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About The Hungry Cat - Santa Barbara
Proudly Serving Santa Barbara since 2007!
The Hungry Cat Santa Barbara retains the same focus as the Hollywood and Santa Monica Canyon locations: fresh, high quality fish paired with fresh, locally sourced ingredients from nearby farmer's markets.
Our rotating raw bar showcases Pacific and Atlantic oysters, clams, Santa Barbara sea urchin, raw and marinated fish dishes, crab and lobster.
The Bar at the Hungry Cat specializes in seasonal, market driven cocktails, craft brews and an eclectic wine list made for seafood.
We are open daily serving dinner, with brunch on the weekends.
Happy Hour is available Monday - Friday, from 4pm to 6pm.
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
Hours of Operation:
Happy Hour: Tuesday - Friday: 4pm-6pm
Dinner: Tuesday - Thursday 5pm - 10pm
Friday 5pm - 11pm
Saturday 5pm - 11pm
Sunday 5pm - 10pm
Brunch Saturday & Sunday - 11am - 3pm
Our famous raw bar is served throughout the day
$30 and under
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
Street Parking is available and we are located 1/2 a block from 2 SB Public Lots. Enter off Chapala Street.
Private Party Facilities:
Our recently added Dining Room can be reserved for parties from 6 to 12 people. The perfect size for a small celebration, wine tasting or business lunch.
We are also available for larger parties with advance notice. This may require a complete restaurant buyout.
Private Party Contact:
Bob Van der Veer: (805) 884-4701
Banquet, Bar Dining, Beer, BYO Wine, Corkage Fee, Counter Seating, Farm to Table, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Late Night, Non-Smoking, Private Room, Takeout, Weekend Brunch, Wine
The Hungry Cat - Santa Barbara Ratings and Reviews
After waiting about 40 minutes for our table, which was fine as the staff tried hard to make us feel at home at the bar, we had a view of the kitchen and how they prepare their food. It didn't feel like they loved cooking, or were even watching when they threw the food on the fire. But our chowder was great, a little rich, so have it with a salad. Very filling and yummy.
We were sadly disappointed with almost every aspect of our visit. We ordered a VERY expensive seafood platter and then were informed that they were out of 2 of the items. The items they did bring were unexceptional. Our food was delivered at wildly different times. There was never an apology or even a recognition from the manager over what was going on at our table even though the restaurant was not busy. I was shocked by our bill, no discount was offered and to top it off they charged us $4 for 2 slices of bread. A poor experience.
Unfortunately I took a friend there to celebrate her engagement, and the seafood triple tower we shared was not good at all. The king crab and Maine lobster had been previously frozen, the clams were sketchy. The waiter kept forgetting to bring things we asked for, such as small plates so we wouldn't have to eat over the table (!!). There wasn't enough room on our table for the tower, and he just left us with the big tower blocking our view of each other, until another waiter noticed and set up a table next to us so we would have enough room. The sauces for the seafood were only for one, so we passed them back and forth and lost track of which was for what. Our waiter must have been new, and sadly did not deserve the tip I gave him.
I had heard very good things about this restaurant prior to going, and so I would give it another chance, but I would not order seafood.
The service was painfully slow and we were not told before we ordered a dessert that took 14 minutes to make it after we had already been there for over 2 hours...The waiter did tell me that the restaurant does not give free birthday desserts. We were a party of 8 - I think they could have given the birthday boy his dessert on the house. We also had to ask repeatedly that the music be turned down because we could not hear the person talking next to us let along down at the end of the table. Note: we are not a group of old farts - we were celebrating a 28 year old's birthday dinner and had several generations there, all of whom thought the music was too loud to enjoy a meal at 6:30 pm.
After reading the reviews on Yelp we were worried, but WOW what a meal. The chorizo and oysters entree and the special lobster risotto were just sublime. Then the lemon dessert - one was perfect for four of us - outstanding flavor, dreamy-smooth texture. With cozy atmosphere and great service, we could not have been more pleased. A bit noisy (Friday night) but fine. Be sure to ask for their bread, which is fresh and lightly toasted, as you will want to sop up every drop of sauce. They should be more generous in offering it with both appetizer and entree - our only criticism.
