Santa Barbara > Restaurants > Piranha Restaurant & Sushi Bar
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Piranha Restaurant & Sushi Bar
No longer in business
Opened: ? Closed: 2008-09

801 State St, Santa Barbara
Phone: (805) 965-2980

  • Category: Japanese
  • Hours: Tue-Thur 11:30am-2pm,5:30pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 11:30am-2pm, 5:30pm-11pm, Sun 11:30am-2pm, 5:30pm-10pm, Mon Closed
  • Price: $10 - $20
  • Serving: Lunch & Dinner
  • Reservations: Yes, recommended
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Reviews by the General Public

Made my trip!, 10/21/2008
Reviewer: Justin from PHX, AZ
I visited Sb over the summer, and Pirhana was by far the best restaurant/food that I encountered. The service staff was great, and prompt, and paid special attention to detail. Not to mention the waitresses and hostesses were all good looking... I am a sushi fanatic, and I was extremely impressed by the menu. The rolls were innovative and very fresh, not to mention super healthy. The drink menu was also creative and fun. My mouth is watering thinking about it....

Good food but terrible service. Not worth it, 9/7/2008
Reviewer: Holly from Santa Barbara, CA
The atmosphere is a little tacky. The prices are good and the sushi is pretty good, but the service is awful. The constant waiting for a waiter is not worth your time. There are way better sushi restaurants in SB with professional services.

Best Sushi in SB, 8/25/2008
Reviewer: Erica from Santa Barbara, CA
Piranha is my favorite place to eat sushi in Santa Barbara, and the atmosphere isn't bad either! Me and a few friends went there on a busy Saturday night, and were seated promptly. Our server was very nice and attentive. Although she was clearly busy with her other tables, she never forgot to check up on us to see if we needed anything. The food is amazing, I recommend the Ninja roll and the spicy tuna carpaccio. Yum!! We will definitely be back again.

Unfortunate..., 8/24/2008
Reviewer: cassandra from santa barbara, ca
Well, the nice thing is that the sushi is as good as always. It's our first time there since they moved. Unfortunately the service staff is not nearly so good. A friendly hostess sat us(wish she had been our server), but we hardly saw our waitress, and it was a slower mid-week evening. The sushi chef, who we ended up getting up from our table and ordering from, even apologized saying that she was the "good waitress"...lucky us. He was great though and helped us out. We'll give it one more try but it IS hard to recommend when there are other places that genuinely try hard from start to finish.

Amazingly Fresh. BEST SUSHI IN SANTA BARBARA, 8/22/2008
Reviewer: Davey H Jr. from Santa Barbara, CA
Sitting at the bar is a very fast, efficiant way to eat here. Very friendly service behind the sushi bar. They are open to change things up for the customer. The food here is phenominal!!! The super Eel is an amazing treat to the tastebuds. Sensations of warm and cool mixed together in a compilation of savory flavor. This is a favorite dinner spot for me and my friends.

Horrible service, overpriced food, 3/23/2008
Reviewer: Pep Johnson from Santa Barbara
They grumbled about seating us, telling us we could just eat at the bar when there were clearly tables empty. After waiting and seated at a table, we waited 15 minutes before asking for someone to take our order. Twice. The heater went out above our table. Again, the staff was standing about, one twirling her hair, when after a very long wait, I went to find someone to help with that. It wasn't busy. The staff just wasn't working. They brought me something I didn't order, because they "ran out" of what I ordered. My food was cold when it arrived, some of it too salty to eat, and not what I wanted.

New address, 2/24/2008
Reviewer: John Dickson from Santa Barbara, CA
Piranha has moved from 714 State St to 801 State St (the former home of Rocks).

great sushi but very expensive, 1/23/2008
Reviewer: erin from Santa Barbara, CA
Some of the best sushi I have ever had! However, this place is very pricey and very small portions! Bring $50-$70 per person if you want to fill up.

Been Eating @Piranha for Yrs....Always Happy, 1/19/2008
Reviewer: Katy from Santa Barbara, CA
Piranha is a feast for your mouth! Been going there for years and I am never diappointed. This past week took a friend who doesn't eat sushi and started her out with the gyoza. She liked it so much, she tried the carpaccio. Then we had dooling chopsticks with her for the rest of the food, including sashimi!

