Blackbird

4.5
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248 Reviews
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$31 to $50
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Contemporary American
Classic meets contemporary at Hotel Californian’s Signature Restaurant, featuring exquisite Mediterranean-influenced cuisine with an emphasis on Santa Barbara-sourced, hyper-seasonal ingredients. With the Pacific Ocean and the Funk Zone as a backdrop, the Blackbird offers a sleek, yet approachable and wholly unpretentious atmosphere with a pulse on contemporary Santa Barbara.
What 248 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
4.5
ambience
4.1
value
Noise · Moderate
89% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
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OT
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Wonderfully creative menu with extremely knowledgeable staff.

NE
Los Angeles
5 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 2food 2service 3ambience 2

None of the food was great, which was disappointing after reading such good reviews.

n
Central Coast
15 reviews
Dined on October 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Absolutely fabulous meal and service. Unique flavor combinations and preparations! Can not wait to come back!

KW
Fayetteville
22 reviews
Dined on October 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Delicious food, great service,many thoughtful items to choose from. Start with some chickpea fries and it's tasty romesco sauce, then Dungeness crab puffs,very tasty. The scallops were cooked perfectly and the branzino was as well.

N
New York Area
83 reviews
Dined on October 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We have been several times and have always loved it. But the service we received this time was exceptional.

OT
Dallas
16 reviews
Dined on October 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

It was lovely! One of the best salads I’ve ever eaten. The courses and dishes all transitioned very well into one another and the service was impeccable.

h
Central Coast
20 reviews
Dined on September 29, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Outstanding service and inventive food.We will be back when we are next in Santa Barbara.

MJ
San Diego
16 reviews
Dined on September 20, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

My birthday dinner was spectacular. Our waiter was wonderful. The food was absolutely stunning. Loved every bite.

AK
Central Coast
14 reviews
Dined on September 16, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Another good meal here. Nice last minute dinner on a Monday night. Great location at the water end of State Street, right near the new(er) gorgeous City parking structure and all of the new lower State and funk zone action. Salmon was very good, as was kale salad. Octopus was a little over sauced., but that is a preference more than a flaw.

AB
Los Angeles
6 reviews
Dined on September 15, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This was a really great find. The food was beautifully presented, our server was a great and everything tasted wonderful. Will definitely be back!

T
San Francisco
28 reviews
Dined on September 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Our table was ready, our server greeted us by name and made it clear that it was his responsibility to steer us in our menu selections so that we had both a relaxed and delicious dinner. The food was amazing and the service enhanced the experience. And, even though seated near the bar, we could enjoy quiet conversation with just the perfect lighting and ambiance. Thank you so much!

OT
Seattle
1 review
Dined on September 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Good food and service, but very noisy inside and recomend sitting outside.

LA
San Francisco
13 reviews
Dined on September 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Absolutely loved everything about this restaurant,
Friendly hostess, wait staff, very personnel and very well versed on the menu, fantastic wine list. The Menu, is direct and to the point, not overwhelming, not filled with a thousand choices to boggle the mind.
The plating presentation is extremely well done, the micro greens were fresh crisp, vibrant in color and taste (very unusual)
The food, five stars! I’ve been to many Michelin rated restaurant around the world, and Blackbird certainly rates to be one of them.
I assure you, we will return.

LA
Central Coast
9 reviews
Dined on September 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great experience tonight...server Adam was great. Definitely improved since my last visit... can't wait to visit again!

v
Los Angeles
53 reviews
Dined on September 4, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 4

Not a good experience. The bar wasn't
Able to make a tequila sunrise. When not sure best way to carve whole fish branzino inexperienced waiter ( not main waoter...a younger one brought the food)....he said "any way you want to". Main hot course arrived with starter salad so had to hasten meal.
More oversight needed.

BF
New York Area
18 reviews
Dined on August 22, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 4ambience 4

The eggplant toast appetizer was a great mix of flavors. The uni spaghetti was too salty the sauce killed the uni flavor. The pappardelle with eggplant were too salty as well and the ingredients fought each other. The roasted branzino came with a mousse that didn’t work with the flavour of the fish..

N
New York Area
84 reviews
Dined on August 17, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

It's been awhile since we've gone to Blackbird and we're sorry we've been away. The food and service were both excellent. Always loved the atmosphere.

TM
Los Angeles
13 reviews
Dined on August 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Delightful restaurant, good service, wonderful food. A great spot for date night.

A
Los Angeles
12 reviews
Dined on August 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Favorite new spot!

A
Los Angeles
13 reviews
Dined on August 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

The food was amazing!
What a great experience this restaurant was! We are going back tonight. The food was sublime. We got a black kale salad that was really delicate and delicious. The cheese and meat platter was really tasty. Peppers were delicious. Honestly, everything was a treat. Can't wait to return. To put it in perspective: we ate at Blackbird 2 nights ago. The bill was about $170 for 2 adults and a child. We were very pleased and satisfied ~ overall delighted. We went to Loquita last night and the bill was $190 without desert and we left feeling hungry and uninspired. So Blackbirds was a real treat, felt like a decent value and was delicious start to finish.

s
Los Angeles
50 reviews
Dined on August 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This was seriously outstanding. We enjoyed this meal so much - from the server who was so kind, welcoming and engaging - to the food and ambiance. We really loved this meal and it was one of the best we've had in a long time. The outdoor patio was heated and it had such a relaxed ambiance with a view of the pier from State Street. The food was outstanding. We had the chickpea fries which I can't stop thinking about. Then the crispy kale salad which was so perfectly done the kale melts in your mouth. I got the branzino (fish) and my husband got the Wagu beef burger. Both were prepared perfectly and delicious. Their dessert and coffee were very good. We would definitely recommend this restaurant and can't wait to go back!