We were visiting the area and hoping to have a great meal for dinner. The service from the very start was terrible. After ordering a glass of wine, I waited almost 15 minutes only for the server to tell me they were "out of wine glasses" and it was served in a martini glass. The lobster roll was just ok but Branzino whole fish was actually much better.
Let me start by saying that the appetizers were great. Perhaps we should have stopped there. The entrees were late to arrive, I'm talking an hour from the time we sat down to eat which is unacceptable. We requested the catch of the day to be filleted, but each bite had multiple bones it. I couldn't even finish eating it. My suggestion - go for happy hour, enjoy the crab toast and call it a night.
I like the Hungry Cat. I think we caught them on a bad night. They moved our reservation because they got a party. The waitress was lovely but the burger we ordered had stale bread, barely cooked bacon and the burger itself was rare when we ordered it medium. Like I said I think I caught them on a tough night.
Very pricey. Mixed thoughts on the quality of the dips and sauces. Weird mignonette with apple cider vinegar. We had two waiters serving us and yet the sevice was uneven, overbearing at the beginning then crickets. Our clam chowder took ages to come out and it was very tasty (heavy on the alcohol though) but the bread we ordered was redolent of burnt marshmallows and tasted like nothing. All the seafood on the single tier platter was exemplary.
We were a little late for our 8:30 Saturday night reservation and were treated dismissively over the phone when we called to notify the restaurant. We got there 8 minutes late and the whole place was empty. I guess they wanted to go home early. Having said that, the waiter was outstanding and he made up for our first impression. The food was inventive, very tasty and in ample portions. The draft beer selection was weak, but we were impressed with bar/cocktails, and that they had Old Plymouth Gin for our martini's.
So many disappointed reviewers made us almost second guess our reservations. So glad we didn't. The service was spot on. Kind, attentive, informative. The food was so fresh and well prepared and perfectly proportioned. We tried sea urchin for the first time, after all this is Santa Barbara for heaven's sake, the things practically live across the street! While I still prefer oysters, it had all the wonderful taste of a day at the beach. Fresh and salty. The hamachi crudo was yummy and very clever with a wasabi sauce and edamame. The market fish was a locally caught sea bass on a bed of fresh, still sweet and crunchy, corn purée. My husband ended with a lemon curd parfait that he enjoyed. The drinks, alcoholic and non went perfectly. We wanted seafood without feeling we were tourists at a beach front chain restaurant, and we got a hip, sweet place that made us want to return.
Generally excellent. Coming in on the backend of Fiesta may have explained the " off " night. Got my Hors d'oevres before my cocktail which they forgot until reminded and it was not as good as usual.
Salad was sloppily presented and frisée was falling off plate. It was a visual mess. Taste was fine. Entree was good but not exceptional as is the case usually. French press was excellent and their own cream made a big difference. Desert was good but I am not a custard fan so am not a good judge . Overall good but not up to its usual stamdard
A frustratingly disappointing experience. Service was Santa Barbara amateur hour at its finest: one of us ordered the branzino and the waiter begrudgingly took the fish off the bones *using the knife and fork of the diner who ordered it*! What's that all about? Whatever happened to bringing another set of tools to the table to do the job?
My halibut was as well done as the grilled toast we ordered as an appetizer, and the wine-pouring experience was weak as well. We had to ask the waiter to pour, even though our glasses remained empty for several of his passes by the table.
We have always loved The Hungry Cat and Suzanne Going restaurants, but this meal was a huge loser for our party of four. And we dined during Fiesta, a time when the restaurant wasn't busy at all.
Had not been there in several years. Now I know why. Menu is down to a few limited items, apart from their featured high-priced seafood items. The wine pour was miniscule -- and $15 for an average chardonnay. With the limited space, close seating and hard surfaces conversation is difficult at best. There are so many great alternatives in this city, it is surprising that they have survived. We won't be back.
