Santa Barbara > Restaurants > Itsuki Restaurant
Neighbor Tims BBQ

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

4020 Calle Real, Santa Barbara
Phone: (805) 687-3838

Reviews by the General Public

Our favorite family restaurant, 6/30/2012
Reviewer: Geoff from Santa Barbara, CA
We love the food and service here. You are always warmly greeted and cared for by the wait staff. And the food is outstanding: The sushi is amazing -- great quality and good size pieces. Try the yellow tail belly or the seared ahi carpaccio. The chef has the usual list of familiar rolls, but the best are his creations (the itsuki roll is utterly unique - and very tasty too). My kids love this place. The dinners are delicious, with generous portions, and the desserts are creative and flavorful. The chocolate sorbet is out of this world. If you haven't been here, you need to try this place. If you've already eaten here, I don't need to convince you how wonderful it is...

Great lunch, 6/5/2010
Reviewer: S.B.Native from Santa Barbara, CA
1st time here and as a S.B.Native we are glad to have found it! Good food and nice service. The shopping center is seedy thanks to the two liquor stores within 200 feet. We will be going back!

Very disappointed., 10/19/2009
Reviewer: Holly from Santa Barbara, CA
What is wrong with the waiters at this place!? This restaurant was one of my favorites in town and both their food and service were nice before, but this time I was very very very disappointed! There were three waiters that night, and one of them took our drink order and never came back. We had been ignored for about 15 minutes. We called another waiter to take our order, and another 10 minutes we still had no drinks yet!! Eventually the third waiter brought our drinks. Food was good though, nobody came to check on us. We wanted refill, more napkins, and we were missing soy sause plates for sushi, and so on! We tried to ask, but they all at the cashier doing something and we had to give up on them. It was a horrible, unpleasant service. They are too slow or lazy or stupid to be waiters. How could all the three be like that!? I wonder that the owner of this place know about this situation. He should train all the staff from the beginning!!

Disappointed after all these years, 5/2/2009
Reviewer: Eric Edwins from Santa Barbara, CA
I used to think Itsuki was the best Japanese food in town but it has gone down hill. The portions are smaller, the food more bland and I was very suprised on my last visit how much the prices have gone up. I used to love the sukiyaki but at $17.50(from $12.50 a few years ago) it was very bland and skimpy portion. I won't be going back to Itsuki anymore. It has really moved away from the basics which it was good at...too many "foofy" items on the menu and meager portions these days.

My favorite Japanese Restaurant in SB, 4/24/2009
Reviewer: natasha from Santa Barbara, CA
My favorite dish is Salmon Kama. You should definitely give it a try!! Yellowtail kama is awesome too. they also have great ramen. I love the char shui ramen. it is hard to find an authentic place like this in Sb. I have been to other japanese restaurants in sb, but Itsuki is always my favorite.

Wonderful food!!, 4/9/2009
Reviewer: Eiko Kitao from Santa Barbara, CA
I have been eating here 2-3 times a week since I have discovered this little gem. I am a huge fan of the ramen noodles and my kids love the udon and bento combos they offer. The best suprise was when they offered seaweed rice balls with salmon that accompanies the noodles dishes! My children have wanted to try them since the movie My Neighbor Totoro came out years ago!! We love the food and the service!!!

Very nice people, Food Ok, 3/12/2009
Reviewer: Glenn from Buellton
Food did not blow me away for the price. It is a nice setting and atmosphere and the waitresses could not be nicer with spacious seating. For better quality try Kobachi Izakaya in El Mercado on Hollister close by.

Expanded physically, not quite mentally, 9/26/2008
Reviewer: lemonjelly from santa barbara, ca
I dined at Itsuki recently and was very surprised to see they've expanded their space! They've taken over the business next door, knocked down the wall and remodelled. It's nice, but the "hole in the wall" atmosphere is now gone, which can be a good or a bad thing. I find the hidden gem nooks to be charming, personally. The menu is now sushi and roll heavy, and I have traditionally appreciated this place for its noodles. Noodle options are still there, but it's just a small part of the packed 3 page menu. A big plus: they have a *great* selection of Japanese beers, included rice beers, and these seem really hard to find in Santa Barbara. A big minus, and I really hope Itsuki reads this: the new expanded space is nice, but there is still a mental wall blocking it! I sat near the expanded space and had exemplary service. Another couple, sitting not 2 feet away, and in the new space were virtually ignored for their whole meal. They waited 20 minutes before anyone took their order. In fact, I felt so bad for them, I went to the staff and suggested they help the couple. Then they were brought the wrong order. Then nobody cleared their plates and they must have sat another 20 minutes before getting up to ask for the check. Meanwhile, we were visited at least three times by our waitress for orders and checkups, offered water refills at least five times, plates cleared and check brought without us lifting a finger. For that, we tipped highly, but honestly the couple next to us was nice to leave any tip at all. We were no different to them. I would happily receive average service if it meant more consistent service to everyone. So please, Itsuki, if you want to expand your space, be sure to manage the whole floor, not just the tables visible from your prep area. Thank you!

