The staff was very well trained
The staff was very well trained and personable. It was so pleasant to be in a restaurant where we could hold a conversation, we actually could hear each other! It was lovely.
6/13/2013 12:00:00 AM
Great Place for Lunch
The three of us had different dishes and all were excellent; baked salmon, ahi salad, short ribs shepherd pie. Of course we had to enjoy the famous Floating Island dessert which was truly delicious. The menu is a bit pricey but the environment and view makes it worth it.
6/13/2013 4:00:00 PM
Fine Dining with a View
Stunning location with an exceptionally nice staff - - although some lags in service.
I recommend two appetizers instead of appetizer/entree. Short rib entree was a bit dry. not particularly flavorful, should have had the fantastic hamachi. Local abalone and risotto appetizers (also available as an entree portion, but it's very rich) were fantastic. Don't miss Ellie's cheese - i will be back for this tangy cheddar purloined from the hotel's very own cow - - who does not live on property! El Encanto is very special and I will return again and again and hope the service is a bit more spot on. It can be pricey and most of the wines by the glass on are priced on the high end - so don't leave home without your AMEX card.
6/14/2013 12:00:00 AM
Historic Hotel re-opnes
With a storied several decade history, the El Encanto reopened within the last 3-4 months. The dining room and terrace are wonderful locations for a special evening out, with sweeping views of the city and ocean. The menu offered a full range of choices, all of which were interesting. I wanted the filet mignon special, but it was sold out by 9 pm. The NY steak was an excellent substitute. Braised short ribs were exceptionally flavorful, too.Be sure to order the "Floating Island" for desert, an historic item, currently presented as meringue form in a bowl, surrounded by a sweet cream sauce....light and a tasty, and only available here. The server was very knowledgeable and a delight.
6/15/2013 12:00:00 AM
Celebrating Our 24th Anniversary
My wife and I always save our anniversary as the occasion for going out to one of the best restaurants in town. This year provided the first opportunity in many years to experience fine dining at the El Encanto. We were not disappointed. Their attentive and personable staff immediately put us at ease and took very good care of us. I started off with a refreshing Riviera cocktail: very good. Their menu offered a great variety of choices, and the swordfish was the best I've ever had. Dessert was absolutely delicious. The view looking out over Santa Barbra, the marina and out to Santa Cruz island was fantastic, and the beautifully landscaped grounds are perfect for an after dinner stroll.
6/16/2013 4:00:00 PM
If you can find it, you'll have a wonderful experience. We went for lunch, and the "shepherd's" pie and fish n chips were adequate, but not outstanding. Why green mashed potatoes? It is not shepherd's pie, as it is beef, not lamb. (Get it? shepherd=sheep). The service was quite outstanding; the prices were exhorbitant. A small plate of green veg was $8. The corkage fee, $35. Buyer be ware.
6/18/2013 12:00:00 AM
Great service, beautiful setting!
This was a lovely place to visit for my husband's birthday dinner. The service was excellent, Champagne, bread, and setting also amazing but the food was pretty one-note. Good, but not great, and at that price it should be. We did enjoy our meal, the highlight being the swordfish dish and the bread and butter service but other than that they need to work on the wow factor. Because our service was so great we would definitely go back on another occasion.
6/18/2013 12:00:00 AM
Not to be missed experience!
Went to celebrate a birthday and it was definitely a winner! She loved everything about this delightful place. I grew up in Santa Barbara and had heard of the El Encanto for years and may have even been there during my youth. It has been completely remodeled and reopened in the past 4 months. The views are spectacular, the food was very tasty and abundant and the service excellent!. I have already told another friend that we should dine there in the near future.
6/26/2013 12:00:00 AM
We had such a great and romantic dinner here. The chef provided samples and homemade macaroons were provided for the special occasion (honeymoon).
6/27/2013 12:00:00 AM
Not inexpensive, but worth every penny. Great food, great service, great view. Request a table on the outside terrace.
6/29/2013 12:00:00 AM
The recent renovation to the
The recent renovation to the hotel and restaurant is fabulous. Sitting out on the terrace for dinner was wonderful. Great menu and terrific food. Would definitely return.
6/30/2013 12:00:00 AM
We had a beautiful time--party
We had a beautiful time--party of six, on the terrace. Kind of foggy but even that was
gorgeous. Service excellent, although waiter could have been a bit more knowledgable.
