Santa Barbara > Restaurants > Montecito Cafe
Omni Catering

Montecito Cafe
No longer in business
Opened: ? Closed: 2016-10

1295 Coast Village Rd, Montecito
Phone: (805) 969-3392

Reviews by the General Public

A reliable favorite with good food and great service, 7/18/2014
Reviewer: AnnieB from Goleta, CA
This is where we go when we feel like spoiling ourselves, but don't want to pay tourist prices or dress up too much. The chairs are comfortable, there's carpeting and drapes that absorb sound so you don't have to shriek to be heard by your companions. I always have the Salmon and my husband has the Veal (both from the regular entree menu). There's a good by-the-glass wine selection and the service is always brilliant - never had anything but thoroughly pleasant experiences in that regard. I only have one gripe: I wish they'd rework their dessert menu. The Apple Crisp's topping is too heavy and there's too much of it and oh! - can't we have some plain vanilla ice cream instead of that rather heavy Italian concoction?

What service? , 8/16/2013
Reviewer: Mike F. from Santa Barbara, CA
I have been going to this restaurant since they opened and always had very good food so I will forgive them for the tough lamb. My friends liked their meals. One of my friends is an older lady and asked to share a dessert with me. We ordered three desserts and asked that one be cut in half, "I am sorry but we don't cut deserts in half for sharing" WHY, because the cheese cake has a rosette on top and it is our policy to not share deserts. Are you kidding... The server never filled our water and was curt. My friend left a small tip. I would have left nothing.

Food Good, Customer Service Aweful, 3/2/2013
Reviewer: Jay from Santa Barbara, CA
Food is pretty good, however don't count on your the menu item you wish to order being available as they are always out of something or another. As for the service, customers are clearly not a priority. After ordering our beverages we were told they would be "right out" yet waited almost fifteen minutes while out waitress beebopped around before finally serving them to our table(the same went for delivering our food). And they seem to have serious issues with any of the simplest modifications you request for any given dish you order. After giving the establishments several tries I can safely say I will not be returning or recomending it to anyone who asks my opinion on it.

Nothing Fabulous, 7/13/2012
Reviewer: Jessica B. from Santa Barbara, CA
Food is not bad but not great. Menu items are very unoriginal and are nothing special. Very agressive staff who seem to want to rush you out. I could not leisurely enjoy my food without 3 different people asking to take my plate. Oh and VERY rude blonde bartender in their bar across the driveway. With so many great restaurants in the area we won't be wasting our nights our here again. Lucky's and Stella Mares are much better choices.

I don't give '5s' very often , 10/16/2011
Reviewer: Mike F. from Santa Barbara, CA
Perfect perfect perfect. MY X wife took me out to lunch and I picked a place in Montecito because she was paying. Well it turned out that this is not an expensive restaurant, however, the others around it are. Everything was 'perfect' fish, salad, bread and service. I will go back and I will even pay.

It will make you smile, 3/7/2010
Reviewer: Michael from Carpinteria, CA
Everything about this place makes it a pleasure to go out to eat...covered vallet parking, no stairs, comfortable chairs, extensive menu...classy and real. We had lunch there today. Alice had a fresh green salad with grilled chicken, feta cheese, tossed in a homemade vinegarette dressing. I had fettucini with homemade lamb sausage, and spinach. Both meals were served in large, white, French bowls. All the right aspects of dining in Santa Barbara come together here and make you smile. And so reasonable.

Not worth the price, 2/17/2010
Reviewer: Shelley from Santa Barbara, CA
I went to dinner there to meet friends who highly recommended it. This was my second visit. I did not plan to go back, but decided to give it another chance. The only "best" part was my friends company The servers were over agressive, very quick to present the check, before it was requested. The atmosphere was average,the tables are packed in close, and the only view is the street . The dinner was good, but you have to order salads seperately from the entrees, so the price tag is high for the quality.

Reviewer: Charles Hall from Boise, Idaho
Having discovered this unique eatery some 30 years ago I never fail to patronize it on trips to SB.The ambience and quality of food are,dollar for dollar,without parallel as far as I am concerned. The seating and attitude are conducive to a pleasant meal and the quality of the food is never less than excellent. A special word of praise is in order for the service staff whose professional and pleasing manner is unusual in this day and age. There are more expensive and"trendy" places in S.B.but none capture the mood and quality of old Santa Barbara so perfectly!

