Santa Barbara > Restaurants > Yen Ching Restaurant
Omni Catering

Yen Ching Restaurant
No longer in business
Opened: ? Closed: 2018-01

2840 De La Vina St, Santa Barbara
Phone: (805) 682-7191

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

Best Buffet In Santa Barbara, 7/14/2017
Reviewer: Casey from Santa Barbara, CA
Best Buffet In Santa Barbara I Eat there all the time. Have for many years. Clean & the food is fresh & Delicious. C. Hart

Great Food! Friendly Staff! , 10/29/2015
Reviewer: Jessey from Santa Barbara, CA
The food is delicious but I do recommend that you eat here on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday only if you are going to eat the buffet. The reason for this is because since it's the busiest days they tend to refill the food more often then if you go on a Monday or Tuesday when the place is dead. I'm a regular here so I know some tricks and I do recommend this place!

Redecorated and upgraded, still a decent buffet for dinner., 5/16/2015
Reviewer: Hugh from Santa Barbara, CA
When my office was nearby you would find me here every rainy day. The place had gone downhill and when they replaced the cream cheese wonton with greasy ground beef I was done. I had a ticket to the Lobero the other day so I stopped in as it would be the quickest meal. Well I was pleased to see the interior redone and the buffet upgraded. About the same stuff as before but the cream cheese wonton are back, there are piles of shrimp and even crab legs. The soup was excellent, full of meat and wonton, I was quite satisfied and enjoyed several desserts and soft serve ice cream too. Not much service with a buffet but I found I was checked on a few times and not ignored when I requested more napkins. I am pleased to say this is worth another try if you had written it off before. I have begged John for a Buffet category but I suppose more people need to ask him. They call all the restaurants for special holiday meals. Would it be so hard to ask if there was a buffet? Note I live by Ming Dynasty and urge you to avoid their buffet as I see them put dropped food back into the chaffing dish!

Best kung pow in sb, 2/17/2015
Reviewer: Ernie from Santa Barbara, CA
The reviewer below either has not eaten here or is very picky this is some of the best Chinese food in an best kung pow and the Orange chicken actually has chicken in it not covered in breaking like most spots Only downfall to this restaurant is no soda refills I wish they would change that as I would come more often

2013 review, 7/11/2013
Reviewer: Kelly from Santa Barbara, CA
Food aweful, zero taste in all 3 lunch items we ordered. Waiter very polite. Overall I would rate this the worst Chinese food that I have endured. Had soup a year ago and it was okay.

Very good but some material failings, 6/25/2013
Reviewer: Jinelle from Santa Barbara, CA
Had the evening buffet and it was very tasty. Each item had its own unique flavoring and the variety was inciting from soup to desserts for $14.95. Even fresh shrimp and crab legs with various sauces. I didn't expect that. But, and this is a big issue - many of the items on the buffet table were not kept at or even close to proper temperature which is a material failing, not only for taste aesthetics but for food safety. I mentioned this at the desk but got a non-answer from someone who perhaps did not have English as their first language. The restaurant was pleasant, service efficient and enjoyed by large Chinese speaking families that evening. I will certainly go again because with buffets you can go back and pick and choose to get what works best. However, if there are the same temperature problems I will raise this issue during dinner and not after if it happens again. It should not and absent that one problem, this is a very nice dining option. The food is good and would have been even better if all selections were kept properly hot.

Love the delivery!, 8/23/2011
Reviewer: Arlene from Santa Barbara, CA
We regularly order delivery from here- the food is great, the portions are good sized, the prices are resonable and it's delivered in less than 45 mintes every time!

we think its great, 8/20/2011
Reviewer: june from Santa Barbara, CA
gone as many times as we can afford, and I love it every time

good food, 7/28/2011
Reviewer: mai from Kansas
I had their fried rice carried out. Food was plenty for 2 persons, the food also tasted pretty good. Since i ordered fired rice, i got my food in less than 5 minutes. The lady who took my order was also very nice.

