The Hungry Cat - Santa Barbara
The Hungry Cat - Santa Barbara

The Hungry Cat - Santa Barbara

  • Dining Style: Casual Dining
  • Website: http://www.thehungrycat.com/home-1162.php?loc=sb
  • Phone: (805) 884-4701
  • Hours of Operation:


    Serving Monday - Thursday 5 pm - 10 pm
    Friday 5 pm - 11 pm
    Saturday 11 am - 11 pm
    Sunday 11 am - 10 pm

    The restaurant will open at 4 pm Monday-Friday for happy hour and raw bar.

    Brunch is served Saturday & Sunday: 11 am - 3 pm
    Raw bar is served throughout the day
  • Payment Options: AMEX,Discover,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: Seafood
  • Executive Chef: David Lentz
  • Dress Code: Casual Dress
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Banquet/Private Rooms, Bar Dining, Beer, Counter Seating, Farm to Table, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Late Night, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Personal wines welcome, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Private Room, Takeout, Weekend Brunch, Wine
  • Private Party Facilities: Our recently added Dining Room can be reserved for parties from 6 to 14 people. The perfect size for a small celebration, wine tasting or business lunch.

    We are also available for larger parties with advance notice. This may require a complete restaurant buyout.
  • Private Party Contact: Bob Van der Veer 8058844701x

Getting there

  • Cross Street: Anapamu
  • Parking: Public Lot
  • Parking Details: Street Parking is available and we are located 1/2 a block from 2 SB Public Lots. Enter off Chapala Street.
A word from The Hungry Cat - Santa Barbara
Proudly Serving Santa Barbara since 2007!



The Hungry Cat Santa Barbara retains the same focus as the Hollywood and Santa Monica Canyon locations: fresh, high quality fish paired with fresh, locally sourced ingredients from nearby farmer's markets.



Our rotating raw bar showcases Pacific and Atlantic oysters, clams, Santa Barbara sea urchin, raw and marinated fish dishes, crab and lobster.



The Bar at the Hungry Cat specializes in seasonal, market driven cocktails, craft brews and an eclectic wine list made for seafood.



We are open daily serving dinner, with brunch on the weekends.



