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Willows at the Chumash Casino
3400 E. Highway 246, Santa Ynez
Phone: (805) 686-0855


Reviews by the General Public

Tasteless Filet Oscar Frozen Bland Crab Meat
Reviewer: Harry from Santa Barbara, CA
A few weeks ago my wife and I order the 6 oz Filet Oscar. The steak was tasteless and the crab in top of the steak tasted liked frozen crab meat. We sent both entrees back and order'd the salmon. In September we had the fish in parchment. Normally at most restuarants it is steamed, quite healthy and tasteful. At the Willows the fish is steamed in parchment with pasta and vegetables. When they open the parchment the food is saturated in butter. Almost floating in it. The only taste is the oily butter. Not healthy and not tasty. We were told the original chef has moved on and the souz chef took over. The food is no we're as good as before. The maitre d and the waiters kept coming over to our table every few minutes and asked how we were enjoying our dinner. It became quite annoying. We have been frequenting The Willows, for many years. It is dissapoimting to see such an excellent restusrant go down hill. Note: the quality has gone way down and the prices have gone way up !


A Perfect Evening,for a Perfect Mother !!!!!
Reviewer: SANDRA F. from MISSION HILLS,. CA
upon arriving,we were greeted by staff,seated,and THATS when we knew it was going to be WONDERFUL!!We have dined at 5 STAR Restaurants Many Times.and THE WILLOWS IS NOW ONE OF MY FAMILIES FAVORITES!!THE FOOD WAS SUPURB!THE SERVICE WAS EXCELLENT!!GREGORY, WAS OUR WAITER,& I JUST CANT SAY ENOUGH ABOUT HIS PERSONAL&PROFESSIONAL WAY HE ATTENDED TO OUR TABLE!!THANK YOU SO MUCH,FOR OUR MOST PERFECT EVENING!WE WERE BLESSED WITH THE BEST MOTHER IN THE WORLD,&BLESSED TO HAVE DISCOVERED THE PERFECT PLACE "THE WILLOWS"TO TAKE MOM AND TRULY ENJOY THE VERY BEST!!!WE LOOK FORWARD TO DINE WITH YOU VERY OFTEN!!!


Crab Cakes to die for, steaks delicious!!
Reviewer: Sonia Foster from Dublin, CA
The food was delicious. My favorite is the crab cakes. My second are the steaks they have a great bar, the drinks impeccable. Never been disappointed. oops!! the grilled cheese was big,greasy, and full of butter and bacon, it made me gag...but I will still go back for everything else.The service is always great.....Love this place.


Fathers Day 2010, not as expected.
Reviewer: Casey and her annoyed Husband. from Santa Barbara, CA
We've eaten at the Willows numerous times without complaint, which is why we decided to return. Have things changed? We had reservations, we were seated promptly, we were given menus. After waiting waiting and waiting, we finally placed our order. I had the fish, my husband had the beef dish. (slow cooked special beef dish) My fish was delivered to me near RAW and I wasn't ordering Sushi! YUCK! The waiter came, took my dish back to the kitchen, by the time I received my dinner back (same piece of fish) my husband had already finished. After this ordeal, my dinner was finally prepared well as it should have been from the start, we were then told, I would receive a "free" desert, which would take about 12 minutes to prepare, after waiting for 25 minutes, we decided enough was enough and we were just ready to leave. We asked for our check, when it arrived, we noticed we were over charged... a table of two and we were charged for THREE meals. (over charged by $30) On the way out, I asked for the phone number and was asked if there was a problem, the manager came over, was told of this ordeal and her only response was... "I'm sorry" THATS IT! You can apologize all you want, but there is no excuse sending un-cooked fish to the table, especially in a supposed highly rated eatery. There are too many nice places to dine these days... We went to the Willows because we expected a particular type of service, what happened was not expected, nor the service in which we've had in the past. Yes, I can understand having a off day, but nothing more then "I'm sorry" If I were personally running this restaurant, I think I would review the policy for when things go wrong. I doubt we will return anytime soon.


