Santa Barbara > Restaurants > Ming Dynasty
Ca Dario

Ming Dynasty
No longer in business
Opened: ? Closed: 2019-08

290 Storke Rd, Goleta
Phone: (805) 968-1308

  • Category: Chinese
  • Hours: Mon-Thu 11am-9:30pm, Fri 11am-10pm, Sat 11:30am-10pm, Sun 11:30am-9:30pm
  • Price: $10 - $20
  • Serving: Lunch & Dinner
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Reviews by the General Public

Always great food and service., 4/3/2016
Reviewer: Frank X from Santa Barbara, CA
I have been going to this establishment for years. The guy doing the Mongolian BBQ has watched my nephew grow up from a small boy to adult and always has a friendly conversation with him when we go there. The place treats us like family and I appreciate that. The food from the buffet, off the menu or from the Mongolian BBQ has always been top notch. I have always found the food to be flavorful and delicious and there are different choices available at the buffet from time to time. They know how to do great authentic Chinese food as you would imagine would be the case for a place that has been successful for so long. If you go, be sure to try the Mongolian as there is no other place in the area that does that. I read one reviewer say the guy wasn't too friendly but I think you will find if you engage him he is a delight to talk to. Not too much English but he tries. When he gives you your food just say, Xei Xei (Pronounced syeh syeh) and watch his eyes widen. (It means thank you.) I think I might go for lunch there today, now that I am thinking about it.

tired of mystery meat, 6/26/2015
Reviewer: Frank from Santa Barbara, CA
We've gotten takeout here a number of times, but I'm just tired of getting mystery meat, so that's it for us. If you order something like sweet & sour chicken, you'll get pretty good size chunks of meat. That's good. But other dishes like Kung Pao chicken, garlic chicken, etc., there's no meat... at least there's nothing that you would recognize as being meat. There are just stringy, fatty little things that were probably once ligament and skin and gristle and who knows what, and are now slathered in sauce. Anything but meat. It's just garbage. The beef like broccoli beef isn't any better. I've had Chinese friends tell me this place is authentic. Well, if this is authentic Chinese food, you can keep it.

Outstanding Mongolian Barbecue, 12/23/2014
Reviewer: Lauren R. from Santa Barbara, CA
I have eaten here several times after finding it a couple of months ago. A friend recommended it when I mentioned missing Mongolian barbecue, and I am delighted at the find. This all-you-can-eat barbecue (and the accompanying buffet) costs $12 for lunch and $16 for dinner, and I feel strongly it is worth the price. The protein choices feel almost limitless with two types of chicken, a beef, a pork, shrimp, freshwater scallops and one other type of seafood plus tofu. And then there are the vegetables, which cover every type you can think of. Finally, about eight types of sauces are available to put on your selections; they range from *hot* to mild and include garlic, ginger, Mongolian BBQ sauce, and sweet/sour. The food is obviously fresh and of high quality. Since it is a do-it-yourself selection you can make it exactly the way you want it. The cook at the round stove cooks it for you within a minute or two, and then hands it back to you. I rated this as outstanding because of the quality, the selection and the good pricing. Service from the wait staff was also excellent. We received our ordered water and hot tea quickly and they checked back often to replace or add more. We were asked a couple of times how things were so they cared. They brought the hot Chinese mustard for my spring roll very fast. Overall, I am very pleased with this discovery. I plan to return as often as I can. I cannot speak to the Chinese menu side as we have not eaten there, but I will give an unqualified five stars for both food and service to the BBQ side. Admittedly, the negative reviews here puzzle me. All I can say is that what happened to those reviewers has never happened to me in my five or so times there now.

Blah, 5/20/2013
Reviewer: Judy from Goleta, CA
First time we ordered take out from here in years and for $100 it was mediocre. The sweet and sour soup had no flavor, the fried rice was extremely plain as was the pork chow mien. The orange chicken, Mongolian beef and Kung pao chicken were better. Won't be ordering from here for a long while. The Mongolian BBQ in the Resturant has been great and a good deal

Ming , 11/28/2012
Reviewer: Gina from Santa Barbara, CA
Rude service-the waitress is mean and will follow you up to the buffet and make comments about how much food you are taking!She will parade back and forth around your table while you try to eat, as she looks at her watch so that she makes you feel they want you to eat and leave quickly! Food is mushy and greasy. They charge $2 for pot of tea, most chinese buffets give the hot tea for free with price of buffet.They let your used plates pile up and do not remove them. Continuous wierd looks and comments the entire time. They do not offer more tea-if you run out and ask for more they get angry and bring a pot without tea bag and then slam in down on table and open pot and throw in a tea bag they held in their hand ( and who knows where else!)and give you a dirty look!! Do not eat here-you will regret it.

addicted, 3/4/2012
Reviewer: bryan from Santa Barbara, CA
They have the best kung pao chicken in town. I have to come here at least every couple weeks to get my fix.

