Enable JavaScript to run this app.
Skip to main content
OpenTable logo
  1. Home
  2. United States
  3. California Central Coast
  4. Santa Barbara
  5. Santa Barbara
Secret Bao, Santa Barbara, CA

Secret Bao

4.8
4.8
534 Reviews
$31 to $50
Asian
Modern Asian American Restaurant from Chefs Peter Lee & Felicia Medina.

"Consider the bao. Chinese in origin, it’s most easily described as a steamed bun filled with something savory. Yet, like the American concept of a sandwich, the bao exploded into a flexible format of untold bounds — served at any meal, filled with you-name-it, completely closed or wide open, with endless regional variants from across Asia and far beyond." - Matt Kettmann (SB Independent)








1 Block From State Street, Easy Parking, Public Lot Nearby, Free 75 Minute Parking, Walking Distance, El Pueblo Viejo Landmark District, Superior Court, Spanish Colonial Revival Courthouse, Santa Barbara Museum Of Art, Courthouse Gardens, Bell Tower, Bao, Food, Restaurant, Asian, American, New, Modern, Fried, Chicken, Octopus, Vegan, Vegetarian, Paelo, Friendly, Dog Friendly, Outdoor Patio, Heaters, Warm, Inviting, Hospitable, Modern Design

Make a reservation

2 people

7:00 PM


Booked 26 times today

Order delivery or takeout

Dining areas

Additional information

  • Dining style
    Casual Dining
  • Price
    $31 to $50
  • Cuisines
    Asian, Tapas / Small Plates
  • Hours of operation
    Lunch Wed–Sun 11:30 am–2:30 pm Dinner Wed, Thu, Sun 5:00 pm–9:00 pm Fri, Sat 5:00 pm–9:30 pm
  • Phone number
    (805) 259-3226
  • Payment options
    AMEX, Contactless Payment, Discover, Mastercard, Visa
  • Dress code
    Casual Dress
  • Owned/operated by
    Asian and Pacific Islander, Latinx or Hispanic, Women
  • Executive chef
    Peter Lee & Felicia Medina
  • Neighborhood
    Santa Barbara
  • Cross street
    Anapamu
  • Parking details
    Free 90 Minute Lot Next Door
  • Additional
    Beer, Gender Neutral Restroom, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Takeout, Wheelchair Access, Wine

What 534 people are saying

Overall ratings and reviews

Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant

4.8
4.8 based on recent ratings
  • 4.9Food
  • 4.7Service
  • 4.4Ambience
  • 4.5Value

NoiseModerate

Loved For

  • California Central Coast

    Best Food

  • California Central Coast

    Innovative

  • Santa Barbara

    Best Overall

  • Santa Barbara

    Best Food

  • Santa Barbara

    Best Value

  • Santa Barbara

    Innovative

  • Santa Barbara

    Good for groups

  • Santa Barbara

    Healthy

  • Santa Barbara

    Hot spot

  • Santa Barbara

    Lively

  • Santa Barbara

    Most Booked

534 Reviews
  1. KaiD

    Central Coast

    1 review

    3.0

    1 review

    Dined 5 days ago

    1. Overall 3
    2. Food 2
    3. Service 3
    4. Ambience 2
    The table wasn’t ready when we got there. After 5min past the reservation we were shown to a tiny table at the farthest corner near the window. Even though there’re plenty empty tables. The table was poorly lit and after the sunset I could barely see my forks. The waiter placed the knife with the blade pointing at me, not the best practice. And after we ordered it took almost 45min for our food to be ready. They also significantly reduced the serving size of their kalbi. Last time I ordered it, it was a really big serving size. And this time we got a tiny plate with maybe 5 small slices for $27. Food wasn’t good enough either. Not a good experience.

    Is this helpful?

  2. MarkH37

    Denver

    5 reviews

    5.0

    5 reviews

    Dined on April 15, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Love this place!! Everything is so, so good. A favorite that can't be missed when in Santa Barbara.

    Is this helpful?

  3. OpenTable Diner

    Hawaii

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on April 15, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 4
    Best to make a reservation! Great food and service, I’ll be back!

    Is this helpful?

  4. Professor

    Central Coast

    4 reviews

    5.0

    4 reviews

    Dined on April 14, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Fantastic and unique and delicious. We had a lovely date night feeling as though we had traveled abroad.

    Is this helpful?

  5. DennisH

    Central Coast

    19 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    19 reviews

    Dined on April 12, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    The flank steak chow fun is delicious and really enjoyed the KFC Bao sandwich served hot and spicy.

