Barbareño

4.8
590 reviews
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$31 to $50
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Californian
At Barbareño we seek to help further shape and define Central Coast cuisine. We take our inspiration from traditions and specialties of our area, delicacies unique to our region, and the many outstanding purveyors with whom we are so fortunate to work. In all of our efforts, we hope to capture the essence of a particular place or local flavor, embracing the nuances that make our food and drink unique to our home. Please note: Online reservations are limited by our inside dining space. If we are booked online, please call in to make a reservation for our heated patio or to check for additional dining room availability. Barbareño requests a credit card number to hold reservations for parties of 6 or more. A $20 per person cancellation fee will be assessed in the event of a same-day cancellation (within 24 hours of the reservation time) or a no-show. Thank you for understanding.
What 590 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.8based on recent ratings
4.7
food
4.8
service
4.7
ambience
4.4
value
Noise · Moderate
94% of people would recommend it to a friend
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MR
New York Area
1 review
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing flavors and incredible strawberry shortcake dessert!

TC
New York Area
10 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Great food as always. Menu doesn’t change much. A little more innovation would be welcome

GG
Philadelphia
4 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Inspired unique food, charming unpretentious California ambiance. One of the very best.

OT
Tahoe
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Lovely spot, original food and great service.

OT
London
1 review
Dined on August 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Really amazing food. Great explanation of how each dish is prepared. In short, in ways that would take me hours at home (I’m a decent cook). Really enjoyed the dinner. They accommodated our kids, but most of the great food was just not for them.

SM
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on August 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Such an incredible restaurant! Amazing food, wonderful ambience, and excellent service! Would highly recommend to anyone looking for a group dinner, casual date night, or special event! Great for all occasions.

OT
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on August 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing food. One of my favorite meals I’ve had in years. Would drive back to SB just for dinner here. A must try.

LQ
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on August 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Our favorite “locals” place to take out-of-town guests who want to try uniquely, Santa Barbara-inspired food with old Ranchero days and Chumash elements. We love their high-concept, yet down-to-earth, comfort food that is always delicious, creative and thoughtfully presented. If you’re a first timer you must try the Santa Maria bbq.

K
New York Area
8 reviews
Dined on August 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Just amazing from start to finish. All the suggestions on appetizers, main courses and wines were perfect. Emily our server did an amazing job taking care of us. Make sure to ask about the origins of the dishes - such a great place!

E
New Orleans
4 reviews
Dined on August 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

A lottle pricey, but totally affordable with the axxess card.

B
San Francisco
24 reviews
Dined on August 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Panzanella salad was an explosion on our taste buds with every bite. Black cod main was outstanding, as were the pork ribs which melted in the mouth. Loved the outdoor seating area. Service was lovely. We’ll be back next time we visit Santa Barbara.

BF
New York Area
16 reviews
Dined on August 1, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 3ambience 4

The menu has changed a little from last time I was here a year or so ago. The Santa Maria bbq was served with beans and a vinegar based sauce that didn’t work for this dish. The meat was tepid and not very flavorful. The panzanella was dry and the kale didn’t help making it more appealing

UD
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on August 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 3ambience 4

Lovely dining although one of our appetizers never appeared. Service was lacking... not very attentive.

NL
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on July 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Everything about our evening at Barbarino was fantastic. The staff were super friendly and super interested in making our dining experience special. They new the menus well and could describe any question in great detail. I strongly recommend anyone experience Barbarino. We will definitely return soon.

GS
Phoenix
5 reviews
Dined on July 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

A restaurant with a very interesting menu with a plethora of different ingredients and some fun innovative stuff. The menu was not large and everything they do is excellent.

R
New York Area
11 reviews
Dined on July 26, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 2ambience 2

Food was very good and ambience nice but restaurant insisted on sitting us inside and holding several tables in the garden for their regulars or perhaps friends of the owners?? For this reason we won’t be back.

m
Tahoe
2 reviews
Dined on July 22, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The meal was fantastic - lots of delicious and different flavor combinations. Our server was lovely and thoughtfully brought over two additional wines to taste when we had asked to try just one. It was a great overall dining experience — highly recommend it and can’t wait to go again!

OT
Tahoe
1 review
Dined on July 19, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

We showed up late to our already late reservation. The staff was gracious and welcoming! The food is an eclectic juxtaposition of flavors and textures. Unexpected and interesting!

OT
Central Coast
2 reviews
Dined on July 19, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food is delicious but a little pricey. Recommend the avocado appetizer.

HH
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on July 15, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

The plates were creative and delicious. The service was quite good but there was a change in servers at the beginning and they were slow to bring the wine. The side dish was served first before the entree/appetizer and before the wine. We had to wait about 15 mins after the brussel sprouts were served before the server brought the wine. The grilled avocado came 10-15 minutes after the wine. Other than that, the service was very good and we had a lovely evening sitting outside on their patio. Bravo!

TO
1 review
Dined on July 13, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 5ambience 4

Booked an outdoor table, and whilst waiting at the front desk watched with amusement as the hostess sat a walk in at the first available table then told us there was a wait! Amateur hostess aside when we were seated inside the waiter was very good and the food equally so.

WV
1 review
Dined on July 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fantastic ambience, considerate service, delicious food! Highly recommend!

OT
San Joaquin
3 reviews
Dined on July 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great service, great food, great atmosphere!

AC
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on July 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Lovely meal with excellent service. Very local interesting menu, many items we want to come back and try.

