Santa Barbara > Restaurants > East
Ca Dario

No longer in business
Opened: ? Closed: 2012-10

1208 State St, Santa Barbara
Phone: (805) 568-1172

  • Category: Japanese, Thai
  • Hours: Tue-Fri 11am-2pm, 5:30pm-10pm, Sat-Sun Noon-3pm, 5:30pm-10pm, Mon Closed
  • Price: $10 - $20
  • Serving: Lunch & Dinner
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Reviews by the General Public

Never again!, 5/19/2012
Reviewer: Alex from Santa Barbara, CA
The reviews on yelp are more aligned with the reality of this place. We ordered pinwheels when they came out they were frozen...yes frozen inside. Our waitress did fix the problem but then they brought out the red curry it was so tiny I could not believe they weren't embarassed to serve that for 12 dollars it was maybe one chicken breast w zero vegetables. The pad Thai was not good at all it tasted like the instant ones you could buy at trader joes. Any the end we just wanted to leave but then one bill came we paid then another bill came and they charge your drinks to another bill. I would have understood if we ordered drinks at the bar but we didn't. If you want Thai food you are better off going to your place or my place. When you go out to Thai we know it's going to be a bigger bill but this was a 75 dollars that I cringed when we paid! Never again huge disappointment, my date night was robbed!

great place, 6/26/2011
Reviewer: Sherif from Santa Barbara, CA
My wife and I had been regulars for the last 5 years , Best Ono and best red chili role very friendly people & reasonable prices, grateful to have them in SantaBarbara

Amazing, way better than Arigato across the street!!!, 5/21/2011
Reviewer: Alec from Santa Barbara, CA
The food and service is amazing, that about phrases it totally worth checking out

Pretty Good Food, place to go for both Japanese and Thai, 11/13/2010
Reviewer: Glenn from Buellton
The owner chef is Japanese and his wife is Thai so you can get both here. They've been there 10 years I believe. I was expecting a better quality food from the previous reviews but the quality is not quite as high as other places. I would say try Meun Fan for better Thai and Sushi Teri etc for Japanese but its a nice place to get both things if you want. I don't recommend the Shrimp Tempura, a batter mess, pretty bad. Pad thai was good, the Chicken Teriyaki was not as good as other Japanese places(chicken was cold). So hit and miss for me. The ambience is nice and definitely not as crowded as other places in the area so you should be able to get a table easily. Waitress a little cold.

Try the Rest, but East is Best!, 10/25/2010
Reviewer: Justine from Santa Barbara, CA
Returned to East after one pleasant late-night dining experience after a show at the Granada, probably a year ago. This time it was for a friend's casual birthday dinner. Again, the food, service and ambiance were all just right, and at a good price. The cucumber sunomono salad is fresh and tasty, the vegie tempura was crisp and hot and even the tempura batter had a nice flavor to it, as did the dipping sauce, which at most places just seems to be a bland broth. We also got an order of chicken satay, which was maybe not as juicy as it could have been, but was just fine, and the peanut sauce was superb. My thai noodle dish was tasty, but the crowning glory was my friend's sushi roll. She was extremely happy with how fresh and generous the fish was, and it was served in a beautiful presentation. Oh, and the mochi ice cream I got for dessert was too. While at Edomasa they bring it whole with a toothpick stuck in it (nothing wrong with that, perfectly serviceable), here each piece was halved and laid on the plate with dots of chocolate sauce forming a lovely pattern. It was a very enjoyable birthday meal, and my friend talked about it for the rest of the evening. Yes, it is a little strange that they have both Japanese and Thai food, but as I see it, it's just more variety to choose from!

Delicious food and great service, 9/14/2010
Reviewer: Katie from Santa Barbara, CA
I just returned from having dinner at East with my family. The service was excellent and friendly. They seem very conscientious and eager to please. The food was delicious -- appetizer, soup, entrees and dessert were all consistently good and reasonably priced. One of my kids ordered the coconut ice cream while the other ordered mochi. They both argued over who made the better choice. A great family-friendly, delicious place to enjoy Japanese and Thai foods. I recommend it!

Eating there since they first opened, 9/14/2010
Reviewer: Melissa Ramsey from Santa Barbara, CA
When they first opened as "Maeda" (the owner and head sushi chef's name,) we were floored by the awesome sushi, the great Mr. Maeda and wife, and his elegant way with sushi. Also with the quality, size of portions, and family feeling. I wrote lots of reviews because they were having a hard time, with Arigato across the street and the Granada not open. I am THRILLED that they have made it in this dog-eat-restaurant world! If you are wasting time and money at Arigato, just direct your feet to the sushi east side of the street!