Happy Hour is available Monday - Friday, from 4pm to 6pm.
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerSeafood
The Hungry Cat - Santa Barbara reviews from OpenTable diners
51 reviews since July 31, 2014
Overall Rating3.7
  • Food3.9
    Service3.4
  • Ambiance3.1
    Noise LevelModerate
77% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
fit for foodies (27)neighborhood gem (18)vibrant bar scene (14)special occasion (13)hot spot (7)good for groups (7)romantic (6)late-night find (5)notable wine list (4)great for brunch (3)great for lunch (3)scenic view (1)Show More
  • not what we expected
    FuzzyVIP
    Dined on 11/10/2014
    After reading good reviews the only good thing were the very fresh oysters. My wife oredered the lobster roll at $25.00 and it was served in half of a hot dog bun and contained a few very small pieces of lobster, no large chunks. It was served with only some limp fries. I had the stuffed calamari and that was good. A very limited menu and not planning on a return.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, late-night find, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Love The Cat
    LisaVIP
    Dined on 11/7/2014
    You don't have to be a cat to love The Hungry Cat...its for everyone! And try their burger, yup, the burger, it's awsome.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, hot spot, late-night find, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Subpar
    htownfoodie
    Dined on 11/7/2014
    Second time here and it wasn't a good experience. We ordered drinks and we never got them. We ordered the charred octopus and it was ok. the service was subpar. our server was more interested in his "buddie's table" than ours. We didn't have a good experience and we had been looking forward to coming back for a year now. Disappointed! :(
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • We won't be back
    OpenTable Diner Since 2005VIP
    Dined on 10/24/2014
    It was easy to get a reservation on Saturday night, which raised an eyebrow. The best places in town are always booked several days in advance; the H. C. used to be one of these places. Not any more. The big issue was the wine list. Wines by the glass were abysmal and there is a very poor selection of wines by the bottle. None of the staff knew which wines to recommend: hadn't tasted them, weren't knowledgable. The food is always good, even if the uni was on the small side. Unless you bring your own bottle of wine, don't expect to get something drinkable here, nor will you receive professional service. Good bye, Hungry Cat
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great food & drinks, service ok
    Loves2dine
    Dined on 10/18/2014
    We ate oysters, hamachi crudo, and a whole fish. Great flavors. I have been to HC a few times, so I know what to expect. I brought some friends for their first time. Our server was not inviting. The lack of enthusiasm for any of the dishes or small batch cocktails was not what I would expected... He was just their to take our order.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Fish
    Shoun2296
    Dined on 10/15/2014
    Funky neighborhood ambiance. Nearly warehouse decor. But service and great staff are excellent. And the food? Oh lord. Local soft shell crab? Local white bass on risotto cooked with Brussels sprouts peppers and mushrooms. Fabulous cocktails. Small but smart wine list. Eat here tonight.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Birthday Dinner
    JMiller
    Dined on 9/25/2014
    I love the meals that I get at the Hungry Cat. I'm from NY and this restaurant is the only one that I can compare to ones in NYC. Every bite is sublime. After starting with champagne and oysters, we enjoyed the stuffed zucchini blossom very much. We also had the white sea bass and the market salad. Our service was wonderful. The food here is superior to other places in SB without a doubt. Every time I have a meal there I leave elated and perfectly satisfied. It was a great birthday dinner.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Noise -acoustic
    BoTove
    Dined on 9/18/2014
    The food was exellent, rally the top, but the noise was too heavy. The choice of music too modern for dining. It Can be okay in a bar enviroment, but while digning, I would prefer something more quiet.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • somewhat disappointed
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 9/14/2014
    Being familiar with the original Hungry Cat in Hollywood and having previously lived in Santa Barbara for almost 10 years, the Santa Barbara Hungry Cat now seems to be more of a loud bar scene. As pricey as their good seafood is, the service was similar to diner quality. The waiter apologized for the very long wait between courses due to wedding parties that were being served. It was not his fault certainly. It was a special occasion for us but it was not an outstanding experience. We have eaten here before and it was much better all around, including it seems more diverse menu options. Perhaps it is becoming more of a bar hangout. Our fresh juice cocktails were great as we expected they would be. Maybe it was just a Sunday off night.
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Good food but lousy service
    jsamp57VIP
    Dined on 9/8/2014
    The seafood and fish at this restaurant is fresh and very good but unfortunately the service does not live up to the food. The service was spotty and inflexible insisting that we place our order for our full dinner rather than just the appetizer that we wanted to start. Had we only ordered our appetizers, we would likely not have stayed for dinner so perhaps that is why the waiter insisted we place our full dinner order at the beginning. The bus staff did not appear to exist and with crab and oysters in the shell, the table definitely needed cleaning before the entree was served but that did not happen. The restaurant is also very noisy. There are definitely better choices in the area especially given the price of this restaurant.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Expensive Cat, more like it.
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007
    Dined on 8/31/2014
    I live in LA, not Kansas, and it was still a bit much for what we got. Food was good but not memorable. Service was stiff.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Disappointment