Best Sushi..... excellent everything, 11/16/2007
Reviewer: Christen G from Carpinteria, CA
We love Piranha. The Miso, Calamari appetizer, and rolls are delicious. The desert rolls are good too. I have gone there for years but recently go with other couples a few times a month. It can get a little expensive (if you get drinks as well) but the drinks are amazing as well. My favorite place to eat

Great food, and even better service., 10/11/2007
Reviewer: Raf C. from Santa Barbara, CA
Every time I go here the food gets better. The specials, in particular, are unbeatable. The service is great, which is nice, considering that Arigato's also has good food but very, very bad service. Once at Piranha's they were taking long to figure out the bill, so the owner offered all 10 of us 2 different shots each. Don't be afraid to try some of their more exotic rolls. Highly recommended.

13 Girls on Friday 13th...., 7/18/2007
Reviewer: Misa from Santa Barbara,CA
This place was amazing I was with a large party and our waitress handle us very well. the food was great,and so was the atmosphere. whether you are there as a couple or with friends it's a perfect setting. Although we were loud.(what can you expect 13 females) we were waited on hand and foot.. such an amazing time!-- the good thing about this place is that is caters to those who don't like sushi and would prefer chicken teri. so many choices...

surprise birthday, 5/24/2007
Reviewer: karen from Arcadia, CA
We had a surprise birthday dinner at Piranha last night and the food, ambiance, and service were terrific! Our server made some great suggestions for our party of ~10. She suggested a crab-stuffed fried calamari that was amazing! There were enough pieces for all of us to have one. I hadn't been here before but would highly recommend Piranha for a great sushi dinner.

I've been a regular for many years!, 4/23/2007
Reviewer: Naneki C from Santa Barbara, CA
I've been a regular for years and I have to say that I love this place! It is true that the waitstaff can be slow, but if you sit at the bar you get Barry and he is awesome! He makes you rolls, etc. to order, and he remembers everyone and is very friendly. They have lots of vegetarian options, and the food is superb as well as the mango martini! People say it's expensive, but you have to keep in mind that it's sushi. I can go with my boyfriend and we can order drinks and lots and lots of rolls until we stuff ourselves for only 100$ and that's not bad at all anywhere for sushi. :) :)

Some of you are crazy..., 3/28/2007
Reviewer: Mike F from Anaheim, CA
My girlfriend and I made reservations 1 day before, got there 5 minutes late (because parking can be difficult on Saturday night), they had a 2 top table for us, but we decided to sit at the Sushi bar instead (which caused no problem). Since we had never been there before we spoke with the sushi chef (Harry) who asked us what we liked and made us a few special rolls and then made a few recommendations of some of the items on the menu. The food was excellent and the service was friendly and prompt. When the bill came I was expecting something near or over $100 because people said it was expensive. Additionally, because Harry was doing all the recommending we didn't even look at the menu so I had no idea what the prices were. Our total bill for 5 rolls, some sashimi, and 2 drinks a piece was under 70 bucks. In my opinion this is not expensive sushi. It’s not cheap but coming from the LA/OC area I thought the prices were pretty reasonable. Next time I'm in the SB area and am in the mood for some great sushi, I'm going with Piranha all the way.

Love Roll , 3/21/2007
Reviewer: Deo from Santa Barbara
Fist off people with kids should leave their issues at home. if you have ever been to any sushi restaurant in town then you know it does require a little patience. That aside, this place rocks! Let Barry or Kogi create something unique (not on the menu) they are both talented artists and know how to make amazing dishes.

fabulous!, 2/20/2007
Reviewer: Valerie Summer from Cocoa Beach, FL
From the moment we made our reservation, we knew we were in for a wonderful evening. The young woman who made our reservation made sure the time and day were correct. When we arrived, the gorgeous hostess - who also happened to be our waitress that evening - gave us the table we requested and explained the specials and the menu items with great patience. When our food arrived, it was exactly as descibed - tasty, obviously fresh, and obviously prepared with care and skill. We would recommend this restaurant to anyone for any occasion. We will definitely be back - soon and often! Thank you for a wonderful and memorable evening!

Had a great night!, 2/15/2007
Reviewer: Christine from Santa Barbara, CA
Took my husband to dinner at Piranha for Valentine's Day. Was pleasantly surprised during the phone call one week prior to find that they were accepting reservations for dinner--which they usually don't. Made one for two at 7 pm. When we arrived we were seated immediately at a spacious 4 person table. Our waitress was really good--attentive and helpful, but most importantly honest. She said often "sorry for the delay, we're very busy, i'll bring your order as soon as it's ready" and that's definitely what happened. We truly appreciated that. Also, the sushi was wonderful. We ordered two specials--one was a tuna wrapped scallop "bite" and one was a snow crab "bite". They weren't rolls or sushi, and there were two bites per order--perfect for each of us to have one bite each. Great taste. And the regular sushi, rolls, and sashimi was, as expected for Piranha, fresh and tasty. The mango martini was nice as well. We were expecting great sushi, but were really blown away by the service. Not only the wait-staff but also the reservations on such a special night.