    Is this helpful?

  6. PeterT

    Central Coast

    4 reviews

    5.0

    4 reviews

    Dined on April 12, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 4
    Fabulous food, reasonably priced. Excellent service. A little cold and pretty noisy inside. Patio is a great choice on a warm day. Shrimp Bay is amazing. Add it to the regular menu please.

    Is this helpful?

  7. ChristineS

    Seattle

    16 reviews

    5.0

    16 reviews

    Dined on April 8, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 4
    Amazing food! Exactly as I anticipated! The pork belly Bao melted in your mouth, the KFC Bao had really good flavor, the special salmon crispy rice cake was beautifully prepared (the sauce was amazing!), the duck spring roll was sooo good and the Bao donut ice cream sandwich was delightful. We also had the steak chow fun, which I expected more from but the other food honestly made up for it.

    Is this helpful?

  8. food10

    Los Angeles

    23 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    23 reviews

    Dined on April 8, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 4
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 4
    Great food. Nice service. Noise level can be high.

    Is this helpful?

  9. OpenTable Diner

    Los Angeles

    1 review

    4.0

    1 review

    Dined on April 6, 2024

    1. Overall 4
    2. Food 3
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 4
    I loved the menu first time and set the bar really high for this restaurant. Came back second time and was disappointed with the menu. Great service and reasonable pricing, will I return again sure but I’ll double check the menu next time around.

    Is this helpful?

  10. BudFood

    Los Angeles

    29 reviews

    2.0

    29 reviews

    Dined on April 5, 2024

    1. Overall 2
    2. Food 1
    3. Service 3
    4. Ambience 2
    Imo food quality has declined while prices like all restaurants have increased.

    Is this helpful?

  11. SBGiGi

    Central Coast

    49 reviews

    vip
    4.0

    49 reviews

    Dined on April 4, 2024

    1. Overall 4
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 2
    4. Ambience 3
    The food was lovely. We had a series of appetizer plates that we shared the only one I didn't read highly was the Kung pow cauliflower. Somehow, something was just missing from the flavors. Everything else was lovely. Unfortunately, the noise level was so high. It was really difficult to have a conversation at our table, and there was a screaming child at the next table which did not help! I loved the food but unfortunately we had our first two dishes and then a low of 45 minutes until the next dish was served. We ask our waitress about this and she said oh we leave you plenty of time to enjoy your meal. 45 minutes between courses is way too long and only signals that you didn't get your timing, right! I will go back just to see if they can do it better next time. And the food was great.

    Is this helpful?

  12. JustinP

    San Francisco

    7 reviews

    5.0

    7 reviews

    Dined on March 31, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 4
    4. Ambience 5
    Food is always amazing here. And their happy hour menu was perfect!

    Is this helpful?

  13. Asherooooooo

    Los Angeles

    221 reviews

    vip
    4.0

    221 reviews

    Dined on March 29, 2024

    1. Overall 4
    2. Food 4
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 3
    The scallops were so good. I wish we had ordered more. KFC Bao was eh

    Is this helpful?

  14. OpenTable Diner

    New York City

    1 review

    vip
    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on March 28, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Amazing as usual. Phenomenal service and food was nothing short of perfection.

    Is this helpful?

  15. OpenTable Diner

    Los Angeles

    1 review

    3.0

    1 review

    Dined on March 24, 2024

    1. Overall 3
    2. Food 3
    3. Service 3
    4. Ambience 3
    The food was really good except for the dessert. We got the matcha crème brûlée and it was too burnt and made it more bitter. But other than that it was pretty good.

    Is this helpful?

  16. Nukeleon

    Los Angeles

    53 reviews

    vip
    4.0

    53 reviews

    Dined on March 24, 2024

    1. Overall 4
    2. Food 4
    3. Service 4
    4. Ambience 4
    Very popular place around the corner from Granada Theater and busy State Street. Nevertheless, we got in and out in plenty of time to make our show at the theater. Service was good with the waitress checking in on us frequently despite seeming to have tables all over the place to cover. All of the food, including the KFC bao, was finger licking good. They didn’t scrimp on the duck in the spring rolls. The hamachi tacos were perfectly spicy. The chili dumplings were closer to room temperature than hot, but they were delicious. The avocado Asian salad was a refreshing plate of contrasts. Really wish we had room for the crab curry noodles. If they were open later I would have gone back for those noodles after the show. I would definitely return. Wish there was one closer to home.