A memorable experience. Thanks to Jared and Chef Sergio
Reviewer: Dave Johnson from San Luis Obispo, CA
From start to finish, I was never dissappointed. Upon entering we were greeted by the hostess, with gorgeous red hair and a beautiful smile. I believe her name was Lindsey or Leah. She attentiveley asked if we'd like a wine list, which i was anxious to see since the was no alcohol on the casino floor. The atmosphere was great with a patio, in case you want to smoke. We were greeted by our server, Jared. Believe me, if you are looking for an attentive server with a charming and passionate attitude to food and dining, ask for Jared. He started by introducing himself and actually asked for our names. I admit, i don't think I've ever been asked my name at a restauant, which impressed me. He informed us about some off menu specials which was a surf/ turf scallops and filet. I opted for the new york, and my wife the scallops. Jared then offered some salads. I thought it may be too much food. To my amazement he said we could split a salad. After the food decisions were out of the way, he suggested some wines for dinner. My wife and I do not drink a lot, but we did want to have at least a glass of wine with dinner. Jusr wow, not only did they have some amazing sellections but even better, half bottles, which I didn't evrn know they make. Jared suggested a pinot to compliment both fish and steak. I wanted a little heavier wine and knew my wife wouldn't drink as much so he recommended the havens merlot. Probably the best merlot I had, and it was a half bottle, like 25 bucks. There were so many rxperiences i loved, delicious bread with spreads to die for. Roasted garlic that spreads like butter, cream cheese and and artichoke spread... I was in heaven. We got thing compliments of the chef. All of this and I haven't even gotten to the actual food. Our salad that we were going to split was automatically split for us...a plus for that! The willows salad was amazing, a very delicious and tangy dressing with bold goay cheese and toasted almonds. I laughed a bit when Jared scraped our table of crumbs... Which Jared ensured me that i was messy, but it was part of our dining experience. Food came and my jaw dropped! I never saw as an amazing a steak as mine was, and cooked perfectly. The scallops looked amazing, but before I could attempt a bite, they were practically gone. Our table was cleaned promptly and before I could tell Jared that I could not eat another bite, Jared brought a plate with Happy Birthday written on it. Little did I know my wife told the hostess who forewarded it to or server. On the plate was a martini glass with three scoops of gelato, which was practically all that could fill my stomach to the bitter top. I could not have had a more memorable experience. I would have never imagined it at a casino. I wanted to shake hands with the chef, who was a little nervous to come out, but to my delight as we walked out, jared introduced us to the Chef. Sergio was a delight, a very warm hearted and food driven man who I thanked for my amazing dinner and from beginning to end experience. As we left the floor manager wished us a good night. I tell you now, I have not and will not ever have a greater experience anywhere else, and you will find me back at the Willows for every celebration and birthday. Thank you Jared for a memory of a lifetime. Dave and Carol, San Luis Obispo


wow,wow,wow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Reviewer: YUNIVE V. from Santa Barbara, CA
DELICCIOUS!!!!!!!!!!GREAT SERVICE I LOVE IT!OUR FIRST TIME LAST TIME WE PAY $70ON THE BUFFET AND IS NOT THAT GREAT ALMOST THE SAME PRICE AN MORE RELAX AND PRIVET ENVIROMENT!


We were told the Willows is one of the best places in So-Cal
Reviewer: Paula Eylar from Las Vegas,NV
I have dined in many above average places and this might be the best.When we got there we were greeted by the manager Richard.When he sat us he not only told us about the dinner specials but told us about all the cocktail specials and wine specials.We loved it because most places just drop you off at your table and he was able to get us going in the right direction right away.We loved the cucumber,mint and gin cocktail as well as the Mandarin-pomegranate martini.We then went with the recommendation of a great Cabernet Sauvignon that was not on the list.The wine was paired perfectly with our steaks, which were cooked to perfection.The Chef does great sauces and the plates came out very hot!Richard even poured our wine while he checked to make sure our dinners were cooked properly.We'll be back often,thanks to Richard and his great staff. TOP NOTCH.