Good food, but shaky service, 4/18/2009
Reviewer: chee from Santa Barbara, CA
I made reservations for dinner, and I probably should have specified that I would like to have had a table by the windows. Me and my friends were seated toward the back, and I felt like it was a little muggy inside and that we needed more ventilation. We were informed that the kitchen ran out of swordfish and ciabatta, so we had to make due with what they had on hand. The alternatives to those ingredients (i.e., ahi tuna and homemade buns) were nice choices. The kitchen forgot that my friend did not want onions in her salad (but readily apologized for it later), but they did remember that I wanted basil instead of cilantro in my entree. I got the chicken, which was a tad on the dry side, but the potato croquettes and cream sauce made up for that. The table bread was warm, crusty, yet soft at the same time. I can't wait to try the coconut cake--I took it "to go." It would have been sweet if we were given the cake as a complimentary gift for the missteps during the night, but beggars can't be choosers!

The Best Luxury Restaurant in Santa Barbara, 4/7/2009
Reviewer: George from Santa Barbara, CA
For years and generations of my Santa Barbara family, I have always turned to Montecito Cafe for a luxurious restaurant. The service is tops. I have nothing to complain about at all because the cafe covers every base for a hungry family. My son always takes his date to the cafe because the portions are perfect, the view is stunning, and the price is definitely worth it for the quality of food I am getting. This is not criticism, but they always run out of a particular entree once I'm there. Its strange, but with the diversity of food to choose from, I have a wide selection of other entrees to choose from. I always meet my business colleagues and have a great time. The best dessert is tied between the coconut cake and creme brulee. My favorite is the chicken pasta with dried tomatoes. They load the pasta with huge, succulent pieces of chicken breast. It is always a pleasure to be there on that special occasion. Thank you so much for making me so happy and satisfied!

Montecito Cafe is a Jewel, 2/15/2009
Reviewer: Joseph Ko from Goleta, CA
Simplicity, mixed with elegance, combined with stellar service was just the right combination to make our lunch memorable. The food was "eye closing get lost in it" type of good. Finish it with a fresh slice of coconut cake, and for a moment... everything in the world is okay.

Great night, 10/27/2008
Reviewer: mitch from SLO
My girlfriend and I love eating here. The food is always awesome. The service is awesome the valet parking is awesome. To some it up...... AWESOME.

Best food in SB!!, 9/12/2008
Reviewer: Marley from Santa Barbara, CA
The Montecito Cafe has been our favorite restaurant in Santa Barbara for years and years. It's become the gold standard by which we judge other restaurants. The food is outstanding, service is friendly and attentive (but doesn't hover), and we are still pleasantly surprised every time by the reasonable prices. The staff is also great with our preschooler and baby in tow. The only problem is that others have discovered the Cafe secret and it gets busy!

Santa Barbara's Hidden Jem, 9/7/2008
Reviewer: Gayle from Santa Barbara, CA
My husband and I have loved the Montecito Cafe for years.  The prices are more reasonable than anything in town and the food and service have never been anything but impeccable.  We have also discovered how fantastic the little bar is.  They have recently updated their menu to include great appetisers and a many wonderful dinner items as well.  At our most recent visit I overheard another customer describe the Montecito Cafe as "Value, value, value!"  We couldn't have said it better ourselves!

Overblown Ratings! Very Slow Service, 7/25/2008
Reviewer: Mike from Santa Barbara, CA
We went there yesterday for lunch - - and with no tables available we were talked into sitting at the bar in the back.. DON'T DO IT! We waited 40 minutes for our food - - and it was just: Pasta with clams, shrimp, and scallops; Shrimp salad; and a Chicken sandwich with mushrooms and cheese... Since we were sitting over the counter where the cooks were operating, it was obvious they were understaffed but still moving along at a very comfortable vacation pace... and the food was not worth the wait! Nothing great at all.. The waitress was nice and only did what she could do. Will not come back. Not worth it..

ultimate top value in santa barbara, 3/27/2008
Reviewer: michael mcmahan from santa barbara,ca.
a very upscale cafe. the tables are well spaced,no extremely well trained staff.wonderful food with many choices. i try to dine here at least twice a month.this is a restuarant of unequaled value.

