The Lark - Santa Barbara

4.6
2358 reviews
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$30 and under
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Contemporary American
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About

The Lark pays homage to the history of California train travel and tributes the treasured and long gone Santa Barbara Fish Market, built in the 1920’s as a commercial fish processing plant, shipping their seafood products throughout the state by rail. With an imaginative yet approachable menu created by the gifted Jason Paluska, The Lark celebrates everything found around Santa Barbara County – wineries, farms, ocean and natural beauty. The stunning design strives to connect to the past and the future, using discovered objects from the past and blending them with modern, urban and industrial materials to spectacular effect.
Dining Style
Casual Elegant
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Cuisines
Contemporary American, Tapas / Small Plates, American
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Hours of operation
Dinner:
5:00 p.m. - Closing Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday
Late Night Bar Menu available
CLOSED MONDAY
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Phone number
(805) 284-0370
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Payment options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Smart Casual
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Executive chef
Jason Paluska
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Neighborhood
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Parking details
Complimentary valet parking available or use nearby street parking. Substantial parking is available at the Santa Barbara train station, just a block away.
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Public transit
Enjoy a train ride to Santa Barbara from southern or northern California and meet us at The Lark. No driving required.
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Entertainment
Upcoming events:
Make memories Christmas Eve at The Lark! Enjoy holiday specials in addition to The Lark's a la carte menu.
Ring in the New Year at The Lark! Chef Paluska has New Year's Eve specials and a complimentary sparkling toast.
Additional
Banquet, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, BYO Wine, Corkage Fee, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Late Night, Non-Smoking, Outdoor dining, Private Room, Wheelchair Access, Wine
What 2358 People Are SayingWrite a review
Overall ratings and reviews
4.6based on recent ratings
4.6
food
4.5
service
4.7
ambience
4.2
value
Noise · Moderate
89% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
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ND
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Our server was wonderful and the food was delicious. Everything we tasted was seasoned perfectly. I cannot wait to return.

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TB
Los Angeles
18 reviews
Dined on February 14, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 3ambience 4

We’ve been to the Lark many times before. It is our favorite spot in Santa Barbara. Maybe our expectations were a lot to live up to, but our most recent experience fell short. The service was not what it has been in the past and the food, at least what we ordered, was nothing to write home about. We will almost certainly give The Lark another try, as it has been so wonderful in the past.

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TM
Houston
15 reviews
Dined on February 9, 2019
Overall 2food 3service 1ambience 1

The food was fine, the service was poor. The mood in the restaurant is frantic with servers, hostesses all running around! You are rushed, left with no water on your table and not given the proper utensils. This was our first trip to Santa Barbara and read The Lark was a “must”. We were very disappointed.

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CO
1 review
Dined on February 1, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 3

Good restaurant. The couple of items we ordered, roasted Brussel sprouts and a arugula salad, were excellent, but were the only options for my vegan daughter. I did comment to our server about the lack of any vegan entrees on the menu, which was surprising in a modern, hip restaurant. It was my daughter's 19th birthday, and I had travelled from San Diego to Santa Barbara to take her out for her special day. The server did surprise us at the end with a serving of vegan avocado ice cream, which was a nice gesture.

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AS
1 review
Dined on January 28, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 4

The restaurant is little bit of a hype - the food is ok ok, nothing out of the ordinary - sitting in the patio with the fire on was a salvation.

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LR
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on January 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This place was amazing. From the outstanding food to the knowledgeable and friendly service, it was definitely top 5 dining experiences ever! The food was like art - each dish that came out was more beautiful than the last one. I wish I lived closer so I could frequent The Lark.

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BG
San Francisco
14 reviews
Dined on January 28, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

The food here is amazing and so is the wait staff. It does get a little noisy when it’s busy, but not too bad. I come to this restaurant every time I’m in town.

