-10, Barbareño's tri-tip is a solid 15. It is so tender that you could almost cut it with a fork. (In thinking about it, yeah, I'll bet you really could.) The very friendly server (the owner, maybe?) told me about the tenderizing/preparation/marinating process, which involves keeping the meat in hot water for many hours to tenderize it. Duck fat is also involved. I wasn't paying as close attention as I should have, since I couldn't put my fork down long enough to concentrate on what he was saying. You can't special-order the tri-tip, so it all comes out "medium." Normally, this wouldn't be a good thing but in this case, it winds up as perfection itself (and this is coming from someone who likes his tri-tip medium-rare to rare). There is a barbecue that's fired up near the far end of the parking lot, which I guess is the source of all the wonderfulness. There is a variety of side dishes, including the obligatory beans, but I chose the mustard potato salad, which was nice. Not necessarily your grandma's tater salad, but way better than most that is served in area restaurants. The downside is that the tri-tip—either à la carte or as a sandwich—is only offered as a lunch special on Thursdays and Fridays, so if you get to craving it on a Monday or something, you're out of luck. The server/(owner?) told me, however, that they were thinking of expanding tri-tip days. You know how sauces, gravies, salsa, etc., are a natural accompaniment to meat? The highest praise I can give to the tri-tip from Barbareño is that it would be a blasphemy to put any kind of sauce on it. Yes, it really IS that good.

Very enjoyable anniversary dinner
Reviewer: Christine from Santa Barbara, CA
Barbareno continues to please us. Extensive wine list with very knowledgeable server. Fresh, mostly local, delicious food. Pork dish (bacon-wrapped tenderloin and smoked St Louis style ribs) from a local whole pig butchered on site. We had the beef carpaccio to start, just a hint of smoke with the taste of fresh summer tomato. Fresh oysters from British Columbia were sweet with a taste of the ocean enhanced by the grilled peaches. Other main was scallops in fresh pea risotto with pickled onion and citrus oil. The scallops were rich but the risotto was sweet from the peas. Yum. Service is fantastic. Table to our right had two parties of older folks, we left as the table to our left filled with rambunctious 20-somethings got a bit loud. Proves Barbareno can please all palates. Bravo.

One of the best restaurants in SB
Reviewer: Jonathan from Santa Barbara, CA
I've been back to Barbareno several times in the last year (since I first posted a review). My meals have been consistently first rate. The servers are very knowledgeable and friendly. The menu is updated pretty regularly which is great for repeat visits. The wine list is also very good, with a lot of unique finds at good places. I'll definitely be going back.

Now serving brunch
Reviewer: Meridith from Santa Barbara, CA posted that they are serving brunch so we headed over today. As awesome as the dinner was when we went, food excellent, service amazing, drinks epic. Can't wait to go back.

Tasty food, not fussy, excellent service
Reviewer: Christine from Santa Barbara, CA
Tried Barbareno last night for the first time, for Mother's Day. The space inside is very clean, the patio outside looks comfortable and more casual (not that inside is formal at all). Cleanest bathroom I've ever been in, in a SB restaurant! Ryan, our server, was fantastic. Helpful, fun, good sense of humor, without being overbearing. Three of us for dinner had the chef's plate app (a few bites of each of the 3 apps on the menu), (1x) coffee-rubbed fried quail, and (2x) the "pork plate" which had spareribs and ear! All were very tasty. Excellent local wine and beer selection with many options. Looking forward to going back to try their tritip and fish dishes. They also offered what sounded like a vegetarian pasta dish in case that's your thing. Only negative mark - their wine/beer paper menu was soiled. Owners: If you're going to charge $13 and up for a glass of wine, your establishment is not junky - but a dirty menu sure feels junky... The rest of the place (food/service/decor) didn't match the dirty menu. Just toss them if they get soiled and print new ones!

Delicious food, great service, and love the decor
Reviewer: Nora from Santa Barbara, CA
We were so excited to discover this restaurant. We were blown away by the food and the service. I would recommend this restaurant for anyone. I really appreciate their commitment to local and fresh ingredients and they make all parts of the meal so everything tastes wonderful.

THE Best new restaurant in SB
Reviewer: Bliss from Santa Barbara, CA
Hands down best meal I've had in Santa Barbara in my 12 years of living here. So excited to have this hidden gem joining the ranks of finer dining but with less sticker shock. The service was impeccable, the history and theme stellar. The flavors a were amazing and this is a must for any foodie looking for eclectic unique offerings. They do everything right. Didn't miss a beat. And with two apps, two entrees and two desserts the check was right at $100. Hard to beat with the state street counterparts. Decor is simple but bistro-esque, warm and rustic. The history shared within the menu selections refreshing. I will be back again and again. Try it for sure! Five stars!!!!

Barbareno for great, creative food.
Reviewer: Elaine from Los Angeles, CA
Nothing better than getting recommendations from the locals! Our friends took us to see if Barbareno was as good the second time round. Loved the Acorn Tagiatelle, Ranchero Scotch Eggs and Popcorn Crème Brulee. Service was great, really knew their food and friendly. Will go again. Like to see what’s new in a few months.

Excellent and unique experience
Reviewer: Jonathan from Santa Barbara, CA
I ate here for the first time tonight (Thursday). The menu was very original and the staff was very friendly. It was pretty crowded so a reservation is needed. It is an excellent addition to Santa Barbara. Their take on common dishes was very good. The "california roll" was great as were the little sharing starter plate. I wish they didn't server shark. I like sharks. Other than that, I'm excited to go back.

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