    Is this helpful?

  17. Sll22

    Central Coast

    2 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on March 24, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    we had a wide selection of the menu. EVERYTHING was delicious! so many fabulous flavors!

    Is this helpful?

  18. HowardK

    San Francisco

    5 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    5 reviews

    Dined on March 18, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 4
    4. Ambience 4
    An interesting menu with well prepared and presented unique modern Asian dishes. Excellent!

    Is this helpful?

  19. CherylD

    Central Coast

    2 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on March 18, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 4
    Everything is always delicious and consistent at the Secret Bao. It's our favorite place to go in Santa Barbara.

    Is this helpful?

  20. Jeff

    Central Coast

    6 reviews

    5.0

    6 reviews

    Dined on March 17, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 4
    We love secret Bao! The food is always amazing and good variations on menu. Service is very friendly with good recommendations on items. We have a great time every time we go.

    Is this helpful?

  21. OpenTable Diner

    Phoenix

    4 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    4 reviews

    Dined on March 11, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 4
    Delicious and our server was so sweet and attentive

    Is this helpful?

  22. Bean

    Central Coast

    2 reviews

    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on March 11, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    This place is so delicious, you can’t go wrong assuming you like fish and a little spice. :)

    Is this helpful?

  23. RachelB

    San Francisco

    7 reviews

    5.0

    7 reviews

    Dined on March 10, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    This is our second time eating at Secret Bao. We are visiting from out of town and told our family members we gotta come back! We enjoyed everything we had and our server(I’m sorry I forgot her name) was amazing and gave the best recommendations! The service, food and ambience were great!

    Is this helpful?

  24. Mondo

    Central Coast

    3 reviews

    3.0

    3 reviews

    Dined on March 10, 2024

    1. Overall 3
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 4
    4. Ambience 2
    The food is excellent, really quite good. Prices are a bit on the high side. We sat outside and the chairs are extremely uncomfortable but the inside was full- I recommend only going if you can sit inside.

    Is this helpful?

  25. JohnH

    Greater Boston

    32 reviews

    4.0

    32 reviews

    Dined on March 9, 2024

    1. Overall 4
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 3
    4. Ambience 2
    Food was pretty good, a lot of unusual options, all of which were well prepared. Service was reasonably attentive, but forgot items that we had ordered and had to be reminded several times. Drinks were good. Ambience was definitely not a core strength. Noyes level was high but not completely uncomfortable, mostly because tables are fairly close together. We will go back, but not very often.

    Is this helpful?

  26. SusanG

    Toronto

    3 reviews

    5.0

    3 reviews

    Dined on March 9, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Friendly atmosphere. Good ambiance. Great food. The sticky date cake is awesome.

    Is this helpful?

  27. OpenTable Diner

    Central Coast

    3 reviews

    5.0

    3 reviews

    Dined on March 4, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 4
    Service and food were amazing. It was special and I enjoyed every part of the dinner.

    Is this helpful?

  28. SandraT

    Chicago

    1 review

    vip
    3.0

    1 review

    Dined on March 3, 2024

    1. Overall 3
    2. Food 3
    3. Service 4
    4. Ambience 3
    The hamachi collar that I came for was sold out by 6:00 however the hamachi tacos were lovely. Everything else, brusselsprouts, cauliflower, spring rolls, shrimp were too greasy and way too salty for both of us. The duck rolls duck texture mush.

    Is this helpful?

  29. ThomasR

    Greater Boston

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on March 2, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Everything was perfect. The food is so good and so priced. 10/10

    Is this helpful?

  30. pthinks

    Central Coast

    4 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    4 reviews

    Dined on March 1, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 4
    This is a special place. Each time I go I'm wowed by the food and the service is always top notch.

    Is this helpful?

  31. MargaretP

    Philadelphia

    5 reviews

    5.0

    5 reviews

    Dined on February 29, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Best food! So flavorful! A must for dining. Best Brussel sprouts and the date cake is to die for

    Is this helpful?

  32. AFED

    Denver

    17 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    17 reviews

    Dined on February 26, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Wonderful Asian meal and service and food was spot on. Everything came out hot and delicious.

    Is this helpful?

  33. ChiaraG

    Los Angeles

    5 reviews

    4.0

    5 reviews

    Dined on February 25, 2024

    1. Overall 4
    2. Food 4
    3. Service 4
    4. Ambience 4
    Good food, we tried something we didn’t try before and also took our favourite plate that is the kung pao cauliflower that we can’t miss every time we came here! Temperature was perfect outside

    Is this helpful?