Hidden Gem!, 7/26/2008
Reviewer: Aimee from Goleta, CA
After receiving many recommendations from friends, we finally tried Itsuki last night. To our pleasant surprise, it exceeded our already high expectations. While the restaurant's exterior seems a little dingy, the inside is clean and cozy. We ordered two of the special rolls, the Tiger Eye-Eye and the Kamikaze (extra spicy tuna). Both featured a creative blend of ingredients and a lovely presentation. We also ordered yakinuki and katsu donburi. It was WAY more than we could eat, but both dishes were delicious. The yakinuki was grilled to perfection and the donburi was far superior to the other mediocre incarnations I've encountered in SB. It was affordable, too - a small sake, two special rolls, and two entrees with miso soup came out to about $40 (and I'll definitely order less next time, now that I know how big the portions are.) Can't wait to go back to try more of the menu!

Just for who wants to loves REAL Japanese foods.., 7/17/2008
Reviewer: Aoi Tyna from Santa Barbara
Do you really like Japanese food? Then you should know better that SUSHI is not every day meals. This is the place you can get daily "Mama" makes foods. Love that they have really close to real Japanese foods which the owner's concept. Highly recommended to try...noodles, donburi, bento, dinner plate (yakiniku, amiyaki-beef..), Chef's special sushi. By the way, they have beautiful Sushi&Rolles menu which would satisfy your appetite! I can not wait to eat there soon!

GREAT, 7/7/2008
Reviewer: Jonnhy Melaslavo from Santa Barbara, CA
My friend and I shared the ginger pork and the 'sizzling' calamari and we were amazed by both of them. The calamari 'steak' tempura is by far the best fried calamari in town. Potato croquettes are awesome. Salmon skin salad superb. Crushed green tea jelly with green tea ice cream dessert outstanding!

We have a lunch here every Friday and we are all from Japan., 5/28/2008
Reviewer: Yoshi from Goleta
Our gang from Japan has lunch at Itsuki every Friday and a few of us work for top Santa Barbara Sushi restaurants. We play golf in the morning and then have a nice lunch at Gaku's (owner /chef) place. One of our favorites is the Katsu Donburi and Soba combo. It is delicious with ample portion for hungry golfers. Another reason we frequent this place is the different dishes Gaku offers. His box lunch is reasonable and tastes good. Noodle with an option of the Onigiri is also a wonderful touch. He also offers brown rice as an option for any dish, which is a great option. The place is a little crowded with tables, however, Itsuki offers good comfortable Japanese food. At under $10 per person, this place is hard to beat. The only complaint I have is tea should be free.

Amazing food, amazing price, 12/26/2007
Reviewer: Mike from Goleta, CA
The food is amazing and authentic. The prices are very reasonable and the portions are amazingly sized for the price. The service is usually extremely good and the kitchen is willing to make special orders. However, the seating area is rather small, so you could be in trouble if it's too busy (thankfully, not usually an issue due to the hole-in-the-wall location).

Really good!, 11/6/2007
Reviewer: Karen from Santa Barbara
Went back to Itsuki after not having been in a while.....their menu is huge now! We had sushi, both rolls and nigiri; it was all delicious. I've had their noodles in the past, loved 'em, and will make it a point to go back to Itsuki soon. The service was O.K. They were extremely busy on Sunday night, and we got a little neglected.

great place for noodles, 10/24/2007
Reviewer: Frances from Santa Barbara
I am not the same Fran who put in a review earlier. We like going to this little restaurant for noodles. They have a large selection of noodle dishes. After watching the Japanese movie Udon, four of us went there for noodles and all order different dishes and enjoyed all of them.

