Santa Barbara > Restaurants > Citronelle
Omni Catering

No longer in business
Opened: ? Closed: 2006

901 E. Cabrillo Blvd, Santa Barbara
Phone: (805) 963-0111

  • Category: Californian, French
  • Hours: Weekdays: Sun thru Thurs 5:30pm-9:00pm, Weekends: Fri & Sat: 5:30pm-9:30pm
  • Chef: Chef de Cuisine Patrick Becquet
  • Price: $20+
  • Serving: Dinner
  • Reservations: Yes, recommended
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Reviews by the General Public

WAAAAA!!!!!!!, 1/6/2008
Reviewer: Chris from La Mirada, CA
I was so sad to hear that Citronelle's is no more... this place was EXCELLENT!!! My husband and I dined here for my birthday (also the night we got engaged) and the staff assisted in what proved to be a night we will both never forget! The views were absolutely gorgeous! The decor was fabulous! The food was superb!!! My husband proposed to me after dinner and had a surprise limo pick-up after dinner for an evening around beautiful Santa Barbara. The staff there even assisted with the surprise... it's rare (these days) that staff at a restaurant are so professional, courteous, pleasant, and make your meal a memorable and enjoyable experience. Okay ~ so the meal, views, surprises, blinding engagement ring, limo ride, roses, and fabulous blessing of a husband of now nearly 5 years doesn't hurt, either. ;) We will miss you, Citronelle... the memories will bring smiles to our faces forever...

Reviewer: AnaMaria from Santa Barbara
Citronelle is a Santa Barbara gem... I dined last night with a friend and from start to finish it was absolutely incredible. Our waiter, Don, was attentive, gracious and warm. The food is both beautifully and artistically presented as well as delicious and generous portions. Start with the Avocado Gazapacho: velvety smooth with generous pieces of lobster. We then had the Lamb loin and the Ahi tuna, both perfectly cooked. The wines that our waiter paired for us complemented are food wonderfully. I think Citronelle has the best view of the ocean in Santa Barbara. It is off the beaten path of State Street and the Harbor where it is so congested with traffic, so while you are dining you see the boats sail by and the colours of the sunset. The perfect end to our meal was our chocolate volcano and a creme brulee neopalitan with our cappuncino. Perfecto.

Santa Barbara's BEST , 5/29/2006
Reviewer: Michael from Seattle, WA
I see some of the other posts on here and I cant beleive that they can dislike this place. I have eaten there many times and everytime the food is SUPERB! I had the filet and it could not have been better if god made it himself. The manager Jerry Lee is a great host and can explain any thing you need to know about they wine list. Which is probably on the best in the state. In closing Citronelle is the Creme de la Creme when it comes to eating out in Santa Barbara. As Arnold would say I'll be back again and again.

very good food, but you have to pay for it, 5/25/2006
Reviewer: Hajir Sailors from Santa Barbara, CA
Amazing service, amazing food, terribly high costs. I would suggest getting the 5 course meal, and letting it all come to you, because nothing i've eaten at citronelle has at all tasted bad. It's one of the four places in town i would go if i had tons and tons of money, here, Ca'dario, the Biltmore, and San Ysidro ranch. P.S. One time i was there they had this really good eel, dish, if it's still on their menu, order the sliced eel with caviar, amazing.

Birthday Dinner, 4/27/2006
Reviewer: Melissa from Santa Barbara
Over the past 15 years I've gone to Citronelle a handful of times. I went last night and thought the food was good, not amazing but still tasty. The venison with cherry sauce was very yummy and their kiwi martini rocked. It was somewhat busy and i only saw one head waiter but many water boys and back waiters. The service left something to be desired. The dessert was excellent. I'd go back to sit in the lounge and have a martini but I doubt I'd spend that sort of cash again. I'd offer them advise of steping up the service and brining it back to the level it was years ago. I remember when I was 18 and everytime I took a sip of water the water boy was right there, last night I waited at least 10 minutes for a refil on my coffee. Also, they need to teach their staff correct style of service. Clear from the right... The food items all sounded good and the presentation was very nice. All in all it was a good evening and I had great time.

