Santa Barbara > Restaurants > Empress Palace
Ca Dario

Empress Palace
No longer in business
Opened: ? Closed: 2018-05

2251 Las Positas Rd, Santa Barbara
Phone: (805) 898-2238

Reviews by the General Public

Where's the rice?, 1/5/2017
Reviewer: David from Goleta
Is this the only Chinese restaurant that doesn't include rice with the meal? I'd have sworn they used to, but last take-out I picked up, no rice unless I paid extra.

Cant deliver on delivery, 8/10/2014
Reviewer: David from Santa Barbara, CA
I placed an order for my family and was told it would be 45 min. 1 hour later they still had not delivered my food. When i call they lied and said the driver was on his was but 30 min later he still had not shown up. I only live 7-10 min away. The food was cold and soggy. The only reason i ordered was that they delivered but they couldnt do that. I refused my food and they fought me over giving a refund. They are overpriced and rude both in person and on the phone

Extremely Disappointing, 3/15/2014
Reviewer: Rebecca Brade from Santa Barbara, CA
Empires was our go to Chinese. The last time we got tale out it took over an hour. They forgot our rice. When I asked for it the girl appeared irritated. Last nighT we aye there, it was awful. The waiter came to our table with our chineese greens order.prior to setting it on the table he looked at the dish as if he saw something in it. He a abruptly took the dish back to the kitchen. He was gone for quite awhile. We asked about the dish and his quick departure. He didn't really answer. The supposed Chinese greens, was only Bok Choy, and tasteless. The beef with two pepper basil was a small portion, sparse in ingredients and not ver flavorful. The rice was crunchy, either ole or under cooked. The waiter never returned to ask how our food was. They had plenty of wait staff on hand but they just seemed to stand around. Time to find a better place. .

Anyone for ick foo yung?, 11/23/2013
Reviewer: Rex Of SB from Santa Barbara, CA
After reading Sally Spork's review I can remain silent no longer about the Empress Palace. The ambience is lovely and there's good parking. And it's downhill from that point on. The food is expensive and awful. The egg foo yung I ordered had the outer consistency of plaster of paris. My wife and I each had a few token bites of our meal (unfortunately, neither of us now remember what it was that she'd ordered), then asked for take-away containers for the rest. The ultimate taste test occurred when we got home. Our two Siberian huskies, not exactly picky eaters, sniffed the feast we'd set down before them, each took a perfunctory lick or two, then walked away without touching it. No amount of cajoling could entice them back. (The huskies are Chinese food aficionados; they can't wait to dig into the doggie bags we bring them from the China Castle and other Chinese restaurants). I continue to be amazed that the Empress Palace has wound up as a winner in at least one of the myriad "best of" contests sponsored by local newspapers. I just don't get it. The Empress Palace is truly the worst Chinese food I've ever eaten--or tried to eat--in my life. And I've had Chinese food on three continents.

Empress Palace, 11/22/2013
Reviewer: Sally Spork from Santa Barbara, CA
THEY RE-SERVED US SPOILED SEAFOOD WE RETURNED TO KITCHEN Atmosphere: Clean, spacious dining area. With lacquered tables/chairs and Chinese adornment art on walls and paper lanterns from ceiling. Soft Asian music played in background. Service: We came around 2:30 and were seated immediately and order taken. Food arrived quickly. The waiter came to check in on us after. Food/drink: We ordered Curry chicken which came with bell peppers. Nothing to write home about. On the recommendation of Sam who raves about scallops I ordered the spicy scallops. Both of these were lunch specials and came with soup (a dark tea-like broth), fried wontons and white rice. Okay now brace yourself for this: After I took a bite of the scallops which were overcooked and a spongy texture, Sam took a bite and declared they were bad meaning 'off'. He immediately coughed his bite into a napkin. He then told the waiter about the scallops being bad and the waiter offered to bring something else and we said we would try the Spicy Shrimp. A few minutes later he returned, dish in hand. Everything looked the same (which should have been a clue) but instead of scallops there were shrimp. Digging my chopsticks in I had a bite: no it wasn't shrimp I ate but the SCALLOPS: chopped small. Second bite the same thing. Sam wasn't convinced, so he tried something that looked like a red pepper but then choked up a scallop. We realized quickly that all the cook did was pull out the few large scallops and threw in some shrimp to the VERY SAME DISH. We paid and left. Being close to Macy's we drove there to check out their sale, no sooner had we parked did Sam open the car door and VOMIT(luckIly on the parking lot.) Summary: Wish I could give this zero stars. There is no excuse for 1. serving food (especially seafood/meat) that is spoiled and bad and 2. trying to re-serve the very same dish to the patrons who returned it to