Wonderful food, amazing service, friendly "mom and pop" plac, 7/2/2010
Reviewer: Hattie from Santa Barbara, CA
My sister has wanted to take me to East for quite some time, so last night we finally went. Wow what I have been missing!?! I usually go to another sushi place in town that serves half price sushi but I can honestly say I will not go anywhere else for sushi ever again! East is where it is at. If you want high quality fish, delicious Thai food, and a warm friendly welcome when you walk in the door, this is the place to go! Very reasonably priced, a dinner for 4 with 3 large beers was $100 dollars. We would have paid twice that for the food and the experience we had! Go to East and you wont ever go anywhere else, I promise :)

Great space, nice music, don't feel like a sardine, 5/2/2010
Reviewer: Alice from Santa Barbara, CA
I have been dining at East for several years. It is low key and comfortable like me, I guess. Presentation is great, very reasonably priced and very courteous and attentive attention.

best seafood sunamuno ever!!!!!, 3/28/2010
Reviewer: R. Harry from Santa Barbara, CA
I've eaten sunamuno salad at every sushi bar in S.B., now I only go to EAST. the bar is tended by a japaness trained chef who buys top quality fish and is very nice. the service is freindly but the seafood sunamuno is spectacular!!!

Best kept lunch secret!!!, 10/22/2009
Reviewer: Arlene from Santa Barbara, CA
I've been coming here for lunch for several years. The bento box is a wonderful lunch deal and the service is excellent. Quiet, relazing and good!!

Our favorite sushi in SB, 6/21/2009
Reviewer: Kip from Santa Barbara, CA
We've been coming here since it was named Maeda Sushi (same name) and were very pleased to discover their excellent Thai food addition under East. Ryoji's sushi is first rate and he always picks quality fish (important to our family health-wise). Don't miss the Ono! Most importantly, East is a place where we always feel welcome and are treated well. Beni (sp?) is a gem. We love being able to eat great sushi without having to deal with the sushi "scene."

Pretty Good, 3/14/2009
Reviewer: jared antonson from Santa Barbara, CA
Tasty but inconsistent. Not as bad as you would think since usually empty. When lines at other sushi places are too long, check this place out. Usually good with some minor tweaks would be really good. I like their soups and noodle dishes the most. Reasonably priced. Worth checking out.

Okay sushi, really bad service, 3/4/2009
Reviewer: Antonio from Santa Barbara, CA
Only the owner knew anything about the food, everybody else was just a server. Since the restaurant was packed, it took forever for her to come around and take the order. And then she was really impatient as we were making our order. Then when they brought out the sushi, they didn't bring any trays for soy sauce or any soy sauce at all. When we asked for soy sauce, they brought out low sodium junk. And the sake we ordered didn't match the sake pictured on the menu. A very poorly run location.

Our favorite sushi in SB for many years!, 2/17/2009
Reviewer: Laurie from Santa Barbara, CA
I'm almost reluctant to rate this place because I'm afraid it will get overrun, and my husband and I won't get a table anymore. I look across the street at the crowds waiting around outside Arigato's and think....boy, they don't know what they are missing! The fish at East has always been very fresh, and the pieces are amply-sized. Everyone who works there has always been extraordinarily friendly and engaging. We've now moved a ways out of town, but we'll definitely be making the extra trip into downtown SB just to go to East whenever we can!!

Worst sushi ever, 2/9/2009
Reviewer: Jen from Santa Barbara, CA
I hope that the reason that the sushi we ordered was so horrible was due to the fact that we came in pretty late on a Wednesday after seeing a movie, so maybe they were in a rush closing up and thats why our order was botched. I dont know though, because the tuna and mackeral sashimi peices we got seriously tasted like theyd been sitting out for a couple days. We couldn't finish them. The woman who served us was very nice, but seriously it was the worst sushi Ive ever tried to eat.

Still fantastic after all these years, 2/3/2009
Reviewer: Kristen from Santa Barbara, CA
We enjoyed a fabulous meal tonight at East and have been coming here for years. Our group enjoyed the #2 chef's choice nigiri and sat at the bar. The fish portions are generous and delicious and the price is great ($18 for 9 pieces of nigiri, a salad and a bowl of miso soup). I also recommend the Sushi Nugget, which is a disc of sushi rice that is fried with avocado and spicy tuna on top. The service was great and we saw Ryoichi (the owner/head sushi chef) for the first time in months - he fell and has been healing slowly. I'm sure this locally owned business could use more of our support right now. As for the person who claims they charged $18 for a roll, they obviously made a mistake. That's $10 over any roll there.

