HelpiOS AppAndroid AppWindows Phone AppWindows 8 App

Not available on OpenTable

Unfortunately, this restaurant is not on the OpenTable reservation network.
If you like, we’ll notify you by email if this restaurant joins.
Is this your restaurant? Claim this listing

The Hungry Cat - Santa Barbara

311 reviews
icon/ic_price_rangeCreated with Sketch.
$30 and under
icon/ic_cuisineCreated with Sketch.
Top Tags:
  • Fit for Foodies
  • Neighborhood Gem
  • Hot Spot

Similar Restaurants


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.
Dining Style
Casual Dining
icon/ic_cuisineCreated with Sketch.
icon/ic_clockCreated with Sketch.
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
icon/ic_phoneCreated with Sketch.
Phone number
(805) 884-4701
icon/ic_new_windowCreated with Sketch.
icon/ic_paymentCreated with Sketch.
Payment options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
icon/ic_dress_codeCreated with Sketch.
Dress code
Casual Dress
icon/ic_chefCreated with Sketch.
Executive chef
David Lentz
icon/ic_private_diningCreated with Sketch.
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.
icon/ic_contactCreated with Sketch.
Private party contact
Bob Van der Veer: (805) 884-4701
icon/ic_locationCreated with Sketch.
icon/ic_neighborhoodCreated with Sketch.
icon/ic_cross_streetCreated with Sketch.
Cross street
icon/ic_parking_detailsCreated with Sketch.
Parking details
Street Parking is available and we are located 1/2 a block from 2 SB Public Lots. Enter off Chapala Street.
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
What 311 People Are SayingWrite a review
Overall ratings and reviews
4.1  based on all time ratings
Noise · Moderate
83% of people would recommend it to a friend
  • 5
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2
  • 1
Sort by
vipYummy (Central Coast)
3.0  Dined on December 10, 2016

Food was ok. Limited wine list. Sad to HC closing.

OpenTable Diner (Central Coast)
4.0  Dined on November 26, 2016

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.

OpenTable Diner (Los Angeles)
2.0  Dined on October 23, 2016

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.

Ellezabella (Miami)
2.0  Dined on October 1, 2016

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.

vipRozzie (Los Angeles)
1.0  Dined on September 27, 2016

Awful, no choices on limited menu.

OpenTable Diner (Central Coast)
1.0  Dined on September 17, 2016

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.

edrob (Central Coast)
5.0  Dined on September 16, 2016

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.

vipSouthBayGirl (Los Angeles)
2.0  Dined on September 10, 2016

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.

OpenTable Diner (New York Area)
5.0  Dined on September 7, 2016

This was a great restaurant to visit while vacationing in Santa Barbara - service was excellent and so was the food!

vipgage (Los Angeles)
2.0  Dined on September 6, 2016

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.

OpenTable Diner (Los Angeles)
3.0  Dined on September 4, 2016

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.

Bighitssmallmisses (Orange County)
3.0  Dined on August 23, 2016

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.

vipwb13 (San Diego)
3.0  Dined on August 20, 2016

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.

OpenTable Diner (Central Coast)
5.0  Dined on August 20, 2016

We ordered the Hungry Cat shellfish tower that includes caviar as an extra. Gorgeous presentation. Very fresh. Chocolate bread and butter pudding was decadent. Great waitress. Cocktails are good, but small selection. Great spot.

vipOpenTable Diner (Los Angeles)
4.0  Dined on August 20, 2016

Unique and creative dishes that are presented beautifully!

vipSavory (Palm Springs)
5.0  Dined on August 12, 2016

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.

WillG (Central Coast)
4.0  Dined on August 7, 2016

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

vipmaliburon (Los Angeles)
1.0  Dined on August 6, 2016

Big disappointment....nothing like their Santa Monica location...looks like a hole in
the wall restaurant...Menu horrible...don't bother going to this location.

vipOpenTable Diner (San Francisco)
2.0  Dined on August 5, 2016

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.

vipOpenTable Diner (Los Angeles)
5.0  Dined on August 2, 2016

One of the best seafood meals I've ever had. Service was a little distracted but the place is comfortable and chill