OKU

4.6
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104 Reviews
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$30 and under
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Californian
Tina Takaya and Ted Ellis, co-proprietors, welcome you to our newest two story restaurant on the water. We both feel the key to success is our passion for creating the highest quality food and warm friendly service with a commitment to consistency.
We hope you will enjoy your experience as much as we enjoyed creating it for you.
Our menu draws from Asian favorites that inspire and excite such as Wagyu Steak, Japanese Sushi, Chinese Dumplings, Thai Noodles and fresh local seafood.
We are located in the heart of Santa Barbara’s Waterfront and Funk Zone Districts. Come enjoy lunch or dinner, soak in the sun by day at our waterfront rooftop bar while sipping on a refreshing cocktail surrounded by our beautiful ocean vista and by night, enjoy lounging by the fireplace after a delicious meal and a great glass of wine.
Our chef uses the freshest ingredients from central coast farmers and local fisherman to create dishes with the best of what California has to offer.
What 104 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
4.6
service
4.5
ambience
4.3
value
Noise · Moderate
92% of people would recommend it to a friend
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ND
Central Coast
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

This was one of the most outstanding dining experiences we have had in Santa Barbara. Our welcome was delightful, we were greeted by name and made to feel very welcome. A better table was found for us as some people were just leaving-t was a Monday night and PACKED! We had excellent cocktails from the bar, including a massive conch shell rum based fruit one for 2 people!
Absolutely everything we ate was remarkably fresh, perfectly prepared and utterly delicious. Stand outs were the Uni, the Pork Belly with Garlic Noodles, the Cauliflower, and Edmame were done with such originality and tasted amazing. We shared all the plates and were all so happy, every dish was very successful. A word about our server who’s name I have managed to forget, so sorry, but she was absolutely delightful and funny and incredibly helpful about portions and what was to our taste. She also knew when to leave us to just eat the food! It was a special delight to meet the owner at the end of the meal and be told a little about the development of the establishment and be show the wonderful upstairs dining room.
Make no mistake, we will be back!!

AS
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall5food5service4ambience4

Loved, loved, loved the food! I’m a vegetarian and one of my companions was on a very specific diet, but we both really enjoyed our food. The table we had was right by the bar and outside patio so it was a little loud. Previously, I had sat on the upper deck, and that had a great ambience.

PH
Central Coast
2 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall4food5service4ambience3

As usual, the food was lovely, the quality of ingredients outstanding. But it was our first time here on a Saturday night. Even before 6pm the noise level was VERY LOUD. There are only hard surfaces for sound to bounce off. The place was full of mostly young happy people enjoying their food/drinks. Guess we would have been happier enjoying ours on a quieter weekday night.

JB
San Francisco
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Innovative dishes and a lovely and accomodating staff. Have eaten at Oku three times and always delicious and enjoyable.

SW
Las Vegas
1 review
Dined 7 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great first experience at Oku. As a Santa Barbara local we are always looking for great new restaurants, Oku did not disappoint. Service was very friendly and the food was excellent. We enjoyed the sushi, salads and the Korean cauliflower dish. Loved that Oku had a variety of sushi specials in addition to menu items. The view of the pier and ocean from our table was outstanding!

NB
Central Coast
7 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Imaginative, delicious food.....Lovely service....& oh, your view on a sunny afternoon!

OT
Central Coast
1 review
Dined on January 5, 2020
Overall4food4service5ambience4

What a fantastic addition to our local culinary scene. Being a local for 30 years, I usually avoid the waterfront establishments frequented by tourists. But this was such a delightful experience that I’ll definitely be back and referring friends. Delicious and I loved the diversity of the menu!

t
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on January 5, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Love this new addition to the SB restaurant scene. The cauliflower app is a must try as is the black cod. Great, friendly service.

IK
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on January 4, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Excellent food, Justin, our server, was INCREDIBLE and patient with our modifications & allergies. Plus his recommendations were spot on. Last minute trip to Santa Barbara and Oku was amazing! Will be back soon!

DJ
Central Coast
3 reviews
Dined on January 4, 2020
Overall4food4service3ambience3

The center back room was very loud with stomping noises from the upstairs. Would suggest anther room other than the center room. Service was so so, it was a busy night though. Steak salad was mediocre at best. Miso soup and scallops were very good.
My sister order the lamb, did’t show up until the very end of the meal. The manager came over and apologized for the delay & comped the meal. The cauliflower was amazing! Will return soon.

OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on January 3, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Amazing experience! Welcoming and hip vibe! Great food and drinks. Our faves are the Crazy Rich Asian sushi and the garlic noodles! The green tea creme brulee is amazing

F
Central Coast
27 reviews
Dined on January 3, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Fabulous food, great location over looking the beach, and impeccable service. Overall a very cool spot.

O
1 review
Dined on December 31, 2019
Overall1food2service1ambience1

Terrible experience. Outdoor patio was uncomfortable and the waitress was not attentive. She double over charged us for items on our bill

RO
1 review
Dined on December 31, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Sashimi Salad, Cauiflower & Shishito Peppers made the perfect lunch with Sakura Rose Sake & a beautiful view of the Santa Barbara Waterfront. The service & hospitality is always top notch!

K
Central Coast
2 reviews
Dined on December 30, 2019
Overall4food5service5ambience4

Our server was wonderful and the food was delicious. Our only complaint was that it took over an hour to get some of our order and some was forgotten. Still, we will come back in a heartbeat. Love the restaurant and location and fingers crossed that we don't have the same problem again.