First Experience at Ming, 1/29/2012
Reviewer: DC from Santa Barbara, CA
Sunday night was a busy mix of college students, young couples, middle aged couples and elderly couples, but we were very impressed by the restaurant as a whole. The food was slightly on the bland/safe side, but the service was excellent!

Can improve if...... , 6/14/2011
Reviewer: Steve from Santa Barbara, CA
Yes this is some what negative, but if the business reads it, as I hope this site is brave enough to post it, then they can stop, take a breath, and see what the community and visitors are saying. I owned a restaurant and welcomed every comment given to better my clients. When I entered this place with a dozen guests, we sat at a large round table...ok that was nice. But no waitress and no water! Went up to the "buffet" wall that had only maybe 8 types of things to choose..that's it. On the other side wall was the Mongolian BBQ that had bland meat and very bland options to add. Cook was not a nice fellow; seemed upset. Back at the table the water still was missing and I had to flag down a waitress who got upset that I did and passed the buck to a table cleaner. 15 minutes later no drinks but can you believe they gave me the check and fortune cookies! Then to save them time they gave me a carafe of soda...not fresh! The bill included the tip calculated by them. I wouldn't have given one but I didn't want to ruin the evening with a fight with manager over extremely poor food, service and to boot a employee washing himself (his hair in the bathroom! I would love to drive the 160 miles to rant and get my over a $100 back...12 guest times the ridiculous amount of $17 (drinks..haha) This place CAN be good if they take a visit as a customer and see what they are doing very wrong.... this place does have potential If they up the quality of the meals with better cooks or someone to teach them how to use less oil. Have someone come in and instruct how to perform better customer table service.

tasteless tofu, 4/29/2011
Reviewer: Frank from Santa Barbara, CA
Ordered "country style" tofu, which is supposed to be tofu fried in a fairly spicy chili sauce. This tofu tasted like... nothing. It literally had no flavor at all, and none of us could eat it because, psychologically, it just didn't seem like food. The batter on the sweet&sour chicken was not crisp, it was just sopping with oil. We get better Chinese from other restaurants in town, and only come to Ming Dynasty because it's closer, but now, forget it, I'm never going back, even if it is more convenient.

Great buffet!, 10/1/2010
Reviewer: Katherine from Santa Barbara, CA
Went here for the first time tonight. The buffet was really quite delicious. My favorite was the stir fry/mongolion bbq. It was neat picking out the type of meats, veggies, etc and then watching the chef cook them up on the grill. Everyone was really friendly. And you can't really beat the price.

No water, check on the table right after the food came!, 4/12/2010
Reviewer: Kelly M. from Santa Barbara, CA
And when I confronted the manager about the lack of service, water and check dropping off before we'd taken a bite his response was "Well we were really busy." "Is it customary to place the check on the table before your customers have begun their meal?" I asked. "Well yeah when we're busy." No apology? No attempt to assure it would be better in the future? Just an excuse. I guess business must be good enough to be able to not treat customers with respect. Completely disappointing. Definitely won't be returning.

good range of options for varying tastes, 2/20/2010
Reviewer: lemonjelly from santa barbara, ca
I finally ate here for the first time, bringing my mother on Chinese New Year. She helped us order from the Chinese menu, although I nearly always try to get a typical Taiwanese dish - Three Cup Chicken. This time we got Three Cup Lamb and it was lovely, a favorite of the meal. We also got half a Chinese roast duck, which was dry, but on the positive side, not as fat-laden as others. A third dish was a plate of fresh sauteed pea shoots, available seasonally. Finally, there was rice, which may not seem all that exciting, but I thought it tasted very good! Nice, separate grains.
The buffet looked typical, and was very popular with most of the diners at the time we were there. For those looking to fill up, and at a low cost, this is a good deal. We did not order it, but I'd like to go back for a work-week lunch and sample the fresh Mongolian BBQ portion of the buffet. There were lots of vegetable options, plus lamb, chicken, beef and pork as meat options.
There is a dim sum menu, probably the most extensive in Santa Barbara, just keep in mind that they aren't made from scratch in-house.
I have to give extra props to the cocktail lounge. The style is a kitschy asian exotica, serving zombies and mai tais in tiki cups. In addition to a lunch, I'd like to go back for happy hour, 4-7 pm, to share a scorpion bowl and half price appetizers. Gong hay fat choy!

