The Bistro at The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara

3.6
icon/ic_reviewCreated with Sketch.
295 Reviews
icon/ic_price_rangeCreated with Sketch.
$31 to $50
icon/ic_cuisineCreated with Sketch.
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. 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 295 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
3.6based on recent ratings
3.7
food
3.7
service
3.9
ambience
3.0
value
Noise · Quiet
100% of people would recommend it to a friend
Sort by
Filters
LS
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on February 7, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great service and great food. Loved it!

MM
Los Angeles
12 reviews
Dined on January 24, 2020
Overall3food3service4ambience3

Celebrating my wife’s birthday at the Bacara resort and decided to have dinner at the Bistro on Friday night. We were seated outside in the patio. I ordered a pork chop that turned out to be under cooked and because of the poor lighting outside I wasn’t really sure it was safe to eat until the pig bit me in the nose. At that point I turned on my phone flashlight and saw that it was under cooked around the bone. When I had the waiter come over he said he would take care of it and instead of removing the whole entrée from the bill he removed 50% of the cost of the pork chop. I didn’t feel like making a big scene because it was my wife’s birthday but felt a restaurant at the Ritz Carlton should have better customer service. When we checked out we mentioned this to the front desk and they did the right thing by not only removing the pork chop but took care of the entire dinner cost. We were going to go to their steakhouse the next night but because of the poor way the pork chop was handled, we went to the Boat House in Santa Barbara instead and had a wonderful meal at half the price.

S
San Francisco
43 reviews
Dined on January 4, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

It was a beautiful evening on the patio with plenty of heat lamps to keep us comfortable. The service was excellent and the food and wine were outstanding. The entree menu is somewhat limited but the appetizers and salad options made the choices more extensive. Excellent dinner!

MJ
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on December 31, 2019
Overall2food3service1ambience4

Maybe the reason we experienced poor service and so-so food is because it was NYE. I expected more from a Ritz Carlton hotel. Main entree for one of our guests was forgotten and he was eating it while we were ordering dessert. My sirloin was cooked like jerky. All in all not a good experience.

OT
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on December 25, 2019
Overall2food2service3ambience2

I rarely write a review, but for the price this place Is a miss. The food was hit and miss (meat cooked, but veggies charred on outside and raw). I don’t recommend this restaurant at all.

SB
1 review
Dined on December 25, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Lunch was $159 for three hamburgers and two cocktails

m
Seattle
140 reviews
Dined on December 7, 2019
Overall1food1service1ambience3

Poor and slow - ridiculously slow service - but a nice waitress serving terrible food that probably costs double what other restaurants would charge for the same thing. Will not Return to the hotel or this restaurant again. Took over an hour to get a drink refill and water. Very bad- flat bread burned and forgot part of our order.

C
Chicago
9 reviews
Dined on November 10, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Fabulous brunch and breakfast. Amazing, friendly, helpful staff from the hostess, the waiter, busboy, valet staff and everyone in between. Especially helpful to my son that is on crutches. They took care of us like we were family. A wonderful experience with excellent food and beautiful views. We will return soon!

OT
Los Angeles
4 reviews
Dined on November 3, 2019
Overall2food2service2ambience5

Sunday brunch, ordered off menu. Eggs Benedict on burnt sourdough toast, eggs were cold. Long wait for food. Servers not too helpful or happy. Iced tea was very good.

OT
Los Angeles
3 reviews
Dined on October 27, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Loved the two bartenders, great guys!!

CH
1 review
Dined on October 27, 2019
Overall3food4service3ambience4

Food was good, not great. Since we don't drink, thought the price was ridiculous for a buffet.

m
Los Angeles
21 reviews
Dined on October 11, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience3

Excellent service excellent food. The scallops were fantastic. The bone marrow was amazing.

OT
Phoenix
1 review
Dined on October 5, 2019
Overall1food2service1ambience2

Experience was under whelming. We were offered indoor or outdoor, outdoor had heaters, we chose outdoor. 2 heaters were brought over, both were lit, one was leaking gas and malfunctioning. The malfunctioning unit was turned off and moved away. The other unit was repositioned. The food arrived in odd order, with the dinner side arriving with the starter, salad brought out next, followed quickly by the main course. The timing was off. The scallops were cold and under cooked. We ordered dessert, skillet cookie, and asked to have the heater propane replaced because it was out, we also asked another server for new propane but it was never replaced. Dessert came and my wife had 2 bites before we left, I was shaking due to be cold because the heater was out.