OT
New England
6 reviews
Dined on July 28, 2019
Overall 2food 1service 3ambience 1

The food was lackluster. The flatbreads were burned and the Branzino was just so-so. It was overpriced and under-delivered.

DM
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on July 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Ate outside where it was quite. All the dishes were very good, the service was excellent. Wine was very good, cocktail was OK.

TT
Central Coast
2 reviews
Dined on July 28, 2019
Overall 1food 3service 2ambience 1

A very limited menu and they were out of one entree item, further limiting one's choices. Took forever to get our food. It's mostly a bar scene. Items are way too expensive for such a noisy place. Fine dining and raucous bar drinkers don't go together. Also, they charge for parking. $9 with validation and $17 without and don't warn the customer ahead of time! No other restaurant in Santa Barbara does this. Then after that insult, the valet parkers lost the key to my friend's car. The valet is hired by the Hotel Californian in which the Blackbird is located. No one was taking responsibility! The people at the Hotel Californian were useless and Blackbird says they have no authority over the valet. It was a terrible evening. I live in Santa Barbara as do my friends and we will never go back to Blackbird or the Hotel Californian and will encourage everyone we know to steer clear of these establishments. The lost key is still not resolved!

OT
New England
1 review
Dined on July 27, 2019
Overall 1food 2service 1ambience 3

Was not all that it is hyped up to be

GU
Los Angeles
15 reviews
Dined on July 20, 2019
Overall 4food 2service 5ambience 5

Service was great but the food will NOT bring us back . We will wait at least a year .

S
Central Coast
2 reviews
Dined on July 19, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 4

We had excellent service from Mitch, however I can’t say we enjoyed the food as much as on previous visits. It definitely has declined in quality. I heard they have changed chefs a few times & that is unfortunate. The original they opened with seemed to know what to do elevate the dining experience. In particular I remember a brick chicken dish from last years that was incredible, sadly the revised chicken dish was a horrible replacement. Its a great space but the concept of fine dining has gone down hill.

OT
Orange County
1 review
Dined on July 17, 2019
Overall 2food 4service 4ambience 4

There was literally nobody there at 6:30 pm so idk what to tell you man. Food was great though!

LP
1 review
Dined on July 9, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

Lovely experience. Definitely recommend the oysters, tempura broccoli (and the espresso dessert, omg.)

OT
Central Coast
2 reviews
Dined on June 29, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food, the service was excellent

OT
Central Coast
1 review
Dined on June 23, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent uni toast

OT
Los Angeles
3 reviews
Dined on June 18, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 2

The restaurant was trying to be fine dining but wasn’t. I ordered a $35 piece of king salmon that was over cooked.

t
Central Coast
36 reviews
Dined on June 18, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 4ambience 5

The food was outstanding and the service was very pleasant and I’m excited to go back again!

GO
1 review
Dined on June 16, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

the octopus and branzino I had was great, the ice-cream was ordinary. we liked the vine we picked and our server was amazing. he made our night more fun.

DR
Los Angeles
10 reviews
Dined on June 8, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 5

This was my third time there and the food is consistently delicious and creative. The service has been inconsistent and this past time, not so good.

SM
1 review
Dined on June 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

One of the best dining experiences I’ve had! We came for dinner and to celebrate my boyfriends birthday and truly had the best time. The food, drinks and outdoor seating area were all amazing. We will definitely be back the next time we are visiting!

GO
1 review
Dined on June 3, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

We were visiting Santa Barbara and had the pleasure of dining at Blackbird. We had my 9 year old Nephew with us and we were happy that they were so accommodating to his "plain" requirements.
The staff were obviously well trained, seamless and pleasant.
The food was delicious, I recommend the oysters!

S
New England
7 reviews
Dined on May 31, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Sharing plates, nice service, uncommon flavors and combinations, a little pricey but it’s very good.

P
Central Coast
46 reviews
Dined on May 25, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Blackbird is our favorite restaurant in Santa Barbara. It has gourmet food for a reasonable price. The chef does a wonderful job combining unique flavors to create delicious and innovative menu choices. The menu changes frequently based on the season and locally sourced items. I enjoyed the non-alcoholic persimmon elixir in addition to the flatbread appetizer with lemon butter and olive oil. The kale salad was exactly as described with crispy kale and the whole branzino and salmon entrees were well prepared and melt in your mouth delicious. The citrus dessert was bright and had the perfect combination of sweet and sour to tantalize ones taste buds. Our favorite servers Bobbie and Katie know the menu very well and are especially attentive and friendly. The restaurant can get noisy especially if you are seated inside near the bar. I recommend dining early either inside away from the bar or outside before it gets too crowded.

OT
1 review
Dined on May 18, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

It was for our anniversary and it was awesome!

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