MC
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on December 30, 2019
Overall5food5service4ambience3

Went for a birthday celebration which was a superb experience. Received complimentary champagne. Wait service was attentive and friendly!

OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on December 28, 2019
Overall5food4service5ambience5

Ok I was great!

a
1 review
Dined on December 27, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Fantastic place. Great food, great ambiance, go now.

AD
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on December 26, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Amazing Amazing!
Great food! Great service and great location!!

OT
1 review
Dined on December 26, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Most amazing food, and even better service!

SR
Seattle
2 reviews
Dined on December 23, 2019
Overall3food4service4ambience2

Too noisy, so didn't stay as we couldn't hear each other across the table. Other members of my party have eaten there in the past and said food was great. Also, was seated on patio which had heaters but some of us were a bit chilled and the others felt like they were baking under a broiler.

AR
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on December 22, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Santa Barbara needed this level of creative Japanese cuisine. Such a cool vibe, Koji is an amazing chef Grest cocktail bars

KL
1 review
Dined on December 20, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We had a fabulous evening at Oku. Everything our server, Chloe, recommended was fantastic. Flavors were well balanced and food was perfectly cooked. Chloe was one of the best servers I’ve had in my 10 years in SB. Overall a great addition to the SB dining scene and we look forward to going back.

NB
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on December 20, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Knowledgeable servers, friendly and attentive staff, great location with views of the water and wharf. Great food!

OT
Central Coast
1 review
Dined on December 17, 2019
Overall3food3service3ambience3

Made a reservation here 2 months ago and they tried to seat us outside when it was 55 degrees asked to sit inside and they said all the seats were taken (in a rude manner too). I said I didn't request outside (nor was it an option) and would appreciate sitting inside since it was my birthday and I made this reservation months ago. Luckily They "found" us a seat inside because we almost left to go next door to Bluewater at that point. Waitress came up and asked us if we sat ourselves after the hostess sat us. Overall just felt really unwelcome the staff after those two encounters. Food was ok but nothing to write home about the sushi menu was very limited. Probably won't come back. overall unimpressed.

S
San Francisco
9 reviews
Dined on December 16, 2019
Overall3food3service4ambience4

Great ambiance, but please clean up the unisex restrooms. Yuk

CA
Central Coast
1 review
Dined on December 15, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great food and good service. Nice ambiance and decor. Will definitely return.

OT
San Francisco
13 reviews
Dined on December 13, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Loving its here, nice menu, fusion and eclectic combined with some usual Asian classics. Such is good quality, the Cauliflower dish is amazing, we always order 2! Love the Garlic noodles with pork belly. Been here three times in the last 2 weeks. Nice upstairs chilled area, great to have a bite and then have drinks near the open fire pit. Highly Recommend!

OT
Central Coast
7 reviews
Dined on December 13, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Phenomenal food quality, esp the sushi and sashimi ! We ate there Friday night and it was absolutely stellar quality. And I’m a fish snob, to boot.

Finished off with one cooked food item -> curry lamb chop was recommended and it was great; the sauce was just right and wasn’t overpowering. Perfect balance ~

CM
1 review
Dined on December 12, 2019
Overall5food5service4ambience5

Very authentic Japanese food, five stars all the way.

f
Los Angeles
17 reviews
Dined on December 12, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Everything was perfect from views, food, service...we’ll be back!

HD
Central Coast
97 reviews
Dined on December 11, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We have now been to Oku over 10 times and they've certainly hit their stride. Opening late in fall was probably a challenge but they handled it with grace and quickly learned to ensure a wonderful experience for all who dine with them. We are very excited to see what Spring and Summer bring for this beachfront restaurant with breathtaking ocean views and a great second story open patio.

The food is all very good but some of our favorites include the sashimi tacos (wonton chips as the taco shells, yum!), the very fresh and delicious halibut or salmon "lollipops" (cucumber wrapped sushi on a stick), the Saigon chicken wings (sticky but so good), quail egg with oyster spoon, firecracker rock shrimp, miso yuzu black cod, the nigiri and sashimi, and the excellent black garlic filet mignon. Service is very attentive and professional and the ambiance is truly excellent with contemporary design, energetic music, and a location across the street from the ocean!

S
1 review
Dined on December 10, 2019
Overall5food4service4ambience5

Had a great slow dinner on the patio upstairs. Mostly kept to the "cold" menu with various sushi dishes. Great overall experience and excited to come back and try the "hot" menu items.

SB
Sacramento
3 reviews
Dined on December 7, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Amazing innovative creative selection of food. Right next to beach in Santa Barbara! What could be better?

AW
Central Coast
1 review
Dined on December 7, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Amazing food! Can’t wait to go back!

m
Central Coast
2 reviews
Dined on December 7, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I’ve now been to Oku 5 times! Very very good food and knowledgeable staff. Our party was very happy with everything! Of course we will go back.

OT
1 review
Dined on December 6, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

one of the best restaurants I have ever eaten at. so delicious and fish is very high quality!

RI
1 review
Dined on December 5, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

IT WAS ABSOULTLY AMAZING. WE ENJOYED OUR CHRISTMAS DINNER WITH THE STAFF. THE VIEW AND TEMPATURE WAS LOVELY. LOVED IT ON THE ROOF TOP. WE ALL WANT TO COME BACK WITH OUR FRIENDS AND FAMILIES. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND TO EVERYONE.

OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on November 30, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Crazy rich Asian roll and cauliflower is amazing! Nice ambience and friendly staff.

ES
Central Coast
3 reviews
Dined on November 29, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The service was excellent and the food delicious. Second time and looking forward to many more.