Great restaurant for seasoned customers and noobs alike, 12/22/2007
Reviewer: lemonjelly from santa barbara, ca
This was my first time eating here for dinner and I came away very pleased with the experience. Snooty central is next door, but thankfully that has not rubbed off on the Montecito Cafe. Some girlfriends and I met up at the bar before our dinner reservation. The waitress there coordinated with the restaurant to ensure our table was ready, we even were offered the opportunity to be seated early. The waitress at the restaurant introduced herself and went over the menu with us. My companions had been coming here for years, and one was so pleased to see that items she remembered eating on her honeymoon years before were still on the menu. Appetizers were delicious, unique, and most priced around $9. We shared pancakes with smoked salmon and caviar, and prawns with papaya and endive on butter lettuce. I had a main salad of Dungeness crab piled into a hallowed sweet mango and served on a bed of greens. Another at the table ordered salmon baked on a wood plank that was super juicy and delicious. A third companion raved about the tarragon dressing on her salad. All of our main dishes were in the $15-20 range. We all had wine with the meal and the bill came to about $34 a person before tip, very reasonable for a Coast Village Road restaurant.

Great service and selection, 11/18/2007
Reviewer: Rose from Santa Barbara, CA
Went to the Montecito Inn/Cafe for the first time on a recommendation from a colleague. The service was superb! The waitress was well-versed in the selection of foods and wines and able to make educated suggestions. She was candor in offering explanations of how dishes were prepared without being demeaning. The seafood stew was excellent. My dish, the lamb loin, was tasty though the cab in the sauce seemed to have been soaked up by the tomatoes and so was a little overpowering. Still, great atmosphere and service!

Excellent food, service, wines and reasonable, 11/12/2007
Reviewer: Gary Borger from Cherry Hill, NJ
Stayed at the Montecito Inn and ate elsewhere for most of the week but noticed that the restaurant at the Inn was always bustling with patrons. Finally tried it. The best meal of our trip! Food was superb; service attentive and not rushed; wine list covered both local wines and others. Prices of the meals and wines were extremely reasonable. We recommend it highly.

Excellent food and service..and that coconut cake!, 9/2/2007
Reviewer: Sharon Remacle from Santa Barbara, CA
My best friend was just in town visiting from the East Coast. I knew I had to take her to this restaurant because she knows good food. Probably has something to do with the fact that she is Italian and used to really fine cuisine. Our dinner was just as expected. From the salad with fried brie to the duck and of course the awesome coconut cake. Our meals were beyond excellent! Thank you.

Excellent meal, once again. A first time for Lunch, 8/16/2007
Reviewer: JB from Goleta, CA
Montecito Cafe has always been one of my favorite dining spots in the Santa Barbara area. I've always come for dinner and have never been let down by their tasty, well executed and fresh dishes. I had some family in town and decided to head over for lunch the other day and it was just as satisfying an experience as any dinner I've had there. John Dickson is correct in his mention of the "crackwich" steak sandwich. The grilled chicken with fried brie and mushrooms I would also have to endorse as a "crackwich." The combination of the crispy crust of the exterior of the brie and its oozing center atop the chicken mushroom combo works very well and I'd return alone just for that dish. Another friend had a salad, which was also tasty, simple, and very satisfying as I've come to expect from Montecito Cafe. Service was adequate, our waitress seemed a bit overburdened, but she did her best and gave us updates that our food was on it's way, etc. We were in no hurry but it was a nice touch, as she was able to manage a crazy lunch rush. Still one of the most reasonably priced for the food served and consistently good dining spots in SB. Now I'll have to add it as a great place for lunch as well.I also have to mention the water served in a large, nice, pitcher was especially tasty. :)

Great food, great prices and great for families, 6/25/2007
Reviewer: Rebecca from Del Mar/CA
Though I hesitated to take my two young daughters to fine restaurants, the Montecito Cafe always made us feel welcome. When my girls started to get restless, they were quickly brought some interesting and uniques toys to play with at the table by our waitress. The food is beyond delicious, and we still can't believe the prices are so reasonable. We have been going to this restaurant for years, in fact, the little girls are now 17 and 15....and the Montecito Cafe remains our favorite place to dine!

great food, great value, 12/27/2006
Reviewer: Bruce from SantaBarbara, ca
For years, one of our favorites. A shining star in an all to often dismal SB dining scene.