Americanized Japanese Food, 8/24/2007
Reviewer: Ken Farris from Santa Barbara, CA
Itsuki was a good restraunt about 5 years ago but changed their food to fit American tastes. For example the ramen, which tastes like nothing is wrong with it for an American, but the noodles have no back and aren't chewy and remind me of spagetti, the soup base is sweet and has a unusual flavor, the shinjuku is soggy, and the naruto isn't sweet. The sushi is delicious. Otherwise most of their other food is great because it is probably one of the most "japanese" restraunts in Santa Barbara that you can find. You might try some japanese restraunts on State Street, because most of them have fairly decent food.

Still a great Place, 7/12/2007
Reviewer: Carlos from Santa Maria,CA
Ahhh,ITsuki. I ate here when I lived in SB on a regular basis from 89-95. It's the sort of family restaurant that is a joy to find. I used to get their Donburi Tonkatsu at least once a month. Since I now live an hour away, I still ocasionally eat there and am very pleased to note it has not changed. The food remains the same homestyle Japanese cooking,with plenty of choices,good portions and fair prices,something that's not always present in SB.Great clientele of Japanese nationals, old time SB regulars and a few tourists. Truly a Santa Barbara gem.

Most authentic Japanese restaurant, 4/16/2007
Reviewer: Ellen Yamamoto from Pasadena, CA
This restaurant serves not only the most authentic Japanese food but also some innovative dishes. In Southern California it has been increasingly difficult to find authentic Japanese dishes like the ones served in Japan. One has to travel to the south bay area of L.A. in cities like Torrance to find this. Many Japanese restaurants are now run by Chinese and Koreans and food is not authentic or delicious. Visiting Santa Barbara, I was so happy to find this restaurant. Kudos to Itsuki!!!

Love this restaurant, 4/5/2007
Reviewer: Aldous from Goleta/CA
No frills. Had a hometown feel to it. Feels like a restaurant in Japan. Food was great. Value was great. Service excellent. Speedy. Always was served within 10 minutes. Have gone there three times since and am going today. I've since developed a craving for this place.

Will not go back, 3/9/2007
Reviewer: Fran from Santa Barbara, CA
This was out first time going to this restaurant. We went because most of the reviews were great. Our service was wonderful, however the couple next to us, who ordered before we even arrived, were not served until we were paying the bill and then they took it to go because they had an appointment and they paid the full bill. The California roll was so rubbery I could not get my teeth through it. The chicken teriyaki was overcooked and tough as shoe leather. The beef in my partners meal was cold and the tempura was greasy and huge. Overall a very disappointing meal.

childhood restaurant, 6/15/2006
Reviewer: Elle from santa barbara Ca
I have been coming to this resturant since before I could use chopsticks and before I could walk. I can still remember the waitresses making the traning chopstick sets for me with a rubber band and the paper wraping from the chopsticks. After all this time it is still my favorite restaurant ever and the only food I miss from home (sorry mom) when I leave for school every year. The waitresses there are very nice and always try to take care of you and the food is as close to the real taste of japan as you are going to get here.

The only original Japanese in town, 5/2/2006
Reviewer: Dan from Santa Barbara
My Japanese friend took me to this place last week. I have been eating Japanese in more than 5 countries and I must say this little restaurant serves the best original taste. It is my no.1 fav restaurant now Service can be improved, they brought my appetizer after the main meals :{ Great food!! Service is average

Not very good, 4/16/2006
Reviewer: cyc from Santa Barbara, CA
I read the reviews here about how good this place is. I went there a few times, one time for dinner, it was just okay. I tried lunch specials twice. It was the worst lunch special I had. All the chicken pieces were burned to black. I gave them another chance and did the lunch again and it was bad again. I will not go back to this place.

Not the usual Japanese food, 4/12/2006
Reviewer: Gina in SB from Santa Barbara
I love this restaurant. I've been coming here for three years. It's the first restaurant I ate at when I moved to SB. I was ecstatic to find a Japanese restaurant that served all the noodle dishes and then some. I've been to Japan and this food reminds me of my visit. (It's not all sushi in Japan either). I just took my sister this month when she visited me and she loved it too. I've tried many, many items on the menu such as the udon, ramen, donburi, rolls, teriyaki, gyoza and more. It's all delicious and reasonably priced. I would highly recommend this place.

SSSSSHHHHH!!!! Dont give away the secret, 2/10/2006
Reviewer: HIPCEE from Carp
Been there at least a dozen times since discovering Itsuki, and its never let me down! In fact, I think i'll go tonight!

Excellent!, 7/24/2005
Reviewer: John from santa barbara,CA
I ate @Itsuki restaurant wiz some Japanese friend. The food was great. The Japanese friends also admires the quality, they say Itsuki is the real Japanese restaurant.

