Blackbird

4.6
214 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 214 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.6based on recent ratings
4.6
food
4.7
service
4.5
ambience
4.3
value
Noise · Moderate
85% of people would recommend it to a friend
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DR
Los Angeles
4 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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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P
Central Coast
44 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.

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

We loved the food. Everything was so fresh and creative without being weird. Our waiter was great and had a good knowledge of food also which was helpful.

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PL
New Mexico
2 reviews
Dined on May 17, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

Our waiter Mitch was outstanding. He made the night a joy. We enjoyed the food very much, each dish was excellent. We had not been to Blackbird before and found that that the restaurant was more bistro/bar, I was expecting a large space, as the evening got later the bar became noisy. Our family left very happy though, a lovely evening celebrating a birthday.

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B
Central Coast
1 review
Dined on May 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food and cocktails were awesome. Service was outstanding. Went for anniversary and will be back. Can’t wait for them to start a happy hour.

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CS
Central Coast
1 review
Dined on May 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Went there two nights ago for a business meal. Among the four of us we enjoyed four appetizers, the branzino, and scallops (two seafood entrees). All excellent. They waived corkage with a bottle purchased from the list. Good choice of red wines and we enjoyed a nice Napa Cab in addition to the local pinot that we brought. Service excellent--very competent waiter and support staff. Although noisy, we could conduct our business.

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M
San Francisco
12 reviews
Dined on May 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

My daughter’s 21st bday celebration was just perfect at Blackbird. I highly recommend the oysters to start and the wagyu burger as one great dinner!

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OT
Denver
1 review
Dined on April 29, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Extremely accommodating to dietary sensitivities.

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OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on April 23, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

SPECTACULAR MEAL! The chef is very inspired - creative combinations and presentation. Service from Mitch was perfection - knowledgable about menu, served without unwanted interruption, but very friendly when engaged by patrons. We’ll be back for sure!

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SV
Los Angeles
2 reviews
Dined on April 19, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The scallops and the grilled octopus was to die for!!

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OT
Central Coast
1 review
Dined on April 19, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Very interesting food. All good. Great variety and novelty. Well done. We will happily return.

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SL
Los Angeles
9 reviews
Dined on April 18, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 5ambience 4

Arrived about 1/2 hour early and we were graciously accommodated. Atmosphere was lively but got noisier. We were promptly greeted by a friendly attentive server -Mitch. He was able to offer some suggestions for local beer and menu items.

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E
Central Coast
10 reviews
Dined on April 16, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 3

It's a good place with good food. The meal is simple, but have good flavour.

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OT
Calgary
1 review
Dined on April 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Outstanding

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TP
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on April 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This was one of the best dining experiences I can remember. Absolutely fantastic restaurant. And Mitch our waiter was incredible.

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AP
Central Coast
5 reviews
Dined on April 10, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Great place for small group. The bar is superb. Food was good but slow to come out. We came on a Wednesday night and there were only a few tables being served food took awhile to come out. Overall nice place. They have outdoor tables too.

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MG
1 review
Dined on March 30, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

Excellent, interesting,fantastic combination of flavors. Great service. Highly recommended.

Blackbird
Responded on April 1, 2019

We are happy to hear that you truly enjoyed your dining experience MarkG! I will share your wonderful feedback with our culinary and service team.

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JL
Las Vegas
7 reviews
Dined on March 30, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food & service. Bobby was a tremendous asset as our server. We ate at Blackbird in May 2018 and Bobby took care of us then, we were very glad to see him and have him guide us through our meal. Not to mention Bobby knew we were there for a special occasion and Bobby made our experience exceptional. Highly recommend Blackbird and Bobby!

James Lewis

Blackbird
Responded on April 1, 2019

Welcome back JamesL! We agree that Bobby is a true asset to our team. We look forward to seeing you back at Blackbird again soon!

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N
Baltimore
3 reviews
Dined on March 23, 2019
Overall 1food 2service 3ambience 2

Thought this was Moroccan/Mediterranean. Not even close!
The menu was pretentious and fussy. Food was mediocre at best.
Asked for more blankets, as it was freezing outside, and was told they were out. No one was outside but us. We insisted they get some from the hotel (they are part of Hotel Californian), and finally they did.
The wine list was ridiculously pricey. Glasses of wine started at $21! Their corkage fee was $35 per bottle!!!! INSANE!!!
I will NEVER return and would advise anyone not to dine with them!

Blackbird
Responded on March 31, 2019

Dear shareeN, Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback. We strive to create a memorable dining experience with not only our cuisine but with excellent customer service and we regret that your dining experience was not an enjoyable one. I would appreciate the opportunity to speak to you directly to better address your concerns.

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MB
Charleston
7 reviews
Dined on March 21, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Outstanding in all respects. Best meal we had on our trip!

Blackbird
Responded on March 31, 2019

We are happy we were a highlight of your trip MichaelB! We hope you have the opportunity to come visit us again soon!

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EE
1 review
Dined on March 21, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Beautiful interior with plenty of room between tables. Chic interior a la Boston, New York or London.
Staff was courteous and attentive.
Menu is inventive and portion sizes are very fair. Outstanding bar with Mixologists who deliver. Noise level can be somewhat high, but a good table conversation can still be had.

Blackbird
Responded on March 31, 2019

Thank you for your kind words EdgarE! I will share your experience with our staff and we look forward to having you join us again soon. Be on the lookout for some new craft cocktails being added to our line up soon too!

