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Boathouse
2981 Cliff Dr, Santa Barbara
Phone: (805) 898-2628


Reviews by the General Public

Lovely lunch, 11/5/2013
Reviewer: Charlotte from Goleta
Had a lovely lunch today out on the patio. The crab cakes Benedict with Chipotle Hollandaise, one of the best homemade pico de gallo and avocado. Nice crunchy potatoes, excellent crab cakes (lots of crab!). Nice wine pour, prices and selection and an excellent waiter to boot! I'll be back for sure. A place with a gorgeous view and good food and service... The Beachside in Goleta should take some pointers from this place!


Boathouse Domino Effect, 11/5/2013
Reviewer: Amy from Long Beach, CA
Came here yesterday for breakfast and i fell in love with the view. We left our dog in the car since we could not bring her on the patio (only service dogs allowed) which is completely understandable, ate as fast as we could so we could take her out to dog beach. We have lived in beach cities all of our lives but this view was amazing. I had the corned beef hash, it was very unique but I really enjoyed it and my husband had the yogurt & granola, delicious. The service was non existant but hey, the environment and ambiance made up for it. I met such awesome people and dogs there on the beach. Today, I came back for breakfast because I had such a remarkable time yesterday. The bartender was super friendly, had great suggestions and was great for conversing since I was there by myself. I explained to him how I'm from Los Angeles but was moving up here Dec 1. and that I really loved this place, since I'm a creature of habit and this place could be my new breakfast place. I was sitting in the sun at the bar and moved inside due to the sun getting a bit too hot outside. I started chatting with the regulars there and they seemed really intriguing and nice, very diverse restaurant, young people, elderly people, business people, everyone that came to the bar whether it was just for a coffee refill or someone in town for business seemed like wholesome people. I ordered a pacifico michelada which are usually my favorites, 2 eggs, extra crispy bacon and a side of fruit. Food and bartenders attentiveness was on point. I was just sitting there finishing my beer about 9:30am, because I had to go back to Long Beach at noon and still had to pack my things at the hotel.Then the dreaded UNIMAGINABLE happened. There was an older man who was apparently the owner who just started literally picking me apart due to my shirt. I was wearing yellow shorts and a cut off shirt and sandals. Yes my shirt did say f*** off, I'm sorry, I'm not from here just came for a few days and came for a quick breakfast by myself to enjoy the sun. Not that it matters but the bar counter was so tall it completely covered my shirt anyway. There HAS TO BE a better more respectful way of letting me know I am out of dress code instead of the offensive and demeaning way he did. How dare you question my morals and principles in front of your staff and customers in your restaurant. I would've definitely understood if he asked me to leave because my shirt or whatever the matter was RESPECTFULLY, not only because I am in nursing school & ALSO in the restaurant industry and my husband is a GM of a bar on State Street BUT I am a human being, you don't just treat people in that impolite and rude manner. He said that his restaurant was a family establishment and I had to put my sweater on because my shirt was completely unacceptable, mind you I didn't see any dress code sign at the front and since i was 1 of 2 customers inside (the other customer was literally saying "are you kidding?!" to the owner while he was on his rant to me, and the bartender just stared at me and looked sorry for me). I was already on my way out, like i said just enjoying the conversation before my 3 hour drive to Long Beach. Nonetheless, I completely complied and put my sweater on, saying I completely understand the situation and respecting his wishes the whole time. THEN he just kept going on and on started talking about my hat, asked me what I was thinking wearing it and completely started talking about my ethics, telling me he didn't understand what was up with me and asked me if it was a Los Angeles thing. He mentioned that he was trying to entertain his guests and that my outfit was deplorable. There was no one inside the restaurant! He even offered to pay for my breakfast if I put on my jacket (but in a very offensive way). I'm sorry sir I AM NOT A LEPER. I did my best to comply and apologized even left your bartender $10 on $20, I even said thank you on my way out to all of your staff members because I don't stoop down to people's levels, were you trying to get a reaction out of me? Is that why you kept pushing the subject? Do you feel better about yourself and your restaurant patronizing people and making them feel humiliated? YOU set the example in your own restaurant for your employees and are the reflection of your staff, I can't imagine how they can deal with your snobbiness & incompetence. Sure, I wore a shirt with profanity, i apologized for offending you. I'm 24 years old, I am NOT your daughter and certainly did not deserve the insolent and uncouth attitude coming from an elderly man and bar owner like yourself. I know you don't know me and I don't know you but I suggest when taking things in your own hands, keep the brashness and arrogance out and politely ask someone to leave.