High Expectations - Low Delivery, 3/7/2006
Reviewer: Steve from Santa Barbara
My visiting parents wanted to take us out for a wonderful meal. We are new to the area so we went online to select a restaurant and came across the Citronelle. The disappointment started immediately upon walking into the ground floor. The lobby was dirty, walls all marked up, stale smell,dirty floors, then you get into the elevator and some of the dirtiest carpets I have seen - not quite the entrance I would want to present if I was representing one the "Finer Dining Establishments of Santa Barbara". It was a Monday night so it was not busy, we got seated immediately and then our wait staff came to pour the water. The poor guy had such a weak grasp of the English dialect it was very difficult for him to communicate throughout the evening. The floor of the restaurant is tiled so be prepared to shout throughout your meal, I can only imagine what it would be like on a busy night. The candles shades on the table candles were cracked, two of the four seat cushions were stained with food and other stains- Just an all around disappointment on presentation. For the meal we all enjoyed the lobster salads and porcupine shrimp, the filet was wonderful, the Drory was overcooked, dry and tastless, however on a whole the meal was fine. Was it worth the $380 (no wine was ordered) for the experience - can't say it was WE really blew the opportunity for an evening of fine dining and wonderful ambience. I would not recommend this experience for or too anyone

simply distasteful, 2/14/2006
Reviewer: Henriette from Santa Barbara, CA
Had reservations, still had to wait 20 minutes while the bartender took absolutely no notice of us. The bar area smelled fishy. The lamb tasted overboiled, and the profiterole wasn't as good as that from the box I got from Trader Joe's. The so-called spectacular view can be had for a tenth of the price down the street at Rusty's Pizza. Having tried most of the "chi-chi" restaurants in SB, I can say that Citronelle is a pathetic dining experience.

Citronelle writes: First of all let me apologize for your experience you had at Citornelle on Valentines night. I peronally hate to hear that any of our customers have had anything less then the highest level of service and food, but I must say that these occasions do happen. I want to thank you for bring this to my attention. I would greatly appreciate the opportunity to make it up to the both of you. Please contact me peronally so I can give you the Citronelle experience our customers deserve. Jerry Lee Restaurant Manager & Sommelier (805)963.0111
Biggest Disappointment in town, 12/11/2005
Reviewer: Pete Noble from Monterey CA
We arrived at 6:55 Dinner was finally brought to our table cold at 8:15. The place was not crowded. Couldn't rate food took one bite of my duck it was just cold as was my wives plate! Service non exsistent, amount of food very poor for the price. Wow, like several people have said about this place Very Over Rated!!

Citronelle writes: Dear Pete, I am sorry that your Citronelle experience was not as you expected. We try to do our best all the time and sometimes it does not work out that way. I thank you for bring this to my attention. I would love to have you contact me peronally so I can make your Citronelle experience a memorable one. Jerry Lee Restaurant Manager & Sommelier (805) 963.0111
Very Disappointing!, 11/25/2005
Reviewer: David Shea from Atlanta, GA & Santa Barbara
Friday, 11/25/05, my wife had the Red Snapper and I had the Grilled John Dory. The snapper had a bad taste and was inedible. The John Dory was dry and tasteless. Even more disappointing, the Manager would not come to our table to allow us to express our disappointment but sent the waiter back with an offer of a free dessert which we declined.

Citronelle writes: I am very sorry to hear that you had a poor experience with us at Citronelle during your last visit. Citronelle standard is for our customers to have the highest level of food, wine and service, but I must say that these occasions do happen. I would greatly appreciate the opportunity to make it up to both of you. Please contact me when you are back in Santa Barbara area, so I can show you what Citronelle has to offer. If something is inedible, please inform the server ASAP so he can show the chef what is being sent back. Citronelle will gladly subsitute something else for you. To all of the forum readers: Hopefully you will never have a poor experience with us at Citronelle, but in a case that you do please let us know, I will do everything in my power to correct any problems that arise at Citronelle. Sommelier Jerry Lee (805)963.0111 or
Reviewer: Jim Priest from Huntington Beach, Ca
We eat here everytime we come to Santa Barbara..its always beautiful and memorable.. Our server was akward with the food menu, I heard him describing with great detail the wine list to a table near us, I wish he knew as much about food. The fois gras was served very plain, no toast points no greens just fois was not the best I have had here. My wife had the coconut shrimp..they were excellent. She also had the Duck which was to die for.. I had the Monk Fish done in a bullobqaise was good not great.. we had the hazelnut chocolate bars with creme englaze.(we did have to beg for more than a swipe).scrumptious..