New to Sushi, 1/11/2009
Reviewer: Shawna from Springfield, MN
We accidently came across this resturant late tonight. There was no one there, so no wait. We are fairly new to the sushi world and the waiter did an excellent job helping us decide our meal. The food was great and had wonderful flavor. Would love to revisit on our next trip tp Santa Barbara.

My favorite sushi restaurant in SB, 11/6/2008
Reviewer: Kay from Santa Barbara, CA
East is my fave place to get delicious sushi in SB! The rolls are unique and generous, the service is great and nothing beats sitting outside on their delightful patio.I have noticed that business has been slow and I wish they would offer a sushi happy hour, all you can eat sushi or some other specials so more people eat there. I don't want it to close!! I highly recommend this SB gem.

Great for vegetarians, 11/1/2008
Reviewer: Jen from Santa Barbara, CA
The owner told us that all the broths are vegetable-based, not fish-based, so almost any dish can be made veg by replacing the meat with tofu. The curries are wonderful and the staff is helpful and attentive. Five Stars!

No complaints here, 7/8/2008
Reviewer: Chris K from Santa Barbara
Before heading out to eat I decided to look up a place that was befitting of the occasion. I was taking my to be mother in law and my fiancee to a place that the three of us could enjoy. My fiancee is Chinese/Thai and wanted Sushi but her mother doesn't eat raw food so we came to the idea of trying east for the first time since it was Maeda. The food was great and the service was very friendly. I can understand the idea that some may think that the service was slow but this is because its a family style meal that has the server conversing with you and discussing anything from culture to language. Our conversation tended to stay around the Thai lifestyle and the food. The Chicken sate was very good. I read the review below about it being to greesy but that is how its meant to be, go to Thailand, its oil and curry grilled onto the meat. The sushi was good, and the Papaya salad as well as the beef Nam Tok are favorites of mine that were made perfectly. Very filling meal and the three of us got out of there for $80 (three Thai appetizers, 2 sushi rolls, 1 octopus sushi, and a curry entree) but probably could have done with a few fewer dishes. All in all the meal was perfect and left us all very satisfied. We will be back soon.

Not worth it!, 5/26/2008
Reviewer: Rachael from Santa Barbara, CA
After reading the previous reviews, I thought this restaurant would be good and decently priced. The sushi was pretty good, I'll give it that. But the prices and portions were not! The reviewers said the sushi chef was fairly good at improvising and creating something you'd like, so I told our server I simply wanted a roll with salmon and tuna. I was given a roll with tuna on top of a salmon roll - priced at $18.95! NOT worth it! The "side salad" that came with the sushi dinner was literally, not kidding, 9 pieces of field greens with dressing. The chicken satay was so greasy I absolutely had to blot it on the napkin - I know, gross! Definitely will not be back to this place.

Great Affordable Sushi, 2/14/2008
Reviewer: Brian from Goleta, CA
I have been hooked on this place for nearly a year now. The Sushi is fresh and affordable with prices for Nigri and Sashimi around $3-4.00 a pair and the cut of meat is always generous. The staff is friendly and always helpful. Every single one of my friends I have brought here have come away happy and always wanting to come back. It is true that when it gets busy the service can be a little slow, so don't plan on coming here if you are in a hurry. I recommend sitting at the sushi bar and talking with the chef and selecting sushi that way. The lunch specials are also very reasonable.

I am hungry for East..., 2/7/2008
Reviewer: T.R. from Ventura, CA
I have been eating here and loving it since it was Maeda Sushi. Now that it is East and they have included Thai on the menu I love it even more. And I have turned my co-workers on to it and now they love it too (see my co-worker Stacey's review of 11/2). The Bento box lunch is the best ever, so tasty, fresh, and filling. The thai dishes I have ordered are great also. I give the service a 4.5 b/c they encourage special orders and I love that. I had Tom Yum Vegie, my way, no tofu, extra vegies...YUM! Thanks East.