ming dynasty , 8/2/2009
Reviewer: Nancy Lin from Santa Barbara, CA
I've been to this place many times. The buffet is adequate but the reason why I enjoyed my visit there so much was for its dishes from the Chinese menu. But you have to ask for the chinese menu. We had around 7 dishes, all of which were authentic tasting and creative art pieces. The wait wasn't long and the waitresses there are polite and quick. The dishes were delicious while still light on the taste buds. We had the chef personally deliver our dishes. Although the dishes from the english menu and the buffet area aren't too great, just for its dishes from the chinese menu, I highly recommend this restaurant to all those who want real authentic chinese/taiwanese style dishes in santa barbara.

Absolutely Delicious!!!!, 4/23/2009
Reviewer: Shani from Santa Barbara, CA
We don't live in Santa Barbara, although we do work here every day. We were in the mood for Chinese, but since we could not find any restaurants where we live, we ordered take out for me to pick up on the way home from work. We ordered four entrees, and every item was fresh and tasted great. This has to be one of the best restaurants for Chinese food in the area.

Great quick lunch, good buffet, 4/6/2009
Reviewer: Nicole from Santa Barbara, CA
I just ate lunch here today and loved it! The mongolian bbq buffet was great. I'm not sure how authentic everything was, but who cares, you get to make your own chow mein! I loved how paper thin the meat was and how I could control my portion size, what was it in, etc. The cook and staff were incredibly friendly and polite. I was able to eat lunch quickly and get back to work. The price is also good, $8.95 for lunch, though I think they should update their website. Oh, and I really loved how they had shrimp in their mongoloian bbq buffet. Maybe it's not the freshest (clearly frozen shimp) but it's $9 for all you can eat, what do you expect? I do agee, the pre-cooked items are not the best, the sauteed green beans were not good. The sugar buns are good though!

Very Slow Delivery, 3/29/2009
Reviewer: carmen from Goleta, CA
This place has good veggie options. The food is pretty good-- nothing to rave about, but what you'd expect for the average Chinese restaurant. The prices are decent, as are the portions. However, the delivery is so, so, so slow. Tonight it took an hour and a half, even though they quoted us 1/2 hour-45 minutes. We've had this problem a couple of times now. We live, literally, about 5 minutes from the restaurant, so distance is not the issue. We never eat here unless we're feeling too lazy/tired/busy to leave the house, and then order take out. But, I won't do it again. Try Red Pepper which is awesome. No take out, but the food is really good, and the service is excellent (and the prices are better). If you go, you MUST order the onion pancakes.

Saturday Night Delivery, 2/28/2009
Reviewer: Lillian from Santa Barbara, CA
This Saturday night I ordered a Complete Special Diner($14.95) from the Ming Dynasty delivery menu. The package arrived hot and intact in a mere twenty eight minutes. The appetizer assortment of one beef satay stick w/ spicy mustard sauce, vegetarian egg roll and crispy shrimp w/ sweet sauce was a complete delight. My wonton soup garnished with green onions, although small in portion, was well put together. I was most satisfied with the entree i selected from the varied selection. The imperial shrimp was plump and generous in portion along with lightly cooked broccoli and snow peas in garlic sauce. What a splendid surprise from a restaurant which surely deserves more positive reviews!