The worst meal I have ever had, 8/8/2005
Reviewer: Kay Stathacopoulos from Santa Barbara, CA
We went here to celebrate our anniversary and it was a disaster. They were catering a wedding at the same time and we had to wait 20 minutes to order our appetizers and then another 30 minutes for them to arrive at our table. Then we had to wait 30 minutes to order our entree and another hour and 15 min. for our entrees to arrive cold. We asked them to warm it up and it took another 20 min. We didn't even try for desert. The appetizer was too salty and the food was totally mediocre. I give this restaurant a -4.

Spectacular View and Food, 5/12/2005
Reviewer: Linda from Santa Barbara
The view of the ocean is great and so is the food. Great service. Highly recommend!

Five Course Dinner Was GREAT, 4/6/2005

Five courses, five wines to match, no skimpy portions and a beautiful early evening--what more could one want?? Started with braised leeks tartar, foies gras, diver scallops(substituted for Turbot), rack of lamb and caramel parfait. $85 a head is a lot--even more that Sierra Mar a year ago, but overall, a well-remembered treat.

One of SB´s Best Restaurants, 3/31/2005

This has got to be one of SB´s best restaurants. And not just because of the breathtaking view. The food and service are excellent. We make a point of coming to Citronelle to celebrate special occasions because we enjoy the high quality service and decadent menu. What a real treat!

Fabulous, 1/14/2004

I had the best fish I´ve ever had there. It was great, and of course the service was great.

Oozing in Self-Importance, 12/4/2003

An overall disappointing dining experience taken in total. The food and its presentation was up to snuff but didn´t merit the prices. Wine by the glass selection interesting but didn´t merit prices of $11-14/glass. Location in a fraying around the edges hotel with a wait staff which seems to agree that the place has seen better days didn´t help. I´m not knocking foodie meccas in general -- night before went to Bouchon, spent about as much but had a much better dining experience in a warmer, more friendly atmosphere.

Didn´t match the hype, 8/15/2003

Always leery of "view" restaurants we decided to go here anyway. First of all the food was very good and well presented. However, I consider that only one part of a restaurant experience. The hotel the restaurant is above is pretty seedy to say the least, and the room itself is pretty tired. The waiter seemed bored with the whole thing and then the sommelier comes over and he´s Mister Chatty in a real phony sort of way. Meanwhile the bartender is having a loud conversation with another waiter which was disruptive. The point is coming here is not a total loss, but it is not a fine dining experience so don´t believe the hype.

Great food, excellent service., 8/3/2003

My husband and I have made Citronelle part of our wedding anniversary tradition. We have had great food and wonderful service for the past six years. We love this place. We have found the staff to be friendly and helpful. The portions may be smaller than Claim Jumper´s, but definitely satisfying.

Citronelle is very reasonable compare to other SB resturants, 6/8/2003
Reviewer: Andrew from SF, Ca
I recently dine at citronelle for the first time. I first I was thinking to myself if I can even afford it. I searched around at all the fine dinning resturants and checked out their menu and notice that citronelle was very reasonable if not cheaper then other fine dinning resturants in santa barbara. The food was five stars. I guess the new chef can be a artist, because her food looks like a painting of my walls from home. It looked good and taste like a five star should be like. I had veal chop which was the best I have ever tasted. The service was to the T with an awsome view. Beside all that their wine list was admazing, which took me awhile to look through. From what I hear the chef uses all local farmers market veggies which I love to hear. I will be back. thanks citonelle for an wonderful evening.