    91790Foodie
    Dined on 8/29/2014
    We read reviews on-line & thought this would be a nice place to eat. Our waiter just wasn't as informative re: menu. We were disappointed. The food was good, it just wasn't our cup of tea.
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • Great Fish!!!
    FromagerVIP
    Dined on 8/27/2014
    I love this restaurant in Los Angeles and wanted to come here immediately. It's quite a bit smaller, but it's still the same excellent quality. The menus are a bit confusing though. I came at happy hour and still don't understand what is exactly meant by happy hour food, as it's just as expensive as the regular menu.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great food
    bboublil
    Dined on 8/25/2014
    Amazing fish and see food place, very inventive dishes, and a lobster roll as I never have before.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Service is NOT on their Agenda
    luv2eatoutVIP
    Dined on 8/21/2014
    Our waiter was overworked. They are understaffed. We felt like intruders. Had to ask for water THREE TIMES. Had to speak to Manager to get a glass of wine. Reading the menu is a trip! The food is an experience. Creative and well prepared.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Almost fantastic
    Yumm
    Dined on 8/13/2014
    The service is one of the best in Santa Barbara. The oysters are awesome and they have a lot of great dishes, but the crab legs were just not something I would recommend. They were not on par with the rest of the food and beverage quality there. Paying $44 for a pound leads to high expecatations and I would say they were mediocre at best. Maybe they had an off day and over-cooked them though. You never know. But everything else was delicious and wonderful.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • As always,
    HaborView
    Dined on 8/10/2014
    As always the Hungry Cat met my expectations. My wife and I come here for special occasions in other words her birthday. The service and food are always exceptional. And the other night was just as good. We have never had a bad meal here.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, late-night find, scenic view, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Good but not great
    hellofish2
    Dined on 8/9/2014
    Had the lamb and clams with an appetizer of crab and shrimp. All of it was good. The lamb and clams were new and interesting but it just wasn't great. The shrimp was dry. The ground lamb and clams mix to have kind of a strange rubbery texture. Nice atmosphere. Great waiter.
    Special Features:
    special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Crowded space
    Sfla
    Dined on 8/6/2014
    Seating is very tight. Easy to get bumped by the other diners. Sea urchin was very good.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Ratings-Only Reviews
    Based on 32 ratings-only reviews submitted since July 31, 2014
    • Overall Rating3.8
    • Food3.9
    • Ambiance3.4
    • Service3.6
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The following 185 reviews are from the The Hungry Cat - Santa Barbara reviews archive.
  • Excellent oysters and fish Ahi.
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 7/30/2014
    Had a very nice lunch but thought prices were a little high. Three people, one salad, no alcohol $85 plus tip.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Ramen Night
    Tax03
    Dined on 7/22/2014
    We came here for the ramen special on Tuesday night. I was expecting more of a classic Tonkotsu ramen, but we got more of a "Les Marchands" deconstructed ramen, which was very good but unexpected. As a pre-meal treat, we ordered littleneck clams, which were DIVINE. The waitstaff was friendly, but a bit slow, and actually forgot to give us spoons for the ramen. This was awkward, as we were sitting closest to their computer system, and they had their backs to us as we tried to get their attention for a full five minutes. The maitre d' was very friendly and asked us how the ramen was after our meal. I appreciated his candid question, and felt satisfied that my feedback had been noted. Will be back!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, late-night find, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • eeehhh
    shaftmob
    Dined on 7/20/2014
    Food was good but not great. Small choices of glasses of wine...they force u to by a bottle! The server was a little under attentive and not very helpful with the menu, food or drinks..........
    Special Features:
    great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • BEST FOOD WORST SERVICE EVER
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 7/19/2014
    I was here a year ago and the food was amazing!!!! I took a friend who was visiting from Germany and talked you guys up well. Again the food again was amazing, but the service was one of the worst if not worst I have ever received, and I used to be a waiter for 3 years so I know how it is to be in the weeds. From our drink to the appetizers, and our main meal to the end. I ordered the seafood tower/platter which was a main reason I came their for the seafood, not only did she forget to order it, and delivered it AFTER we got our main course, then kept asking "if we were finished" when clearly weren't because the place was closing and she wanted to close up section and get out! I will visit your Santa Monica location, never again in SB
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Disappointed with 2nd visit
    2Donks
    Dined on 7/19/2014
    2nd trip to Hungry Cat-the first was after a very positive review in a local paper. Ordered lobster roll with FF and got a $25.00 plate of FF-still looking for the lobster roll. I should have sent it back and left most of the diner on my plate. Any tuned in waiter would have asked if the meal was to my liking but how foolish of me-he knew the answer. My wife's ordered whole fish with a similar result- she left most on her plate. Hope they have a Hungry Cat in the kitchen to eat what she left! We don't mind pricey restaurants that deliver good quality food but this was an insult to any discerning palate.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Live4food
    Dined on 7/16/2014
    Excellent restaurant - food very interesting And delicious . Definitely worth going to