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g
Chicago
27 reviews
Dined on January 27, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

Food was very good..in fact, delicious..but the prices are outrageous for the portion size and for that reason I will not be back..$36 for 3 scallops and $34 for one fillet of branzino..too much

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DG
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on January 27, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 4

Great and lively atmosphere but really bad timing on serving the food. We felt very rushed. We received our salad and side vegetable dish less than 10 minutes after sitting down and even before my drink. We had requested that the vegetable come with our entrees. One of the entrees was served 15 minutes before the second entree so I got to watch my date eat his dinner while I waited for mine.

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L
Miami
2 reviews
Dined on January 26, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 5

I wish we could have sat indoors given that it was cold

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S
Los Angeles
7 reviews
Dined on January 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This place was a find near what was the Fess Parker. Excellent food; excellent service. I recommend for all special occasions and just a great night out with friends.

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MH
New England
1 review
Dined on January 25, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The brussel sprouts were one of the best things I've ever eaten. Everything was great though, and the service was excellent.

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MM
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on January 25, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food was great. You have to do the Brussel sprouts and risotto is they are available. Those were my favs. Ben our waiter was wonderful and very helpful.

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J
Los Angeles
31 reviews
Dined on January 24, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

One of the best spots in SB! We had a truly amazing meal based on the recommendations of the bartender (thanks Wyatt!) and had wonderful cocktails to boot. It's a cute space but definitely a bit loud, otherwise we loved the vibe and everything we ordered. Service was great and everyone was so nice!

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J
Los Angeles
16 reviews
Dined on January 24, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Our experience was wonderful
Service was really good and menu very interesting

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OT
London
2 reviews
Dined on January 23, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food and wine on a cool hip environment

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OT
New York Area
7 reviews
Dined on January 21, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great atmosphere, original menu, attentive service.

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NB
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on January 21, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

everything was beyond delicious, I'm dreaming of your house made fromage blanc....

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OT
Vancouver
1 review
Dined on January 20, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

Had to wait an hour despite arriving on time for our reservation. The vegetarian options are poor and all the plates are generally too salty.

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TA
1 review
Dined on January 19, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 4

The Lark has great food and drinks. They dropped the ball on my wife’s birthday but we still had fun and enjoyed our food. I wouldn’t recommend the Branzino. I think the fish is overrated but I liked the flavor of the complete dish. My wife enjoyed her Risotto as well. Server was blah. This was our second time there. We went for my birthday back in September. Our server last time was amazing! I think the energy and personality and attentiveness of the server can make or break the entire visit.

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EC
Vancouver
2 reviews
Dined on January 19, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Awesome spot! Most food was exceptional. Service was friendly but not outstanding.

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ZJ
1 review
Dined on January 18, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food was incredible, mix of flavours. Service was impecable and atmosphere W was great.solo diner.

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s
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on January 6, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 4

The Lark has been touted and praised by many friends. We went there for the first time on our anniversary, the receptionist picked up on that, and we were given champagne to start with, and the waiter was addressing us by name, and with much enthusiasm and obvious love for the restaurant. He had recommendations and was also very knowledgeable about the food preparation and the wines. All in all it was a wonderful anniversary experience.

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OT
Orange County
1 review
Dined on January 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The Lark has amazing food, great ambiance, and wonderful service! You can’t go wrong! We came here to celebrate my husband’s birthday and they made it very special. We can’t wait to go back again next time we are in Santa Barbara!

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DB
New York Area
1 review
Dined on January 5, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 4ambience 4

We loved this restaurant the first couple times we came here, but this visit was very disappointing. None of the dishes clicked in terms of flavor/balance. Our pasta dish had a sauce that was very acidic and generally unappetizing. And the pear salad was overly dressed with bland pears and hardly any persimmon - we needed some sweetness from the fruit to balance the dish but there was none. The scallop dish tasted ok but there were so many components on the dish that we totally lost the scallops ... most of the ingredients were totally unnecessary.

