About The Hungry Cat - Santa Barbara
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.
Hours of Operation:
Lunch: Tuesday - Friday: 11am-3pm
Happy Hour: Tuesday - Friday: 3pm-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
$30 and under
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
Street Parking is available and we are located 1/2 a block from 2 SB Public Lots. Enter off Chapala Street.
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.
Private Party Contact:
Bob Van der Veer: 8058844701x
Banquet/Private Rooms, Bar Dining, Beer, Counter Seating, Farm to Table, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Late Night, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Personal wines welcome, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Private Room, Takeout, Weekend Brunch, Wine
The Hungry Cat - Santa Barbara Ratings and Reviews
This was overall a fine experience. The ...
This was overall a fine experience. The oyster shooter came way late and the artichokes dish was partly burnt (so they didn't charge for it), but the crab leg was delicious and the clam chowder was excellent.
The Best Meal in Santa Barbara!
An amazing meal with great wine and service from the bartender. Get the clams and chorizo!
A seafood restaurant should be able to do seafood well. Not Hungry Cat. If I were said feline, I'd choose to eat elsewhere too. Muddy flavors, overcooked octopus, ridiculously saffron-y sauce, brussels sprouts that taste only of old oil. Eew.
Usually love but this time, really disappointed.
One of our favorites for consistently great and innovative cooking. This time however, a few things really fell flat. Pre dinner oysters still had not arrived When salads were put before us. The waiter acted like he'd done this on purpose but it was clear he'd forgotten. Roasted Brussels sprouts were incredible, chorizo and clams always Devine. However, two orders of local halibut were very dry and tasteless. We were not in the habit of sending things back, but should have here since the dish was quite pricey and had been touted as a special. We will return but were not happy.
Fantastic experience! Highly recommend. ...
Fantastic experience! Highly recommend. Seafood platter was amazing and fresh. Clam chowder was a cut above any chowder I've had before with flecks of paprika and a drizzle of olive oil with a kick of spice. Our waiter was top notch.
Great for People with Low Expectations
If you like a grim, dingy ambience, terrible food and mediocre service, this is your place. We ordered three different entrees and it was hard to tell which one was the worst. The waiter spoke in a whisper and we had to ask him to repeat himself several times. I had out-of-town guests with me and was completely embarrassed by this place. NEVER again. I am shocked that this place is highly rated on the web. There was absolutely nothing to recommend it.
Our meal was absolutely incredible! Shrimp and Grits were the BEST I've ever tasted and the Eggs Benedict was amazing with Kale and Crab Cakes! The bottomless mimosas were made with Cava and fresh squeezed, in front of your eyes, orange juice. I would go back in a heartbeat! Wait staff was excellent!
It was our first visit to Hungry Cat and we were definitely impressed with the food AND the service! The fried brussels sprouts were out of this world and the chocolate bread pudding was worth every calorie! It was a bit pricey for our budget , so we see it as a special occasion place. I look forward to trying brunch on the weekend.
Every single time we've visited the Hung ...
Every single time we've visited the Hungry Cat, in Santa Monica and Santa Barbara (which has been infrequent since we don't live near them), we walk away completely satisfied by their excellent cuisine and service. The wine list is small but varied in sensible selection at all price ranges. I will definitely recommend them to anyone as destination restaurants.
Really fresh & delicious seafood. Highlights included fresh uni, local mussels, scrumptious branzino from Italy, Pacific lobster, and clams & chorizo. All dishes were beautifully prepared with excellent sauces & seasonings. A terrific place for seafood lovers with friendly, knowledgeable, and professional service.
So many wonderful items on the menu, BUT ...
So many wonderful items on the menu, BUT clams with chorizo, OMG! Such a wonderful blend of flavors. Nice wine list and the oysters wee excellent.
Exceptional food but insist on a good table
The food is sensational and will keep us coming back. However, there is a 2nd seating section with terrible lighting where the service isn't as good. Either newer servers are assigned to this section because it's smaller or the section just isn't as top of mind. You have to LOVE your food in order to like your experience if you are in this section. Fortunately we did. Solution: don't let them seat you in this side section. Request the main room when you make your reservation.
