The Bistro at The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara

3.9
247 reviews
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$31 to $50
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American
Named “Top 100 Best Al Fresco Dining Restaurants in America” by OpenTable, The Bistro offers a casual and relaxed atmosphere to dine and enjoy sweeping views of the coastline. Chef Vincent Lesage’s American cuisine can be enjoyed indoors or al fresco on a spacious oceanfront terrace. Local produce and sustainable seafood highlight an acclaimed menu of traditional bistro favorites, including brick oven flatbreads, seasonal salads and the signature Bistro burger.

Recent upgrades to The Bistro’s patio include the addition of a cozy wood-burning fireplace, direct access to an oceanfront pool bar, and enhanced outdoor heating to enjoy breathtaking ocean vistas all year long.
What 247 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
3.9based on recent ratings
3.8
food
4.0
service
3.9
ambience
3.4
value
Noise · Quiet
90% of people would recommend it to a friend
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OT
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on January 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

We had an amazing anniversary dinner at Bistro. The staff was very thoughtful and added beautiful roses and champagne for our celebration.

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OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on January 3, 2019
Overall 1food 2service 1ambience 1

We had a request to not add salt to my father’s meal due to a heart condition and they could not accommodate that for any of the vegetable dishes and the majority of the entrees. I have never been to a restaurant that is touted as healthy and yet has been less accommodating than a fast food joint.

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FL
San Francisco
13 reviews
Dined on January 3, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 3ambience 2

The restaurant was quite cold, and there were long periods of non-service (a couple seated next to us left after not being spoken to for 20 minutes after they sat down). My daughter had an allergic reaction to a non-disclosed nut ingredient in a dish, it was difficult to find anyone to speak to about it.

The highlight of our meal was the calamari. Next time, we might do drinks and apps and have dinner elsewhere.

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OT
1 review
Dined on January 1, 2019
Overall 1food 1service 3ambience 4

Major issues with the menu. There is a salman dish on the dinner menu but the menu didn’t explain that it’s a raw dish and it was a big surprise when it was served. They also don’t serve any sides with some of their dinners. We got sea bass one night with nothing, not even a veggie, on the side. If you’re staying at the hotel and don’t have options then just be sure to ask how the food is prepared and if anything else is served with the meal.

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OT
San Diego
7 reviews
Dined on December 29, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 4

Sommelier was very good but other service was lacking. Food was mid tier. Has nice ambience.

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NL
Central Coast
1 review
Dined on December 26, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

My wife and I usually gift ourselves Christmas dinner at either Angel Oak or the Bistro. This year it was the Bistro and we we're not disappointed! The food was great, the service was personable and charming, and the ambiance was wonderful! I missed the Buche de Noel for dessert that we've had in years past which was always a treat.

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J
Los Angeles
33 reviews
Dined on December 25, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

Overall very good.
Service and food above average.

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J
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on December 17, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

It was our 50th Anniversary. They treated us like Royalty. Roses, Wine, and Dessert.

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PS
Los Angeles
399 reviews
Dined on December 10, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Awesome five thumbs up service!!!

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p
Sacramento
9 reviews
Dined on November 10, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

We had wonderful service at the Bistro from both the hostess and our server. The Jamon Iberico is delicious and the tomato bisque was unique and yummy. It was a little chilly on the patio in November but the cocktails helped with that. I don't love that dogs are ok on the patio but that seems to be the trend these days. It was a great dinner and gorgeous location.

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OT
Seattle
7 reviews
Dined on August 13, 2018
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 3

Service was ok. Asked repeatedly for things like more chips for the guacamole, silverware, and to have the heat lamp turned on. Steak was over cooked and a bit chewy. The other food items we ordered were delightful. Ceasar salad was especially good

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PS
Los Angeles
399 reviews
Dined on August 13, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 5

Great new menu!!! The seafood paella was awesome!!!