Great Food, Service and Atmosphere, 5/15/2003
Reviewer: Bill from Denver, Colorado
On our recent vacation to Santa Barbara my wife and I stopped into Citronelle on our first night at the recommendation of a travel magazine. From the start we were pleased with the service and enjoyed the panoramic view. The wine list was amazing! The food portions were just the right size and the presentation was perfect! We enjoyed the food, service and atmosphere of this wonderful restaurant! We will definitely visit the next time we are in Santa Barbara.

a great delight to enjoy , 3/25/2003

My husband and I really enjoyed our visit to the Citronelle. After dealing with a huge frustrating traffic back up, we were not going to tolerate anything but the best service and that´s just what we got. The food was wonderful (especially the porqupine shrimp), and we loved watching the sunset from our table. PS: after reading the more ´negative´ reviews, I would just like to state that when I have made the mistake of treating restaurant employees unfairly in the past...I was given second rate service. Patience and kindness goes a long way.

wow citronelle love the new chef, 3/22/2003
Reviewer: steve from LA
Citronelle has been my favortie French resturants in Santa Barbara. Santa Barbara has many wonderful resturants, so therefore I make my rounds. I recently visited Citronelle again, and found out they have a new chef. Isabelle has given a citronelle a new face. Her creations and Richards style has my citronelle my new favorite french resturant in Santa Barbara. Not to mention they have a great view of the pacfic ocean. Oh I cant forget the wonderful 5 star service I had. They waiter was so knowledgable on food and wine. He paired this great Santa barbara pinot noir with Isabelle duck two ways. Oh waiter knew his food and wine, and also gave us the best service. I reconmend anyone who will be in Santa Barbara to try out citronelle. LOve the food Isabelle, keep it coming.

not worth the cha ching ($), 3/17/2003

the amount of food they put on their plates is so little. I could eat in it one or two bites and I did (litterally) and guess how much it cost. $40! for a huge plate decorated with plants, but I don´t want plants, I want FOOD. for $40 i could go out for a whole day like on that show $40 a day.

Crunchy napolean, 3/4/2003

Get the crunchy napolean. Don´t plan on sharing this wonderful dessert. When Napolean´s (the bakery) was still around (where is it????), Santa Barbara had two of the best napolean´s that I have eaten. Now they just have this one. I have always had great service here, but looks from the other comments as if that is variable now. Too bad. It´s worth it for dessert.

great food, terrible service, 2/17/2003

i went there with my parents for sunday brunch, and i must say, the food was fantastic. the chestnut soup is amazing and my pork tenderloin with yams was a large portion for the price. the setting of the restaurant is nice, we got a table by the window and the view was beautiful. my only complaint is that the service was laughably horrible. first, they brought out dirty champagne glasses TWICE (one even had lipstick marks on it). the wait staff was very inattentive. they spilled champagne on a lady at the table beside us. they didn´t notice when we had finished our appetizers and we sat there with dirty plates in front of us for a good ten minutes. same was true for the main course. when we finally got the bill it took us nearly 20 minutes to waive down someone to take it. you´d think they´d be more attentive when you´re trying to give them money. we eventually had to just give it to the bus boy (the only guy who was remotely capable of doing his job), and then when the waiter brought it back to us he didn´t bring us a pen to sign it with! we expected more of a restaurant with such a nice setting and such great food.

Loved it!!!, 2/6/2003

My husband and I have eaten here twice now. The food is delicious! The service is great, and the desserts are definitely to die for! If you are a chocolate lover, you cannot go wrong if you order the Chocolate Truffle Fondant! Excellent! We will be back!

Fantastic food, service and view, 8/27/2002
Reviewer: Wendell R. Smith from Minneapolis, Minnesota
The atmosphere is eclectic and the view of the ocean is wonderful. Coming from Minnesota, we found the service was friendly and thoughtful. The food was great and the dessert was to die for. We will be going back the next time we visit Santa Barbara. The manager Clark we found out was orginally from Minnesota. No wonder the staff was so nice.

Just the Best, 8/23/2002
Reviewer: Bonnie from Claremont, CA
I come to Citronelle every time I´m in Santa Barbara. It is simply the best: food, location, service, and general atmostphere. Often restaurants with beautiful views don´t make much effort with the food. This restaurant belies that idea. I´ve never had less than a wonderful dining experience at Citronelle.

Fine dining at its very best, 4/17/2002
Reviewer: a fan
Absolutely exquisite food from internationally renowned french chef Felicien Cueff makes this a very special place to eat. Fine wines combined with extraordinary service make this ocean view restaurant much more than a "cut above the rest". It is definitely one of the finest restaurants in Santa Barbara and is only for serious foodies who expect the very best in culinary delights, great wines and service to match. If it is the very best that you are looking for then look no further.

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