Santa Barbara > Restaurants > Asian Cafe
Omni Catering

Asian Cafe
No longer in business
Opened: ? Closed: 2007-10

5869 Hollister Ave, Goleta
Phone: (805) 683-4417

Reviews by the General Public

I'll miss you!, 11/6/2007
Reviewer: Daryl from Santa Barbara, CA
Asian Cafe was one of my favorite lunch-time hideouts. I'm sad to see it go.

you will be missed!, 10/29/2007
Reviewer: Justin Adams from Hayward, CA
My girlfriend and I actually got to eat there the last day it closed(October, 27th, 2007). Well it didn't really close, just new name, owner and people running it. It was super busy, the service was slow and they had some kids taking orders that didn't seem to have any idea what they were doing. It was a bit of a disappointed ending to the restaurant that I love! The two lovely and sweet older women who ran it will be missed! My seafood noodle soup will never taste the same.

IT'S CLOSING?!?!?!, 10/27/2007
Reviewer: Jason Koivu from Carp

Excellent spring rolls, 7/3/2007
Reviewer: jonathan from Santa Barbara, CA
Most of the thai restaurants in town serve spring rolls that are more like Chinese egg rolls. The spring rolls here were excellent, as was the other food. I'll definitely go back again.

Try it!, 6/18/2007
Reviewer: Lara from Santa Barbara, CA
This place has the best Pho - I crave it on a regular basis.

My Favorite Vietnamese Place, 6/8/2007
Reviewer: Jason Koivu from Carpinteria, CA
It looks like a hole in the wall (and basically it is) but this place makes some of the tastiest food! My favorite dish is the vermicelli with beef, and admittedly I almost always get that. But the other stuff I've tried has been very good too. Plus I've heard their Pho is excellent. The service always comes with a big smile. The ladies that work here are so cute you just wanna stick them on your keychain so you can bring them around wherever you go!

greate food!!, 6/1/2007
Reviewer: kirk from Santa Barbara, CA
Ihe service here is always so fast and nice, so is the food. I always love the pho, it has lots of flavor and is very nureshing. I always get the spring rolls, they are SO good. I gont eat out much but I get serious withdrowls if I dont go here at leat twice a week, hoever, that is ok becase the prices are very resonabel. the rice dishes are aslo very good I love one dish that I cant remember the name of that has very thinly sliced beef, it is so flavorfull and practicly melts in my mouth. my mouth is watering as I wright. this may not be the typical fancy snob resturant. get a chance to take a look at the asain market next door, whene i go to get food, i always got the the market afterwards to l look at all the exotic engredents, every week, I look forwayd to geeting a few new ingedent from this market and makeing a meal at home, this is very fun becase their is a lot of ingrent that I cant finde at the big supermarkets.

Never lets me down, every time I come down!, 5/26/2007
Reviewer: Justin Adams from Hayward, CA
I live in the Bay Area and visit my girlfriend often in Santa Barbara and every time I come down we always make a trip to Asian Cafe'. She always gets the beef noodle soup, chicken noodle soup or the vermicelli. I always get the seafood noodle soup. No matter what pho' restaurant I go to I always get the seafood noodle soup. I should be on a judging panel for this type out soup and out of the many noodle houses i've been to, even Saigon in and out Noodle House on Milpas this one beats it! Love it! The two older women that work the place are so nice and have great attention to their food and consistency. The pho' and seafood noodle soup is always piping hot and delicious!

Great but not like Westminester or Garden Grove Pho, 3/30/2007
Reviewer: Jeremy E. from San Luis Obispo, Ca
I enjoy pho that stays hot until the last of the soup is done and growing up in Orange County I know authentic pho when I taste it.....this pho is great but not like home. I'll stop on my way down from San Luis Obispo but there is no rush.

Best PHO in SB , 2/21/2007
Reviewer: Mia from Santa Barbara, Ca
Being asian myself and growing up eating Pho, this place is very good. The PHO is great - the meat is still medium rare not over cooked like other places. The spring rolls are mouth watering and the Vietnamese sandiches are delicious. Of course, if you want the best PHO, go to LA, OC, SF or Fresno. But if you are in SB, check this place out! The service is not the best like the other Pho Restaurants, but food is fassst and warm. They also have take out which is very convenient.