Making the extra drive to China Pavilion!, 10/20/2013
Reviewer: Kristina from Santa Barbara, CA
We ordered $70 worth of food, which came to 4 dishes and the chow mein that was supposed to be a free coupon item. When the food came, the portion was small, not worth the $15/dish that we forked over. There was no rice and no chow mein. When I called to say something was missing, he proceeded to tell me that the entrees don't come with rice and that he would send the delivery man back with the chow mein. I'm starting to wonder if I will even see this chow mein which I specifically didn't order because of the coupon, for my 2 year old daughter to eat. She refused to eat anything else, so now I need to make something for her to eat for dinner on top of paying a crazy amount of money for so little food. Needless to say, we wanted to try something new, but will be making the extra drive to get great food from China Pavilion. Not ordering from this restaurant again.

LOYAL Customers Need a Replacement, 4/7/2013
Reviewer: Lara from Santa Barbara, CA
Unbelievable. We are small business owners that have built our business on customer service. Six of the last eight orders in a row have been wrong - missing items or wrong ingredients. We call immediately to advise and they offer a credit of egg rolls when we have never ordered egg rolls in our life. We call this evening for delivery and are three dollars away from their minimum $25 after spending $45 on average frequently and they refuse to deliver as they don't include the egg roll value as part of the total order. The straw that broke the camel's back was she tried to blame the delivery driver and took ZERO responsibility for the numerous errors. We have two toddlers at home and are very patient people. The conversation that just took place was unimaginable as we continued to "work with them" to see if they could redeem themselves for a couple or six bad nights. If the English-speaking (daughter) of the owners reads this, please make some major staff changes and/or implement some basic customer service policies before you are forced to close your doors. We're sadly taking Empress Palace off speed dial.

Crossed off my list!, 3/2/2013
Reviewer: Foodie Dan from Santa Barbara, CA
We have always ordered from here, last night was the final time. I advised the order taker that we had a coupon for free egg rolls. When the delivery person arrived, I couldn't find the coupon. He proceeded to admonish me for ordering something for free when I didn't have the coupon. I apologized and he continued to berate me. Our order was for over $30.00 and we were accused of trying to cheat them out of an order of egg rolls that probably cost them $1.50 to make. Very unprofessional!

Best food and friendly staff. , 10/7/2012
Reviewer: CaliGirlForever from Santa Barbara, CA
Haven't had anything we don't like. It is all delicious and flavorful. Sometimes, when you order Chinese food, after a while, the different dishes all seem to taste and look the same. Here, every dish is different and unique and nothing disappoints. The wonton soup is our fave in town. Really friendly staff and quiet comfortable dining room.

Best Chinese food in SB, 5/28/2012
Reviewer: Stuart from Santa Barbara, CA
We went with the Axxess card which they not only honored but let us use it for a special house dinner for two. The food was as good and tasty as that we ate in China. Try the Hot and Sour soup, mixed appetizers, fish filet in black bean sauce and the Peking duck. The portions were huge and we are big eaters! Service was very good too. The room is decorated in a lovely style and the mood music very soothing. This was a five star experience for us.

Never Again, 5/17/2012
Reviewer: Bryan from Santa Barbara, CA
We live nearby, so this is the most convenient place to order delivery from. First of all, they charge a few dollars more per dish than any other chinese place in town. Second, most of the dishes I have tried are very bland. The Kung Pao chicken is not even close to being spicy. It is good quality white meat chicken with some nice tasting bell peppers and onions, but the sauce is just so flavorless... They even forgot to put peanuts on it once. We have ordered the orange chicken a few times and it is usually actually pretty decent, but last time it HAD TO have been from the day before. It was so hard and chewy and almost indebile. It was really disgusting. I cannot beleive I paid $15.00 for it. I should have called back and told them no, this is unacceptable. I will say that their egg rolls and cream cheese wontons are always good! I highly doubt I will ever order from this place again. I wish we had a good chinese delivery option in the San Roque area!(No, Madam Lu does not count as good)If only Ming Dynasty delivered out here! They have the BEST Kung Pao in town.