Sommelier outstanding and steered us to an exquisite pinot our wine guru had not tried and
loved. All dishes executed perfectly, especially the lobster gnocchi and the abalone appetizer.
very expensive, but no complaints from our table. We will return and wish it could be tomorrow.
7/2/2013 12:00:00 AM
A lot of bad reviews for this
A lot of bad reviews for this restaurant, but I am glad we went and tried it. A very classy place for lunch or dinner. We gave five stars overall because the setting is SO spectacular. I could also see that a lot of care and thought has been put into top quality furnishings, silverware, etc. We had good service and the food was OK, some dishes better than others. I would bet that the food will improve over time. There was a sense that they are a work in progress. We will continue to go and see how they mature. It would be tragic if they settle for food that is just OK considering their great setting.
7/8/2013 12:00:00 AM
Tasty but expensive
Great views, yummy food, great place to go for a special occasion. The food was excellent but expensive. We could not afford to frequent the restaurant very often.
7/19/2013 12:00:00 AM
Beautiful view re Terrace Seating
beautiful remodel re El Encanto Hotel --- wonderful experience
7/27/2013 12:00:00 AM
I had been receiving very poor reviews no the El Encanto, several of them from my wife, but my experience yesterday was great. Our server, Stephen, was outstand and all threee of us loved our food. i think they must be listening to the critics and upgrading both food and staff.
I will be going back!!!
7/31/2013 12:00:00 AM
El Encanto is a lovely evening in every way. The view and ambiance are the best in Santa Barbara. Loved the food, entire staff provides helpful service that is tasteful and professional. Excellent food and a great wine list. Just a perfect romantic evening.
8/9/2013 12:00:00 AM
Beautiful Addition to Santa Barbara
The El Encanto has been upgraded to its majestic self. The view is beautiful and the brunch was incredible!!!
8/11/2013 12:00:00 AM
Having been to the old El
Having been to the old El Encanto several times, we were looking forward to the new model and we weren't disappointed. The staff are impeccably trained- from the valet to the front desk to the restaurant. The terrace has to be the best dining spot in all of Santa Barbara and the food was superb. Can't wait to go back...
8/12/2013 12:00:00 AM
Our server, Augustine, not only remembered my name, but he provided blankets to my wife when she got cold; moved a heater closer to her; took pictures of us with the sunset and the crescent moon in the background; recommended a sweet wine which my wife loves. We will definitely return.
8/13/2013 12:00:00 AM
Excellent and romantic dinner!
This was recommended to us and it was the perfect choice to end our romantic week. Jeremy was our waiter and recommended a great wine from a very deep and excellent wine list. The view is amazing, the food and presentation very good, and the ambiance ideal for a romantic and elegant dinner. The terrace seating was great.
8/15/2013 12:00:00 AM
Friends and rumors had prepared me for a VERY expensive evening. We brought 2 bottles of wine with us for which the corkage was $35 for each bottle (about standard for high-end restaurants in our area). For a 3-course meal for 6 people the bill came to $532 including tip. So, in the scheme of things it was pricey but not "OMG I would never do it again." Everything about the evening was about as perfect as a meal could be.
8/20/2013 12:00:00 AM
Amazing views and great food...
The outdoor terrace is fantastic and has spectacular views. The food is quite good and the wait staff was very friendly and offered some great suggestions. The only downside was the lighting at the tables. While the ambiance is excellent, it is nearly impossible to see your food after sundown if you aren't seated really close to the main dining room. The farther away you get, which is where the best views are, the harder it is to see. Overall a great dining experience though.
8/30/2013 12:00:00 AM
The restaurant as the most beautiful view of Santa Barbara
The food is exceptional best place I've eat in Central Coast
Service professional, wine list great you'll have a terrific time.
9/4/2013 12:00:00 AM
Enjoy the service!
Service was hands down one of the best in life. Aaron was super professional and made everybody really happy. Atmosphere was romantic with the upscale live Jazz band. Food was nice too; every dish was made to order & they did a really wonderful job to make sure that they were all dairy-free, as one of us was lactose-intolerant. Everyone seemed to enjoy their fish. I didn't like my veal duo so much; the meat was still pretty rough, and my brother's lamb ran a very small size. Expect appetizers to be in very small portion (more like "tapas" size). Oh, and make sure you try their panna cotta; we all enjoyed it very very much!
