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Aug 13, 2007 02:37 PM

Santa Barbara

I would love some advice on good restaurants in SB. I have been told that the Stonehouse at San Ysidro Ranch is a must. Bouchon, Stella Mares, and Olio y Limone have also been suggested. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

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  1. Your post will probably get moved to the California Board but, I absolutely LOVE Bouchon. Olio y Limone was pretty good, too. Haven't tried the others.

    1. We just went to Bouchon (we are from east coast) a few weeks ago. We thought it was wonderful--you can't go wrong there.

      1. Went to Jade and Hungry Cat recently and afraid Jade never regained what Aja would always deliver, even with almost the same menu - that deft, complex, delicate touch in suces and flavoring and cooking technique. I still like it for many reliable reasons, but one needs to choose very carefully from the menu and forget what it used to be.

        Update on Hungry Cat - on a Friday night, plenty of empty tables around 8:30, more people came in later, but it still had open seats around 10pm which is different from a few weeks ago when people were complaining they were not even let in the door because "maybe they didn't have the right image"?

        Haunted by the world's best "Pub Burger on my first visit, I was eager to have it again and again was appalled by the intense effort to sell-up, this time almost demanding why weren't we also ordering some sea food.

        Knowing how huge the Pub Burger is, there is no way one would also want another dish so that was just plain stupid on the pushy waiter's part. Pushing salads also was lame since the burger comes with avacado and lots of onion rings - onion ring batter while nicely light still tastes too much like a donut, but the onions themselves were so sweet that was forgiven.

        Alas, the burger was very much off its mark. Came out well done when clearly ordered medium rare, and mine had burned and stiff strip of bacon on top which gave it an unpleasant charred taste and dangerously sharp and spiky texture on first bites.
        It was still fairly tasty but they cut back on the incredible blue cheese they use this time which made it so spectacular last time.

        The waiter apologized for the wait -- not too unreasonable, but when the burgers were so over done and my appeared to have been under a too hot heat lamp for too long I have to wonder what (0r who) is going on back in that small kitchen.

        Did the owner/chef leave instructions to the local staff about the menu but is no longer there to supervize the final product anymore?

        I'll try it again, and again ignore the pushy selling up because it was a darn good burger and I won't worry about what I am wearing either anymore. They should just be happy to have return customers.

        Almost all of the above was forgiven because their label of Proseco by the glass was outstanding. I like champagne and hamburgers and I am glad Hungry Cat is that time of a place -just tighten up your culinary act and cool down your waiters.

        1 Reply
        1. re: glbtrtr

          Opal, on state street, may have the complete opposite service atmosphere. I've found the staff their to be of the utmost level of professionalism and far from pushy, but well informed and eager to serve (funny that they call them servers, isnt it?)

          The menu at opal is creative and well executed, id recommend it heartily. One slightly off note was that, given the level of service and general atmosphere in the restaurant, the servers and host wear name tags, something i found to be a bit tgi fridays. when thats my big gripe, clearly something is being done right.