Great food, great service!, 3/1/2012
Reviewer: Becca from Santa Barbara, CA
We always have great food and service every time we go here. Our waitress was fantastic and the food was excellent. We ordered chicken egg foo young and sweet and sour chicken and both were just delicious. I highly recommend this restaurant!

Reviewer: Ron Monteleone from Santa Barbara, CA
the food and service at empress palace is ok, not the best i have had, not the worst. but the food is definitely over priced, way over priced!

Great Food Great Service, 4/1/2011
Reviewer: Dana from Santa Barbara, CA
We go to Empress for all reasons: brunch, dinner, birthdays, celebrations. The food is super and if you ask they will get you the "off the menu" authentic stuff too. Since they opened we have never had a bad experience and never been sick. Not something I can say about even the best restaurants in town. Their orange peel beef is unmatched and the shrimp in noodle basket is also very good. too many dishes to recommend any one so we go at least once a month.

Coupons are not honored, 3/30/2011
Reviewer: Kathleen from Santa Barbara
A good friend took my husband and me to Empress Palace for the live lobster dinner March 28. Empress Palace has a coupon in the News Press "LIVE LOBSTER $12.99 ea. With coupon thru 4/30/11. Mon thru Thurs. dine in only. Not valid with other discounts." We all ordered the coupon special--LOBSTER. The waiter wouldn't honor the coupon. He said only ONE PERSON at the table gets the $12.99 lobster. The others have to pay full price $39.99! We told him the coupon does not say that. He would not honor the coupon. We asked for the owner, Fong. Not in. We walked out. Lots of customers saw the "incident". Empress Palace should honor their coupon once they reel in the customers. We will never go there.

Good fod but crazy expensive and an odd definition of bris, 2/16/2011
Reviewer: Eric from Santa Barbara, CA
I've eaten here maybe 6 times over the years. I avoid them because they are around $5 more expensive per dish than any other Chinese place in the area. I had lunch here the other day and all the "specials" started at $9.25. I ordered the beef noodle soup with brisket. They must define brisket in China as random chunks of animal tissue that can't be otherwise identified.

Great Food. Incredible, prompt, cheerful service., 1/8/2011
Reviewer: Sophie S. from Santa Barbara, CA
We had gotten take-out before and LOVED the food and they seemed great with our son when we brough him to pick it up so we thought that it might be a good choice for my dad's 65th birthday party. IT WAS! The food was again really good, the service was prompt and cheerful, and they even played a really awesome birthday song for my dad. It was a wonderful experience and we recommend this restaurant highly. NOTE: We suggest that you only order about 60-75% of what you think you want to order - they give you A LOT of food.

good food, good service, good value, 12/30/2010
Reviewer: Chris C from Santa Barbara, CA
Empress Palace offers a wide assortment of very nice lunch options for slightly less than $10. All include soup and appetizers plus a generous portion of fried rice. Leftovers (enough for another meal) graciously packed up for take-away. Service was prompt, attentive and friendly without being intrusive. We'd not tried Empress Palace before but will definitely return when the urge for Chinese chow hits.

Good quality food, great delivery service!, 8/29/2010
Reviewer: Justine from Santa Barbara, CA
I ordered delivery from Empress Palace again last night and it was as I remembered--very good quality food, a bit pricier than others, and quick delivery. I called my order in around 9:15 and it got to me in 25 min. I love that they deliver after 9:00. My only complaint is that the moo goo gai pan was a little bland, but I used the sauce that came with the pot stickers to jazz it up a little. And I they have brown rice! I <3 you, Empress Palace.

True - only 2 guys smile as they serve you, others frown., 6/8/2010
Reviewer: Ruth from Santa Barbara, CA
I love their food, you name it, compared to most chinese places these people have the best chinese food. Tony is the name of one of the friendliest fellows that could ever serve you. Their lunch buffets are the best most generous served! Dinners are on pricey side.