Reviewer: Adam from Santa Barbara, CA
Piranha is the best place in Santa Barbara for sushi. My friend took me there for the first time and now im addicted to the place. Everyone should try the Ninja rolls they are amazing, the best Ive ever had. The only negative thing I can say about this place is the time. Our server took forever to take our order but it was well worth it. The price was a little bit high, but good things cost money.

Good Japanese Fusion Cuisine, 9/2/2006
Reviewer: Jayson Kemp from Santa Barbara, CA
I got to say it was good. Very american fusion like, the service was good too. I got a notion from other people that sometime their servers consume a little too much alcohol? well, not the past times ive been there. Overall i say its good and worth trying. Jayson Kemp

Good but expensive, 4/25/2006
Reviewer: Jason from Goleta, CA
I went here with three of my friends. We were seated promptly and greeted by our scruffy looking waiter. The seats upstairs are not comfortable so don't sit up there. We ordered some rolls with some weird names and they took 30 minutes to prepare. When we got them we were all very impressed by the quality of their food. All of the food was very fresh and tasty. The only thing that lacked was that it took a while to get to use, but it was always quite busy being that it was a friday night. I spent almost 40 dollars on just myself and still left hungry. Overall the good was excellent but the portions were small. Go here if you want a light meal.

Nothing but Smiles, 4/8/2006
Reviewer: Maury Mills from Ventura, CA
I live in Ventura and have eaten at Piranha's at least half a dozen times. It never fails to impress me with the qaulity of the food and the service has never been anything other than excellant. When I'm in the mood for really excellant sushi it's always my first choice and I happily drive up from Ventura.

Fun place, good food, but not for the portion or money, 2/20/2006
Reviewer: Bri from Santa Barbara
This is a nice place that serves good food. The sushi rolls however are tiny and cut into ultra thin pieces. Looks good but won't fill you up. If you're looking for something hip and different then try this but if you're a regular sushi eater who is used to eating good size rolls in most Japanese restaurants, you won't feel like you got your money's worth in this restaurant. The food from the kitchen is excellent though, especially the Hamachi Kama. One of the best in town.

High Priced Good Sushi, 12/28/2005
Reviewer: Kristin from Goleta, CA
The atmosphere was excellent and we were given great service. The surroundings is probably what contributed to the high prices and although the food was delicious I wouldn't reccomend going to Piranha unless you're trying to impress a business associate or a date. Arigato is much more relaxed, fun, and they have much larger portions. The food was prepared beautifully but won't fill you up.

Great food and service, 9/20/2005
Reviewer: Rhys & Ffion Williams from Wales, UK
We are visiting the area and popped in for a snack. We have just got back to our hotel and are amazed to find bad reviews about the service. We were made to feel very welcome, the sushi Chef Barry was talkative and has an obvious passion for food. We were served drinks immediately and watched our food being prepared by Barry. Superb! Keep up the good work, I hope we can come back some day

great food, excellent service, 9/18/2005
Reviewer: Jay from Santa Barbara, CA
everything about piranha was absolutey amazing! we enjoyed our visit from the moment we walked throught the door and were greated by the friendly staff. after one bite of our beautifully made sushi rolls we were in heaven. we will definitly be back often. keep up the good work!

How big is a Grande?, 8/26/2005
Reviewer: Greg & Yukari from Goleta
It seems like this place either gets 5 stars, or 1. As with Starbucks coffee, neither grade is warranted. Piranha is not in our top three favorite Japanese places, but it's certainly strong enough that anyone of taste must go there on occasion. The food is delicious, the menu is large and creative, the ambience is trendy and attractive. The knock is two-fold: First, the competition is stiff -- Piranha will always be the "other" upscale Japanese restaurant as long as Arigato doesn't get bought out by Walmart (or Starbucks). Second, it is expensive in our opinion. After about thirty tries, we can confirm that the toro at Edomasa is consistantly better by far, and at 60% of the price. In the end, after all the lovely bells and whistles, one wants to say: It's *Japanese,* keep it simple.