Least Pretentious Japanese Food in SB, 5/9/2005
Reviewer: Miguel from Goleta, CA
This has become one of my favorite Japanese Restaurant in Santa Barbara. The Itsuki Bento box dinner is great. Very reasonably priced, and delicious. It´s true that sometimes they bring the entree before the miso soup, or that the waiter occasionally misunderstands my order of Salmon Sushi (which I love) for Salmon ROE Sushi (which makes me gag). They are always quick to fix the mistake and so polite and apologetic. While there is nothing wrong with the Sushi, I think Itsuki shines most in their noodles and other non-sushi dishes. Like other reviewers have said, you can get dishes here that you normally would not be able to eat outside a Japanese home. Stuff like Ochazuki (flavored rice with green tea poured over it), or Natto (fermented bean curd) which takes some getting used to, but is worth it for the cultural "street cred" you can obtain in front of your friends when you eat it. This is my Japanese Restaurant of choice in SB, unless it is past 9pm, in which case I go to Edomasa.

A find!, 2/25/2005

I find the Japanese food here to be pretty authentic family-style, reminiscent of some things I had in Japan. The servers are nice and the place is hole-in-the-wall casual. No need to dress up. But it is small, so make a reservation if you have a large party. And don´t expect elegant decor. I´ve eaten here many times and have not yet had a disappointing meal.

Awesome !, 2/3/2005
Reviewer: Mike G. from Goleta, CA
Now this is a great place. Not easy to find and their hours are kind of limited/ Gte the bento tray special. Yummy !!!

tasty authentic "normal" japanese food, 11/24/2004
Reviewer: Andrew from Santa Barbara
My impression of japanese food until Itsuki was: sushi. All Japanese food, at least in Santa Barbara, consists of sushi (usually california rolls) or sashimi. This is apparantly not true, which is good in my case, because I´m not a particularly big fan of sushi. And at Itsuki I was very happy to learn about "oyako donburi", a steamed egg-chicken-mushroom dish on rice (almost a stew), and "kakiyaki donburi" (it resembles tempura over rice, and is not available on the English-menu, so you have to know to ask for it). Both were cooked and very tasty. My friend Tetsuya (who was impressed, by the way) informs me there are a lot of other things like this you would only expect to find on a menu in Japan, not Santa Barbara, and if you bring a Japanese friend along, they can help you try out the items on the Japanese-only menu. This is a nice place with definite "hole in the wall" coolness. I have eaten there 6 times and neither I, nor any of my companions have had any food poisonning so far, although I don´t doubt the testimony of the earlier reviewer. That concern withstanding, this restaurant is definitely my favorite Japanese restaurant in the area.

Seemed like great food, got sick afterwards though..., 11/19/2004
Reviewer: Ben from Santa Barbara, CA
A couple friends and I went here Tuesday night this week. We were excited to find a Japanese place in town that we hadn´t tried yet. Although we enjoyed the food, service and atmosphere of the small restaurant, one of my friends and I both suffered a round of nasty food poisoning afterwards from the pork katsu donburi. (Yes, this post is part of my venting after finally recovering). Neither of us had gotten sick from Japanese food before. For Itsuki´s sake I hope this was a fluke, but I don´t think we´ll be trying the place again for some time.

A great little Japanese family restaurant..., 10/26/2004
Reviewer: Michelle "Ms. Geek" Klein-Hass from Panorama City, CA
I´m from LA but I come up to SB on a regular basis. There are several places like this in LA (Kyushu Ramen in Van Nuys, Kouraku in Little Tokyo, Mishima in West LA) but Itsuki has its own definite charm about it. Great food, and lots of it. You won´t find gourmet Japanese food like what Iron Chef Michiba and Iron Chef Morimoto made on the show, but you will find really, really good homestyle Japanese food here. You definitely can´t go wrong with the Bento special. And they have a way with Unagi here that´s nothing short of incredible. It would be nice if they had brown rice as an option, but that´s a minor point. I always try to drop by when I´m in town. Itadekimasu!

Great hole in the wall!, 10/13/2004

I discovered this place a few years ago and no one knows about it or has even heard of it. It´s a little hole in the wall, and like many other hole-in-the-wall restaurants it has great food and a large quantity for the amount of money you pay! If you like Japanese food at least give it a try.

Have you eaten here? Write a review of this location!  Terms of Service