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • We Love This Place!
    IoneTaylorVIP
    Dined on 7/13/2014
    The food here was great, as always. We ordered the Pacific Gold oysters and a watermelon and tomato salad to start the meal - both delicious. Then we followed that with the New Orleans-syle lobster roll and the lamb/clams entree. The lobster roll was spot on, evoking the original but giving it a delightful twist. The lamb/clams was also very flavorful. We finished with a yummy fruit crisp. We received excellent service, as always, including a tip from the chef that the Pacific Gold oysters are delivered on Wednesdays. We love the cozy atmosphere and had a great conversation with the couple at the table next to us, who overheard us mentioning their hometown Omaha.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Meh
    michellew
    Dined on 7/13/2014
    Not many people in the restaurant. The server wasn't friendly and forgot to bring water. They were out of ingredients for one of the three drinks they have that are non-alcoholic. The food was pretty good. The restaurant could use a little makeover; the Hollywood location is much nicer and staff a lot friendlier.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Seafood Lovers Paradise
    BadgersrockVIP
    Dined on 7/12/2014
    After a superb cooking class at Market Forays on 7/12/14, my husband and I were on the lookout for a place to have a light but tasty meal and The Hungary Cat fit the bill perfectly. We shared a dozen briny tasty Sunset oysters on the half shell served with a zesty cocktail sauce and a zippy mignonette. We then moved on to a pound of delicious fresh off the boat local rock crab claws. Attempts to use the shell fish crackers resulted in uncracked crab claws. On to plan B, whacking the claws with our dinner knifes - eh voila - success. Fortunately were seated by the wall so no one was hit by flying shells. Better crackers & picks would be a much appreciated addition. We will be back to try the entrees which looked good!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • GoldstelVIP
    Dined on 7/12/2014
    Loved this place! Not your usual Santa Barbara eatery-- and that's a compliment
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, late-night find, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Just the right touch
    Popcornman
    Dined on 7/4/2014
    This restaurant doesn't try to be too cute. Fish and shellfish perfectly prepared, with minimal extra ingredients. Grilled whole fish (orata) was as good as I've ever had. Wife said same about mussels.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • adult dining in sb
    sparkyVIP
    Dined on 6/28/2014
    Everything was good; the grilled octopus, seafood filled squash blossoms and the whole sea bass. A lot of other interesting menu items to check out next time.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Over priced.
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 6/28/2014
    I thought that the food and service were very good but the prices were about 25% too high.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Consistently good
    LAnativesVIP
    Dined on 6/26/2014
    We adore the Hungry Cat and can always count on a great dinner, served hot and professionally.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Bad experience
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006VIP
    Dined on 6/14/2014
    I could never recommend this restaurant to anyone. I felt as though they were doing me a favor to wait on us. When we arrived we were directed to a table, not shown a table. Do it yourself style. After waiting at our table at least 20 minutes, for someone to at least offer us a drink, We walked out. They weren't even busy.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • High energy scene
    FoodfanVIP
    Dined on 6/9/2014
    We split the asparagus salad appetizer and the seafood tower and it was plenty for two people. The oysters were great, but raw clams weren't as fresh. Don't recommend the apple bignet dessert: it was a glorified donut. The overall scene felt like a bar with a restaurant attached. If you are looking for a high energy environment then give it a try, but if you want a quiet dinner find an alternative.
    Special Features:
    hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Love the Seafood!
    IoneTaylorVIP
    Dined on 6/5/2014
    This is our second visit to The Hungry Cat, and it was just as good as the first visit. We ordered a half dozen raw oysters which were fresh and very good. My husband said his softshell crab sandwich was delicious. My red snapper with a Moroccan flair was cooked perfectly and had a crispy skin. We enjoyed our tasty bourbon cocktails and ended dinner with piping hot apple beignets. The service was spot on, and we love the atmosphere. This time we sat at the bar and watched the dishes being prepared, which was fun.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great Seafood, even seafood novices
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 6/4/2014
    I don't like sea food and I loved my muscles and lamb entree. The server suggested it as an approachable dish for non seafood people. He was spot on, I would go there again just for that dish!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Hungry Cat is terrific for seafood
    DiningDiva1VIP
    Dined on 6/2/2014
    We were pleasantly surprised and would highly recommend this restaurant for seafood lovers. Great oyster bar. Casual atmosphere but attentive and helpful staff. Or salad and seafood dishes were outstanding.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Sea Urchin!
    wasabipudding
    Dined on 5/31/2014
    Fresh Santa Barbara Sea Urchin - to die for! They serve it with these delicious salty crackers - a great pairing. We also had the raw oysters and grilled octopus. I highly recommend all the above!
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Not too good!
    Hungryoldman
    Dined on 5/24/2014
    Crabs and shrimps were frozen fresh and a shelled sea urchin was too skinny. Oysters and clums were fresh. The restaurant foor was messy. Service was OK but the food was too gricy for the freshiness. Disappointed! ( Hungry Dog)
    Special Features:
    great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall