The Monarch

4.5
162 reviews
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$31 to $50
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American
Our menu is meant to showcase the bounty of Santa Barbara County,
in a manner elegant yet rustic, precise yet unforced. 

The Monarch approach to dining is best enjoyed with friends
and is meant to be shared with the table.

Specials

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Daily 5:00PM - 5:00PM 9:00PM - 10:00PM

What 162 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
4.3
service
4.5
ambience
4.0
value
Noise · Moderate
73% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
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UK
Central Coast
1 review
Dined on June 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Farm to table small portions new menu . Everything was amazing 4 course 55.- Best Service ever.

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BD
Los Angeles
6 reviews
Dined on June 11, 2019
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 4

Very contrived menu which required diners to select 4. 6 or 8 courses each. Had to ask for an appetizer menu. We were so disappointed in the lack of flexibility of dining options we left . Total cost of a couple of shared appetizers and 6 glasses of house wine was over $280. Went next door to Lucky’s, had a lovely dinner and wine for $140. Will never go back to Monarch.

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N
Central Coast
8 reviews
Dined on June 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

It was our fourth visit since SB Restsurant Week 2019 and the first time with your new menu so we were a bit hesitant. The amuse bouche(?) immediately convinced us we’d made the right decision. Everything from that point on was exquisite! Thank you very much.

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p
Houston
78 reviews
Dined on June 1, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

The Monarch really stood out for excellent service. The food was good, especially the braised rib and the duck confit purse.

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CE
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on May 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent meal. We both enjoyed the tasting menu of four courses. The wagu beef was so tender and everything else delicious. It got too noisy for our taste after 8:15 PM but glad to see so many patrons in our neighborhood.

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T
Central Coast
1 review
Dined on May 26, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 2ambience 4

Food was wonderful, but portions are small. We left hungry. You need to order a lot and fill up, but price not worth it. Really like the old menu better before, and those portions were generous for the value.

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MM
Central Coast
7 reviews
Dined on May 19, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I love, love, love the fact that they use not only local food but also local artisans as well.

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TR
Palm Springs
6 reviews
Dined on May 18, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Service makes all the difference, it will even excuse poor food, which was not needed. "Nina"? was so gracious giving no attitude when I called to adjust our time. I did not expect to be accommodated. She met our arrival with her vivacious personality, and i learned later made notes to the server re: us so that the continuity of good care and service was continued. Waitress (forgot name but beautiful artwork on her arm) was full of friendlyness, patience, and knew her menu!!! Wine guy equally attentive and friendly, not snobbish and the food was once again outstanding, even better than the last outstanding time we dined there how is that possbile? Bravo and thank you. BTW-Thought I lost my wallet. They called to say did not find. I found and did think about it again, however your staff did. They called again to say sorry and they will continue to keep name and look out. WOWZA!

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b
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on May 18, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing! Starting with Nina at the front desk to Danielle our server to the GM Drew, everyone was so wonderful. And the food!!! It was outstanding. This is my new favorite SB restaurant.

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H
Central Coast
2 reviews
Dined on May 15, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Delicious food! Great service! Love the ambience!!

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BE
Los Angeles
2 reviews
Dined on May 3, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

Awesome experience . Service was top notch and the interior was understated but classy. Location is great as well. The food was fantastic. Fresh and rustic California classic combinations from seafood to filet. Everything was excellent.

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LC
1 review
Dined on April 21, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 2ambience 2

We arrived for Easter brunch at 11:30. Menu was standard lunch fare. Food was mediocre. Burnt bun on the tuna sandwich, burnt potato chips, salty vegetables. Service was slow and the bill was over $160. Won’t be returning or recommending. So disappointed.

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S
Houston
5 reviews
Dined on April 20, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent!

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JH
1 review
Dined on April 19, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

It was a nice place the service was amazing, the food was very good. It was very convenient having it in the same location as our hotel room.

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G
Los Angeles
15 reviews
Dined on April 18, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

The service was among the best I've had in any Santa Barbara venue. From the reception hostesses to the bartender's perfection of our drinks to the superbly attentive and knowledgeable waitress we had, there was little that could even have been imagined as better service. Some of the dishes were top-notch, world-class as I have come to expect from the Frankaland enterprises: the halibut crudo had an astounding variety of small flavors and nuances to it (dried fruits, nasturtium leaves, crisp flower petals) that all worked harmoniously with the light orange glaze - I would come back just for that dish alone. A spectacular desert of caramel custard and absinthe was equally brilliant in its blend of flavors and served as a beautiful, creamy send-off into the night. The rest of the fare was quality, good fare: abalone (cooked just right and not at all chewey!), pappardelle with mushrooms, and a fresh vegetable dish for the vegan among us. As we had just spent the week wine-tasting in Paso Robles, we should have brought our own and paid corkage fees since we picked blindly from the pricey selections and did not pick well for ourselves (and had three cases in the trunk of our car we could have dipped in to!). But the experience was well-worthwhile and we will be back for the Sushi Adventure!

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Z
Los Angeles
10 reviews
Dined on April 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

The food was amazing, creative, tasty, some of the best in Santa Barbara and the atmosphere was very pleasant.
Our server was awesome, she steered us away from the tasting menu and suggested for a party of our size, six people, to share few apperiters and three main courses, which was more then plenty and we got to try different kind of plates.
We are definitely going back.

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S
Central Coast
14 reviews
Dined on April 12, 2019
Overall 2food 1service 4ambience 3

First, it is a difficult menu to order from. The "family style" concept makes no sense for parties of two. Both of you have to want the same thing - a problem when one has food allergies or the other doesn't eat certain things. Second, the "composed" menu choices (a weird way of saying individual concoctions) are mostly smallish bites. Third, for the most part, what we ordered was awful.
We first had their highly touted bread. It is very good but the semi-melted butter and herbs mixture was bland, just really high in fat. The rutabaga flatbread with house cured bacon was full of bacon and cheese fat. The bacon was under-cooked with strips of translucent, soft fat. The mozzarella salad was the best thing we ate. The cheese and other ingredients were fresh. The last dish was a mushroom and pasta dish that was just plan terrible. However, to be honest, we modified it by asking for the creme fraiche & dijon sauce on the side since one of us doesn't do creamy dairy. We swapped the sauce for olive oil. The resulting dish just tasted bitter and acidic. The pasta was just shy of al dente on the hard side. Not enjoyable. The color was brown, maybe it was a whole wheat pasta or picked up the mushroom color and off flavor. I tried to imagine this dish with the creme fraiche/dijon sauce and just thought it would make it weirder. Maybe we were having an off night because this restaurant is quite popular. I know the chef tries very hard and is highly skilled but he needs to rethink what flavors and textures most people like. Creative is great until it goes off-track.
Addendum: I forgot to add that the Martini my wife ordered was pretty bad. It had way too much Vermouth and was room temperature. A man dining at a table behind us sent his back. On the brighter side, the glass of French Burgundy I had was very good.

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VA
Philadelphia
4 reviews
Dined on April 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

So enjoyed this yummy meal with special friends

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J
Los Angeles
29 reviews
Dined on March 30, 2019
Overall 1food 2service 4ambience 2

Unimaginative, unappealing menu. Limited champagne and sparkling wine list and one for $350. Strange decor; slick bar conflicts with casual restaurant decor.
They have to fix the menu if they want to stay in business. We will no return.

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EJ
Los Angeles
15 reviews
Dined on March 29, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Monarch is the whole package in Montecito, which is hard to come by...chic ambiance, delicious food, AND great, friendly staff.

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PP
1 review
Dined on March 28, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Excellent service beginning to end. Able to accommodate my food allergy. Excellent food. Would definitely go again.

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FB
1 review
Dined on March 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary dinner there. It was very good. Had a nice time.

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M
Orange County
6 reviews
Dined on March 20, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 3ambience 4

The food was good but it was hard to figure out the menu. Because it is family style, my husband and I had to have the same meal. Few choices for individual entree. It was fairly noisy even though there were only about 4 tables with people. We were all seated in the same area so you could hear everyone’s conversation. Very strong woodfire smell which lingers on your clothes after leaving.

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DL
Orange County
54 reviews
Dined on March 19, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 4

Very pricy for lunch. Service was too basic & neglectful for the image supposedly wanted.
Don’t plan on returning, sadly

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JP
Central Coast
9 reviews
Dined on March 17, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

The food was good but not exceptional. Based on the prices, the food should have been exceptional, The service was great, the ambiance is very nice and the overall look of the restaurant is very pleasant. However, based on the prices of the food, it should have had more pizzazz and it should have been exceptional. It was nice but not memorable.

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b
Central Coast
1 review
Dined on March 15, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 4

I liked the Monarch the first time I went. But this time it was a disappointment. The menu with its "composed" dishes that the server couldn't explain seems pretentious. Some of the dishes were ordinary but the vegetarian dish was quite good. Over prices for the delivery.

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DR
Los Angeles
5 reviews
Dined on March 15, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 3ambience 4

Wonderful restaurant and amazing menu. Some servers are more experienced than others. We were asked if anyone had food allergies and we mentioned there was a nut allergy... and the Goddess Salad was served with nuts. Server asked the question robotically, but our answer did not register. Suggest they pay more attention. Also, restaurant was empty for a 5:30 seating and they put guests right on top of one another. Otherwise amazing.

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9
Tampa
10 reviews
Dined on March 9, 2019
Overall 2food 4service 1ambience 3

Sat at the bar seating as we normally do but the service was way worst than normal .i understand a busy bar tender but the bar seating was less than half sold and having to pour a $75.00 bottle of wine myself on every pour is not what I think the owners want , especially when the bar tender complains about how busy he is !
$100 per head I expect better service !!!!

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K
Los Angeles
13 reviews
Dined on March 4, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 2

We sat at the bar and had a lovely meal (salad with green goddess dressing - and short ribs, which were also delicious) and a very nice glass of wine each, served by a kind man who seemed a little out of sorts - however the air quality was horrendous. It was smoke-filled when we arrived and just continued to get worse and by the time we ran out of there we were breathing what smelled like burned rubber or plastic. Very toxic fumes. We love the idea that the kitchen is open to the dining room however there needs to be much better ventilation. We would have spent more time and money there, but we couldn’t breathe! And we made it clear that we were needIng to leave immediately, and the waiter forgot completely about us. Food= A+.....the rest= B-

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MC
Los Angeles
9 reviews
Dined on March 2, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

Pricy hipster paradise.

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SK
Central Coast
3 reviews
Dined on March 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Very pleased with our dining experience there. The lighting and decor are warm and inviting. We typically like sitting at the bar, and found it comfortable and well-run by the bar staff. The food was outstanding. We like the shared plate concept. The salad with green goddess dressing was delicious, as was the ahi tartare. Our roasted chicken entree was perfectly prepared, and the potatoes, root vegetables, and beets were good choices on a cold and wet winter evening. A bowl of shaved slaw-like brussel sprouts was delicious. The campfire style marshmallow dessert is not to be missed. The wine list is thoughtful with good choices. Jamie the bartender took very care of us. Overall, the relaxed, but sophisticated atmosphere they've created sets it a cut above many SB restaurants. I highly recommend it.

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LI
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on February 27, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 3

We were excited about visiting the Monarch during restaurant week as we are locals and this was our first visit. When we asked questions about the restaurant menu we were told that the appetizer was a large mussel dish and the waiter pointed to a steamed mussel dish which looked amazing. Instead we were served the small mussel dish with beans which was listed on the restaurant week menu. The waiter told us that he had made a mistake. Had we known that and how small the portions would be (two small pieces of fish) we would likely have ordered from the main menu instead. The restaurant menu was tasty but not what we expected going in. The dessert was delicious and ample for two. We were hoping for a better overall experience and it is unlikely that we will return as a result.

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JN
Los Angeles
52 reviews
Dined on February 24, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

We came for our first time and really enjoyed the Restaurant Week special. Thank you very much.

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S
Central Coast
4 reviews
Dined on February 22, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Was a bit too warm and was not getting water refills as needed, but otherwise worth trying again!

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OT
Central Coast
1 review
Dined on February 21, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Really excellent meal with great service for our anniversary.

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OT
Los Angeles
5 reviews
Dined on February 21, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

What a divine treat to dine at the Monarch Restaurant!!! Lunch or dinner, both are spectacular!!!!
The menu is well rounded, and exceptionally prepared!! Chef Phillip Lee is a gift to Santa Barbara!!!!

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r
Central Coast
10 reviews
Dined on February 19, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

A comfortable venue, interesting menu with surprisingly good food and portions that are perfect for sharing (or taking home). What a good addition to the Montecito dining scene!

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OT
Central Coast
2 reviews
Dined on February 18, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

What a wonderful experience we had here. Definitely looking forward to going back!

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P
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on February 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food at Monarch is innovative and fresh. I have been delighted with both meals I have eaten at this restaurant and can’t wait to go back!

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MS
Palm Springs
21 reviews
Dined on February 14, 2019
Overall 2food 1service 4ambience 3

Well. This will not be a good review. This my 3rd visit to the Monarch. The first two times were just OK for me. This recent visit was with a party of 6 for Valentines Day. They had a fixed price menu and the bill before tip, and with us bringing our own wine, was about $1000, so it should have been great... it wasn't. The portions were tiny and the chef was trying to hard to be artsy & hip, when he should have been more concerned about serving great food. To start, the oysters were briny and just not good quality oysters...my dining companions from the east coast were not impressed. The tuna was OK...but a microscopic portion...same with the gnocchi, but it was pretty good. I thought the calamari was OK, but most of us did not enjoy it. Now comes the scary part...the quail was served rare...yikes! Inedible. Then the short rib....loaded with fat which had not been properly rendered (cooked off), also inedible. Desert was an unimpressive sorbet like substance with a strange texture. And, us usual, our clothes smelled like their kitchen when we got home..probably poor ventilation with the kitchen odors spilling into the dining area. All in all, we won't be back. Clearly, they have some work to do if they expect to be around for long.

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