A diamond in Montecito, 7/23/2006
Reviewer: Erin from Santa Barbara
All my years living in Santa Barbara and I was recently introduced to a place in posh Montecito that is not only quaint, but also does not charge outrageous prices for dinner. Our party of nine was waited on by an attentive and excellent waiter, who kept a genuine smile despite some organized chaos that naturally comes from such a large party of patrons. Aside from the typical stares from those who insist that because they are dining in Montecito you deserve the visual "once over", it is a very comfortable and friendly place to dine. Some dishes were superb while others (like the pork loin I ordered) were marginal, but in all the price was so reasonable, the drinks so good, and the service so nice that we will return again.

Top notch cooking!, 7/16/2006
Reviewer: Lori from La Jolla, CA
I would recommend Montecito Cafe as the restaurant of choice for visitors. Santa Barbara natives seem to have already recognized its high quality. Very classy food, in a very classy setting, yet comfortable atmosphere. Importantly, prices are very reasonable.

Awesome food; great ambiance and service, 2/28/2006
Reviewer: Racel from Santa Barbara
It was my husband's birthday and I wanted to treat him out to a nice restaurant in Santa Barbara. We decided to have dinner at the Montecito Cafe and we were impressed by the quality of the food and reasonable prices. My husband ordered medium rare Filet Mignon and loved every bite of it. I ordered Veal Scallopini in white wine sauce which I enjoyed with the Shiraz from a Santa Barbara winery.Our server, Jane was friendly and very attentive. My overall rating is excellent.

Reasonably priced and good food, 2/20/2006
Reviewer: Bri from Santa Barbara
Price here is really reasonable, especially for Montecito. Service has always been good and so's the food. We recommend the place.

Great Lunch, 2/6/2006
Reviewer: Kyle Kovac from Goelta
Well, usually I only write negative reviews. However, my first trip to the Montecito Cafe warants a good response. Are waittress was very attentive and was consistently filling up my water (which is very impt). I ordered the steak sandwich and am still thinking about it. This is a great place to go for lunch and relax with a memosa. They embody a welcoming atmosphere with atractive help. I will definitely be returning.

Such a waste of time, 1/28/2006
Reviewer: MJ from Goleta, CA
I was recently stuck in an all-day business training, and chose this restaurant for lunch because of its location and excellent reviews from this website. When my colleagues and I arrived at the cafe, the manager who showed us the table, said two words to us. Our server was downright rude when one of my companions - a vegetarian - started asking questions about the food. The waitress just said, "I have no idea," and didn't even offer to find out. From that moment, we saw very little of her, even though our water glasses were empty. At the end of the meal, when one of us asked for change, the waitress glared and disappeared for 10 minutes. UGH. Never again. If the owners of this restaurant read these reviews, PLEASE TRAIN YOUR STAFF to be more polite and solicitous. We may not have been the cast of Friends, but we were paying customers and deserved to be treated respectfully. Finally, the comment one of the other reviewers made about the noise, is completely true - we practically had to SHOUT at each other to have a conversation. The food was distinctly average.

Everything was wonderful, 12/10/2005
Reviewer: Patricia Ingram from Inglewood, California
A group of six ladies traveled from Los Angeles to have lunch at the Montecito Cafe restaurant. Each one of us ordered a different selection from your menu and all we could say was how wonderful our food was. I had the duck and melon salad, which was delicious. The duck was moist and had such a wonderful flavor. All our dessert selections were just outrageously good. The coconut cake is to die for. Hats off to the chef. The service was attentive and courteous. The trip from Los Angeles was worth every the drive.