Bad food, good service..., 1/3/2009
Reviewer: Chris from Santa Barbara, CA
Ever since I moved to Goleta 5 months ago, I wanted to try Ming Dynasty. The restaurant is a few blocks from where I live and I really liked the idea of having a chinese food restaurant within walking distance. Too bad the food isn't very good... My wife and I went on a Friday night. We wanted to try the buffet, which included Mongolian BBQ. As we walked in, we were greeted with a pungent fish odor. I love fish, but this smell was not pleasant. I have been to countless chinese food restaurants and I have never smelled such a strong odor upon entering. We were greeted by a friendly waitress who showed us to our seats. She instructed us to go up and get whatever we wanted. We started with an order of Mongolian BBQ and then we added random foods from the buffet table. The Mongolian BBQ was very disappointing. After adding all of our ingredients, we added the sauces in the correct amounts, which were listed on a nearby chart. The meat was cooked well enough, but it was very chewy and did not mix well with the sauces. It seemed like very low quality meat. The sauces, also, did not taste very good. I detected an extremely high amount of fish sauce, which is common in thai cooking, but I have never ran into it in other Mongolian BBQ restaurants. It totally overpowered the flavor of the meal. I gave up and went to the buffet table. The broccoli and beef looked like it had been sitting there all day. The orange chicken was greasy and bland. The vegetables were not crisp or fresh at all. The only thing that I really enjoyed was the white rice. Everything else seemed low quality and old. The waitresses and waiters stopped by our table many times to see how we were. They refilled our drinks promptly. They were also very friendly and smiled often. Too bad the food can't match the quality of the service. I do not recommend Ming Dynasty. If you do go, do not go to the buffet side of the restaurant. Go to where they actually serve meals from the kitchen and maybe you'll have a better experience than we did.

Nice host, food fair, 10/13/2008
Reviewer: Glenn from Buellton
Got the lunch special to go. The hostess was extremely nice and no language problems. Looks nice inside, can't comment on the buffet. Food was Ok.

Buffet not very exciting, 9/1/2008
Reviewer: Sudipto from Goleta, CA
Recently I tried out this place. The facade of the shop was really nice, and that was the only nice thing. The dinner buffet had two parts, one where you can make the chowmein of your choice. The other part of the buffet was food already cooked, and was horrible. The food tasted bad, and also looked bad. The food was not replenished frequently. The service wasn't too bad though. I expected better food from a place that beautifully decorated. This is the worst chinese food I have ever had in and around Goleta/Santa Barbara.

INEDIBLE, 9/1/2008
Reviewer: Matt from Santa Barbara, CA
Literally, this was probably the worst meal I have ever had. I have never seen food that was of such low quality and so unfresh. Simply terrible, I don't know how anyone could recomend this place. This may have been because I had the buffet...

Surprisingly good!, 8/8/2008
Reviewer: Justine from SB, CA
I have to admit I had never been inspired to try this restaurant since it is so *blah* looking from outside, but I have learned not to judge a book (or an eating establishment) by its cover. Recently I accompanied a group who had already decided to eat there, and was pleasantly surprised. The interior was very elegantly decorated, and in addition to the menu items, there was the choice of Chinese buffet or Mongolian bbq. I decided on the buffet, which was really tasty and a great deal at $12.95. Unlike so many buffets, the food was fresh and delicious and did not seem to have been sitting under heat lamps for hours. They also offered one of my favorite dim sum items: sesame balls. I look forward to returning for the bbq and other dishes off the menu in the future. Glad I tried it!

Top Stars for Ming's Mongolian BBQ, 7/14/2008
Reviewer: Sal from SB, CA
We visit Ming's weekly for their Mongolian BBQ. They have a huge selection of ingredients (meats, noodles, veggies, and sauces), and they have been fresh every time. The cook always take extra care in splitting the ingredients so that the he can throw in the soft greens right at the end and not overcook them. The Service staff even knows what we normally order & they simply ask if we want the usual. So I can't rate the other stuff, but Ming's gets Top Stars for their Mongolian BBQ and their Service staff.

disappointing, 6/6/2008
Reviewer: Whitney from Goleta, Ca
Recently tried out this place and was super excited for "real" chinese food. both the food and service were a disappointment. all the food had a weird aftertaste. server barely acknowledged our presence.

Poor Delivery , 5/20/2008
Reviewer: kelly from Goleta, CA
First off, the online menu is apparently out of date, my food was supposed to cost ~$16 but ended up being $20 something. So I was forced to changed my order and got a "Dinner Special" what I got was not at all what I ordered and the food was ehhhh at best. Pretty disappointed and spent $18 to feed one person. Pretty sad. But at least the driver was nice.