Always pleased when eating here!, 11/20/2009
Reviewer: Eliana from Santa Barbara, CA
I always love comming to Empress Palace! They have great and friendly service and everything is always hot and fresh! It has a nice decor and staff is always helpful. This is the best Chinese place in town. You will find no other like it!

Great food, too expensive, 11/9/2009
Reviewer: kate from Santa Barbara, CA
I have been going to this chinese food restaurant for a few years now and the food and service never dissappoint. The food is always great. I have noticed, however that the prices have gone up significantly and the amount of food has gotten smaller.

Good Chinese, 6/26/2009
Reviewer: Angie from Santa Barbara, CA
The thing about this place is it really does fill you up. It's got good, quality meat and veggies. I love the lemon chicken and really enjoyed the egg rolls. Over all a tasty, non greasy chinese place. It is a bit expensive, but there's a reason. And this site REALLY needs a DELIVERY section...

Amazing Experience, 6/3/2009
Reviewer: Sara from Santa Barbara, CA
I went here for my birthday and was pleasantly surprised at how expensive looking it was. The people we were with were set back at the fact that there was only a a couple of people in the back of the restaurant eating. Thankfully we sat down and someone immediately came and poured us water. After discussing what we were going to order someone was there to take our order. The food came quickly, so fast in fact that one of the people in my group said "The food came too quickly" The food was Delicious! Nothing was second rate, and they really were good at refilling your drinks, they were so fast that the same girl said "I took a sip, sit it down and it magically refilled!" the servers were a little hard to understand at times, but were very nice. I recommend this to anyone! It is a bit pricey though

Good food Ok service, 4/30/2009
Reviewer: Glenn from Buellton
I liked both the food and service better at Wings down the street. What this place has going for it over Wings though is an elegant decor that is suited for a more formal dinner and the very wide selection of menu items including seafood. They also give you coupons as you go to get you to come back and pay less(which is steep but you get a lot of food for your money!). I would have to agree with a previous reviewer on the sourness of the waiters, I think its more due to language/cultural differences than anything, China Pavilion Chapala was the same way for me(and these two are voted the best in SB) they need to interact more with the patrons. They also recommended something and did not tell me it was a "spicy" dish. So all in all a good place to go esp for a more "formal" dinner. They just need to work on their communication skills of what to expect when you order something that is not familiar(of which there are many for me here).

The Food is Superior, 4/21/2009
Reviewer: Gunther Chesnut from Santa Barbara, CA
I would like to write a helpful & fair review for anyone reading. The freshness of vegetables (broccoli, carrots, onions and squash) is apparent, and the quality of the chicken and beef is of a level few other Chinese restaurants in town (I could list them, but I hesitate). I recommend the Sichuan Beef or Sichuan Chicken. I appreciate the fact that the meat is not covered in corn starch or other additives (a technique to mask low quality ingredients - see the food in any all-day buffet and you will understand what I am talking about). I took my friend here for his birthday and requested the "birthday song" which is the funniest birthday song I have ever heard. They brought us green tea ice cream at no charge. The owner is conscientious and service is always good. In addition, the portions are large enough that you should take a doggie bag if you know what is good for you. Overall, it is a very good deal for quality food.

Best AUTHENTIC chinese restaurant in santa barbara., 4/12/2009
Reviewer: chris from Santa Barbara, CA
Read the title. I grew up eating at chinese restaurants in chinatown weekly all throughout my life. i now go to school in SB, and i've tried a lot of the "chinese" restaurants here. None of them come to close to what chinese food is suppose to be like. Now Empress Palace may not be the best chinese restaurant, but it isn't bad at all and its positively the most AUTHENTIC chinese restaurant in Santa Barbara. If you're taste buds are more in line with Chinese-American cuisine than maybe another place will suit you better; otherwise, this is the only place that captures any sort of authentic chinese cuisine.

Good chinese paired with anger, 4/5/2009
Reviewer: David from Santa Barbara, CA
I have never seen a restaurant (outside of fast food) where the employees were so angry to be there. I go to Empress Palace about once a week and each time the food is on point but the service is terrible. They are literally frowning and look like you are bothering them by dining there. I am not sure what the problem is. Everything is very robotic and makes me uncomfortable. Maybe next time I'll get the food to go.