A Perennial Favorite, 12/31/2007
Reviewer: Eric L. from Goleta, CA
This place has been a perennial favorite for my friends and I for a few years now. The reason we keep coming back? Good fish and the personal touch from the owner and head chef (I can never spell his name correctly so I'm not going to try). He personally drives to LA 3 to 4 times a week to hand select the fish he serves. In my opinon, he's at his best with the nigiri and hand rolls. The pieces of fish are large in comparison to many sushi restaurants in town, prices are reasonable, and their Thai food is pretty good too.. not the best in town, but excellent if you're looking to switch it up a bit or going out with someone that doesn't like raw fish. Recently I discovered the term "Omakase" (meaning "to protect" or loosely translated.. "chef's choice"). He'll make you pretty much anything you can think of (on or off the menu), but if you're not that imaginative and you're looking for something new and original the head chef never fails to deliver. A word of caution, concerning the chef's choice however... Some items are not for the faint of heart. I won't go into detail, but it can lean towards the extreme if he knows thats the kind of thing that you're into. I'd highly recommend the fatty tuna belly if he has it. All in all, its great place thats still relatively unspoiled. If the restaurant is full (East seems to be getting more popular lately), the service does tend to be on the slow side, so I'd recommend going on a Tuesday or Thursday when the crowds are low, the fish is the freshest, and you can grab a spot at the bar.

Very Nice ... Definitely Recommended!, 11/25/2007
Reviewer: Colin from Summerland, CA
We paid our first visit to East with our friends last night and had a really good dinner. With the exception of some shrimp tempura as an appetizer, we all chose Thai food to share. Everything was perfectly prepared and unlike many USA based restaurants who tone things down to cater to western palettes, it all tasted like good authentic Thai food. We chose papaya salad, beef salad, green and yellow curry, chicken with garlic and pepper and a very tasty spicy beef in basil dish. All was delicious and the portions were generous, but somehow we still managed to find room to share the fried banana with mango ice cream! Service was very friendly and efficient. Prices were a little higher than we expected, but it was quality and definitely worth the slight premium. It was Saturday night and the place wasn't very busy. Based on our experience, East deserved to have all their tables taken. Perhaps taking the lights down a touch, lifting the music slightly and putting some candles around the place would help to make East a more inviting place to dine. We'll certainly be back and probably pretty soon!

This place is wonderful, 11/2/2007
Reviewer: Stacey from Santa Barbara
I have eaten here 3 times now. Once I had a Bento box lunch. The second time I ordered a Thai special off the blackboard - duck curry. I got it with the green curry and it was really tasty. They have a note on the special board that says they will make special requests, so today I asked if they would make me a pumpkin curry (green). She asked if i wanted chicken and I said yes. WOW! It was so delicious. Generous portions of pumpkin and chicken in a very savory green curry. She charged me $9.95 for it, which was a great value. Even though this is billed as a Japanese restaurant, the Thai rivals other places in SB, and we have some great Thai food here. Go in and ask for the pumpkin curry. Next time I'll try it with red curry....

Yummy, 8/30/2007
Reviewer: Lew Marklin from Santa Barbara, CA
I have to admit that I just like this place cause of Alex(andra) the cutest sushi waitress in Santa Barbara! YUMMY! and the sushi too ;)

Ryoichi makes the best Sushi in town!!!!, 6/20/2007
Reviewer: Edward Ladd from Santa Barbara
I have been at least 20 times now and never been dissapointed! The portions and the fish are first class! Unlike other restaurants that get their fish delivered (forcing them to buy what they have) Ryoichi goes to the market himself. His portions are always very large and he can make some very artistic and delicious things I have seen nowhere else. Eat at the bar as sometimes service can be slow if not. Hands down, best quality / value in this town!

horrible service - less than mediocre food, 5/18/2007
Reviewer: J.P. from Santa Barbara
we decided to try out East since they were advertising this new "thai-japanese" fusion. NOT fusion. they just have both foods on their menu. but only on their dinner menu. sushi was eh. garlic chicken and pad thai was eh. the traditional soups should come in one of those heated dishes but it was not. and it's $11 for chicken! overpriced for stir-fry garlic chicken. not to mention that the service is absolutely horrible. they have one server - who is super slow - and a cook/server/owner (?) who is the one lady that runs around trying to serve and goes in the back to make the thai food at the same time. i've never gone to lunch in downtown SB and had to pay the $1.50 for parking over 75 minutes. the food took about 40 mins - and then they forgot my dish! and then the server went to the back to make it! we complained and asked that due to our dissatisfaction they should take care of us in some way and she took one rice ($1.95) off of our bill. at least if the food is average the service should be superior. i don't plan on going there again. i hope their service improves dramatically if they want to retain any of their old business from maeda.

"Maeda" changed to "East", 3/4/2007
Reviewer: John Dickson from Santa Barbara, CA
This restaurant used to be named "Maeda" and has been renamed "East". It is under the same ownership, and they are trying out a new concept.