$2.50 for WARM TEA!!!, 3/4/2008
Reviewer: Tony Lopez from Goleta
I was there the other day with my family, we all ate the buffet and drank tea. The food was alright as with the service, so when the bill came I expected to pay for five buffets and nothing more right? So I see this extra charge of $12.50 for the tea on my bill, so I asked my waiter what was this all about and they told me that they charge for hot tea. First I was piss, second felt robbed and third will never come back to this place that charge me $2.50 per person for some luke warm tea that I am sure no Ming Dynasty emperor will ever put his lips on.

Rude on the Phone, Bad Delivery, 2/7/2008
Reviewer: Chris from Santa Barbara
I usually like this place for the Mongolian BBQ and the female waiters and the bus boys are very very nice. But I tried to get a delivery once. On the website it clearly says $10 minimum for free delivery. On the phone they told me 15. When I was thinking if I wanted to get extra food, the person on the phone was very rude and said "Helloooo?" FIrst off, the website is showing false advertisement and the man on the phone was very rude when I was looking at the online menu. Now I'll be looking for a New Chinese Restaurant in town.

Friendly and Elegent, 11/14/2007
Reviewer: Graham from Isla Vista, CA
Midterms are in full swing, and I wanted somewhere quiet to eat while I read. Ming Dynasty was perfect for this. Because of the location I was expecting fast food, but was so surprised at the atmosphere of the place that I decided not to get take-out, and ate there. The staff are friendly, they have a great lunch menu, and the food is tasty.

Best value for your buck, 9/15/2007
Reviewer: Yoshi from Goleta, CA
Ming is great place to have reasonable and good quality food. Lunch buffet with Mongorian BBQ is just great deal for your money. The secret for the Mongorian BBQ is sitck with basic and come back for more. Do not mix all the food in one bowl and Put all kind of different sauce then food taste same or not tasty. Pick meat and vegetable then come back for shrimp and vegetable later. Also try duck on the day they just roasted. It is unbelivable.

Yay for Ming Dynasty, 6/8/2007
Reviewer: Steveo from Goleta, CA
I love this place. It's a bit pricey, but I've never eaten a meal there that I did not absolutely love.

Buffet!!, 6/2/2007
Reviewer: Megan from Santa Barbara,CA
Wow, I've been searching for a decent Chinese place in SB for years. It's not the best Chinese food in the world or anything, but it's pretty good compared to other places in Santa Barbara. 15$ for the buffet: soups, rices, noodle dishes, meat dishes, eggrolls (incl. Vegitarian ones), wontons, rangoons. Lotsa choices. In addition, for your 15$ you can pick out anything you want, noodles, rice, veg., sauces and hand it to the chef and he cooks it all up for you right there! Best deal for 15$ !

Superior buffet and mongolian barbecue, 6/1/2007
Reviewer: Russell from LA area, CA
I'm fortunate that my closest Chinese place is pretty good. The entrees are decent, and the decor is a little classier than the standard. The buffet is pretty good; things aren't as minimalist or greasy as the one at China City, and there's a decent amount of seafood on it, so they're not trying to scrimp on that aspect. As for the Mongolian Barbecue, I think that Ming Dynasty does it better than most other ones I've been to, not to mention the gorgeous job they did renovating with the marble countertop. But mostly I like their idea of treating the mongolian barbecue as part of the buffet, and getting both for one price. So it's more expensive than the other place, but definitely worth it because it's better food and the great MB is rolled in.

Bleah and not accommodating, 5/21/2007
Reviewer: Karen from Santa Barbara, CA
I called last night and asked what time they closed and was told 9:30. When we got there at about 8:30, we were told that the buffet was closed at 8:00 but we could still have the Mongolian BBQ and what was left on the buffet. My husband wanted the BBQ, so we opted for that. The buffet was extremely un-appetizing .... old, wrinkly, dried out selections. Though they were going to be dismantling it immenently, the hostess insisted that we could have any of it with our BBQ (!). I asked if we could have a discount but noooo. I asked for tea and she said it would be $2. What Chinese restaurant charges for tea? I thought he BBQ was greasy. My husband likeed it, though. I'll think twice before heading there again.

good delivery, 5/14/2007
Reviewer: paul from goleta

Awesome yumminess., 3/19/2007
Reviewer: Lindsey Beth from Santa ynez
I love the vegetarian menu. and i also love the waitress who has the really high pitched voice. she makes me happy. so does the soy beef. i wish they still had soy duck. that is wierd, but so am i, so i would most def try it.