MD
1 review
Dined on July 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Our dinner here was among the best I've ever had. Friends recommended the place to us, telling us Barbareño was known for their meats. Their trip-tip was incredible but their market fish dish (it was a black cod when we went) was probably the tastiest thing I've ever put in my mouth. Their desserts are an experience as well, so don't forget to try their Baked California or the Eucalyptus. I really can't say enough positive things about our meal here.

t
London
9 reviews
Dined on July 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

The girl who served us was extremely knowledgeable. The Santa Maria tri tip bbq dish was outstanding

LS
1 review
Dined on July 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Barbareño is one of the few restaurants in Santa Barbara that couldn't be anywhere else. Great + smart food and ambience that is specifically relevant + meaningful to SB.

JD
1 review
Dined on July 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food was amazing! We loved every dish we tried: Eggamuffin, Garden Lettuces, the Tacos, the chicken, black cod, as well as the Eucalyptus and Pecan desserts. The wines and beers we tried were all excellent and paired remarkably well with the courses! Our server, Emily, was wonderful and did am amazing job recommending and explaining the menus to us. She has a wonderful disposition, a great personality, and was the perfect companion to the meal.

OT
London
1 review
Dined on July 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Super friendly service and the food did not disappoint! Everything we ordered was excellent and flavorful. We celebrated my 40th birthday here and I’m so glad we chose to eat here. Will be coming back here every time we’re in town!

OT
Richmond
1 review
Dined on July 3, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

Overall very good but I wouldn’t recommend for people with specific food allergies or distastes. In our group we had a nut allergy, a chocolate allergy, and a dislike of fennel - usually it’s no big deal as nut allergies are very common and it’s easy to choose dishes without chocolate or fennel. However, because the restaurant uses seasonal ingredients local to Santa Barbara, the majority of dishes in their July 2019 menu included either fennel or nuts! So I recommend calling ahead to see if there are options for someone with food specifications.

OT
Las Vegas
1 review
Dined on July 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Came here to celebrate my birthday, and goodness was it amazing. It was a perfect summer day, so we were able to eat outside and enjoy the beautiful Santa Barbara sunshine. The food had such complexity in flavor, I wish I had the skills to name all the sensations my taste buds were having. Can’t wait to come back!

b
Central Coast
29 reviews
Dined on June 30, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

It was an important night with distant relatives from far away. I did my homework on Open Table reading all reviews, checking out menu etc and made my choice here from so many. And I wanted to try a new place! The whole evening was perfect from beginning to end. We really wanted a round table outside (hard to find) for 7. A tiny bit crowded but more intimate! Food and service excellent as expected, but the celebrity unnamed was unexpected and a special treat.

P
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on June 29, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Just go. Kitchen is fantastic, friendly accommodating staff, well priced. By far our favorite place we visited in Santa Barbara. Chef and staff have it dialed. Thank you for a great evening! Outdoor dining was a bonus with the great weather.

PL
San Francisco
8 reviews
Dined on June 29, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 1ambience 2

The greeters are not welcoming and we had a bit of an unpleasant interlude when we arrived. We got there about 10 minutes early, and asked if there were tables available already. No, they said, they'll be ready by 8. No problem. So then this random guy walks in and asks if there is a wait - he is told "no wait" and seated. They then try to explain awkwardly that "there is a wait for your table but not that one" and then it turns out that there are lots of available tables inside as well (where the walk-in could also have been directed). Our first server was personable, but forgot to offer us bread and explained the menu poorly, and then she had to leave half way through and we got someone else who couldn't care less.

The restaurant's design inside is lovely, the outside patio needs some work (plus, as they allow dogs, it looks like a kennel, which I wish we had been told before). The food is generally inventive, modern and flavorful. The grilled avocado was a little underdone (try the Bird Dog in Palo Alto for a perfect version of this dish), but well spiced; the market fish main course was extremely well done (but the portions were minuscule, the fish came at about the size of a dollar bill but cost $33); the dessert had too much going on though was very tasty. We had "Eucalyptus" for dessert, which was a pannacotta. The dessert's description made no sense and was precious (23 blackbirds' soil???) and the presentation really did look like a flock of blackbirds had had fun on the plate. The pannacota had partially disintegrated and the rest of the plate was a mess of chocolate dirt, random fruit and berries and what not. All actually tasted good but the presentation was offputting.
There are many better options at Santa Barbara, but if they figure out service, add a cocktail list and a somewhat longer menu and make the patio more welcoming, this could be a gem.

OT
Central Coast
1 review
Dined on June 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Best meal I’ve ever had

P
Los Angeles
4 reviews
Dined on June 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

We had heard great things about this restaurant and it didn't disappoint. The only drawback was the highly anticipated sourdough bread (raved about by friends) was quite charred on the crust, permeating the flavor throughout. Otherwise, delicious, creative cuisine, perfect service and fun people-watching.

D
Central Coast
5 reviews
Dined on June 26, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 4ambience 3

Best part of experience was food quality but prices too high and chef trying too hard to make entrees trendy. Simplify and bring prices down to more modest and we'd be back.

OT
Los Angeles
2 reviews
Dined on June 24, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Spectacular! The menu is elevated and creative without being “stuffy”

OT
Central Coast
1 review
Dined on June 21, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 2ambience 4

I want so badly to love Barbareño, but the service is underwhelming every time. Food is good, but overpriced for what you’re getting/this level of service. I have had better service at counter order restaurants.

LD
1 review
Dined on June 21, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

It was really a nice food experience. The chef obviously spends time and effort putting dishes together, both in their planning and execution. The only thing that I would say is the food was a little heavy, I expected a little lighter, more vegetable based since it touts itself as quintessential Central Coast.

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