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FD
Central Coast
32 reviews
Dined on March 16, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

I've been to Blackbird about 10 times since they opened. The new chef has taken the food to a higher level of pleasure. Bravo!

Blackbird
Responded on March 31, 2019

I will be sure to pass along your comments to our Culinary team FineDiningVisitor. We appreciate your loyal patronage! Be on the lookout for some new seasonal dishes.

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OT
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on March 16, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing! Food and staff where both great! And ambiance was great. Heart of downtown SB

Blackbird
Responded on March 31, 2019

I hope Blackbird has become one of your favorite SB dining locations! The staff appreciates the kind words for their hard work.

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PL
Central Coast
1 review
Dined on March 15, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Mitch and his team were welcoming, helpful and efficient at serving our party of four. We enjoyed the food, especially the octopus and the robust red wine. We all thoroughly enjoyed our evening at Blackbird.
The only downside is the lack of parking but this is true for many restaurants in downtown Santa Barbara.

Blackbird
Responded on March 31, 2019

I am so happy you enjoyed your experience at Blackbird PeggyL! Mitch and the team delight in creating memories for our guests and it sounds like their food and beverage pairings were spot on for your party. Please know that although parking can be a challenge in downtown there is both Valet and Self parking options at the Hotel Californian. We look forward to you joining us again soon!

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LK
Central Coast
3 reviews
Dined on March 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This was my first time there and it was fabulous. We were greeted nicely and shown to a lovely table. The waiter Bobby explained the menu very well and helped us order as well as recommended excellent wines. The food was presented beautifully and was delicious. The espresso dessert was out of this world. I will be back again soon.

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LB
San Diego
1 review
Dined on March 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fantastic unique food and impeccable personalized service. I will absolutely be back!

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OT
Brisbane / QLD
1 review
Dined on March 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I came in with my wife for a birthday dinner celebration and everything was perfect. The service was outstanding, I believe Kenny was looking after us, and food was on point. They have a gorgeous bar to sit at also if someone is looking for a more casual dining experience.

Would definitely come back again!!

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TB
1 review
Dined on March 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Bobby was our server. He was the most incredible server we had on our trip by far. Would recommend to anyone.

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N
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on March 9, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 2

The food and service were spectacular. The noise level, however made sitting in the restaurant quite unpleasant. They absolutely need to do some sound mitigation work. I would go back for the food in a heartbeat - but I’ll wait until it’s warmer so I can eat outside rather than face the cacophony of room. I opted to go outside on a very cool evening and even the heaters and shawls provided were not enough to warm me. But it was worth it to enjoy our Branzino and Rib-eye without going deaf in the process

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OT
1 review
Dined on March 8, 2019
Overall 1food 1service 3ambience 3

Over hyped and disappointing. Food was just not tasty or what we prefer. We typically like the places we go. This was expensive and not for us.

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VS
Montreal
1 review
Dined on March 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

One of the best restaurants ever. Service superior. Food eclectic and superior. We had three dishes to share.

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E
Central Coast
1 review
Dined on March 3, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 4

Ok, it was restaurant week, and maybe this challenges a place like this. As my friend and I had a lot to talk about, we didn't mind, but the wait before every course was very long. They ended up serving us some bruschetta (soaky) in between, and nicely offered to take our glasses of wine off the bill (after the waiter dropped the desert on the floor when it finally came). We took the 3-course menu for $40 and it was good value for money. However, each dish was a bit odd: the red beet salad had only a few dry chips of red beet, together with lots of other ingredients. No interesting taste emerged from it, also due to the small amount of dressing buried under the many ingredients. The salmon was unremarkable, a little on the dry side. The grilled apple (for desert) was hard and dry again. Possibly a bad night for the kitchen, I will give it another try in a few months. But it is rare that I am disappointed by every course of a dinner.

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DP
1 review
Dined on March 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Went to Blackbird for the last day of SB Restaurant week. Upon entry, Bobby, our main waiter, greeted us and gave some of the best service I personally have ever received in this town. The rest of the wait staff were also very pleasant and attentive. Never-ending glasses of sparkling water! If you thought something, they intuitively responded! Like stepping back in time, when people were conscious of being conscientious! Now for the food. The food was exquisite! Beet salad was refreshing! The salmon was satiating! Lastly, the MILK & COOKIES was Glorious! That desert Truly embodies Everything that SWEET & CREAMY has to offer! The question always ends with... Would I go back here? Answer is obviously a big YES! Thank you Blackbird for the top notch service in all areas! It was a wHoly experience! I'll definitely be back again!

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IM
Central Coast
4 reviews
Dined on March 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Great service and good food.The price was a little too high.Would definitely go back again.

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

The food and service were fantastic. The wait staf is friendly and helpful but not overbearing. I had the butternut squash soup as a starter. I had to restrain myself from licking the bowl. For the main course I had the roasted chicken breast with shelling bean ragout. The seasonings were subtle and wonderful and the meat was tender and juicy. For dessert I had the baked apple with walnut ice cream. It was so flavorful and delicious and a perfect finish. I had a purple haze cocktail that was perfect as well. We went during restaurant week so it was specially priced but I will definitely go back and pay full price for any of the offerings.

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OT
Central Coast
3 reviews
Dined on February 28, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

Dinner with friends - Service was friendly but aloof, details often missed. Food was fine but nothing to rave about other than the Uni & Avocado Toast. Definitely not Santa Barbara’s best fine dining experience.

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