J
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on October 4, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Awesome place! They made my daughther’s birthday really special!

OT
Orange County
1 review
Dined on October 4, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Early dinner after arriving at the resort. Excellent service and amazing food!

LW
Central Coast
3 reviews
Dined on September 26, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Having dined at the Angel Oak a few times (and absolutely loved!), my friends and I decided to try The Bistro to celebrate a birthday. The food was delicious, the view was terrific and the service was great. Everyone was helpful from start (valet) to finish. My next goal is the try the Wine Bar for a light meal in front of the fireplace! Love, love, love The Ritz-Carlton Bacara. I'm so glad I live close by and am able to take advantage of all that is offered at this gorgeous resort.

LP
1 review
Dined on September 8, 2019
Overall5food4service5ambience5

The setting is beautiful and you will be treated very well by the staff. I had the short ribs and polenta, which I highly recommend.

MM
Los Angeles
8 reviews
Dined on September 8, 2019
Overall3food2service1ambience4

It has pretty views, but the food was the style, quality, and temperature of room service (which is, I think, the menu The Bistro serves). So very basic stuff (burger, cobb salad) and not freshly prepared. Also, the service was slow and, depending on who you encountered, could even be rude. Also, the prices were crazy. As an example, it was $18 to add 3 small shrimp to a salad. Overall, I don't think we'll return.

GG
Central Coast
6 reviews
Dined on September 8, 2019
Overall3food4service3ambience4

Relaxing spot for a Sunday lunch! We had the avocado toast, a Cobb salad and topped it off with coffee and Churros for dessert. The Bistro has a lovely setting, varied menu and nice servers. The service was slow, but we didn't mind as it was a lazy Sunday. Guests at a nearby table had a dog on a long leash. The dog kept moving around and almost tripped our waiter as he was carrying our precious churros and chocolate sauce. The waiter made a good save, but it could have been a bad fall. It would be great if the pet policy were changed so that people were not taking dogs to 5 star resorts. That and the not that attentive service is the reason I can't give more stars.

JD
Central Coast
18 reviews
Dined on August 29, 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience5

The new menu looks great, and we enjoyed the food and loved the sunset over the water. Our server was attentive and friendly, and we had a wonderful time. Prices are steep, but this is an absolutely wonderful place.

DA
Palm Springs
6 reviews
Dined on August 19, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great casual dining. Good selections and ocean views, what's not to like... Nothing.

SD
1 review
Dined on August 18, 2019
Overall2food2service2ambience5

The service was not 5 star we were greeted appropriately, the waiter did not check in with us. We had to flag down help. The food selection was horrible based on passed experiences. The coffee for the brunch was cold. We usually pick this spot to have a quick family check in. Could have done that at a local restaurant and spent $100 vs $300 was not impressed and disappointed based on passed experiences. What happened? Is there a change in management or ownership?! Disappointing, we don’t mind spending money just want a 5 start experience when we do

DB
Central Coast
1 review
Dined on August 10, 2019
Overall1food1service2ambience2

The pictures of the restaurant are not accurate. They sat us at a table the heater was broken. We asked to move to a table that was available with a better view, they were determined we were not going to sit there. Although the table sat empty the whole evening. Our server was nice, but seemed annoyed with the kitchen as well. We ordered a salad prior to a meal, never got it. The server asked if we still wanted it. The meal was already served so no. The fettuccine was so spicy, it couldn’t be eaten. The Cioppino was sparse on seafood, for the price was not worth it. The bread came out burnt, we sent it back. It was disappointing, went for a Birthday dinner, won’t be returning.

P
Los Angeles
97 reviews
Dined on August 10, 2019
Overall3food5service2ambience5

We've eaten here many times over the last few years. Service has been inconsistent since the Ritz-Carlton purchase, was definitely better when it was just Bacara Resort. The patio setting is beautiful.

KB
San Diego
4 reviews
Dined on July 28, 2019
Overall4food5service3ambience5

The Bistro food and ambiance was outstanding but our waiter or maybe the kitchen forgot our order specifications and silverware. I mus say that the waiter was really polite and friendly.

p
New York Area
4 reviews
Dined on July 10, 2019
Overall3food2service3ambience4

Had dinner and lunch the next day. The seafood paella was dry, tasteless and over cooked . Waiter took apps off the bill. Lunch was much better the next day

NS
Dallas
4 reviews
Dined on July 9, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Went there for lunch. Great place with great atmosphere and ambience. Great price points and service.