I don't get the rave reviews, 1/18/2009
Reviewer: Joe from Santa Barbara, CA
I ate here for the first time and the food was below average Chinese and pricey. The ribs were dry and hard as a bowling ball. The Kung Pao chicken was bland and tasteless as was the brocoli dish. The chow mein was the only good item.

Great place, for couples and for groups!, 11/18/2008
Reviewer: Kelly from Santa Barbara, CA
We visited Empress Palace with a group of eight. They sat us in the private room, which was perfect and was neatly set. The service was prompt and attentive, and our appetizers arrived quickly and as ordered. Our food was delivered hot, and all together, which is always a pleasant surprise when in such a large group. The waitstaff consistently checked back to assure everything was to satisfaction, and drinks were refilled. Will return again and again. We've never had a bad meal or bad service here, always a pleasant experience.

Great Discovery!, 10/8/2008
Reviewer: SGM from Santa Barbara, CA
I stumbled on this place one evening, and now it's the ONLY Chinese we eat! The food is the best anywhere in Sanata Barbara, great employees, and plenty of parking. It's a bit more pricey than some, but more than worth the difference!

Wanted to like it but could not, 9/16/2008
Reviewer: Jinelle from Santa Barbara, CA
I liked the decor, adding nice Chinese touches to this former Mexican restaurant by the side of the freeway which has no walk-in or even neighborhood appeal. It is truly a stand alone restuarant in this foodie town. Blame me, but we did pick the top end combo dinner because we wanted the walnut shrimp and that looked like the best way to get a sample of their menu all at once. Chose the hot sour soup, which was neither - just kind of gloppy with some okay pieces of mushroom. Then the appetizer which on this selection was pretty abysmal - all meat on sticks (dry) or wrapped in foil (okay). Stupid hot mustard red stuff swirl dipping sauce -thought that went out in the 1950's Not sure what the point of an all meat appetizer was. Then we chose the shrimps and the duck for the entree choice not realizing we would end up with a meal totally devoid of vegetables or variety. Our mistake, or should not a set combo menu offered more complete choices? Shrimps with walnut was only okay (compared to China Pavillion) and were pretty puffed up with more batter than shrimp, and the duck while tender and flavorful was so full of bones it was treacherous eating. So in a lot of ways this was our fault for making such bad dinner choices -- but I kind of like the idea of at least trying the set combos at Chinese restaurants for an initial survey. This combo totally bombed out, even though entree items were flavorful. Please Empress Palace, ditch that all meat appetizer. it is in your most expensive combo option but it was not good, didn't show off any kitchen skills whatsoever, and caution diners next time they are on the all meat express when this combo is what they order. And no, the few pieces of shredded cabbage the entrees set on do not qualify as accompanying vegetables. Not worth a second visit - prefer China Pavillion or Red Pepper. Sorry. But there were many happy diners and I am pleased you built up a clientele in this odd spot.

consistantly good!, 8/6/2008
Reviewer: Bryan Robbins from santa barbara
Fast delivery. Great egg rolls. Great kung pao chicken. good chow mein. They are always very nice on the phone. I recommend this place!

Fast Delivery, Good Food!, 8/4/2008
Reviewer: Eric from SB
Foods always good, big portions and fast delivery. No complaints here.

Very good and quick delivery, 6/24/2008
Reviewer: Justine from Santa Barbara, CA
I also ordered from Empress Palace for delivery recently, after having eaten there once a couple of years ago. The food didn't stand out in my memory, but I was impressed that they were still delivering after 9pm. When it arrived (in exactly 30 minutes!), I was very happy with what I got, and the portions were very large. Their pot stickers were especially good, and they happily subbed chicken for me in the Walnut Shrimp, which was dee-licious! All in all, it was more expensive than my go-to Chinese delivery place, but the quality is a step above and the delivery was lickety-split!

Delivery Rocks!, 3/27/2008
Reviewer: Foodie Dan from Santa Barbara
I had surgery a week ago and I needed food delivered. This was one of the restaurants that I relied on.Their delivery service was spot on. Delivery is only available within three miles. I am lucky to live that close!