9/6/2013 12:00:00 AM
We have special memories of this restaurant but had not been to the El Encanto for years, so when a trip brought us back to Santa Barbara we decided to try it again. The hotel has recently (March 2013) reopened after an extensive upgrade and is now part of the Orient Express group. We arrived early to enjoy the view and explore the grounds, then got to the restaurant and were seated at a prime location on the extensive terrace with a spectacular view. The food was excellent, the service friendly but professional, the wine list is impressive. I highly recommend it!
9/10/2013 12:00:00 AM
This is a great gem. The al fresco dining at the hotel is great for breakfast. Menu has a variety of options to please any palate. Not a bargain and the portions tend to be small, but that is fine with me.
9/13/2013 12:00:00 AM
Wrapped in invisible mink
We arrived early (to tour the grounds where we were married 25 years earlier). Checked in at the reservation desk and were thanked for checking in. Had drinks at the bar, very nice. Seated outside as requested and were advised that the chef had taken note of our request for gluten free dishes and would personally sign off that the prepared dishes would be gluten free.
Asked for a rose' wine not on the regular wine list and it was sourced and served chilled to perfection. Food was great, service was superb and the desserts came with "happy anniversary" in frosting on a plate with complimentary macaroons. Splendid!
9/13/2013 12:00:00 AM
A tranquil place to rest the soul
ADA accessible. Spacious. Come here to escape traffic sounds while sitting outside. A wonderful place to rest the eyes and rejuvenate oneself. You can hear the birds actually. Oh of course the food is wonderful. You should come here if you are looking for dishes you would not cook at home.
9/15/2013 12:00:00 AM
The service was great. From valet parking to the front desk to the entire dining team and subsequent showing of a hotel room suite by a bell hop.... it got really old hearing "My Pleasure".
9/16/2013 12:00:00 AM
Miss on the fish
Stay away from the local bass. It's dry and flavorless. I had the scallops which were very good. The service and atmosphere was great. I simply would stay away from the local bass.
9/20/2013 12:00:00 AM
menu and noise level
Fortunately I booked for 6:30 dinner and we were the first ones for the dinning room and were able to sit in the far window table for 2.
Their was a wedding up stairs and the Terrace was noisy with piano from lounge as well. I just like to hear my date . Loved the view. The vegetarian options were limited as I wouldn't think that riossoto seemed like a meal. I ordered the squash but it felt incomplete. However it was flavorful. Would have liked at least one pasta dish in this category. We ordered the island by recommendation from one of the help but didn't particularly like it nor finished it. The coffee was good.
9/21/2013 12:00:00 AM
It is back!
Love the El Encanto and they are back with the same class and flair they have always had. I want to go back with a boyfriend, with a girlfriend, with a group, with a family. It was beautiful and the service was outstanding.
9/25/2013 12:00:00 AM
Beautiful location, terrific view from the terrace. Service was attentive and professional. Very good food, though the beverages were way overpriced compared to the food. $5 for an 8 ounce bottle of Diet Coke was a little silly. Still a great spot for my girlfriend's Birthday dinner, and we'll come back.
9/30/2013 12:00:00 AM
Best terrace meal in town!
Each of our dishes were delicious: eel over rice, fish and chips and the pork and lobster sandwich! Wee jose our lunch with an amazing view over Santa Barbara. Waiter was terrific with service, and all staff were friendly. We'll be back!
10/5/2013 12:00:00 AM
we were visiting santa barbara
we were visiting santa barbara for a few days and el encanto was recommended to us. My husband had eaten there 20 years ago and was no impressed. However, since their remodel the place was terrific. The service, ambiance and food were great.
10/7/2013 12:00:00 AM
Lovely anniversary dinner
The service, view and food could not have been nicer.
10/12/2013 12:00:00 AM
Great Dining Experience
My wife and I went to the El Encanto for our 16th anniversary dinner. They have expanded the outdoor deck, and it is beautiful, with a great view. The deck would be perfect for lunch, but we ate in the lovely dining room, at a window table with a good view. Our waiter was polite and attentive. He made us feel comfortable and helped us with a wine selection. The wine was very good, but pricey. We both ordered the veal chop, which comes with sweetbreads, scalloped potatoes (outstanding), and vegetables. Everything was delicious. We don't appreciate a noisy dining environment with squalling children and loud adults, and there was none of that here. Over all, it was a very pleasant experience indeed for a couple of stodgy oldsters.