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JL
Central Coast
1 review
Dined on July 21, 2018
Overall 1food 3service 2ambience 4

We had a res for 7:45 pm. Upon arriving at the reception desk to ck in for dinner, there was a line...it moved very slow. Then when we got to the desk, we were told to be seated in another area where we waited for at least 20 more minutes, with no explanation, no offer of a comp drink, etc. The folks at the reception desk were obviously flustered and ill-prepared for a busy pm. AND, when we were finally seated outside...there were PLENTY of tables...empty! What was the wait for? I had a res for the next day for an out of town relative....we cancelled it. You're the Ritz....put on the Ritz!

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D
Cleveland
22 reviews
Dined on July 3, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Good food but the service stands out. Everyone is friendly and accommodating. Definitely give this one a five starx

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j
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on June 26, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent and expert service

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GL
San Diego
2 reviews
Dined on June 24, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The service was amazing and the staff so friendly and kind. The food quality was amazing and we will for sure, go back.

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OT
Raleigh
7 reviews
Dined on May 25, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

My husband and I had a wonderful evening dining on the patio while celebrating our anniversary. Our sever was fantastic!! We are staying at the Ritz-Carlton Bacara Santa Barbara. The
Resort Is absolutely gorgeous, our guest room is wonderful and all of the staff are incredibly welcoming!

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OT
Central Coast
1 review
Dined on May 14, 2018
Overall 2food 4service 1ambience 3

It took almost an hour to get our food. Indoor seating area was loud and unimpressive. Expect more for the high prices.

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l
Sacramento
48 reviews
Dined on May 13, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 2

Disappointed. Ordered the ahi tuna appetizer and it came to the table brown. The waitress said it was browned on the edges. I asked why the raw portion was brown and she said because the chef marinated thw raw fish in soy sauce overnight. Umm, you do not marinate raw fish. Sushi fish needs to be served at a specific temperature and served right away. I was disgusted. They didn't get our orders right. The kids liked their sandwiches, but they forgot my salmon to go with my salad. By the time salmon came out, it was undercooked and my salad was wilted. Ther service was not good.

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FD
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on April 14, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 4ambience 4

Service was wonderful, but food was not impressive at all. The caesar salad had way too much dressing and had such a strong anchovy flavor that I could not eat it. The shrimp and scallop linguine was better than the salad course, but heavy on cream. The carrot cake for dessert was quite disappointing, looking more like a Boca burger/slider with an large, oval shaped cream cheese topping. It lacked flavor and was visually unappealing. Even though the ambiance was very nice and our server was lovely, the food was so mediocre that we would not return.

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SK
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on April 8, 2018
Overall 4food 3service 5ambience 5

Gorgeous view of the beach. Great drinks and service as well.

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F
Central Coast
13 reviews
Dined on March 25, 2018
Overall 3food 2service 4ambience 4

We live in the area and though we’d try the restaurant. Service and ambiance were fine. Food left a lot to be desired. Every item tasted like it had been provided through corporate buying. Nothing was fresh or local. Was sort of like what you’d expect to eat at a huge business convention. Very disappointing. We aren’t sure how long Ritz Carlton has been managing the property but they have work to do to get the food up to snuff.

Bottom line: Expensive, bland, industrial food.

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OT
Orange County
1 review
Dined on March 12, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Birthday !!!!!!!!

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BM
San Francisco
144 reviews
Dined on February 4, 2018
Overall 3food 4service 2ambience 5

The breakfast buffet was delicious but the line to wait for omelettes and pancakes got a bit tedious. Wish they would offer a mixed green salad to round out the buffet selections, just a simple salad would be great. The service is still hit or miss...why doesn't management notice this?

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AC
Central Coast
1 review
Dined on December 29, 2017
Overall 5food 4service 2ambience 5

Great outdoor space! Very relaxing

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1
Central Coast
66 reviews
Dined on December 8, 2017
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

The food and service has vastly improved since our last visit in July. Probably due to the takeover by Ritz Carlton. Some of the menu items remained and no doubt because they were the better items. The vegetable chicken soup is hearth warming and delicious. New on the menu is the black cod on a bed of black rice. The Chinese flavors took it over the top. The shrimp and scallop scampi was also very delicious.
The service by Kassandra was impeccable. She was extremely attentive and courteous.
Overall, a vast improvement.