Good Stuff, 5/29/2011
Reviewer: Bill from Goleta, CA
Good food. Chef Joe is great cook. Ching Yu is nice and friendly and Margarito the server is awesome. Have had the buffet there several times. Pretty good when you get it early. Nicely remodeled place with bright atmosphere.

cannot get your order right!!, 1/21/2011
Reviewer: Natalie from Santa Barbara, CA
The food was good, but the service was just terrible!! I ordered delivery through restaurant connection, and first off, they charged me for the entire order but only delivered a fraction of it. Thankfully I caught it before their delivery guy left! THEN, when they came back to give me the rest of my food (a good half an hour later), they gave me THE WRONG STUFF! They didn't offer any kind of compensation either!

Long time customer, 7/21/2010
Reviewer: Ted from Santa Barbara, CA
The hot and sour soup is delicious and can be prepared to order. Margarito the waiter is indeed fantastic, and the management is very friendly. The entrees are good but not great, and the kids really enjoy the buffet. The recent remodel was a definite upgrade.

Dark, dreary and dingy... Bland, boring food and I'm bloated, 4/24/2010
Reviewer: Mike from Santa Barbara, CA
Not a good experience for us. The food just wasn't good. Chewy, grisly and poorly prepared. It was bland with too much salt trying to compensate for that fact. Sparse use of ingredients that were not fresh. Not a lot of warmth coming from the servers and not a lot of love coming from this kitchen. It is a sad sack of a restaurant. The place is really in need of some sprucing up.

Rushed Out!, 9/18/2009
Reviewer: Mary from Santa Barbara, CA
We eat here regularly but lately we haven't been - Margarito the waiter who has been there since the last owners is awesome. Whenever we go i always feel like we are being rushed. Once you order drinks they bring you the check and sometimes it's just 3 of us and they apply the gratuity on the check - a little odd - This offends me as i feel like they think we are not going to tip. I believe it's prices have gone up but customer service is still crapy (waiters are always on it - but management sucks).

Not Great but Decent, Buffet looked good, 7/13/2009
Reviewer: Glenn from Buellton
My takeout experience was not good with the food I had. The Buffet though looked like a great deal and with the price of one dinner entree you could basically get a dinner buffet. They had lots of shrimp along with fried chicken so it looked like it was worth it. Also with the lunch buffet it looks like they let you box up your last plate. Food wait was kind of long.

Good food, good service for take-out, 4/5/2009
Reviewer: Andrea from Santa Barbara, CA
I've never dined-in but have gotten take-out many times. The food is always delicious and a good deal... plus, the salt and pepper wings are the best wings I've ever eaten. The order is usually ready in 10-15mins and pick-up is quick and pleasant.

Hit and Miss, 3/14/2009
Reviewer: Dennis from Santa Barbara, CA
I have eaten here often and the only problem with the buffet is that it is a hit and miss. Sometimes it is great and other times... The last time I was there with 4 friends they added in the 18% tip. I would have tipped more but I was offended that they would add the tip in and then I almost tipped on top of it. I'm not sure what to tip at a buffet where I serve myself. I have been here in the past and gave the waiter a $20.00 tip when it was just me eating. There have been times that I left $3.00 on the table since I sat down, told the waiter that I wanted the buffet and he brought me water and my check before I could even open up my napkin and I never saw him again. Will I go back? Yes. On the good nights you can't beat it.

Curry Won Tons!, 12/6/2007
Reviewer: Daryl from Santa Barbara, CA
The curry won ton appetizers alone are worth going back for. Their kung pao chicken is better than most, too. I'll definitely keep going back.

yucky buffet, 7/7/2007
Reviewer: Kristy from Santa Barbara
The buffet was not appealing. A lot appeared to have been sitting around for a long time. The chow mein was fishy! So was the beef with broccoli. I will say the General Tsao chicken was good. Ordering from the menu would probably have been better. The atmosphere also leaves a lot to be desired and updated!