Seafood tower was fresh, delicious and beautifully served. Salads and our cocktails all made with fresh, quality ingredients...superb. Kids menu items a bit expensive at about $12 for fish and chips or toasted PB&J. Ordered halibut, arrived dry/over cooked. When they replaced it it was raw throughout and basically seared. Properly cooked halibut should flake off in moist sheets easily with a fork. The service we had this time was poor. They were snotty about replacing the fish the first time and the second time, they were non apologetic, though it was removed from the bill. When we first arrived, my 4 year old had accidentally spilled his freshly made mock tail, and they didn't even offer to replace it. A manager huffed over with big sighs to clean it up. We have visited several times prior and the service has never been amazing- but this was definitely under par.
I'll be honest. We picked the restaurant because of the name. We were looking for fresh sea food and we got the two tier tower. We were very pleased with the taste, presentation and quality. The sauces took it to the next level. We'll definitely be going back.
The Hungry Cat has been my husband's favorite restaurant in Santa Barbara for the last few years, but we were both disappointed with our most recent dining experience. When we walked in, the entire staff was new, from the general manager to the cooks to the servers. The music playing in the background was grating and abrasive. Our server was prompt, but his manner bordered on obsequious. Our dozen oysters included some partially frozen ones, but our server promptly replaced them, so we were pleased with the way this was handled. Because it was Cinco de Mayo, we ordered the specials. The Caldo con Pollo was delicious and so was the Mexican corn on the cob, but the Mexican cod main dish was a disappointment. The piece of cod was tiny, the succotash didn't include the promised butter beans and the flavors weren't remotely Mexican. Our 4 on the Floor bourbon drinks and the chocolate bread pudding were excellent as usual. We also noted that the price of a lobster roll and fries is now a staggering $25. Although I'd return and give the new crew a chance to settle in, my husband is determined not to come back anytime soon.
One of our favorites for consistently great and innovative cooking. This time however, a few things really fell flat. Pre dinner oysters still had not arrived When salads were put before us. The waiter acted like he'd done this on purpose but it was clear he'd forgotten. Roasted Brussels sprouts were incredible, chorizo and clams always Devine. However, two orders of local halibut were very dry and tasteless. We were not in the habit of sending things back, but should have here since the dish was quite pricey and had been touted as a special. We will return but were not happy.
If you like a grim, dingy ambience, terrible food and mediocre service, this is your place. We ordered three different entrees and it was hard to tell which one was the worst. The waiter spoke in a whisper and we had to ask him to repeat himself several times. I had out-of-town guests with me and was completely embarrassed by this place. NEVER again. I am shocked that this place is highly rated on the web. There was absolutely nothing to recommend it.
Our meal was absolutely incredible! Shrimp and Grits were the BEST I've ever tasted and the Eggs Benedict was amazing with Kale and Crab Cakes! The bottomless mimosas were made with Cava and fresh squeezed, in front of your eyes, orange juice. I would go back in a heartbeat! Wait staff was excellent!
It was our first visit to Hungry Cat and we were definitely impressed with the food AND the service! The fried brussels sprouts were out of this world and the chocolate bread pudding was worth every calorie! It was a bit pricey for our budget , so we see it as a special occasion place. I look forward to trying brunch on the weekend.
Every single time we've visited the Hungry Cat, in Santa Monica and Santa Barbara (which has been infrequent since we don't live near them), we walk away completely satisfied by their excellent cuisine and service. The wine list is small but varied in sensible selection at all price ranges. I will definitely recommend them to anyone as destination restaurants.
Really fresh & delicious seafood. Highlights included fresh uni, local mussels, scrumptious branzino from Italy, Pacific lobster, and clams & chorizo. All dishes were beautifully prepared with excellent sauces & seasonings. A terrific place for seafood lovers with friendly, knowledgeable, and professional service.
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