ODD VALENTINE'S DAY TASTING MENU
I'm certain that the everyday menu is good, with fresh seafood and balasnced offerings. Unfortunately, the Valentine's Day tasting menu left a lot to be desired. The salmon with beets has very little salmon. The Peruvian scallops were nice but dull. The Branzino for two was the best Branzino I have ever had. And then there were the deseerts: a lonly very ordinary flowerless chocolate cake and a desconstucted lemon pie where the lemon filling was on the bottom in a glob with clumped balls of merang and slices of crust at pretty angles. No matter how you ordered on the menu, the meal could not be balanced with anything green to give the meal balance. If you offer a tasting menu then there should be a few surprises that are not on the menu -that are served - an amuse bouche - a green something. We visit Santa Barbara often and were hopeful about this meal because of the reputation of the restaurant - and we may come back some time - but not soon. Wine list is short but fine
This is the place if you want oysters. There is an extensive bar menu. I would recommend this restaurant to those who like noisy, crowded places with small meal portions and high prices.
Food was very good. Service was very goo ...
Food was very good. Service was very good. The restaurant is a little pricier than other restaurants of some more quality. That being said, it was an overall good experience.
Had an enjoyable meal. Service was great, loved the food. Restaurant feels too cramped though.
Amazing & freshest seafood. Not a touris ...
Amazing & freshest seafood. Not a tourist trap...this is our go-to for seafood going forward whenever we are in Santa Barbara!
went there and the place's practially empty! service was nice. menu is what's really disappointing, we went there with great expectation but there's nothing we want to order on the menu or the specials written on their board. we left without ordering anything. they must improve the menu, it's not attractive at all.
We were there for thanksgiving and the food was very basic and not very tasty and it was too expensive for the quality.
Overdue review. We went for Thanksgiving, in between family gatherings, as it was my daughter's 21st bday and I wanted her to have a little celebration (and her first 'drink') outside of the holiday. I chose the place, as I thought it would be a cool, hip, local spot. Expensive, no not some place she would go with friends. I gave CC# and booked on-line with note about bday. Then called to confirm - The person confirmed Reservation, asked me to come in earlier... I thought the place must be booked, but, it wasn't - only a few tables occupied. When we arrived, no proper greeting, seating next to door. Started apps and drink with one waitress, then when my mom arrived, had to ask a server to get her a drink (10+ min. after arrival). Then, we had a different server - no introduction or explanation. My mom doesn't eat shellfish, so we ordered her the Thanksgiving dinner ($75), there wasn't any fish dinner plates available. My daughter and I ordered crab, mussels, oysters, veggie apps, etc. etc etc.. We mentioned among ourselves that we would just share, family style. The waiter heard and said that sharing the Thanksgiving dinner wasn't allowed, but, that was a lot of food! We had to ask that finished dishes be taken away, wait for drink orders. And worst of all, they treated us like an inconvenience (I think they were preparing for the bigger, later dinner crowd) and said not even a 'Happy Birthday' to my daughter. Such a disappointment all the way around and expensive!!! And the shellfish wasn't anything special. For a foodie local, big bummer!!!
Wonderful food, 100% of the time. Suggest upgrading the decor a bit ~ perhaps change out the chairs and tables???
We ordered one dozen oysters and sparkli ...
We ordered one dozen oysters and sparkling wine. Everything was wonderful and we plan on coming back.
Under appreciated treasure
The Hungry Cat consistently serves the freshest locally caught seafood items - especially the Santa Barbara sea urchin. The menu is innovative. The caviar service is the best to be found in the area. Just one block from State Street many visitors miss this place - but locals know this is a real treasure!!
One of SB's best in upscale-casual
I make a point of coming here at least once a month for a nice, lingering dinner and cocktails. Service is stellar, and Bob the manager is gregarious, professional, and welcoming.
We had the "Hungry Cat" sea food tower to which we added a fresh sea urchin and it was amazing. The service was great, even with a new server involved.
Great find in Santa Barbara
We went on a Wednesday evening, the staff was friendly and helpful with the menu. The caesar salad was outstanding.
Overpriced for moderately good food.
Food was okay, and both food & wine were overpriced. Had to pay for bread for the table, and least expensive (small pour) glass of wine was $17.