  34. sbsammie

    Central Coast

    6 reviews

    5.0

    6 reviews

    Dined on February 25, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 4
    There was quite a variety of food, and everything we ordered was delicious! There were three of us, so we shared several dim sum plates and appetizers, all of which met or exceeded our expectations. The prices were reasonable for the quality of the food. The staff was friendly and attentive. You definitely need a reservation, which thankfully we had.

    Is this helpful?

  35. LindaB

    Los Angeles

    41 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    41 reviews

    Dined on February 23, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 3
    We went back for second time in a few days to have again the special "Curried Crab on Noodles" Thai yellow curry style. Outstanding dish. Their usual Bao's are wondeful and normally what we eat there but this was unusual and very tasty. Med spicy,, great Asian flavors. Good service, affordable. We will return.

    Is this helpful?

  36. Rose

    Los Angeles

    4 reviews

    5.0

    4 reviews

    Dined on February 23, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    The food was amazing! Service was great, would highly recommend as a nice, moderately pricey place to eat with a large group that likes a variety of flavors/ingredients

    Is this helpful?

  37. Jelly

    San Francisco

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on February 19, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    So delicious. Went with a part of 9 including kids and everyone devoured each dish that came out. Favorites included kung pao brocolli, pork bao, and the soy dumplings however every single dish we ordered was amazing. We’ll be back!

    Is this helpful?

  38. MarianneRT

    Los Angeles

    10 reviews

    5.0

    10 reviews

    Dined on February 18, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 4
    We loved every single dish and the service is excellent. It's a very popular and extremely noisy. I hope they'll open one down in Venice!

    Is this helpful?

  39. ChrisB

    Los Angeles

    5 reviews

    5.0

    5 reviews

    Dined on February 18, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 3
    Secret Bao is one of my favorites in Santa Barbara! Great food, great selections and service.

    Is this helpful?

  40. earlyandoften

    San Francisco

    12 reviews

    5.0

    12 reviews

    Dined on February 17, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 4
    4. Ambience 5
    We had the KFC bao and the pork belly nap which were both amazing. My favorite was the KFC bao and I guess it’s their most popular. For entrees we had the steak chow fun and the kalbi. The steak chow fun was perfectly seasoned with Szechuan pepper for a little tingly tang. So good and highly recommended!!

    Is this helpful?

FAQs

You can order delivery directly from Secret Bao using the Order Online button. Secret Bao also offers takeout which you can order by calling the restaurant at (805) 259-3226.

Secret Bao is rated 4.8 stars by 534 OpenTable diners.

Yes, you can generally book this restaurant by choosing the date, time and party size on OpenTable.

Make a reservation

2 people

7:00 PM


Booked 26 times today

Order delivery or takeout

Google Map for Secret Bao

1201 Anacapa St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101-2009

Dining areas

Additional information

  • Cross street
    Anapamu
  • Neighborhood
    Santa Barbara
  • Hours of operation
    Lunch Wed–Sun 11:30 am–2:30 pm Dinner Wed, Thu, Sun 5:00 pm–9:00 pm Fri, Sat 5:00 pm–9:30 pm
  • Price
    $31 to $50
  • Cuisines
    Asian, Tapas / Small Plates
  • Dining style
    Casual Dining
  • Dress code
    Casual Dress
  • Parking details
    Free 90 Minute Lot Next Door
  • Payment options
    AMEX, Contactless Payment, Discover, Mastercard, Visa
  • Owned/operated by
    Asian and Pacific Islander, Latinx or Hispanic, Women
  • Executive chef
    Peter Lee & Felicia Medina
  • Additional
    Beer, Gender Neutral Restroom, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Takeout, Wheelchair Access, Wine
Discover
OpenTable
  • About Us
  • Blog
  • Careers
  • Press
More
Businesses
  • Restaurant reservation software
  • Industry insights
  • Hospitality resources
  • Marketing resources
  • Operation resources
  • How to open a restaurant
  • For restaurants
  • For restaurant groups
Join us on
  • Privacy Policy
  • Terms of Use
  • Cookies and Interest-Based Ads
  • Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information
  • Cookie Preferences
Copyright © 2024 OpenTable, Inc. 1 Montgomery St Ste 500, San Francisco CA 94104 - All rights reserved.
OpenTable is part of Booking Holdings, the world leader in online travel and related services.
Booking Logo
Priceline Logo
KAYAK Logo
Agoda Logo
OpenTable Logo