Awesome Food, Great Service, 11/30/2005
Reviewer: Rick from Elk Grove, CA
The pasta was outstanding. I ordered the Penne with Seafood and found myself chewing slowly (which I do) so I can savor the flavor. It's not each to create a tasty tomato sauce without obscuring the flavor of seafood. Others in my party also agreed that their dishes was some of the best they've ever tasted. The server, Eduardo from Brazil, was courteous and always on hand. While the restaurant was elegantly decorated, I felt quite comfortable in shorts. Montecite Cafe will become a regular part of our annual trek to SB.

Great place to dine, 11/16/2005
Reviewer: Jonathan Charles White from West University, Texas
I would recommend this place to anyone, the atmosphere was super great,and the food was superb. Thanks for the Wonderful service.

Awesome food...but the noise!, 11/14/2005
Reviewer: Dana Alexander from Santa Barbara
I think this is probably the best restaurant for the money in SB. I had the duck special and it was fabulous. But I literally had to stop talking at one point and just let the waves of noise subside. I have never experienced such a cacophony in my entire life. Not sure what can be done, but it makes me think twice about coming back.

Great food, great service, great atmosphere!, 9/23/2005
Reviewer: Nicholle from Santa Barbara, Ca
The Montecito Cafe is one of my favorites. The chicken with anaheim chiles in cream sauce melts in your mouth! The jumbo prawns appetizer is perfectly complimented by slices of mango. The service is always fantastic, with very friendly/personable wait staff. With such a romantic, cozy atmosphere, dinner feels like a get-away at a secluded bed & breakfast. After dinner go across the driveway to the Montecito Bar and have a sour apple martini! The best in SB!

The Place to go in Montecito, 9/12/2005
Reviewer: Jim Daniels from Goleta ,Ca.
My wife and I dine here about once a year and have done so for the past ten years.It is always a pleasant experience, the food the service and the atmosphere is second to none. The reason for us dining here only once a year is to not spoil ourselves, and to continue having this be a special place that we go to have a good time. Thank you very much Montecito Cafe, I hope you last forever

Fantastic, 8/30/2005
Reviewer: John Dickson from Santa Barbara, CA
I had a business lunch today at the Montecito Cafe. The food was really excellent (I had the steak sandwich - chopped steak, fried onions & cheese) and the service was excellent. What was really cool was that they gave each of us a pitcher of the drink we ordered so we could refill our glasses. I got an entire pitcher of lemonade and refilled my own glass 5 times. My associate got his own pitcher of 7-Up. Very nice touch. That sandwich I had was so good I want to go back for it again.

Great Food at reasonable prices, 6/26/2005
Reviewer: spaz from Goleta, Ca
The food here is incredible. The menu is actually quite small, but everything we ordered was very tasty. It´s no surprise this was voted the best restaurant in Montecito

Fifteen years later-we should never have shared this secret, 7/14/2004
Reviewer: Marcia from Central Coast California
Montecito Cafe IS the best restaurant in the Santa Barbara area. Charming, consistantly delicious and such reasonable prices....still. It´s the only restaurant I will order a Champagne cocktail, eat alone and enjoy people watching. I hope it never changes what makes it so HAVE to keep coming back. Thanks to everyone that makes it what it is.

Best restaurant in Southern California, 7/7/2004
Reviewer: Becky from California
We have been coming to the Montecito Cafe since it was a secret to most everyone. The food here is fabulous and of the utmost quality, yet the prices are extremely reasonable. We make the trip to Montecito twice a year from San Diego, (a three hour drive) and I must admit our primary reason for doing so is this dining experience. I LOVE the grilled chicken dish, and my husband says the seafood here rivals any he has had anywhere. I have, and will continue to recommend the Montecito Cafe to anyone!!!

Always Excellent, 6/14/2004

We have been eating at the Montecito Cafe for years, it is always great and so well priced. The coconut cake is the best dessert ever! To the reviewers who brought their own desserts and were surprised by a plate charge; who brings their own dessert? Montecito Cafe is worth the any wait and always wonderful.

