The Lark - Santa Barbara

4.6
2187 reviews
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$30 and under
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Contemporary American
Top Tags:
  • Fit for Foodies
  • Creative Cuisine
  • Great for Outdoor Dining
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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Special events & promotions
Contact our Private Event Manager at 805-705-8895 or email Aran Klingensmith at aran@acmehospitality.com
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 2187 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.6based on recent ratings
4.6
food
4.4
service
4.6
ambience
4.2
value
Noise · Moderate
91% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
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MR
2 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 2food 3service 2ambience 3

Even with a reservation we had to wait an hour and multiple parties with the same number of people that were there after we had checked in were seated before us by the hostess. I'm not sure if the hostess had a bias towards fair skinned groups or because the reservation was under a Spanish name and our entire party didn't consist of fair skinned people but it sure seemed that way as we watched many of those groups go by. I've been to this restaurant before and had a great experience but this time it just felt like it reeked of many of the biases in our political climate these days.

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KA
Orange County
4 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great dinner—really loved the unique offerings on the menu and the food was really just outstanding. The seating was a little tight—we were a table of two seated REALLY close to fellow diners, but I think if you are a larger party, it’s not the same issue. The scallops were perfection. Get them!

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CZ
1 review
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

My Daughter & I went here based on the reviews. We were not disappointed!!! The food was delicious! Yummy popcorn. We liked it so much that we came back after going to a show to have the Lemon Fritter dessert. Jillian was our waitress - she is awesome!

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D
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 3food 5service 1ambience 2

great food. Interesting cocktails. I really wanted to like this place as so many people had recommended it. However the service was terrible. We had booked a table but were kept waiting. Then we were literally shoved into a corner of the building - really use the space for something other than tables - I had to climb over other diners and move our table to get to my seat. Our server Ariel was more than a little frosty. She clearly didn’t want to be there. We got our drinks after two of our dishes - plates were thrown in front of us. The ‘charm’ was only switched on when the bill came and she remembered about level of Service being linked to tip...sorry but that was too little too late.

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S
Montreal
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 2food 2service 3ambience 4

Food was average, although fun atmosphere, in general disappointed!

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FO
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

OUTSTANDING! DELICIOUS! GOOD FOOD! GOOD LOCATION. GOOD SERVICE

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OT
Denver
79 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 3

We had really good food - pasta appetizer and trout dish were enough for two of us to share. Highly recommend this restaurant!!

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N
New York Area
1 review
Dined on September 17, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food and cocktails, service, and ambiance were all fantastic. The house made tagliatelle pasta and suckling pig porchetta toast were our favorites! So so good.

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m
New Orleans
6 reviews
Dined on September 16, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

A SB favorite for sure. Been here 3 or 4 times now. I'd say the flavors are pretty complex - no traditional combinations here. I enjoy the almost experimental feel to the food. Service is impeccable.

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BC
1 review
Dined on September 15, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food and drinks were delicious! We went back a second time to get the toast with burrata.... so good.

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BP
New York Area
6 reviews
Dined on September 15, 2018
Overall 2food 3service 5ambience 1

Too Loud and trendy. Although we had a reservation, we weren’t seated till ten minutes after our time, even though others who came in afterwards were seated first. Our server though was excellent.

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OT
Palm Springs
24 reviews
Dined on September 15, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Best dinner ever, cocktails and entrees were stellar only to be outdone by desert ... yum !

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J
Seattle
5 reviews
Dined on September 14, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great atmosphere, tasty sharing plates and great cocktails!

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OT
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on September 12, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Thanks to you

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C
Seattle
22 reviews
Dined on September 10, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Very unique dishes with layers of flavors. Great for sharing so you can try lots of different things!

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OT
Central Coast
1 review
Dined on September 10, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Birthday dinner for my boyfriend- the lark was awesome! Beautiful decor, super nice staff and delicious food. Portions are huge and a great price. Cocktails are clever and yummy as well

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m
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on September 10, 2018
Overall 2food 4service 1ambience 4

Although the food we received was quite enjoyable, we didn't get our main course. Waitress said that they had brought them to a different table. I really wouldn't have minded that much, but 1) the table next to use had the exact same problem and 2) once the waitress dropped off the check, she never returned. After about 10 min, I finally went and tracked someone down.

Seems like they're trying to drive higher efficiency by having different folks on the floor take care of different steps of the workflow. However, seems like pieces are falling through the cracks. That said, our appetizers were quite yummy and interesting.

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OT
1 review
Dined on September 10, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing restaurant. It’s a sharing approach so dishes are bought one or two at a time and placed in the middle of the table.
Works out as quite small portions - lots of little, absolutely exquisite bites.
Modern cooking. Freshest ingredients. Great service

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OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on September 10, 2018
Overall 1food 1service 2ambience 4

Terrible food and grossly overpriced. Would not return nor recommend it.

