Joe's Cafe

4.5
110 reviews
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$30 and under
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American
Joe's Café is a classic Santa Barbara dining and drinking institution and is the oldest restaurant in the city, established in 1928. The legacy of Joe's continues into it's ninth decade: Over the years, this vibrant downtown destination has become a favorite for locals and tourists alike, who mingle over cocktails (the stiffest in town) or chat during dinner in a buzzing traditional atmosphere. The exceptional ambiance underscores its rich heritage and long history. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner from 7:30 a.m. til 10:00 p.m. or stay later and get to know our locals at one of the busiest bars in town.
What 110 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.5based on recent ratings
4.5
food
4.6
service
4.3
ambience
4.3
value
Noise · Moderate
95% of people would recommend it to a friend
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JC
Central Coast
3 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Had a great prime rib. The only complaint was a group of girls having a birthday party who were extremely loud.

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R
San Francisco
38 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

You get what’s advertised—good food at a fair price and strong adult beverages. No foodie would be happy with the fare, but that’s not the point. Everyone needs a spot with genuine food simply presented by caring staff. Joe’s delivers.

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DP
1 review
Dined on May 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I love Joe’s. You can rely on them to get a consistently good meal and great service. I have never had a bad. Experience here.

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R
1 review
Dined on May 7, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

Complicated for parking, slow service even during with just a few tables occupied

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OT
Los Angeles
7 reviews
Dined on May 4, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Joe's was a perfect spot to celebrate a birthday. Great ambience, though the noise level can be a bit exuberant, and the service was perfect. Best Manhattan ever! We loved it and bext time we head to Santa Barbara, we'll head to Joe's!

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OT
Kansas City
1 review
Dined on May 2, 2019
Overall 2food 5service 5ambience 5

There was a lively and celebratory large group there. Instead of moving them to an area away from the main dining, instead their loud exuberance interfered with our experience. I was not able to talk with my husband WITHOUT SHOUTING. oh. And there was only one bartender.

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m
Los Angeles
61 reviews
Dined on April 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

great food ...great service...great management!! they always make sure to make us feel welcome!

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BF
Central Coast
4 reviews
Dined on April 12, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

Joe's has slid down a notch from it's former peak. Although it will likely always be a mainstay in Santa Barbara culture, the overall quality of the dining and bar experience has declined in the past year or two. Our measure has always been the French dip sandwich. It's gotten smaller and lighter. A martini with house vodka ... something's off it seems. The uptown competition is Harry's, which still puts down hefty French dip sandwiches and a superb martini. Joe's is a fun social scene to meet people and dine with friends/family, but they should step it up a bit more to leave customers feeling like their experience here was worth the money.

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OT
Central Coast
4 reviews
Dined on April 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Best Manhattan in town!

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SM
Orange County
2 reviews
Dined on April 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Had my 5th Birthday here and my 50th..great food, great drinks and great service.

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SS
Central Coast
1 review
Dined on April 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Had a great time

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WW
1 review
Dined on March 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Joe's remains a Santa Barbara (and beyond) treasure and a MUST-EAT stop when visiting!

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LB
Chicago
1 review
Dined on March 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Great food of all types! Very cozy atmosphere and not super stuffy!

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KT
1 review
Dined on March 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

We so enjoyed our dinner...the drinks were perfect
the food outstanding
and our server simply perfect
we will be back

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D
Orange County
2 reviews
Dined on March 5, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 3

The service was excellent and the food was great. It was very noisy though.

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NX
Los Angeles
10 reviews
Dined on March 3, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

It wasn't worth taking advantage of Restaurant Week as Joe's prices are already so reasonable but it got us to go there so that made it worthwhile! Haven't been there in years but will return much sooner. Wonderful old atmosphere, super fast service from great waitresses. We had 4 different entrees and we all liked them very much. Comfort food at its best!

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m
Los Angeles
61 reviews
Dined on March 2, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Always great and food is always good.....can't miss with any of the dishes.

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S
Central Coast
21 reviews
Dined on February 22, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We went on the 1st night of Resturant Week and so happy we did. The fixed menu had something for everyone in our party. The dishes were delicious and hearty portions. It was our first time eating at Joe's Cafe and look forward to returning in the near future

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D
Los Angeles
69 reviews
Dined on February 22, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Very good old school style restaurant with a big menu of very good meats and fish. Big drinks from the bar and good dessert s. The oldest restaurant in SB and it's no mistake it's lasted for 90 years

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RR
Central Coast
3 reviews
Dined on February 17, 2019
Overall 5food 3service 5ambience 5

Waitress was amazing! We received our table quickly when we walked in.

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VJ
Central Coast
2 reviews
Dined on February 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 3

This restaurant lives up to its advertising; Good Food and Stiff Drinks. It has a nice, unpretentious atmosphere and the staff aims to please and really hustles.