OT
Central Coast
16 reviews
Dined on July 9, 2019
Overall4food5service4ambience5

Delightful setting and very good food. We had a burger w. fries and a poke bowl with avocado, rice and sauce that was exceptional. The service was really good too. The costs seem to have increased a good amount in the last several months - maybe the result of the Ritz-Carlton acquiring the former Bacara.

VI
Orange County
411 reviews
Dined on July 5, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Lovely restaurant and excellent paella. The server did not miss a beat after the earthquake. Sweet folks offering us champagne for my husbands birthday.

A
Central Coast
21 reviews
Dined on July 4, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Fantastic meal. Top notch service on a very busy 4th of July . Waiter Blake and sommelier Nannette stood out!

DF
San Francisco
20 reviews
Dined on July 4, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

This restaurant is great. Every time we stay at the Bacara we eat at this restaurant and always enjoy. Great choices and drinks. The relaxing atmosphere and ocean view can't be beat.

OT
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on July 3, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

What a beautiful setting! Outstanding wait service and food. Our server, Lalili, was so kind and knowledgeable.

T
Phoenix
2 reviews
Dined on July 2, 2019
Overall2food3service2ambience4

Food was ok. Service was marginal.

C
Seattle
5 reviews
Dined on July 1, 2019
Overall1food3service1ambience2

We were there for my finances moms 80th birthday. I had made it clear in my reservation it was a special occasion. The description of the restaurant is that it has nice outdoor space with a view of the ocean. It was basically a family casual space with very poor service. We had to ask in front if the birthday women for the dessert and then waited over 15 min to get it and another 30 min to get the bill. We had breakfast at a casual beach spot that was very busy, they overheard us talking and they surprised us with a dessert with a candle and provided excellent service. I think it was reasonable for us to have expected at least decent service at the Ritz Carlton. I would not recommend going unless you are on property and don’t feel like leaving.

K
San Francisco
73 reviews
Dined on June 28, 2019
Overall2food2service1ambience2

The best part of this restaurant is the convenient location for guests staying at the Ritz Carlton. Unfortunately, almost everything else needs work.
We were seated inside, and when we said to the hostess that we would prefer to be outside at one of several open tables, she said that other people with reservations were already waiting to be seated outside. We had a reservation, too, so I am not sure why other groups arriving after us would have priority.
The outside tables are actually warmer, because they have heat lamps. The inside tables have nonstop cold breezes from the doors, which are left open throughout the night.
Eddie introduced himself to us as our server for the night, brought water, and then we never saw him again. 25 minutes later, a different person, without explanation, introduced himself to us as our server for the night. This person was as absent as Eddie.
We made the mistake of ordering the paella, which says on the menu takes 35-40 minutes. In our case, it took one hour after ordering. It arrived to the table barely warm, and the other two entrees were also barely warm. Our server apologized, but it is a huge bummer at this price point to sit in a cold dining room eating cold food. He asked us if we would like free dessert, but we were so cold by then, 2 and 1/2 hours after we sat down, that we declined so we could get back to our hotel room and warm up.

l
Los Angeles
10 reviews
Dined on June 27, 2019
Overall1food3service1ambience5

The bistro is not a restaurant I would recommend. It took us 90 minutes to get our dinner from the time we ordered it. Our server was excellent and tried to keep apologizing for a kitchen issue, but the manager had a real attitude and never even apologized about the long wait. The food was very mediocre. The server told us he was going to remove from the bill our drinks and dessert in an effort to make up for the poor service. It would have been nice for the manager himself to have apologized and done something for us. This restaurant service is definitely not up to the level of the Ritz Carlton property.

C
San Francisco
12 reviews
Dined on June 22, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I enjoyed celebrating my anniversary at the Bistro. The staff made it very special!

JH
San Francisco
12 reviews
Dined on June 21, 2019
Overall2food2service4ambience5

Nice staff and setting. Sub-par food. Good ceviche with stale tortilla chips. Mediocre Caesar Salad. Does anyone in the kitchen taste this stuff before they send it out?

MB
Los Angeles
2 reviews
Dined on June 17, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The Bistro is our go-to place for any celebration. The fish tacos were delicious. My friend loved her kale salad. Our server, Blake, treated us like royalty and made my birthday so special. Bravo to The Bistro!

R
Los Angeles
4 reviews
Dined on June 2, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We had a wonderful waiter, Trevor. He was attentive, suggestive of foods we may like and extremely pleasant. The service provided an inlay to delicious and a well-prepared meal. We came up for the day and it was quite wonderful.