Huge Portions!, 2/1/2008
Reviewer: Franny from Santa Barbara, CA
I read all the reviews, and was hungry for some Chinese. Being sick, I ordered delivery. The lady on the phone said it would be about an hour which was reasonable for chinese. The food came in a half hour and the delivery man apologized for being late! I shared the food with my boyfriend thank goodness because only three orders have already lasted us 4 days and we still have two huge boxes left! The meals all come with a box of white rice and fortune cookies. This place is amazing :)

Empress Palace Impresses, 1/30/2008
Reviewer: Krista and Tony from Goleta
We love Chinese and when we lived downtown we would always gravitate towards our favorites. Unfortunately for us, we never made it "way over" to Empress Palace back then. Well now that were Goletians were discovering a lot of places we just never made it to before. As you might have surmised, Empress Palace is one of those. We ended up there on a weeknight and the place was fairly empty with only about 2-3 other tables filled. that turned out to be a good thing though as our food came out quick and steaming hot. Out of the 4 items ordered at our table, the Kung Pao chicken was my favorite, nice and spicy with very good quality, white meat chicken chunks (how often do you see that!), My second in line was the orange peel beef. This was the sticky sweet/savory kind, a bit like the orange chicken at Panda but significantly better (and of course, with beef). I personally prefer the style made with brown sauce but hey, this was pretty good too. Going down the line was the Moo Shoo pork. Not bad but not great or really distinguished in any way. Of all the items, this was the only one with some remaining at the end of dinner. The last item was the Sizzling Crispy rice soup. I didn't personally try it but the review from those that did was fairly good. Service was genial and professional. They have an extensive menu and I can't wait to try some other items. T

Great food, friendly service, 1/25/2008
Reviewer: Lori from Santa Barbara
My husband and I are recent Bay Area transplants and we've found, sadly, that most Chinese restaurants in Santa Barbara serve food that is greasy, bland and over-cooked. We were delighted to find Empress Palace, which serves delicious, Bay Area quality Chinese food. Their lunch menu is a real bargain and is served 7 days a week. In response to the review below, we recently had dinner at Empress Palace. We were part of a large party and ordered the whole steamed fish. It was wonderful. No complaints. Perhaps the problem is that you came on Christmas when the restaurant was doubtless understaffed. Speaking of the staff, I've always found them friendly and attentive.

customer service is very iumportant, 12/25/2007
Reviewer: Pepito from Goleta, Ca
been there a couple of times. Foods are ok, except for one thing. we ordered a whole steamed fish. It was not even properly de-scaled and cleaned. There is no customer service at all. a single smile or Hi should be helpful, or follow up through with your drinks. The staffs are not friendly.

Great Food, Good Service, Pricey., 11/17/2007
Reviewer: G from Santa Barbara
More expensive than other chinese food in SB, but excellent quality. Waiter made some quirky jokes, but was nice & entertaining. Will definitely be back to try more of their menu.

Consistantly Impressive, 7/19/2007
Reviewer: Lori from Santa Barbara, CA
Empress Palace was the first restaurant I dined at after moving to Santa Barbara and 7 years later I have yet to have a negative experience. The food is flavorful and the service is always adequate to wonderful

Best Chinese Food in Santa Barbara, 6/13/2007
Reviewer: George T from Los Angeles, CA
I have to say this place has the best chinese food that I've had in Santa Barbara. It's decor is upscale, very nice and clean. The food is really tasty. Couldn't believe they have live lobsters and crabs that you can order. The broccoli beef was tasty. The chow mein was amazing. The beef skewers appetizer were so good that I plan to order two next time I go there. Everything great. Can't wait to go there again.