Went on a Sunday night was almost empty on arrival by the time we left place was very busy. First time here . So glad we went ! Shared 3 items on menu size of portions were on the smaller end so it was plenty for two . Lobster roll perfect toasted bun and lobster prepared just right. Grilled octopus also perfectly grilled very fresh. Pasta with braised short ribs was my favorite !
Delicious as usual
Hungry Cat never lets us down. The service is attentive but not hovering, the food and drinks are always great. The seafood is fresh, the burgers good and the brussel sprouts are a must.
A Delicious Find!
The restaurant manager welcomed us and gave us a table by the window. Our server was sweet and gave us awesome recommendations. My three favorite dishes of the evening had to be the Fresh Uni, Charbroiled Seabream and Brussels Sprouts (the latter two recommended by her). The only dish we didn't care for were the Peruvian scallops - it lacked flavor and salt. Overall, it was a fantastic experience and I would certainly dine here again when in Santa Barbara. There are apparently also two locations in L.A. for the Angelenos!
Fresh flavorful seafood at a fair price
Fresh flavorful seafood at a fair price
I love the two tier entree, seafood is a ...
I love the two tier entree, seafood is always fresh and delicious. Service was excellent and the cocktails were great too.
Some of the best food I've had in years.
Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and corn soup were surprising and excellent, along with superb grilled fish and seasoned lobster roll. Very much better than might have guessed, or hoped - tried to return for the lunch the next day, but schedule got tough, so ordered takeout! Will be back soon.
Pricy. Stick to the wine.
The tab sure jumped up quick here. I loved the service and the wine selection. The cheese pairings weren't great in my opinion and the cocktails were too fancy. Stick with the Spanish wines and clams.
Everything about Hungry Cat is good. Fo ...
Everything about Hungry Cat is good. Food, service, etc. But for $200 for 2, not including tip, it should be more memorable.
We come here every year for my birthday
We look forward to it all year. It would not be the same if we didn't come here. We usually sit in the front but we had the back section. That is really nice and quiet. I think I like it better back there. You can see into he main area and look outside. cool!
super satisfied cat
I came in hungry, and left the restaurant extremely satisfied. Was in Santa Barbara for the weekend, looking to eat some of that amazing Santa Barbara sea urchin. We weren't having much luck til we got to Hungry Cat. Got some great sea urchin here, along with an amazing combo (Tier 1) of seafood. Everything on that tier was delicious (shrimp, lobster, clams, oysters, and the wonderful sauces). We also ordered a pappardelle, which was also super tasty. Nothing disappointed. Everything was superb. We came right at 5pm, when dinner starts, and no one was there. I was surprised, as I believe many people are missing out. I think they have the best seafood in SB! Must come here again!
Need better quality assurance
I was disappointed in my special of grilled sea bream (dorade). I've had this fish grilled in European restaurants and elsewhere in the US, so I know its proper preparation. This version was charred black on both sides to the point that the skin was burnt into the dry flesh. It was inedible. The kitchen should never have let this dish into the dining room. It should be obvious to a trained chef when a piece of fish is cooked well past correct doneness. The restaurant should not leave it to the customer to have to raise his voice in complaint. It means that I was having to perform their job, yet I am supposed to pay for my meal. I was offered a substitute dish, which put me out of synch with my dining partner. Hungry Cat should have comped me the substitute dish just for the insult. Many restaurants will comp a dish when they force a diner to wait for a replacement. My other concern is just the waste of life when a chef cannot correctly cook a fish. That fish deserved more respect.
We were looking for someplace to get some nice fish. We were recommended Hungry Cat by a place we had wine the night before. The fish selection wasn't what we expected. They have a large offering of shell fish, but are light on just fish. But our lunch being what it is... it was TACO TUESDAY! Great fish tacos on freshly made corn tortillas. Yum! Oh.... and two words... brussel sprouts!!! Omg! Theses things are sent down from above! They are so good. they have a nice selection of beers, wine and cocktails, but that is kind of a given for this neighborhood I'd guess. We had a great time at The Hungry Cat and would recommend it to a friend.
Food was great
The Snapper ceviche and grilled octopus were top-notch! They were full of great flavors and were wonderfully prepared. Their tiered seafood presentation was beautiful and fresh. The service was attentive and professional. It was a great experience.
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