Disappointed this Go-around
Reviewer: Shelley from Santa Maria
I have eaten at the Willows on many occassion and been very pleased. However this time, I am really disappointed to the point I may not go back. A friend took me for my birthday, she ordered the lobster bisque, which we split, it tasted like tomato soup. Then we had the Australian Lobster for main course, it was not cooked properly and after 2 bites we were eating sushi! My steak was ok, but after sending her Lobster back, and waiting an 1/2 hour for the re-cook. I basically ate my dinner alone. The best part of the whole meal was the Creme Brulee & the bread, which is still yummy. Whatever changes you have make recently, weather it be staff or cooks- please think about going back to what you were 2 months ago, which was an excellent restaurant with exception service.


Mixed review
Reviewer: Karen from Santa Barbara
We weren't offered a wine list. The service was very attentive, in fact, perhaps too attentive.....servers, it is OK to take away an obviously empty dish that has been put aside. More than once, we were asked, "Are you still enjoying that?" in regards to an empty plate! Don't be afraid to take an empty plate! The food was OK. The bread was good, with a nice assortment of toppings (except no butter!). I loved the crunchy salty breadsticks! The lobster bisque was really good. My seafood "lasagnette" was bathed in what tasted like Campbell's tomato soup. The seafood itself was good. The presentation of the dishes could use a little help. My husband ordered some "accompaniments" of vegetable and mashed potatoes, and they were brought out on individual plates, without garnish, kinda just slopped on. We very much enjoyed the dessert, a chocolate cake and ice cream thing. If there was a rating for setting/ambiance, I would give it a three stars.....it was quite noisy, and the tables were a little close together. Overall, a nice dining experience, but for the price, I expect excellence.


NICE PLACE. BETTER THAN AVERAGE FOOD. GOOD SERVICE
Reviewer: MIKE KOZLOV from CHATSWORTH, CA
ATMOSPHERE AND SERVICE WAS GOOD. FOOD WAS ABOVE AVERAGE. MY WIFE AND I HAVE EATEN THERE 5 TIMES. NOT AS GOOD AS HITCHING POST


Not that Great
Reviewer: Lauren Van Mullem from Santa Ynez, California
As a Santa Ynez local, I've heard a great deal about the big casino and read impressive online reviews of their Willow's restaurant. It looks elegant, modern, classy, and seemed as if it would at least have great presentation for the food. Unfortunately, though the look of the restaurant is nice, the decor is not striking. The food is expensive and admirably described on the menue, but I would much rather dine at the Olive Garden in terms of flavor. I ordered a pasta dish with a delicious description that looked and tasted like Hamburger Helper, and my boyfriend ordered the Ahi special (after he was informed that the tempting Ahi Schitzel was not available) which was not as cooked as it ought to have been. The presentation was basic for the pasta, and standardly trendy for the Ahi, but no flair to put it over the top. We ordered the $9 french fries for our appetizer, and that was easily the highlight of the meal-- they are really good, with excellent presentation and gourmet flavor. The desserts are nothing special-- NY Cheesecake (flown in, which as my boyfriend pointed out seems a bit silly), some small chocolatey things, and Tiramisu, the last of which we ordered. Again, not that good. Not terrible, but definitely not worth the money. What did stand out was the excellent service. Every person I talked to at the Casino and restaurant was friendly, cheerful and willing to help. The other strong points of the restaurant are that they offer many local wines (I tried two that were very nice), and the image they create of themselves through their online site, descriptions of food on the menu (I recognize the work of a fellow english major), and through their staff is very impressive. I just wish the food lived up to the promise.


WOW--What a treat!
Reviewer: LNN from Goleta, CA
Wow--You will not be disappointed! We made Willows one of our stops during our honeymoon up the California coast. From every course, the food was impressive, fresh, and delicious. We had the crab cakes, lobster bisque, two fish entrees, and creme brulee. We will be back!


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