Brattiest hostessses ever, 9/2/2013
Reviewer: Catherine from Santa Barbara, CA
Just laughing after an interaction with the hostess at the Boathouse. We were trying to make a reservation and this girl, who was no doubt very pretty, came across as a combination of your bratty teenage daughter and the mean girl from high school. Where do they get their training? Do they get any training? She acted like making a reservation was a HUGE imposition and would provide no information without my emailing another manager. It wasn't what she said, it was how she said it. I had to laugh it was such terrible service. Well, it is a pretty location.


Just OK, 8/8/2013
Reviewer: Mark from Burbank, CA
The food is good but there are better locally. I will agree that management is the worst. The place lives and survives on it's location. Wonderful. That does not complete my experience. I will not fault the staff as most appear to be students at USB. I fault the fact that no one seems be be running it. The food could be rated higher if it did not sit waiting to be delivered to me while I starve. Comes a time that the view is no longer my concern


Worse service ever!, 8/4/2013
Reviewer: Amber from Santa Barbara, CA
It was my first time and most likely my last. When my party of 8 arrived they said it would be a thirty minute wait. After 45 minutes we asked if we could split up the party, but they said it would'nt make a difference. After an hour we saw people who had arrived after us walking into the restaurant and being seated. Finally after an hour and fifteen minutes we asked one last time how long the wait would be and they told they didn't know so we decided to leave. We did notice several other parties that left upset because of the wait as well


Good not great, 6/18/2013
Reviewer: Son'so from Santa Barbara, CA
Would have liked more personal attention from the manager over a problem I had with a Groupon coupon I had but we worked it all out. Beautiful location on the beach. Mirrored back wall makes you fell surrounded by the ocean. Server service, waitress and bussers, was excellent and friendly but the waitress' fingernail polish was ratty looking and therefore unappetizing holding our food plates. The Ceasar salad was ordinary at best, the wedge salad was much better but very sharp to my taste. The red clam chowder was too spicy and resembled a gumbo with clams more than a Manhattan clam chowder. It was very thick. My wife had Cajun style sea bass which was excellent. My grilled yellowtail tuna had a sharp taste which may be the nature of this fish, the result of my singing my tongue on the Very Hot soup, or the preparation. I certainly would not order it again. About a year ago we had Sunday brunch here and loved it. We will go back for that but not for dinner. Not that they will miss our business. Midweek early (6pm) they were packed.


Good meal and great view, 5/5/2013
Reviewer: Steve Nelson from Walnut Creek, CA
Friday late afternoon and already hopping with the drinking crowd. Five of us for dinner so we opted for a table inside instead of a wait for patio. Attentive server; friendly dude. Macadamia mahi mahi was very good, as was wife's salmon. Daughter's clam linguine was okay; son and his girlfriend liked their chicken. Blood orange margarita was just okay but regular margarita hit the spot. Loved the Mudd Pie. Atmosphere was perfectly hang loose beach bar so don't expect the King's English.


FINALLY a very good meal and darn good service
Reviewer: Cindy from Santa Barbara, CA
Have been here many times and our experience has been more miss than hit but decided to give it another try. Food was the best I've had here and service was really good (thanks Justin) Our party had the Ono, Blackened Salmon and White Sea Bass and each of us thoroughly enjoyed our meal. Nice surprise. Keep it up!!


Off season dining: Fall
Reviewer: Henry from Lexington, Ky
This was our first visit and we walked in without reservations and were seated at a great corner table by the ocean. It was cool that evening but plexiglass windbreakers and ample space heaters made it very pleasant. They were about 2/3 full and the service was prompt and courteous. I had the New England clam chowder which was creamy and full of seafood. I followed with lightly grilled ahi with lobster sauce on a bed of asparagus and mashed grilled potatoes.The ahi was perfectly seared and warm in the middle. With this we had a nice but inexpensive bottle of Santa Barbara Chardonnay. I am sure this place is packed in the Summer, but this night it was perfect.


Reservations?
Reviewer: Carl from Camarillo, CA
We made reservations on a Sunday evening and when the time past no one knew when we would be seated. There were no open tables and they had no idea how long we had to wait. Place was disorganized and crowded with people putting in their own food orders. We had a reservation for 10 and it was for a special occasion. Never again. Place also smelled bad from the surrounding dog area at the beach.