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AC
New York Area
1 review
Dined on January 29, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Joes is a great, local place which has offers amazing French dip sandwiches, and daily specials. On Tuesday, I had the “pot roast” special which was so tender and delicious. Our waiter Sal has worked at Joe’s for 42 years and is friendly and accommodating.
Joe’s is a “must go to” stop when visiting Santa Barbara!!

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SR
Central Coast
3 reviews
Dined on January 23, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This was our first experience at Joe's after it was recommended by friends. We loved the old school ambiance. Our waiter, Carlos, had worked at Joe's for forty years and shared story's about the restaurant that had been open since 1928. They have an awesome menu - something for everyone for sure. My wife and I shared onion rings - best I have ever had with a house seasoning - and a French Dip. The beef was so tender and tasteful - delicious! We will definitely go back the next time we are in Santa Barbara.

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BZ
San Diego
2 reviews
Dined on December 27, 2018
Overall 3food 2service 4ambience 4

Eggs Benedict were not the best and were cold when served. Should have sent them back to the kitchen.

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MM
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on December 15, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

We brought friends who had not been to Joe's before and we all had a great time, the food was excellent. The only issue we had was a table of four guys next to us who were way too loud.

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J
Los Angeles
6 reviews
Dined on December 8, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Joes is a classic in Santa Barbara. It’s on State Street and is easily accessible from a downtown parking garage.

The food is American Italian and is excellent. This is a very popular restaurant and has been there for decades. On Fridays the bar area can be very loud. Saturday nights are better and there is no problem during the rest of week.

Prices are average and the menu is extensive. The staff is very friendly.

They decorate with upside down Christmas trees for the Holidays.

We love it.

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OT
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on November 3, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Great food and service. Took away a star only because our wine took forever and came after we had finished dinner.

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TM
San Francisco
15 reviews
Dined on November 2, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 3ambience 1

I really wanted to like this place, but people who say the food is good must have had several drinks and forgotten the reality of the situation. The noise level was that of a music concert, 78db +. My filet was raw vs medium and the pork chop was tasteless and tough as shoe leather. After the refire it was edible, but burnt tasting. Crab cakes seemed fresh and had a nice crisp texture outside which is the only reason this review wasn't more harsh. The aoili tasted and looked like mayo vs garlic. The waiter brought the wrong drink as a refill to boot. Couldn't wait to leave.

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d
Chicago
4 reviews
Dined on October 31, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

One of my local favorites. Gotten even better over the years. Best chicken parmigiana in Santa Barbara.
Famous drinks. Best berry pies!
Best place in town to Halloween.
Always a blast! Great place for real Santa Barbara experience!
Great job Joe’s

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OT
Central Coast
2 reviews
Dined on October 20, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

Accidentally went there during a baseball game. It was extremely loud, and we’re not baseball fans. Not a good experience if you want a quiet dinner...

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JF
1 review
Dined on October 14, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Wait staff, drinks, and food, all outstanding. Celebrating our 32 wedding anniversary. Would come back, if ever in Santa Barbara again.

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RO
Los Angeles
2 reviews
Dined on September 29, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

An old stand-by in Santa Barbara! Worth the visit!

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BS
1 review
Dined on September 28, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Joe’s Cafe offers great food at a reasonable price.

Menu has a good selection with daily recommendations.

Beverages are not stingy

Long time staff can be counted on for great service.

Joe’s is one of my go to places when in Santa Barbara

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GG
1 review
Dined on September 2, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Joe’s is always a great choice! We’ve been coming to Joe’s for over 40 years and it never disappoints.

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TS
1 review
Dined on August 23, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

joes cafe is the best place in town for good food and great drinks. the service is excellent and the people are very friendly. would recommend to anyone.

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JA
1 review
Dined on August 23, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We were very satisfied with everything. Everyone was so kind to us and we appreciated that.

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JS
Las Vegas
3 reviews
Dined on August 15, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Been enjoying Joe's for decades. Always a great time.

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LD
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on August 10, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food was fantastic. Sevice was very prompt. Enjoyed the music too. Staff was very friendly!

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OT
Orange County
10 reviews
Dined on July 25, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We were on vacation in Santa Barbara and our first night, we chose Joe's. We had such a great experience, that we went back the next night after the zoo. Over the course of two nights, we ordered the linguine with sausage and clams (excellent!), meatloaf (excellent), and spaghetti and meatballs (WOW!). Also....the cocktails are no joke. You should probably only do one.

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s
San Francisco
38 reviews
Dined on June 1, 2018
Overall 4food 3service 3ambience 4

It’s been a while but very nostalgic! A great spot when you don’t want to be too serious about your dining experience. Missed the bread and salsa but that’s probably a thing of the past. Great to sit and relax in a booth! We’ll be back!

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