Nice Friday night dinner, 8/15/2005
Reviewer: John Dickson from Santa Barbara, CA
I ate dinner here last Friday night. I sat at the counter and ordered a California roll, two Kabuki rolls and a Manzano roll. The Manzano contains fried banana and makes a great "dessert" roll to be eaten last. I always order the Manzano separately (rather than with a group of other rolls) so it arrives piping hot. My attractive waitress, Natalie, must have refilled my water glass a hundred times. Thank you, I appreciate that!

Ridiculous Price Gouging, 8/13/2005
Reviewer: John R. from Santa Barbara, CA
My wife and I lived, and ate lots of sushi, in Japan for 18 years. We have eaten at most of the Japanese restaurants many times here in SB. We were both very impressed with the toro and scallop sashimi dishes. However, they made a HUGE MISTAKE in overpricing us. I spoke with the server and showed her the error and expected to have it corrected. When she refused to change it, I spoke with the manager who also explained the pricing as, "That is what the computer does" We paid their purposefully hidden and gouging price.

Piranha Restaurant & Sushi Bar writes: I'm sorry to hear of the experience you had. Please feel free to email me at and let's discuss the particulars of your dining experience. We do not EVER hide pricing NOR intend to over charge guests unknowingly. Toro and Abalone etc. are OBVIOUS extra expenses, and other items are listed as more on the menu. Thanks for your feedback.
Patricia Dugan, Manager

Very nice......, 7/15/2005
Reviewer: Spinelli from Santa Barbara
I had a great experience at Piranha last night. It was my first night there and I really enjoyed it. I had low expectations based on so many bad reviews, but they really did a nice job. The server, Julie, was new, but despite that, she was very knowledgeable and her trainer Will must have been doing a good job. The uni shooter was excellent, very fresh. The Ma Dai was pretty exceptional as was the crab stuffed calamari sppetizer. The atmosphere is nice, very intimate and based on this experience, I cant give it anything but 5 stars, because I really had no complaints. They really had a lot of great selections, although I think they can get more creative with raw fish as opposed to cooked fish. Great job Piranha.

Smiles all around, 6/20/2005

Piranha has changed and for the better...I went in to eat there the other day and not only was the food amazing (wide variety to choose from) but the servers were quick and friendly, offering the best service I´ve received in this town for quite some time. These bad reviews must be before the management change because my experience was FANTASTIC! If you haven´t been here before don´t believe these other reviews, it never hurts to try something once, right?


I have been dining at Piranha for years despite the amateur hour service. Recently however on a particularly busy night the hostess wrote our reservation down for the wrong day. She didn´t apologize and was very rude as if we had lied to her about having the reservation in the first place. She said she would call us in 1/2 hour when our table was ready. She never called and when we called she was even ruder and said maybe another 45 minutes. When we called back to get her name she hung up on us. It is strange to have spent literally thousands on food there in the past 2 years and in turn get treated so incredibly badly. I am done with Piranha.

bad rice equals bad sushi, 5/24/2005
Reviewer: rice fan from santa barbra
Judge good sushi by good fish AND good rice. Rice was mushy and not seasoned. The fish was shriveled up and did not look fresh. Nori on the rolls was soft and squished. The wait staff was bored and hard to flag down. Seems like a tourist trap to me. I suggest they focus on the basics, rather than high priced wacky roll combos. Staff needs a lesson in Eastern hospitatlity.

First and last time eating here, 5/18/2005

I must say, I expected much more. I walked in to a very trendy and fun atmosphere. BUT... The hostess had forgotten to write down our reservation, we waited. Once we were seated, the hostess had to look for menus for us. Apparently, they have not printed enough menues for everyone. Then, we asked for four glasses of water, the waiter casually tells us that he will get us some when the glasses have been washed. Like this wasn´t bad enough, the food was horrible and too expensive. Customer service and quality of fish needs improvement.

Best Sushi in Town by far., 3/17/2005

I have been eating Sushi in this town 2-3 times per week for over ten years. This restaurant has had the best fish, the most creative dishes and most delicious sauces, and most reliable service in town. There are several grades of quality of fish that can be purchased by restaurants, and Piranha has continued to buy the best. Owner Koji is very involved in the restaurant and maintains a high standard. The quality of the food varies from very good to amazing depending on the chefs working that night, and the amount of time and latitude they are given to be creative. For the discerning palate, this is the place to be, but don´t expect cheap prices. If you can´t tell the difference between fifty cent Sushi and the good stuff, then you´re better off at some of the less expensive places in town that serve at lower prices.