Much Improved -- One of My Favorite Places Now, 11/6/2006
Reviewer: Daryl from Santa Barbara, CA
Maybe the reason for the mixed reviews here has to do with when the review was written. Having worked in Goleta for many years, I tried the Asian Cafe long ago and was not very impressed. During the last two years, however, I've found the food to be much better and very consistent from one visit to the next. It is now one of my favorite local haunts. The owner is very friendly and I always have the feeling she cares that her customers are happy and satisfied. The pho' is always good (and is always hot now). The pork with rice vermicelli is another favorite of mine. Try the Vietnamese sandwich with BBQ pork -- that's especially good. I do agree with the reviewer who did not like their "crispy pancakes". Those are far too greasy here and don't have enough taste. They might also be better if cooked with a little coconut milk? I've had this dish knock my socks off at other restaurants, so I know it can be done. It's not a place you go for "atmosphere", that's true. But I often like to read or write during my lunch breaks, and the Asian Cafe is a pretty good spot for that. (I've been going back a lot more frequently now that the TV is gone and Jerry Springer isn't blaring while I eat.) Vietnamese friends who've gone there with me have also liked the food and have given it good ratings compared with other Vietnamese restaurants in town. If you haven't tried this place in a long time, I think it deserves another chance.

best pho in santa barbara!, 10/17/2006
Reviewer: cynthia from santa barbara
the food is amazing, i'm vietnamese so i crave pho on a daily basis, and i come there with my boyfriend on a weekly basis, and though the atmosphere could be a little brighter, the lady who owns the restaurant is so sweet and kind. i recommend this restaurant to everyone in santa barbara who wants real vietnamese pho

Pretty Good , 2/5/2006
Reviewer: Kay from Goleta, CA
I'm not going to lie, it's not the best restaurant out there. But when you have that home-cooked food appetite, it's the place to be. I go there with my boyfriend when we're craving pho because quite frankly no other place in Santa Barbara is any better. It's just the atmosphere that can be a little depressing as the lighting is always dim and there is no cheery music..just silence or the TV is on. The lady who owns the restaurant is very nice.

Get the Pho, 1/10/2006
Reviewer: Jenny from Santa Barbara, CA
Fantastic Pho. My favorite place.

I absolutely love the Pho here, 10/19/2005
Reviewer: Brian I from Santa Barbara, CA
I've been to a few places down in SD that were supposedly the best around, and I have to say, I prefer the asian cafe to those resteraunts. I can't get enough of their pho. Absolutely wonderful!

BEST PHO EVER!, 10/11/2005
Reviewer: Sarah from Santa Barbara, CA
This is the most affordable pho in town and it taste the BEST!!!! The people are very nice. It's a nice atmosphere! If they say the taste is horrible, they are CRAZY! This is the number 1 PHO place. I highly recommend them. The portions are great and the price is just right.

Review, 10/6/2005
Reviewer: Jen from Santa Barbara, CA
This is a typical family-owned restaurant, a bit rundown and prices a bit high. My friend and I decided to try it out, and our only other experience with pho in SB has been New China (pretty good). My friend ordered pho and I ordered vermicelli, but both were small in portions. I've definitely had better.

great bun/rice plates, 9/1/2005
Reviewer: will from goleta, ca
like many other family-owned vietnamese restaurants, asian cafe is small and minimal in atmosphere. the price is higher than i expected, coming from northern california, but still lower compared to the flashier saigon noodle house, and much more value for how the taste is. i've never tried the pho, since i'm usually getting food to go, but i highly recommend the bun thit nuong cha gio (rice vermicelli noodles with beef and vietnamese-style egg roll) and make sure to use the nuc mam!

the pho isn't good, 8/4/2005
Reviewer: David L from Santa Barbara
I tried this place about a year ago, and unless they changed how their pho is, it shouldn't be getting all the praise that everyone is getting it. for one, the pho that i got wasn't the right temperature, it was practically tepid. Second, there was a very watered down flavor to it. third, the vegetables they gave me for the meal didn't look right (brown and black spots on the green parts) .. But who knlows, a year is a long time and i'd be willing to give this place one more shot from all the flowery reviews.

Best Pho in Town, 8/4/2005
Reviewer: Josh G. from Santa barbara, ca
This place is AMAZING. it is owned and run by a great family that really know how an oxtail broth should taste. the woman who cooks in tha back occasionally comes out and visits with her regualras and recommends amazing new thing for me to try. i love this place. it is one of those hole in the wall finds that once you go you will be a return visitor forever. if you are looking for fancy dining this is not the place. if you want quality, authenticity and taste then you must try this glorious little restaurant. mary thanks for the amazaing food, now i dont have to drive to LA everytime i want vietnamese

Best Pho on the Central Coast!, 7/30/2005
Reviewer: Robert from Pismo Beach, CA
We used to live in both San Jose and Orange County, where there is plenty of great Vietnamese food, plus we've traveled to Vietnam so we know what authentic Vietnamese food tastes like. Since we moved to the Central Coast, we've been looking for good and authentic Vietnamese food, particularlly the beef soup called "Pho". We've tried other places in Santa Barbara, Goletta, Santa Maria and San Luis Obipso, all of which weren't very good. Asian Cafe is by far the best on the Central Coast and rivals some of the good places in Little Saigon on San Jose. My only complaint is that they're not open on Sundays.