Maeda is great, 3/4/2007
Reviewer: Logan Lender from Santa Barbara California
Maeda is a great invioment ussaly not very bussy.The food is exelent.It is also a great resteraunt for kids because they give you lolypops plus frooties with the check.I eat here every Saturday at 1 and they are always very friendly.

Maeda is best in town, 1/14/2007
Reviewer: John from Santa Barbara, CA
Maeda has the best nigiri in town, hands down. Go there and do chef's choice for the first round. Sit at the bar, ask Ryochi (head sushi chef/owner) what he's got that's special that night while you're eating the first round and order that for the next. They don't always list everything available on the board. His selection changes frequently depending on what he's able to get. Keep an open mind and try new things. To my suprise, sardine is now one of my favorites that I would have never ordered if left to my own choice. This place is a gem in SB. Maeda has a selection of fish not available at most of the other sushi restaraunts in town. Contrary to the review below, they do not put much wasabi under the fish. I'm a wimp when it comes to spice and I think they do it up perfectly. Developing a relationship with the chef will greatly enhance your experience, so sit at the bar. ps the rolls are good too, but focus on the nigiri! The waitstaff quality varies depending on who they're able to hire, but if you sit at the bar you don't have to bother with them much anyway.

tempura VERY disappointing BUT sushi was GOOD!, 12/30/2006
Reviewer: Kristy from Santa Barbara, CA
When we first entered I did get a bit of a fishy smell which made me a little hesitant. The sushi turned out to be pretty good. I was impressed. Good size rolls and nice pieces of fish. Fresh tasting and delicious. The vegetable tempura though was ridiculous! It was four pieces. one carrot, one piece of broccli and two pieces of bell pepper. I have to say I have never had bell pepper in tempura before. I would not recommend it until they add more vegetables to an order. They were also very very slow at getting the check to us.

No longer all you can eat - but STILL GREAT, 10/27/2006
Reviewer: Rick from Santa Barbara
I have always felt that htis was the best kept secret in Santa Barbara for sushi at a reasonable price. Absolutlely always FRESH FISH from a Sushi Artist and Chef - This is super sushi -some marinated - but always delicious!

authentic. delicious. charming., 7/20/2006
Reviewer: James from Goleta, CA
My wife and I frequent Maeda and never leave disappointed. The fish is extremely fresh and the rolls are delicious. If you sit at the bar, you can put orders in directly with the sushi chefs. The decor, while not trendy, is charming with its authentic hanging kimonos and the Japanese mural painting. Maeda is a small gem in the shadow of other larger, trendier sushi restaurants. Real sushi enthusiasts will appreciate it for what it is.

not impressed, 5/6/2006
Reviewer: Thanatos from Santa Barbara, CA
how does the all-you-can-eat dinner work? you have approximately 1 hour to eat all-you-can-eat, so as another reviewer suggested, it should be named all-you-can-get, as it can be a bit tricky to get full. The all-you-can-eat is not a buffet, but is prepared to order. There is an extra charge for unfinished portions, and you are technically not allowed to order more sushi until you finish your current batch. I went on a Friday night, and before 8:00 there was only one sushi chef and few customers. By sitting at the sushi bar, we were able to place our orders directly to the chef at first. Then, as the restaurant filled up, we placed subsequent orders with the wait staff, who delivered the orders to the sushi chef. After 8:00, there were 4 sushi chefs, which eventually helped to speed up the service. On average, it took about 10-15 minutes from ordering for a round of food to be delivered, so you will only get about 5 rounds to order before your time expires. The sushi menu includes about a dozen sushi items (several of which are prepared with a pinch of wasabe under the fish, so be warned!), a dozen or so hand rolls/cut rolls, and more than a dozen "specialty rolls" (but about half are simply a california roll with one type of fish on top). Written on a dry-erase menu on the wall are the daily specials, which are also available to the all-you-can-eat diners, but several are limited to one order per person. On my visit, these included Ahi Tuna, Mackerel, Sushi Nachos, etc. The all-you-can-eat menu includes unlimited appetizers, perhaps 10 or so to choose from including miso soup, fried gyoza, fried shumai, sesame chicken, teriyaki vegetables, edamame, etc., which are ordered through the wait staff and perpared in the back kitchen, and delivered in 15 minutes or so. The quality of the appetizers and sushi is quite low, below that at other local sushi restaurants, and the variety is also not impressive. If you want to get full, I would advise ordering 6 sushi items or 2-3 rolls each time you order, as each order will be about 15 minutes of your hour. The all-you-can eat dinner is about $25, plus tax and plus automatically added gratuity (stated on the menu as 18%), comes out to about $31 per person.