10/13/2013 12:00:00 AM
I took my friend to lunch at El Encanto for her birthday. I had heard mixed reviews about the restaurant and was interested to try it for myself. It was wonderful. The remodel that they did on the hotel is beautiful, the service at the restaurant was fabulous - attentive but not in-your-face annoying - and the food was very good. I will be going back - for sure.
10/18/2013 12:00:00 AM
Wonderful setting for a friends 60th birthday celebration. Great view and everything was great!
10/20/2013 12:00:00 AM
Service needs work
When we were seated we were offered a variety of waters and it was brought promptly. The server never asked us if we wanted a drink or anything else and it was a good 10 minutes until someone came to the table to get our cocktail order. During this time there were a number of servers walking around looking important but not making eye contact with any of the diners. When we ordered our entrees we were told it would be about 25 minutes until they came. No problem as we were enjoying our cocktails. Some of the party ordered another drink only to have the entrees and wine appear in about 15 minutes. Food was excellent but for the price, the service should be impeccable. Bar was too noisy to sit in and have a conversation-loud piano.
10/25/2013 12:00:00 AM
Third visit. The setting is breathtaking. The service is flawless. The menu is adventurous and always new. If it weren't for a mediocre cut of beef for one of our party, this would have been the perfect dinner.
Will definitely return again. And again. And again...
10/26/2013 12:00:00 AM
Perfect birthday dinner
Everything - from the food to the service to the setting was perfect. It was a cool evening but we ate outside. The heaters were more than adequate and kept us very comfortable. We enjoyed our evening.
10/27/2013 12:00:00 AM
Great for Special Occasions
We recently went to the restaurant for our Anniversary with a bit of reluctance: we stayed at the hotel and dined in the restaurant many times before it was renovated. Its appeal was its understated (but fading) country charm. Now living in Santa Barbara we were happy when the hotel was renovated. But while attending the grand re-opening we were immediately put off by the slick, Hollywood-esque atmosphere and snooty attitude of the staff. This may be appealing in LA but it does not work in Santa Barbara. So going there for a special dinner was a leap of faith. We were pleasantly surprised. Admittedly it was a quiet Monday but service was excellent and the food very good. It is a pretty venue, not cheap but worth a special occasion meal.
10/28/2013 12:00:00 AM
El Encanto is a special place. Best to stay at the resort as well as dine there. The bungalows are like small individual houses. You should stay at El Encanto at least once a year!!
10/29/2013 5:00:00 PM
We arrived early and had a drink while enjoying the incredible view and sunset. The bar didn't have the 1st bourbon I asked for, but the 2nd choice was fine. My wife was very happy with the white burgundy and we ended up ordering a bottle for dinner. It was a little cool, but we had dinner on Terrace to enjoy the evening, the heaters were fine - just the right amount of heat. We started by sharing a nice kale and persimmon salad. I ordered the scallops which were delicious. My wife ordered chicken and wasn't as happy. For dessert I ordered "‘Oeuf La Neige" - delicious. Throughout the evening the service was impeccable. Not an inexpensive meal, but certainly not overpriced given the quality of food, drinks and service.
10/29/2013 5:00:00 PM
Five star experience!
We returned here for another fabulous dinner. The food, the wine, the service, the view - everything was perfect. One small suggestion - a little more light would be helpful. It's hard to read the menu and see the food on the plates the way it is now. Other than that we loved everything. Our guests had just arrived from New York where it was starting to snow and here we were, having dinner, in the middle of November, sitting outside on the terrace! They were blown away!! We will be back soon.
11/11/2013 4:00:00 PM
Great romantic place for dinner and excellent services inside and out. Will go back again and highly recommend to everyone.
11/20/2013 4:00:00 PM
We returned for the first time since shortly after it opened and were amazed! The setting was always wonderful, but now each dish was excellent and the service was also great! This is truly one of the best restaurants in Santa Barbara!
11/22/2013 4:00:00 PM
Outstanding Food, Service & View
My wife and I had Sunday Brunch on the outdoor terrace. It was our first time at the Hotel and this restaurant. The food was outstanding, especially the selection and variety of appetizers. All of the ingredients were of the highest quality and incredible taste. Also, the staff and service was excellent. They were very attentive and personable. Last, but not least, the views of the Ocean, Santa Barbara Bay, and the surrounding hills are magical. I highly recommend this restaurant for a special occasion, romantic time, or just getting together with great friends.
11/23/2013 4:00:00 PM