OK - but nothing special, 2/3/2007
Reviewer: Tom from Santa Barbara, CA
First time back to the Empress Palace in some time. Nicely appointed, brightly lit dining room. Our host thoughtfully suggested a quiet table away from several larger group tables celebrating in the central area, which was a bit noisy. This typified the excellent, though a bit hurried service we experienced. The food is tasty, but in too many cases tastes as though it has been on a steam table or in a holding pattern for too long. This might account for the unusual rapidity with which our orders were brought to the table. Ribs, chicken and beef skewers, foo-young patties in particular were dry and the meat tough. Veggies were fresh and great as were the rice and shrimp in all our dishes. Good egg rolls. Limited but varied wine list, reasonably priced. Some tacky points: When we asked for chopsticks, the server signaled with two fingers as if to ask if we both wanted them, which we did. He brought two chopsticks, one stick for each of us. We do not know if this was intended to be a joke -- he quickly produced a second pair -- but it was certainly a bit strange. Two parties in other sections of the restaurant were celebrating birthdays. While the obligatory serenade by the serving staff at bithday cake time is a custom, at the Empress Palace they play an overly long, overly loud recording throughout the restaurant's P.A. system of what sounds like children singing "Happy Birthday." Its pretty awful and even at our "quiet" table, effectively stopped conversation for a few minutes each time. Tacky! All in all, a middling experience -- they could do much better!

Fantastic always!, 11/3/2006
Reviewer: Lisa Donati from Lodi, California
Everytime we are in Santa Barbara we gather all of the relatives and go to the Empress Palace. The service is always fantastic and the won ton soup is the best ever. We honestly crave it and can't wait until our next visit!

Good food, but bad service!, 5/23/2006
Reviewer: Dee from Goleta, CA
I visited this restaurant about 3 times now. The first time the food and service were excellent, but it kinda got deteriorated over time. The waiter didn't get my soup that comes with lunch special last time and was avoiding to look at me when I was trying to ask for it. The staff isn't the friendly, but definitely the food is worth the money I paid. Good bang for the buck!

good, 5/21/2006
Reviewer: katie from santa barbara
i love their hot and sour soup, and their walnut mayonnaise shrimp. theyre both amazing!! everyone's relatively attentive, all in all very nice restaurant, nice atmosphere, good food.

Delicious food and excellent service., 3/12/2006
Reviewer: Fam Saepharn & Saul Herrera from Goleta, CA
We both feel that the food was absolutely declicious. We especially enjoyed the house fried rice and vermicelli noodles. Although their shrimp chop suey and beef chow fun are also yummy. We've been eating at this place ever since it openned a few years ago and have never been disappointed. I can't imagine why anyone would write such negative comments about a great restaurant with affordable prices.

great food ,great delivery, 3/3/2006
Reviewer: dan from santa barbara
if you lucky enough to live within 3 miles of this place..the delivery is awsome. Very quick and hot.Don't get anything thats fried (ie:wontons)delivered they just don't stay crisp.I had the war wonton soup last night and it was great. Try the shrimp with walnuts. big shrimp,candied nuts...yummy! whoever is writng bad reviews of this place must be competition. my only complaint is the decor....PINK!

random waiter, pretty good food, 2/25/2006
Reviewer: Chee from Santa Barbara, CA
I really enjoyed the atmosphere of Empress Palace, and I thought that the Chinese decor was quite authentic! The food was quite good though some of it was a bit lukewarm. It was a little bit pricey for dinner, but the portions were pretty large. The waiters were very prompt with water refills, and one of them had a really random sense of humor (which I enjoyed). Good place to go if you're craving semi-authentic Chinese/Cantonese cuisine.

Most authentic chinese restaurant in SB, 2/20/2006
Reviewer: Bri from Santa Barbara
The bad reviews below must be from a competitor. This place is bar none the best and most authentic chinese restaurant in town. I've eaten all over asia and can find the same taste in this restaurant. Sure they have chinese food for american tastes but those who know real chinese food know what to order. My chinese relatives who come to town will eat at this restaurant whenever they miss food from home.

love this place, 1/7/2006
Reviewer: Winn from Santa Barbara
Good selection on the menu, very reasonable prices, quality food, huge portions, and prompt(if not early) delivery put them to 1st place on my delivery list! I finally got to try to restaurant experience: I found the food to be perfect(as always) and was delighted to find the staff knowledgable, well trained, and attentive.

worst business in santa barbara, 12/9/2005
Reviewer: jon from santa barbara/ca
i called in a order for delivery and it took them 1 hour to call us back and tell us they do not deliver to our address after they told us the food was on the way. The manager had no remorse and blammed us for the mistake. I will be reporting this restaurant.