Mongolian BBQ, 1/22/2007
Reviewer: kt cleary from santa barbara, ca
go for lunch and choose your own ingredients to be prepared by the chef on a tappan grill. good portions, price and service. i always enjoy myself here.

a plate of mediocrity, served with rudeness, 1/15/2007
Reviewer: Galen from Santa Barbara
you know it wasnt a good meal when the highlight of the dinner is the vegetable chow mein... we received one dish that was not what we had ordered, and were treated curtly & impolitely and told that it was what we ordered when we asked about it. I would also beware of the mongolian BBQ in the buffet, as last time one of the frozen pieces of meat i put in my bowl came back to me still cold (and raw...) This will likely be my last visit here. I have heard that empress palace is good, and will try that next, why does SB have no good chinese food!?!

Now that's a Chinese Buffet!! , 5/28/2006
Reviewer: Lew Marklin Mash from Santa Barbara, CA
I confess that I have frequented every chinese buffet in SB, and this one has just taken over as my favorite. Last time I was in, I noticed that they were doing a lot of construction. When I walked in today, to my surprise they had completed a new round table buffet with a fry chef on display behind glass, AS PART OF THE BUFFET!!! WOW! I loved it, and so did everyone I stood in line with. They had a little of everything for everyone. The small buffet was still out for the conventional luncher or the guy that just has to be fed this second. Then the round table is a buffet of uncooked meat and veggies that you choose yourself. That way, you get exactly what you want in your food, to flavor, and nothing you'e allergic to! You can even create your own thing. You ad spices and sauces then hand it through the glass and the chef cooks it right there for you while you chat it up with other people in line. It's fun and unique!

Special Christmas Dinner, 12/26/2005
Reviewer: Mary Bouldin from Goleta, Ca
We decided to order out for Christmas dinner so we could enjoy family time instead of spending the day cooking. We chose to order from Ming Dynasty as we had the year before - last year the food was quite tasty. Our appetizsers (ordered the sampler) would have been ok in general if it weren't for the spring rolls. These items were so greasy they soaked every single item in the package with oil. They were quite overcooked and the vegetables were slimy with oil and were simply unedible. The only reason our dining experience merited a half star was because the foil wrapped chicken was quite tasty. Soup: Beef and cilantro - bland and completely uninspired. Also quite thick and packed with tough nuggets of meat. Next dish: Vegetable egg foo young. The egg was overcooked to the point of being rubbery and medium brown and the sauce had a burnt, unpleasent overtone in flavor. The frozen vegetables included in the dish would have been acceptable had they not been topped with large, flavorless mushrooms which had been reconstituted from a dehydrated state - but not for long enough. The insides were quite tough and chewy - and tasted TERRIBLE. Pork Chow Mein: Other than the quality of the meat, the complete lack of anything other than noodles, and the over-enthusiastic use of cooking oil, this was the best dish we ordered as the flavor was acceptable. Kung Pau Chicken: The sauce was rather dry and tasted as if it had spend the last four hours before I'd placed my order warming in a hot plate. The sauce almost seemed carmelized and stuck the surrounding foods together in clumps - like chinese caramel popcorn balls. As I attempted to eat this dish, all I could think of was how much I wished China City were open for Christmas. Even the included steamed rice was dry and crispy on the edges, as if it had spent much time awaiting our order. How much effort is required to cook rice well???? Our conclusion? The cook must HATE working Christmas. Next year - we will be sure to order our holiday meal elsewhere. We had ordered a great deal of food so we could enjoy the leftovers that evening and the next day. The food went into the garbage where it belonged.

Reviewer: ben from mountain view
Ming dynasty is the best restaraunt I have ever been to. I went once and now I want to go every day. Mr. Ming knows how to cook and makes good egg rolls. JUST GO AND YOU WILL BE CHANGED!!!!

Not better than Panda Express while charging 3 times as much, 8/9/2005
Reviewer: Sean from Santa Barbara, CA
I have been in Santa Barbara for several years. It was first restaurant I had been to when I came to Santa Barbara and become a regular since. It was a good restaurant way back then. Unfortunately, the quality of this restaurant have been taking a nose dive. Nothing tasted right for the dinner we ordered from the menu. The staff is friendly, but it can't change how bad the food is. Although I haven't been there for couple months before this dinner, I am very surprised by such a huge change. First, the appearance of food is not right. Second, the smell of the food is not the same. Third, the taste... it does not taste like Chinese food. I will not be surprised if I find out later that they have a change of chef. I will no longer suggest people to go to this restaurant anymore. There are places that charges the same amount of money but have better food.

