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Asian Food in Santa Barbara County

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My friend relocated to Santa Barbara area (Vandenberg Village) several months ago. After numerous attempts at finding decent asian food in the area, she has begun to settle for less than mediocre food. She is on the verge of asking me to overnight her chinese food from the Los Angeles area. Please help me help my friend come up with some decent asian restaurants. Otherwise I can look forward to spending a lot of money on FedEx in the near future.

Cities within her driving radius:
Lompoc, Buellton, Solvang, Los Olivos, Santa Ynez, Goleta, Santa Barbara, Santa Maria

Types of Cuisine:
Chinese, Thai, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese

Thanks in advance!!

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  1. "Cities within her driving radius:
    Lompoc, Buellton, Solvang, Los Olivos, Santa Ynez, Goleta, Santa Barbara, Santa Maria
    Types of Cuisine:
    Chinese, Thai, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese"

    Your friend is in big trouble - and you should keep the Fedex # handy.
    However - here's some she can try if she hasn't already -
    In Lompoc - there's Suvan's Kitchen, with Thai and Laotian food - the service is a bit spotty there, but some dishes very tasty - I really like their curries. There's also Thai Cuisine, and Thai Fast Food. Forget about Chinese - there's nothing there worth eating.
    In Buellton, - there is A-Ru, a Japanese restaurant, owned by a Korean. They specialize in sushi and sashimi, but have other offerings as well. I think that it is quite good. There is a Chinese restaurant in Buellton, and another in Solvang, but I wouldn't give you a nickel for either one of them.

    I haven't eaten anything in Goleta for too long, so I can't recommend anything - but there is a good Oriental Market in the K-Mart shopping center, opposite the Costco shopping center. If your friend wants to cook her own, she can find plenty of ingredients there. Or maybe they can direct her to some eateries in Goleta worth visiting.

    Good luck. I sure do miss the Chinese food in NYC.

    1. In the past we've always really enjoyed Your Place for Thai on Milpas in Santa Barbara, hopefully it's still good. There's another with a similar name on upper State, but I've heard it's not quite as good as YP.

      1 Reply
      1. re: PolarBear

        In santa barbara it pales compared to big city asian food.
        My favorite is China Pavillion for nice chinese. Madame Lus has some Dim Sum on the lunch buffet that is not bad.
        Thai I gave up on eating out, and cook my own using canned green curry sauce and fresh veggies from the Oriental Market.
        Japanese, I liked Taiko for a while but it went downhill so I gave up on Japanese.

        I did have some pretty good Thai in Oxnard, I think it was Chai's Thai Cuisine.

        Maybe you can make a business out of fedexing us all some good asian fare.

      2. For Chinese, I second the CHINA PAVILLION (West Anapamu/Chapala, Santa Barbara) for their very expert seasoning touch and especially their Crispy Walnut Prawns, which is part of the Chinese Wedding Feast menu at Frank Fat's in Sacramento.

        For a basic take on Japanese, hands down to the string of "SUSHI TERI" restaurants scattered around Santa Barbara - flagship on Bath Street at West Carrillo (downtown).Fast, fresh and simple for around $10: teri salmon or chicken; Calif roll, sliced cabbage salad and rice. Basic, good and cheap.

        There are now two fully Vietnamize restaurants in SB (Milpas Street; K-Mart Shopping Center) - but neither particularly great. Still my overall favorite is Mai's, but this is in Ventura on Main Street. There is a Vietnamize fast food combo take out small cafe in Goleta Old Town - mediocre to bad.

        Thai has several okay places depending on what you order - kind of worth trying what is close by when the urge hits. And yes, YOUR PLACE on Milpas street keeps winning the awards as "favorite" but others also are not bad either.

        A sleeper little SEA place that can be good from time to time and is always cheap so no loss if it is not up to par is the BLUE DOLPHIN cafe in Isla Vista on the main street, a few blocks away from the bike path entrances to the UCSB campus.

        A few years ago they added Malaysian items to their menu. Now run by a Chinese woman, the items stayed but the preparation of them has changed somewhat - i.e. the peanut dipping sauce is sweeter; less hot and musky Malaysian. But some interesting taste combos out there worth the trip for its modest setting and prices.

        Like much of my dining in Santa Barbara, I go for certain dishes at a variety of SEA restaurants, as no one restaurant is 100% good and none are 100% bad. Find what you like and encourage them to keep making it.

        1. Okay, here is the real deal. I've never been to Asia, so I'm not going to claim I know what "real" Asian food tastes like, but I have lived in many different cities, both in the states and Canada and the best I've had in Santa Barbara are the following:

          Best Chinese - definitely the China Pavillion - unless you want take out, then call the Empress Palace on Los Positas

          Best Thai - definitely "Your Place" on Milpas. They may be a bit curt on the service, but the Tom Ka Gai soup with prawns - extra spicey - oh, I could just bathe in that soup!!!

          Best sushi - with out a doubt, bar none...Arrigato's on State street. I know a lot of folks may say it's just a "place to be seen" but trust me, the sushi is the best here in SB and yes, I've eaten at every sushi place here. It's fresh and the service is bar none.

          Vietnamese - the place on Milpas that the other poster reffered to is fairly good, unfortunately it's now the only one in SB...I've had better but it's not bad.

          1. Errr...just to say Santa Barbara is about an hour away from Vandenberg Village, which to me is a long way to go for Chinese food.
            I will agree that the best Chinese food restaurants are in Santa Barbara. The Chinese restaurants in Lompoc are fair only.There is one that has an OK lunch buffet and has Mongolian BBQ on their buffet choice.

            However, the the two Thati restuarnats are both good. One is Thai Fast Food and is located behind CArrow's on Ocean> Their Silver Noodles are great, Pad Thai pretty good, and so on. The other one is closer to MacDonalds, in a very small strip mall.They have been in Lompoc for a long time and have many regulars.

            There is also a sushi place on Ocean ,can't remember th address that I thought was decent. Big crowd on Friday nite.