The Best !, 7/11/2005
Reviewer: Tony from Santa Barbara, CA
I really like it !

most authentic Vietnamese food in town, 7/7/2005
Reviewer: Vietnamese girl from Goleta, CA
This place is small, but the food is excellent. It has the most authentic Vietnamese food in town, and the prices are very affordable.

Love their vermicelli, 6/19/2005
Reviewer: RickEEE from Trigo Rd, Isla Vista, CA
I will compare their food to my mom´s cooking, since she is Cambodian and knows a few dishes from across the border. Their vermicelli is amazing! I´ve tried it with bbq beef, bbq pork, and the pork + shrimp combo. The bbq beef is sweet, which is how I like it. It is better than many in the LA area (Little Saigon). Better than my mom´s version. Only had their pho once, it was OK, better than Saigon Noodle House, but not as good as the LA area. My mom does not make pho. Also, their shrimp rolls are very good, I like to dip them in the vermicelli sauce instead of the default sauce. However, like other places, they do not compare to those my mom makes! (she uses pork and shrimp, AWESOME) Oh yes, I also recommend their garlic shrimp. And no, I am not one of the owner´s kids as one of the reviewers assumes below of all positive reviewers.

Love the food, Love the people, 4/7/2005
Reviewer: josh from santa barbara, CA
i go at least once a week this is the best vietnamese food in town. the owbers are cute and really know what they are doing. dont worry if it looks small, the taste is huge

Shy, 3/31/2005
Reviewer: shy from santa barbara
This restaurant is incredibly awesome! They have the best PHO ever, and very affordable. I eat there regularly. The family that owns the restaurant is incredibly nice!

affordable, fast, least in my experience, 11/13/2004
Reviewer: tanya from ucsb, CA, USA
I´ve eaten at this place several times and I find it to be a lot more authentic Vietnamese food than the awful Saigon Noodle House on Hollister near Storke Rd. This one is closer to Fairview Ave. Anyway, the rice noodle dish with beef is delicious and I get it almost every time. I don´t really like Pho so I can´t comment on that. It may not be all that authentic and is a bit watered down in terms of spiciness, but it´s the only good ethnic food that I can afford in this whole county. The other places are mostly awful. Also, the shrimp spring roll appetizer is great.

Best Variety, 9/5/2004
Reviewer: Greg & Yukari from Goleta, CA
Very rustic. Widest selection of good viet items of all three local restaurants. Good lunch place. The grilled pork is way too sweet. Go across the street to the NC if you want bun. Stay away from the pancake -- it´s like a coastal oil spill.

4 to 5 star, you must be kidding!!!, 7/26/2004
Reviewer: Peter Tran from Santa Barbara
How sad, restuarant like this give Vietnamese food a bad reputation. Their Pho taste like instant noodle the first time I was there. Don´t know about now. That´s right it is never crowded like the reviewer below stated, because the food just aint there. I don´t know if all of these people that give it a 4 to 5 stars are the owner´s kids or what, but to be honest, I´m really embrassed.

Good grub!, 6/20/2004
Reviewer: Peter
Best pho in town, just order and they bring out your food. And the little market next door is a must-visit. Great place for lunch!

a must!, 4/14/2004

I absolutely love this place! the prices are the best in town and the quality of the food is excellent. I go on a regular basis, its a much better than the fast food route. All of the dishes are true vietnamese cuisine (I would know because I´m vietnamese). It´s a casual relaxed atmosphere that is rarely crowded. Spread the word! this place is GREAT!

good food yum..., 4/5/2004

This was the best food from vietnam ...had pho... will go again soon -- no hype. Many people who write reviews don´t know anything about the food they ate, i.e. they do not know what vietnamese food is suppossed to taste like but since I come from Vietnam I know this is good food!!!

Small but great taste, 3/31/2004
Reviewer: A chinese who like eating from Santa Barbara
This restaurant is quite small and does not look like a restaurant people like. But they know how to cook, indeed. Just like "Wing Chinese Restaurant", u should try it if u care about taste, noy atmosphere.

Excellent!, 3/27/2004

Restaurant is owned and run by Vietnamese so they definitely know how to cook pho. Restaurant is located right next to an Asian food store so that´s a plus. Place is small but pho is still good. I´ll be back again.

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