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OT
Central Coast
1 review
Dined on December 1, 2017
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fabulous experience! Service was impecable.

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M
Los Angeles
117 reviews
Dined on November 28, 2017
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 5

I don’t think you come here for value. But the food was not delicious. Granted I only had a $50 soup and salad, but the tomato soup tasted like warm ketchup. The Caesar salad with grilled salmon was also not the yummiest I’ve had. I would go back and maybe have a coffee or drinks-but prob not the lunch

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S
Central Coast
26 reviews
Dined on November 5, 2017
Overall 4food 5service 2ambience 5

Outstanding night at sunset with great friends & wonderful food, the only let down was service was not what one expects at Ritz Carlton.

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C
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on November 5, 2017
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We all ordered burgers ( which I have eaten there on other visits). They were outstanding.
Service was great, there is no rush, and of course the view is just lovely.
It is a great place for lunch on a beautiful Goleta day.

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RO
Orange County
8 reviews
Dined on November 4, 2017
Overall 1food 1service 2ambience 4

Normally, we have been very pleased with this place. However, this time, all of our food was terribly greasy & the service was mediocre at best. The view can't be beat though.

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D
San Francisco
23 reviews
Dined on October 27, 2017
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Beautiful setting
Many heaters so sitting outdoors was really comfortable

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J
Cleveland
19 reviews
Dined on October 23, 2017
Overall 3food 5service 1ambience 5

Great food, horrible service. Would still go back and hope the restaurant can work out it’s service issues.

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G
Central Coast
1 review
Dined on October 14, 2017
Overall 2food 2service 3ambience 3

Had reservations to celebrate my wife's birthday. Was greeted and sent into the waiting area for 5-10 minutes. No outdoor seating available despite a bunch of empty tables. Friendly waitstaff, but unfortunately our main dishes took about 25 minutes to arrive from the time the appetizer dishes were cleared. Profuse apologies from our server. The food was mediocre. Pre-cut pork chop with a blah wild rice side infused with pretty nasty cheese served on a hokey little cast iron skillet. Was $130+ dinner for two. Another weird thing is when I made the reservation online I checked a little box to indicate we were celebrating a birthday. However, no acknowledgement was made during dinner. Not a big deal, but it does show the service and attention to details were lost. Perhaps all this is just due to a transition phase as the hotel moves to new ownership under the Ritz? Compared to similar "casual" options in the price range (such as the bar/bistros at El Encanto, the new Californian Hotel, and San Ysidro) I'd say this ranks right at the bottom. However, there were tons of families enjoying dinner if you're looking for a casual spot that is kid-friendly and you aren't concerned about the cost.

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KS
Los Angeles
19 reviews
Dined on October 12, 2017
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Phenomenal view at the Bistro , and love the new menu that debuted 2 weeks ago.

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RG
Miami
8 reviews
Dined on September 14, 2017
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We love the entire Bacara resort and the Bistro is a great "special occasion without being too formal" place. Had a "double date" dinner for our son's college graduation and all the staff was exceptional! We had forgotten the gifts in our car; the hostess arranged for valet to retrieve the car, bellstand to deliver the gifts to our table. Fantastic.

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l
Los Angeles
2 reviews
Dined on September 9, 2017
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 4

Food was great. But service was off. Drink took about 20 mins for cocktails. Main course was almost done before she asked if I wanted another drink. Took another 20mins. But over was still enjoyable.

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P
Los Angeles
77 reviews
Dined on August 25, 2017
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent service, beautiful view from the patio, delicious food. Enjoyed the Kalifornia salad, clam pizza, shrimp ceviche and fried calamari. Great selection of wines and beers. Highly recommended.

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OT
Central Coast
1 review
Dined on August 24, 2017
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 4

Bad service food was could and over cooked and took over two hours .

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D
Las Vegas
11 reviews
Dined on August 13, 2017
Overall 1food 2service 1ambience 4

Great Setting by the beach with a great view. The resturant was really bad and menu was horrible. Service was very poor.

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