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KV
Philadelphia
3 reviews
Dined on January 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I went back to the Lark again after a few months and was not disappointed. I had friends visiting from out of town and there was no question where we were going to eat - The Lark! The menu celebrates local farmers, fisherman and winemakers and brings together the perfect balance of elevated chic with southern comfort. Some of my favorites included the hangar steak tartare served on chicharrones with a mini Budweiser beer (so fun!), the title gems wedge salad, the half roasted chicken, and chicken-fried oysters. I tried the Kaleidoscope Eyes cocktail for the first time and fell in love with this modern take on a Moscow mule.

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OT
1 review
Dined on January 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Delicious popcorn popped in sage oil and tossed in cinnamon, sugar, and salt! Our server was wonderful about making suggestions. We ordered the arugula and pear autumn salad, Brussels sprouts, and the vegan plate. All were wonderful with dairy and animal omitted.

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PS
1 review
Dined on January 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Best dining experience in SB. Surprised at how many families (kids) dine here. The noise we experienced was kid noise. Food is impeccable. Service is expert. We will return again and again.

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J
New England
3 reviews
Dined on January 1, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 4

We got reservations for NYE while visiting Santa Barbara and were so excited — unfortunately, the food really didn't live up to our expectations... to the point where we finally said something to our server, who was so gracious and understanding. Perhaps it was due to the busy night, or maybe we just ordered wrong, but it felt as if the ideas were there but the execution lacked follow-through (and flavor). Oh well. Pretty space though!

It's also worth noting that we ate at their bakery, Helena's, for breakfast a few days before and it was delicious!

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S
Central Coast
1 review
Dined on January 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Our waitress was amazing! So friendly and quick to anticipate our needs. Good was delicious. Always exceeds our expectations!!

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AM
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on January 1, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

My NYE dinner at The Lark was great! Delicious and creative food in an excellent atmosphere.

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YG
Los Angeles
118 reviews
Dined on January 1, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 4

The food was yummy and the service was outstanding, even on New Year's Eve. We had an amazing salad with pears and arugula, a delicious hamachi dish with so many flavors, and a branzino that was so good! Ben, our server, had great suggestions and was excellent overall. It was quieter but a bit chilly outside, but they provide blankets!

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OT
San Diego
1 review
Dined on December 30, 2018
Overall 4food 2service 4ambience 5

Celebrate our engagement

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RM
London
1 review
Dined on December 30, 2018
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 5

Terrible sweet and messed about with food. Feel slightly like it must be a collective amnesia that this place is so popular. I can see what they are trying to do but ever dish has the same finish, like a pudding you didn't order.

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DF
Minneapolis
3 reviews
Dined on December 29, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent food, wonderful staff and a great setting

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OT
Hong Kong
2 reviews
Dined on December 28, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

The chef has an excellent choice of using exotic herbs & fruit to create this complex combination flavor & presentation for every dishes!

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JG
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on December 28, 2018
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 4

We enjoyed our meal but the service was so fast. We had three dishes and wine and we served all within 30 minutes. Our meal just seemed too rushed for an evening meal. We were done in less than an hour.

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CM
Los Angeles
5 reviews
Dined on December 27, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 2ambience 4

Sluggish service, but overall a fun and delicious restaurant.

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DT
Birmingham
6 reviews
Dined on December 27, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

The food was way too complicated for us. There was so much going on in the little gem salad and the arugula salad.
We couldn’t tell the ingredients. We ordered the pasta with butternut squash and again it was so complicated. Hard to explain
But no one ingredient shined through.
We ate at the bar and after dinner the head bartender asked how we liked our meals. I commented that I felt there was
Too much going on with the food. He glared at me and didn’t say another word to us. He also made a huge show of shaking
His cocktails every time he made one and we kept getting hit with spray from the cocktail shaker. Seriously.
This is probably the weirdest review I have ever given but... that’s how we felt the end of the evening.
Would eat there again but wouldn’t be near our first choice or second.

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OT
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on December 27, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Loved everything

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