Good food, AWFUL service
Reviewer: James from Santa Barbara, CA
I never write these, but this was top 3 worst service I've ever had. They had no idea what they were doing. We waited, which is fine. Then, the hostess, whom we waited for for 2-3 minutes after we got buzzed, had the audacity to tell me that she was waiting for me and buzzed me several times...okay...whatever. Then, we stood there for no less than 5 minutes while they did not have our table ready. Nice. We sat, and waited for a while. Not a big deal so far. When we ran out of bread, we literally asked 3 times for more. Unacceptable. The waiters were goofing around inside. It was near closing time, and they had half the tables empty, and still they could not attend to us. We are not picky, needy, or angry customers usually. The food was good, but I will never go back there. I am embarrassed for the owners who have a good product but it is so mismanaged. Sadly disappointed.


Don't go here - the WORST service
Reviewer: Suzanne from Santa Barbara, CA
There are soooo many better restaurants/happy hours around Santa Barbara! This is the first time I've ever written a bad review about an establishment. The purpose of this review is to warn others not to waste their time and money here. Unfortunately, I doubt the restaurant actually cares; just go read the reviews on Yelp as it's chock full of bad experiences that describe exactly what me and my friends experienced, and clearly, nothing has changed because of them. I had a friend visiting from San Francisco and a small group of us wanted to meet for happy hour. Happy Hour is from 8pm until close on Fridays but you have to be seated in order to partake in the happy hour; there are 4 tables reserved for this - everything else is the restaurant menu. So we get put on the waitlist. If you order drinks while you wait, there's nowhere to stand - you'll just get shoved around and told not to stand there...or there...or there. Forty-five minutes later, we get taken inside the restaurant to be seated and we explain that we were on the waitlist for happy hour. So we get sent back outside to wait and get put on a list again. Waiting, waiting, starving, we were told multiple and differing reasons as to why we weren't being seated. There are now empty tables in the outside area, it's 9:47pm and we're told we're not allowed to be seated at the outdoor non-happy hour tables because, as the "manager" (not sure who this guy was) put it, "We don't seat people there who only want appetizers and drinks." Whaaa?? We've already explained that we don't need the happy hour prices, but we'd like to order apps and more drinks. I was so exasperated at this point that I said to my friends let's go. The "manager" overheard me and scuttled to improve the situation. He sat us down, ordered us an appetizer on the house; okay, wonderful we thought, now we can relax and enjoy the rest of the evening. But before we could even taste the appetizer, "manager" comes over, gets in my face and says threateningly, "You need to be nice to my girls." Whaaa?? He repeats, "You need to be nice to my girls." And proceeds to tell us that he's doing us a favor by seating us. When I explain all that has happened, he informs us that we should have talked to a manager much earlier. Hmmmm, so now it's our fault? As a final show, he stood near our table staring at us and we could only interpret this as an attempt at intimidation. I'll tell ya, it takes a lot to put a bee in my bonnet, and that was it. I put $13 on the table (the cost of the passive/aggressive "gift" appetizer) and we got up and left. We went up to the mesa to Alcazar where we dropped over $100 in apps and drinks. The service and food at Alcazar is awesome. The Boathouse is seriously lacking in service: The hostesses are clearly too young and inexperienced to be working at a place that is overcrowded and doesn't have a clear plan of action, nor is able to take care of it's hungry customers in a professional manner. And the "manager's" behavior came off as if he's the rooster in the hen house. But reading other reviews on Yelp, he's been rude to other people as well. I will never return here.


apparently no management
Reviewer: Tim from Phoenix, AZ
The food - I had the blackened sea bass - was well presented and delicious. However we got on the seating list at 7:30, told the wait would around 40 minutes, were seated at approximately 9:00. We were a group of seven crammed into a booth made for 4 while other more accomodating seating arrangements were available literally 5 minutes later. I informed the waitress we were moving to a more appropriate seatng arrangement. The food finally arrived just a few minutes 'till 10. By then we were totally disqusted by the terrible service, abundance of loud drunken clientel and apparent lack of any management oversight. The parking lot was almost empty when we left around 10:20. Not only was it an awful dining experience, our mood when we left can best be described as angry. This establishment is not recommended for people with young children!


Why so negative?
Reviewer: Desirey from Santa Barbara, CA
I LOVE almost every plate from the boathouse! Their Shrimp Quesadillas, their classic burger, clam chowder, seviche and their FISH AND CHIPS! I don't know why their is so many negative reviews about their fish and chips? The service was good... I think their bussers are more helpful then the waiters.


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