Nothing fishy about Maeda, 8/28/2005
Reviewer: Eric from Montecito
I was reading some other reviews with great surprise, especially the one about a fishy smell wafting out the door... I've eaten here at least ten times and always have enjoyed the food, never had a complaint about the portions. All you can eat is my prefference here as three or four rollls can break the bank at other places. I've also never been hassled about going over my time limit and i've NEVER left hungry. My big complaint is their lack of trust for their customers. I find it rather insulting for them to refuse to sell all-U-can eat unless you sit at the sushi bar or everyone in your group orders AUCE at a table. They once actually asked me and a friend to switch sides of the table so they could watch us better. It was comical but rediculous. Despite their lack of manners, I continue to dine at this place with a core group of friends who all enjoy the AUCE option.

They WERE my favorite!, 5/13/2005

For about a year and a half this was my favorite Japanese restaurant. It doesn´t have the decor or the atmosphere but they offer all you can eat sushi for about $22. For a long while I was very impressed and went back again and again, the sushi was fresh and the chefs did a great job. Unfortunately, the last 5 times I have gone there they have started skimping on the sushi. Everything they make for the "all you can eat" customers is dumbed down versions of the regular rolls and nigiri. They use less meat in the rolls and they add rice to take the place of where about half of the filling normally would be. For the nigiri they use super thin slices of meat on big rice balls. I have ordered out from there since and, sure enough, the rolls are back to the way they should be, rich, beautiful, and tasty. So they only do this when you order all you can eat sushi. I have watched them do the same to other customers so it isn´t just me. The only thing this place had going for it was it´s "all you can eat" prices but after what they have been serving me recently I feel insulted and upset! If anyone from Maeda is reading. RAISE YOUR PRICES IF YOU ARENT MAKING ENOUGH PROFIT, I WOULD HAVE PAID HIGHER PRICES BUT I WILL NOT STAND TO BE SERVED RICE FILLED VERSIONS OF MY FORMER FAVORITES. YOU HAVE LOST 2 REGULARS!

Outstanding deal for sushi lovers!!!, 4/26/2005
Reviewer: Melissa from Palo Alto, CA
I moved to the bay area from SB a few months ago and have yet to find a sushi place that even comes close to Maeda. True, the portions are small--if you want to pig out on California rolls and tempura you have plenty of other options in town. Maeda is for true nigiri lovers. Sit at the bar, and allow the sushi chefs to choose for you in the Japanese style (hint: weekday nights are less crowded and you will get more personalized attention). You will never get a better deal on the price, and the sushi chefs behind the bar are top-notch (an almost comparable experience at a sushi bar in San Francisco recently cost me well over $100). Maeda is not a place to go with a big crowd of people and it is not for people who don´t like sushi. The all-you-can-eat in one hour rule is relaxed especially when they are busy--service can be slow on weekend nights (sit back, order a sake and watch the sushi chefs at work). If you sit at the bar, ask if they have any special fish not listed on the menu--you might get a treat! Enjoy, Santa Barbara, I´m jealous!

Love the Sushi and the not-so-trendy- environment , 4/26/2005
Reviewer: Michelle from Santa Barbara, CA
We have now eaten at Maedra a few times now..hey, that´s us in the picture on this review!!!...we´ve taken advantage of the all you can eat special....we actually think it is great sushi ---and as for the small portions--personally, I would rather have quality than quantity..and remember you can always order more if you´re still hungry! I also really enjoy the "not so trendy" environment that so many other sushi restaurants in Santa Barbara have.... Everything we have ordered has always been outstanding-- I would highly recommend trying Maedra!

Great for all-you-can-eat, 2/11/2005
Reviewer: Spinelli
I highly reccomend Maeda sushi, but only if you are going there for the All-You-Can-Eat special. Also, if you go there for all-you-can-eat, its important to go in a small group of 2 or perhaps three people and sit at the sushi bar. I wouldn´t really ever go there unless I was really hungry and was ready to eat until my stomach nearly exploded. It´s a great place to take advantage of, as all of the specialty rolls are included in the all you can eat special. The Red Chili roll is a personal favorite: spicy tuna roll covered in tuna sashimi with spicy sauce. Even their appetizers are included in the all you can eat deal. The quality of the fish is always good and they have special items everyday too. The variety of fish and other food definately highlights their menu. Enjoy!

fine dining, 2/11/2005
Reviewer: Hungrymann from Santa Barbara food critic
Maeda is a good find for well priced quality Japanese cuisine. It is stupid to write a bad review based on the fact you couldn´t pay with your credit card because tehy have a fifteen dollar minimum on credit cards.