Crazy if you bother eating here, 2/3/2005

Tried Piranha last night with out of town guests from Asia. I was embarassed at the food, the drink, and especially the service. The restaurant didn´t have enough menus and kept trying to take them from us as we were trying to order. We tried to order sake and they were out of several kinds. The server was nonexistent when we needed attention. And the worst part of the experience was that the time for them to bring the first entree on the table to the last was about 20 minutes- like their kitchen could only cook one thing at a time. Our guests were very polite but you could tell they didn´t think much of the place either.

Don´t forget your platinum card, 1/6/2005

Great sushi, but way too expensive. I suggest Sushi Go-Go out on the harbor underneath Brophy Bros.

uhhhhhhhhhh...i don´t know, 12/16/2004

i recently ate at this establishment and was very dissappointed.i think our server was drunk!!!i had some questions for the server but she could not answer them and said i don´t know.can you believe that.i thought they were required to memorize the whole thing.maybe they should hire someone who cares about good food and not so much about what bar they are going to get drunk at after work!!!get your act together. if your going to fire people for drinking then fire the ones who are actually drunk!!!!!!! but the food was good.

it is just so good, 12/11/2004

omg! its so good and it has a great atmosphere! Great food and fun to go to with some friends

Wonderful sushi -- very, very poor staff service, 9/29/2004

We savor dining at best sushi bars in California. Sushimaster Kevin absolutely the tops as was the fish, BUT WAITRESSES REALLY RUNINED the atmosphere. Very Surley, unattentative and three waitresses were talking among themselves and we could not even get our bill. Maybe owner should rethink his atmosphere and hire Japanese kimono clad waitresses instead of blond idiots.

Pretty good sushi, 9/8/2004

When I moved to SB from San Francisco I was pretty disappointed with all the sushi restaurants I have dined at in SB. Although Piranha is my favorite from the bunch because the atmosphere is fun and if you order correctly the rolls are pretty tasty.

simply amazing..., 6/21/2004
Reviewer: Kat from SB local
I have tried practically every sushi place in santa barbara and Piranha is the Best. The food is great, the fish and sushi are fresh, the service is attentive and fun. This place is my favorite...and that´s hard to say about any other genre of food in Santa Barbara (since there are a million restaurants)! EAT HERE AND BE SATISFIED!!!

Excellent Sushi, 5/20/2004

Trust a sushi connoiseur - the food, including the sushi (i.e. raw fish on rice), is truly excellent.

What the hell?, 5/8/2004

I cannot understand the review below this one. The food is excellent. There are certainly a lot of attractive people eating and serving at Piranha - is that why these folks are saying that it is just a scene?

Yummy, 10/26/2003
Reviewer: lyuba from Goleta
Good sushi place. Definately have to try the Manzano roll! It works great as a desert ;)

Sushi lover from the Bay Area Great place to have sushi! SB, 10/19/2003
Reviewer: Sushi tastes like Heaven from Bay Area, CA USA
SB my get away from the rat race. (Bay Area) Piranha is my 5Star Sushi Bar because of the people, food and pride. The love that goes into the food. Creativity to try new rolls. Very honest, loving and caring people. Thank you. Good Journey.

hands down the best sushi in SB, 9/9/2003

great, delicious & creative rolls. clean & modern atmosphere. worth the money but not too expensive for sushi - best roll? lobster & caviar roll.

Mmmm.. Manzano roll…., 4/3/2002
Reviewer: John Dickson from Santa Barbara
I like Arigato too. Want a meal to die for? Listen carefully. When ordering your meal, make the last two rolls you eat be the Pink Cadillac and the Manzano roll. Manzano MUST be eaten last and don´t order it until all your other sushi has been consumed (because it is best eaten hot). THEN order the green tea ice cream. Piranha serves it in an cookie bowl on a big fancy plate. I think Piranha and Arigato are the best sushi solutions in town. Warning: once you come here, you will be so spoiled that bargain-priced sushi at other places is inedible.

Dessert, 3/25/2002

You know the rolls are perfect and well worth the $$$, but remember to try the AWESOME, I mean AWESOME dessert. I recommmend having the Fried Banana with sorbet.... mmmummmm a must.... trust me.. ;)......... Looked.. I must when I return

Fancy and Yummy, 2/16/2002

This is a great place that has a modern and comfortable feel. It is alittle pricey ($20 an entree, $7 for rolls) but the food it definately worth it (best I have had in a long time) if you want to spend it. Inpressive for a first date. I strongly recommend the House Roll and the Montery Roll.

A Sushi Lovers Heaven!!, 2/11/2002

The food is to die for and the atmosphere is perfect. Somewhere that everyone should try! LOve it! LOve it!!!

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