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d
Orange County
7 reviews
Dined on September 8, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Our party of 6 increased to 8 and then to 10, but they were so nice about it and very accommodating. Service was super as was the foods drinks and atmosphere. Highly recommend this place! Too bad for me I live out of town!

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n
New York Area
25 reviews
Dined on September 8, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fantastic service, excellent seasonal farm-to-table food, great cocktails and interesting wine list

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OT
Los Angeles
6 reviews
Dined on September 8, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Order the Brussels sprouts and pasta you will love it!!!! Great food and service. It’s in a super cute area called the funk zone to go out for wine or beer post dinner.

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OT
St. Louis
1 review
Dined on September 7, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Fabulous food and great atmosphere

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OT
Cleveland
1 review
Dined on September 6, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Bill was amazing!

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RB
1 review
Dined on September 5, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Overall this place is a treat to dine at. I mentioned it was our anniversary and we were treated to a glass of champagne and a nice note. We love eating here every time.

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TR
1 review
Dined on September 5, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 5

We really enjoyed the food and had a fantastic waiter. He was very attentive and had pleasant vibe.

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MT
1 review
Dined on September 5, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We were celebrating our 38th anniversary and the staff made us feel very special. Our waitperson was helpful in explaining the menu and in guiding a neophyte in how to order a cocktail. She even took a great picture of us. And the food was spectacular! When they brought us a complimentary bit of bubbly, we both cried, we were so moved. Wonderful experience! Wonderful food! Wonderful people!

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OT
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on September 3, 2018
Overall 2food 1service 5ambience 4

We were told mixed reviews but decided to see for ourselves. The food was horrible as warned and over priced. We were disappointed and couldn’t even finish without gagging. The service was stellar! Awesome people but poor product

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BG
Atlanta
1 review
Dined on September 2, 2018
Overall 4food 3service 5ambience 5

We love The Lark and go there every time we are in town. It’s actually where we had dinner the night we got engaged. This trip was slightly disappointing as we had a couple of dishes that were only ok. Normally their food is incredible so this is in way a bad review. The food was still good. Just not mind blowing like it has always been in the past.

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MB
Orange County
1 review
Dined on September 2, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 1ambience 4

Good ambiance, average food but very poor service. Our waiter seemed disinterested in our needs. We had to repeatedly ask for things.Maybe, he was having a bad night.

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JL
1 review
Dined on September 2, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

My husband and I were visiting our son in LA, and we decided to spend the weekend in Santa Barbara. We saw the great reviews of the Lark online and figured we had to try it. It was a good decision. The food was excellent (the tagliatelle was decadent and my husband and I loved the squash and farrow), the service was impeccable, and the location was fun and lively. I highly, highly recommend this spot.

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M
New York Area
30 reviews
Dined on September 2, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food is always delicious; I have eaten at The Lark many times. The service is great, and the ambiance is perfect. You won’t be disappointed.

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TE
Central Coast
1 review
Dined on September 1, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

For my birthday my boyfriend said he would take me to any restaurant in town. The choice was easy.

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AG
New York Area
22 reviews
Dined on August 31, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent Don’t miss this experience!! This restaurant may end up with a star and be no longer
In your Price Range
This is not food but art !

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c
New England
13 reviews
Dined on August 30, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Traveling down the coast of California last week, we stumbled upon the Lark during our stopover in Santa Barbara...and I'm still dreaming about the place. My boyfriend and I agreed that it was one of the best, if not the best, meal we've ever had (Matador Room in Miami was the previous contender). Sitting outside on the patio, we shared a bottle of wine and the four family-style dishes that were served at just the right pace. His favorite was the Australian Wagyu Shortrib and mine was the Cast Iron Sonoma Chicken. If only Boston was a little closer, I think we would eat there once a week. Luckily, I bought the cookbook (signed by the chef!) and hope to create even a meager replication of the meal that is still talked about as one of our favorite parts of our trip.

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M
1 review
Dined on August 30, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Fantastic food, service and location. Everything is easily shareable, so you can try a variety of items. The charcuteries are amazing!

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OT
1 review
Dined on August 29, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 5

Hostess not friendly

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A
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on August 27, 2018
Overall 2food 3service 1ambience 4

Poor service from waitstaff- not attentive during our dinner. Enjoyed the tagliatelle, but other dishes were underwhelming.

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OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on August 27, 2018
Overall 1food 4service 1ambience 2

We had a very bad experience at Lark. It was our first anniversary dinner and while it was acknowledged with a postcard, there was nothing done during the dinner to make us feel special. Food was good but the server seemed to forget to pour us our (purchased) bottle of wine for our meal. We would not recommend this restaurant to anyone.

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BA
Central Coast
1 review
Dined on August 27, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing service and food. Great ambiance and a wonderful time.

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