Great Restaurant, 8/16/2005
Reviewer: Steve from Santa Barbara, CA
The food here is great. The menu is fairly large, and the prices are extremely reasonable. The staff is friendly and the dishes we ordered were hot and delicious. I'm from the San Jose area and I know authentic Chinese food. This is one of the better Chinese restaurants I've had in a while, which is near impossible to find in Santa Barbara.

Best Chinese food around SB!!!, 7/24/2005
Reviewer: Jason Hsieh from Santa Barbara/CA
The food was Terrific! Personally I love the Duck soup with Bamboo shoots(duck was freshly made and taste was excellent) to begin the meal. Follow by the Beef with Two Pepper and Basil as the first entree(my personal favorite beef dish) General Chicken was also one of the most popular dishes. I really like their Three Flavor Pan Fried Noodles(with Chicken, beef, and shrimp mixed together to made this wonderful deluxe taste). Overall, the food was freshly made and the wait time is fairly short. They also provide delivery for free if you live within 3 mile of the restaurant with some tips for the driver. (Try the delivery if you are too lazy to go out on a Friday or Saturday night; the delivery really fast the foood usually get there within 30 mins or shorter and the food taste just as good as ordering in the restaurtant.

Great Food, 5/14/2005
Reviewer: Charlie
I am from France. I came to Santa Barbara for vacation. To me i noticed that there was a nicely decored restaurant it looked like a really nice chineses restaurant,i really like chinese food but at Empress Palace the food wasn´t like anything before. It was fantastic,flavors were great,because of this chinese restaurant my fVORITE foods were Walnut shrimp,general´s chicken. I hope the owners and staff keep up the good work Thank you!!!

Reviewer: Crystal from Santa Barbara, CA
I love their food. They have the best mongolian beef out of all the resturant in Santa Barbara. Their place always looks clean and well presented. I do remeber their service is a little so but nothing that can be over shadowed by the taste of their food. We perfer takeout instead of dining. Try it once and you will be hooked.

arre you sure you ate here?, 2/10/2005

I´ve eaten here several times and the food has always been very good! Service? Maybe you got a server on a bad day. Don´t believe the poor hype!

Poor Quality, 2/9/2005

worst food quality... dont ever go there... if you do, dont even think about ordering the hot and sour soup. its like you are eating glue.

Fantastic Chinese, 11/3/2004
Reviewer: Amber from Santa Barbara, CA
I am from San Francisco where there is the best Chinese food in California. Saying that, this is the best Chinese food in Santa Barbara. The Curry Chow Fun is out of this world! And all the seafood dishes are amazing. Delivery is faster than pizza! You really can´t find a better Chinese Restaurant from here to San Francisco.

SUN Q 4 YUM YUM, 10/30/2004
Reviewer: Honorable Wang from Santa Barbara, CA
Very good, excellent chicken dishes, very flavorful. Delivery service is excellent! They showed up in the pouring rain without delay. Chinese chicken salad is yummy. Soups are savory. One suggestion...add chicken pot stickers!

Awful!!!, 10/11/2004

From the tacky decor to the cardboard lo mein, this restaurant sucks.

Pretty good, 9/10/2004

Pretty solid all around, try the generals chicken, or the kung pao tofu

Wheres the beef?, 8/18/2004

How about an online menu gosh darn it

RUde, 8/18/2004

This place is moderate in food, but the service is rude and slow


I´ve eaten Chinese food all my life, from Beverly Hills to Bangkok, and I´m here to tell you EMPRESS PALACE serves the BEST I´ve ever tasted. Completely fresh, fast dservice, and EXTREMELY REASONABLE PRICES. Eat at the BEST, and skip the rest!

better than the rest but still not the best, 1/7/2004
Reviewer: fy from sb
i´m chinese, in my opinion, i think i know what´s good. their food is too salty and loaded with msg, in addition i feel that they do not change their oil (to stir fry etc) often so the food tastes like old oil.

Best Chinese in SB I´ve had, 2/15/2003

Food - excellent Service - Fast, but a little eager Atmosphere - Okay Food - Excellent!!!!!!!! I have been there about 5 times and have had take out 3 x.

Great, 4/6/2002
Reviewer: Rob from Santa Barbara, CA
Best General´s Chicken (ginger and sweet sauce) I´ve ever had, so it´s a good thing I live about 100 yards from the place.

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