Only thing good was the on spot cooking, 8/5/2005
Reviewer: David L from Santa Barbara
I don't know what the term was but the only reason for me ever wanting to go there again was the way your able to get all these raw food items and be able to have the chef put them all on the frier right in front of you and cook them up ...It's like a bowl of noodles with whatever you want in there, sauces meat, vegies, how much and what not all in one bowl it's elite ... The Buffet however is one of the worste, soggy, cold, unappealing. The chef that cooked my meal rocked, i gave him a 3 dollar tip .. That white dude up front however didn't let me bring the rest home ... he thought i got the food from the buffet or something no kudos to him

Ming Dynasty, what's the beef?, 7/14/2005
Reviewer: John Young from Goleta
I've eaten at the Ming Dynasty for a number of years, and it just seems to get better and better. The staff have always been courteous and friendly, the food from the menu as well as the buffet excellent. The buffet offers a wide variety of dishes, and I've never found fault with the noodles, rice or any other offering. Once they even offered sirloin steak cut personally by a waiter (located at the end of the line). The restaurant is continually filled with oriental people, who, I assume, eat at the best Chinese restaurants. Love it! Have enjoyed it for a number of years.

Dim Sum, 4/4/2005

I heard this restaurant served dim sum, so I went to try it out. It was disappointing. You order the dim sum off a menu instead of a la carte. The food itself was decent and the serving staff was polite, but the service was very slow even though they were mostly empty. I´d recommend going somewhere else for a proper dim sum experience.

Food, promptness: A; Cleanliness: F, 3/15/2005

Everything was fine at our dinner last night until we noticed one of the cooks at the Mongolian BBQ location cleaning up the area. He was returning spilled food (pineapple in this case) WITH HIS BARE HAND BACK TO THE CONTAINER IT WAS ORIGINALLY IN on the buffet. We were pretty disgusted after that. Please practice proper food handling techniques.

good mongolian bbq, but MSG?, 3/11/2005

My boyfriend and I have eaten at Ming Dynasty a few times. We have always had the dinner buffet. The mongolian bbq is great, but the buffet portion is nothing special. The only problem is that each time we eat there we both get terrible headaches and muscle aches for a few minutes after the meal. We speculate this is from MSG, a flavor enhancer that has an effect on some people. So, if you know you are sensitive to MSG, dont even try it. But, if your not, it is worth checking it out.

Order from the menu, 3/6/2005

For those who have been eating the buffet, I suggest you to dine from the Chinese menu. My family and I ordered from the menu and the food was awesome. It was beyond measure from dorm food. Those who are "ghosts" it is suggestive that you take someone who knows Chinese.

New Mongolian Beef Awesome; owners need attitude check, 1/21/2005

First and most importantly I want to let everyone know that after this reading this review I hope people will choose to take their money elsewhere. I went to Ming Dynasty in the evening recently and decided to try the new Mongolian Beef attraction they currently have on display. To be completely honest the Mongolian Beef "live" cooking is about the only thing that may be keeping this restaurant in business. I have tried the chinese food and my Korean wife and myself find it to be very weak with too much hype. Quite frankly, the quality of the chinese food is lousy compared to such restaurants as Empress Palace on Las Positas which have great food. Anyway, I would like to take this opportunity to commend the two asian chefs that cook the mongolian beef. They did a great job with helping me select my items and even argued with the owner after she complained that I had too much food. I hope you guys leave that establishment and find a job where people will appreciate your talent. Finally my issue is with the management/ownership itself. I will say that the caucassion gentleman that runs the place needs to get an attitude adjustment when dealing with customers... he needs to really be carefull how he treats patrons. Lastly, the chinese lady that helps him needs to be taught a lesson in etiquette since she apparently likes to scold customers for no apparent reason. In closing, kudos to the Mongolian Beef, shame on the Owners, and lousy chinese food I give it two stars. Would I go there again..probably not! But to those interested...give the Mongolian Beef a try!