So disappointed!!!, 2/11/2005
Reviewer: Stacey from Santa Barbara native
I am so disappointed. My company has an office around the corner from Maeda, and I was really excited to be so close to a reasonably-priced sushi bar. So this past Wednesday I went there for lunch to try it out, ignoring the warnings of my work buddy, who cautioned that the fish was not fresh and the portions small. The first thing I noticed was the awful fish smell wafting out the door, something I´ve never smelled at another sushi bar. I gave them the benefit of the doubt - maybe the chef just cooked some fish and it was really strong-smelling, you know?- and sat down anyways. I ordered the tempura and sushi bento box, a combination that normally leaves me overly full at any Japanese restaurant. When my lunch came I nearly cried. The sushi (3 pieces) was the smallest I have ever seen. EVER. I´m talking pieces the size of my thumb (little girl-hand thumbs!). The tempura consisted of two pieces of shrimp (OK, that´s standard) and a little fried nest of shredded veggies about the size of my fist (again, small hands here!). The steamed rice portion was less than half a cup. Even the miso soup portion was smaller than at other Japanese restaurants, and had ONE piece of tofu and ONE piece of seaweed in it. The shrimp were fine. The tempura, to my dismay, contained green bell peppers, to which I am allergic, so I sent it back with a request for no peppers (has anyone else ever encountered bellpeppers in tempura? I mean, the whole reason I like Japanese food is that I don´t have to worry about them. Duh.). The re-made tempura took almost 20 minutes to arrive (my original lunch had taken less than ten). The fish on my sushi was fine, I guess, but nothing remarkable. When I finished my meal, still hungry, I went to pay and was informed there is a $15 minimum on credit cards. My bill was $8.70. The staff was completely unyielding on this and insisted they had informed me of the minimum at the time of my order (they had not)(nor was there any notice visible other than a sign at the cash register posted at hip level). They held my driver´s license while I walked to the bank and withdrew cash. So, the summary: the food was small and not very tasty, and they made this 30-year-old professional woman feel like crap, both from the poor service during my meal and the horrible rude treatment after when I tried to pay. It was reminiscent of the dining experiences I had in college, when the restaurant owners wanted your money but treated you like animals. I had to wait two days to write this review so that I was fair about it. I think that for someone who has not experienced the wonderful sushi restaurants we have here (Edomasa, Ichiban, Kai, and many more) this might be acceptable. Just make sure you have cash! And a partially full stomach before you go. Should you leave hungry, there´s a McDonald´s right across the street! Oh, I just read the rules for negative reviews. Here are my suggestions for Maeda´s owners to improve (and they are welcome to email me at the email address below!): 1) Increase your portion sizes to be competitive with other local sushi restaurants 2) Provide your wait staff with some customer service training - i.e. "the customer is always right", "one angry customer will tell 20 people", word of mouth is your most important asset in this town 3) Understand that customers make honest mistakes and treat them like they are important (we are your source of income after all) - be flexible. If I had been allowed to pay with my credit card instead of having to go through the runaround, I would not have written this review, in spite of my other negative experiences that day.

best sushi, EVER!, 1/5/2005
Reviewer: Sheema Bogdadchi from Your mom´s crotch
There is no better sushi place on this planet, period.

It´s authentic and creative!!!!, 12/12/2004

Maeda Sushi is great! I didn´t expect that I could eat such a great sushi with that price in the US. Sushi chef´s skill is awesome. Sushi is not only authentic but also creative. But, it doesn´t mean "American style". It still keeps Japanese style. Believe me! I am Japanese and grew up eating real sushi in Japan.

Great for College Students or the average Sushi goer, 12/8/2004
Reviewer: Jack from SB
If you are a college student and have a budget like me, well, Maedas is the place for you. All you can eat and try, if you are curious about trying new things they have a fantastic array of fishes. The fish tastes okay and its ALL you can eat. I have never been delayed and have always been able to order more then one roll, ALWAYS. My plate is always full, and I am happy to continue going here as long as I have a budget.