DEEP-FRIED & FATTY, 9/18/2006
Reviewer: Dave from Santa Barbara
I honestly don't know what many of the previous reviewers are talking about. On those strength of those reviews, my wife and I tried this place the other night--the first time in more than 10 years. Perhaps the management has changed hands in the interim, but the food was as awful as I remembered it. Yes, they have crab legs with the buffet--but they have virtually no meat in tho0se legs. Price or no price, the buffet selections were rarely other than fatty and deep-fried. The restaurant itself felt unclean. If you're looking for a good Chinese buffet, there's a vastly better one in Goleta, next to Outback.

Good all around, 9/2/2006
Reviewer: Jackie D from Santa Barbara, CA
the deal for buffet here is awesome! they have a great selection of food. variety that you can choose to satisfy your appetite. the service was very prompt. the food isn't fantastic. however, it was better than others for the buffet. i enjoyed it and definitely looking forward to going back.

WOW Chef has over 25yrs. of experience!, 8/17/2006
Reviewer: Kyle from Los Angeles, CA
It was my first time there and I ordered some chinese dishes from the Chinese menu. It was quite exquiste. I especially liked the beef in hot pot and three cup chicken. When I asked to meet the chef he told me about his experiences of becoming a chef starting at the age of 16 in Taiwan. No wonder the food tastes so good!!

good for inexpensive lunch, 5/25/2006
Reviewer: Hajir Sailors from Santa Barbara, CA
5.95 gets you a great chinese lunch that'll keep you full here. THe sezchwan pork is really good, if u make it for buffet hours, that's a good option as well. Service is usually about average.

Kewl New Owners = Better Food, 5/8/2006
Reviewer: Matt from Santa Barbara
Yen Ching has been in Santa Barbara a long time. They recently changed owners and now the buffet selection is one of the best in town for it's price. Especially yummy are the beef steaks, salt & pepper shrimp, and crab legs. The service is pretty nice too - friendly and helpful. Thumbs up for the change!

The food has defintely been better since the new change , 2/26/2006
Reviewer: Jamie from Santa Barbara, CA
I have noticed that many things have changed since the new ownership. The food tastes better and the staff is always ready to help. I really love the assorted entries on the buffet they are delicious. Also I like trying the new dishes from the menu, every time I pick out something I am quite surprised by its flavorful taste.

Refill please?, 9/18/2005
Reviewer: gabkatchris from Santa Barbara, CA
The food is very good. It's hit and miss with the service; one time good, next time bad. What is very irritating is that they don't offer free refills on soft drinks and they make a strong point of telling you that you will be charged extra for a second soft drink.

best food ever, 8/25/2005
Reviewer: tyrone from santa barbara ca
best chinese in santa barbara

Simple and Affordable, 1/8/2005

Brought the family here and they loved it. The buffet was at reasonable price, and there was a lot to choose from. Definitely recommend it for a simple yet nice place to take family and friends.

Wonderful atmosphere, exquisite food!, 12/31/2004
Reviewer: Chad from Santa Barbara, California
Great family restaurant feel, it´s great to go somewhere you can tell that hasn´t been taken over by corporate America! Food was good, and they served us promptly. Judging from past reviews, either I have low standards or they have really stepped it up!

Good Orange Chicken., 6/3/2004

Two thumbs up for the orange chicken. LOVE the wonton soup. It wasn´t a bad experience for me.

absolute trash, 5/1/2003

Being originally from New York, I have both grown accustomed to eating Chinese food and eating good Chinese food. This place was a huge disappointment. The only thing worse than the food at Yen Ching is the smell in the actual restaurant. I am simpathetic with those that cannot cook, because I cannot myself (even though they have no business being in the restaurant industry). If you´re on State Street and you want food, just keep walking.

Horrible Food, 4/29/2003

Horrible Food. Worst Service. 11.50 per person!!! You have to be kidding me! I will Never eat here again!

Good Food Bad Service, 12/7/2002

Me and my girlfriend went to Yen Ching last month and one thing that I can say about the waiters is that she couldn´t wait. We were the only people in the restaurant that afternoon, and she didn´t give us a moments rest and she kept on buggin us about our order,about our food, and about our drinks. The food was great, but we enjoyed it better, when we took our leftovers home.

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