Lack of Customer Service 10 stars, 6/1/2004

First off let me say that Bethany who works as one of the cocktail waitresses in the lounge section was perfect and that the food was good. However, the customer service in the restaurant was the worst I have ever encountered. Upon arrival the manager approached me and suggested that I take my party of 10 bank officers to another establishment because of the size of our party was too big. This was of course after I had been assured earlier in the day that a party of 10 would be fine. Our group was split and sat at two separate tables. We were then asked by the manager to refrain from visiting each other so that the other patrons would not be inconvenienced and or bothered. After dinner we asked the waiter for a few plates so that we may eat the farewell cake that was brought. The waiter came back and informed us that we would be able to use the plates at $2.50 each. After hearing this news we decided to just have a nightcap at the lounge were Bethany brought us plates, silverware and napkins. This brings me to a suggestion for those who want to go to the Montecito Café, just have the drinks and asked to be served in the lounge because that is were you will be treated like a customer and not an unwelcome guest.

Excellent, 5/3/2004
Reviewer: Gerald from USA
We have dined there numerous times and never dissapointed. The food is excellent and the service is always friendly. Don´t worry about the wait and visit Mike the bartender next door and he will serve you a good drink. Have fun, Relax, Life is too short

children in restaurants, 4/23/2004
Reviewer: MJ from Santa Barbara
I wounder if the reviewer with lots of stuffing had a bad experience because their child was mis-behaving. Often these days I see children in restaurants unsupervised throwing food, sceaming etc. and the parents don´t interceed and stop it. Just because we pay for a meal doesn´t give us a right to show dis-repect to others around us or to the restaurant serving us. I just returned form a trip, and witnessed a mother and her friend at a table in deep conversation while her child was at a different table making a mess that encommpassed 5 feet around him. They were not paying any attention to him and I´ll bet they didn´t clean up the mess either. I felt sorry for the server. I know they have alot to do already. Let´s all be polite and our lives will be better.

Great Food Great Service Every Time for Over 15 Years, 4/17/2004
Reviewer: Nina from Summerland, CA
This is the first restaurant that I have ever dined at numerous times a year and never been disappointed. So, I have been a happy repeat local customer for over 15 years! The food has always been excellent, the prices are the most reasonable in Santa Barbara and Montecito, the owners and staff are always pleasant, personable and attentive. Even the desserts and coffee are excellent. Oh, be sure to try the soups too. And, if you can´t get a table, try the cocktail lounge which has excellent food too.

Excellent, 4/9/2004

We´ve dined at this restaurant several and service always excellent.

Great almosphere for lunch, 3/31/2004

I always enjoy myself at lunch time there. Try it!!!

WONDERFUL...................FABULOUS, 3/23/2004

I have been 3 times. The food has always been excellent. I had the salmon on my last visit and it was fabulous. My friend had the filet mignon and it was so tender. We always have an appetizer as well as dessert and we have never been disappointed. There coconut cake is to die for. Avoid the wait and make reservations 1-2 weeks in advance.

Always good, 3/7/2004

Here is a restaurant where the food is always good, the prices reasonable, and the service friendly and professional. So what if you can´t hear yourself think in there? Or if you have to wait an hour for a table? Go the the cozy bar next door and have a drink while you wait. Get all your talking done there, too, since it is loud in that restaurant.

To the reviewer below..., 2/25/2004
Reviewer: John Dickson from Santa Barbara
You historically dine there at least once a week then suddenly, their food becomes unpalatable and they are over charging, on the *exact same day* they were slow to give you a seat because of a child. You sound like you are actually just mad about the child episode and are bashing the food now because of that.

more stuffing than in the turkey, 2/25/2004

Bad times at Montecito Cafe. First come first serve, unless you have a child, then its last on the list. We had a very unsatisfactory dinning experience at the once wonderful neighborhood Montecito Cafe. We historically had dinner there at least once a week, not any more. In addition to being disregarded for having a child dine with us, the food was marginal at best. More cream sauce does not make up for poorly prepared food. The topper of the evening was the plate charge for bring a Santa Barbara cheesecake for the Birthday celebration. We would certainly have bought cheesecake from the menu, but they don´t offer SB Cheesecake ("hands down" the best in the west). The plate charge was $4.50 per person. Today when we decide on our flavour for the day.... the bad taste of our experience at Monteciot Cafe turns our head to a more palatable establishment.

Excellent, 6/18/2002
Reviewer: Marie Campbell from Mountain View California
Great food, service and value for money. Locals dine here.

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