Use the Chinese Menu, 10/14/2004

Before I had a Chinese girlfriend, I thought the Ming Dynasty was awful. When it is bad, it is very bad. After meeting my now wife, my opinion utterly changed. The fresh spinach sauteed with garlick, the seafood soup, the thin-sliced pork or chicken with bamboo shoot tips... among many others are easily the best in Santa Barbara. Oddly enough, the proprietors are hesitant to serve the real Chinese food to us ghosts with big noses. They have had many, many experiences where our ilk send back the real thing, to exchange for sticky sweet orange chicken and greasy kung pao. So, you should have a care if you go off the Chinese menu. But, the problem is, there is no English translation of the (printed) Chinese menu. What many of our friends have done is write down in Chinese a list that we make for them after a visit.

The buffet is too tiny, not many choices, 8/2/2004

I have eaten Chinese buffet at many restaurants and this one has the least to offer: only about 10 main dishes to choose from. And the price is no cheap at all. I also missed the hot and sour soup which is not available in this place.

Good food and a Mongolian BBQ soon, 7/18/2004
Reviewer: Eric from Montecito
I see several negative reviews but having eaten here at least 12 times thought i´d share my experience as well. I´ve found the buffet to have a good variety and reasonable freshness though (as with ANY buffet) I look before I decide to order it. Ala Carte dishes have also been very enjoyable and the service has improved since I first started eating here 3 years ago. I am greatly looking forward to the addition of the Mongolian Barbecue which is currently (7-18-04) awaiting final approval from the fire inspector. Its about time SB has a Mongolian BBQ, all we need now is a full service Dim Sum joint like Empress Pavillion in China Town.

Buffet at lunch, 6/5/2004

ok now im quite sure that these people refry their leftovers!!! yuuck

Not much of a all, 5/13/2004
Reviewer: Rosie from Santa Barbara, Ca USA
I love Chinese food so much it´s not even funny, and I have definitely had my share of bad Chinese foods. However, Ming Dynasty is by far the worst I´ve ever had. We decided to get the buffet because we couldn´t understand anything the waitress was saying and it seemed like they didn´t want to wait on us anyway. So, we went to the buffet and it looked like a bunch of leftovers. Eww, I was so disgusted. Never again will I waste my money there.

I loved it, 4/6/2004

Went to Ming Dynasty for the lunch buffet (shortly after it opened) and everything on the menu was great. They even considered how sweet and sour pork would get soggy if sitting in the sweet and sour sauce and so they serve it at the buffet with the sauce on the side. Also ordered pan fried noodles and sweet and pungent shrimp off of the a la carte menu and both were excellent. If you ask, they have an extensive vegetarian menu in addition to a dim sum menu (maybe just on the weekends, we were there on a Sunday).

Gee Thanks., 4/25/2003

My friends and I ordered food togo. We even order it in Chinese hoping we´d get better food. The food wasn´t great at all. The fried rice was disgusting and let´s not even talk about the pan fried noodles. We decided to give it a second chance though and went in for lunch. The waitress sat at her own table and yelled over to us if we were ok. The food wasn´t great at all nor was the service.

Gotta catch it hot!, 4/12/2003
Reviewer: emaciated man from SB,CA,USA
Their lunch buffet is unparalleled in terms of quality but you have to get there early, like say, 12:00pm on the dot. At 12:45 things aren´t looking too good on many fronts. Due to the volume of people who enjoy eating there, when lunch hour is winding down, you tend to find spoons and miscellaneous food items intermingled in many of the steel bins. A great restaurant though!

Order a la carte, 3/5/2003

Ming Dynasty is a good restaurant. If you like chinese food you will be happy. The lunch buffet, like all lunch buffets, is horrible. Quite simply, don´t ever order lunch buffets in a chinese restaurant. Chinese food is meant to be eaten right after its cooked not an hour later. So order off the a la carte menu and you will be more than happy.

Buffet has improved, 1/8/2003
Reviewer: Mandy from Goleta, CA
The quality of food is better than it was before and the price has also gone up. I think this is a good thing! The lobster was delicious.

Okay but a little greasy, 6/27/2002

Others don´t seem to like this place, but it isn´t as bad as they make it out to be. Typical chinese food but a little on the greasy side.

Lunch buffet is bad, 6/3/2002

Haven´t been there for dinner. But the lunch buffet is no good. Go elsewhere (Try New China)

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