Maeda......"All -you -can GET" or "All-you-can EAT"???, 12/5/2004

I´ve enjoyed dining at dozens of SB Japanese and Chinese restaurants, but after trying Maeda for the 3rd time last Tuesday, I´m pretty sure I won´t be going back. The all-you-can eat in an hour deal is a scam that you cannot win as they keep a tally on your orders, delay service, then tell hungry customers that "your hour is up", and "would you like another drink"? The food was okay if you could get it. If you´re looking for a great all-you-can eat buffet, but don´t want to play Maeda´s silly games, I´d strongly suggest you try the Creekside Buffet at the Chumash Casino. For $10 they have a fabulous spread that usually includes prime rib, fried and scampi shrimp, crab legs, and a great salad and dessert bar. Walk straight through the casino and you´re sure to leave a winner!!!

Puny Portions, 11/21/2004

I´m not sure that these other reviewers have actually BEEN to and ATE at Maeda, but the portions for the rolls are TINY! I just ate there yesterday and the specialty and cut rolls only had 6 rolls (from the normal 8 rolls you could easily get elsewhere) with each roll being ONE INCH in diameter. ONE INCH?!?!?! That´s horrible! The sushi didn´t taste bad, but the tiny portions just ruined the meal, actually I wouldn´t even call it a meal, it ruined the "snack". If you want to waste your money and pay way toooo much for nothing, eh .. ok... O yah the one hour all you can eat is a little over 20 bucks a person and every person at the same table has to order it and just a heads up it takes about 15-20 mins to get your food, and you can only order one roll at a time.

Great sushi, great service, 9/20/2004

My wife and I make special trips to Santa Barbara just to eat here. The all you can eat sushi meal is a great deal. It´s much better than a buffet, since the sushi is freshly made. The fish is very fresh and melts in your mouth. The rice is moist and flavorful (not dried out like in a buffet). Freshness is the key to any good sushi. The staff is extremely attentive and we never feel pressured about the one-hour time limit. All in all it is the best sushi we´ve eaten in the area.

Best in SB , 8/12/2004
Reviewer: Eric from Santa Barbara
I am hesitiant to write about Madea and let the cat out of the bag for the best sushi in SB. Perhaps i´ll give it 2 stars? No, I couldn´t do that. The owner takes great care of me when I go (about once per week) and have yet to have a bad meal. The chefs are great- sit at the bar and let them suggest the sushi for a solid gold culinary experience.

Awesome Sushi.......right here!!, 7/24/2004

My husband and I had a dinner here last night. Really enjoyed good sushi and wonderful service. Recommend State Roll & Spider roll and Red Chili roll(if U like spicy:)!! O-i-shi~

Great Price!, 5/31/2004

The best deal in town. Portions are reasonable. Nothing fancy. Just great meal at a great price. The owner/chef makes amazing seared/peppered ahi pieces - ask for them, you won´t be disappointed. I make it here at least 2-3 x´s a month.

Great fish, great chefs, 3/19/2004
Reviewer: Kristen from Goleta, CA
The sushi chefs do it right at Maeda. I´ve eaten here four times now and it´s always excellent. It´s best to get there early so you can sit at the sushi bar where the chefs treat you right. I don´t even bother ordering specific items, I just tell them that I like everything and they fill me up. You just need to tell them when to stop! It´s best to visit on a Tues. night when there are few people around and the fish is super fresh.

Don´t be fooled by the All U can Eat in an hour deal, 2/18/2004
Reviewer: Joshua from Goleta, CA
I´ve eaten there about ten times now and have never been rushed. I believe they advertise it as "All You can eat in an hour" just to detract from buffet-type customers. The fish is always fresh, unique and service is outstanding. I only don´t give Maeda 5 out of 5 stars because they don´t have a full bar.

good stuff but..., 1/26/2004
Reviewer: Charlie from Santa Barbara
It was recomended to me by a friend, so a group of us went there to check it out. the atmosphere was pretty nice, and the service was decent, if a little slow. the all you can eat special is definately the way to go if in a small group [up to 4 i would say] otherwise there is nothing special about the menue. the portions are pretty small, especially for some of the more uncommon things, but it all tasted the best ive had in a very long while. very fresh fish, very good rice, not too loud or crouded. the only real down side is that the timer starts on the "all you can eat in an hour" special as soon as you step in the door, so expect [because of the slower than average service] to get two or three servings, make ´em count!!. very good place though! ^_^

Hands down the best place for sushi, 1/23/2004
Reviewer: Dean from Santa Barbara
If you love REAL sushi, this is the place for you. They have an all-you-can-eat special that I think is the best deal in town. The key to good sushi is fresh fish and good rice. Maeda´s has both. Try it, I guarantee you won´t be disappointed. Try the marinated albacore and the pepperd seared ahi.

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