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Holdren's Grill
6920 Marketplace Dr, Goleta
Phone: (805) 685-8900

  • Category: Steakhouse
  • Hours: Mon-Fri Lunch 11am-2:30pm, Dinner Sun-Thu 4pm-9pm, Fri-Sat 4pm-10pm
  • Price: $10 - $20
  • Serving: Lunch & Dinner
  • Reservations: Yes, recommended
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Reviews by the General Public

Cutting corners, 10/12/2013
Reviewer: Charlotte from Goleta
Great deal for Happy Hour, however, it is painfully obvious that they have recently been cutting corners by bulking up on inexpensive fillers and cutting back on the item ordered. Examples... Calamari (yummy) BUT they now give you half fried jalapeņos and half Calamari. WHAT.? No mention of half and half on menu and most folks simply can't eat jalapeņos! and I did not appreciate the bait and switch. The crab cakes are now prefab yuck! Served on a bed of rice-a-roni.... Would it be too much to ask to have a little mixed greens instead of that horrid rice? Speaking of salad... Cesar salad must have been prepped by an Ape, hacked, huge pieces of lettuce and had clumps of dressing. Thoughtless attempt at making something so simple. I'll go for a drink, only.

Has Holdren's Gone Downhill?, 9/15/2013
Reviewer: Pat from Santa Barbara, CA
We use to dine about about every three months at Holdren's Grill. Not any more!!! Last night another couple told us they had the worst meal ever. We then ordered an old favorite, chicken pot pie. Different crust, some chicken, a bit of mushroom, and TWO peas. Service rushed us at the end. Too bad, it use to be a favorite.

How forgetful and absent can your servers be???, 7/9/2013
Reviewer: Christine from Santa Barbara, CA
First, I have a tough time paying $30 for an 8 oz steak that comes with a starch side And That's It. The salad is extra, veggies are extra... We were here last night, table of 8. The restaurant was maybe 1/3 full when we arrived at 7:15. Hollister was packed with an hour wait so we tried Holdren's. Their downtown can't have such horrible service and have remained in business so long! Timing was good after drinks and two grilled artichoke apps arrived, but when salads came they were served to the wrong people and two were ignored. It left 2 of us waiting. And waiting. The single waiter was no where to be found. 3 busboys continuously walking by had no clue the entire table had full plates and no one was eating... Finally we got the two extra salads but one was wrong. This is how dinner would continue. We waited for dishes to be cleared and dinner served. Everyone was served incorrectly from the outset. One of our party had the same wrong dish served to her twice! My sirloin was cooked perfectly and had good flavor, but garlic mashed potatoes were plain. Thankfully the food was good. But again service was so slow - we had to flag down the waiter for the check. Then we had to flag him again to pick up our payment! For a $30 steak with mashed potatoes, I don't enjoy having a $4 salad as an add-on and all other sides also as $$$ add-ons, AND crappy, slow, forgetful, disappearing service to boot. Good thing they automatically tacked on the 20% gratuity for our large group; if it were just me I might give just 10%. We really should have known better when the place was so empty... We were done at 9:30. Over 2 hours for dinner.

Roll the dice
Reviewer: Nathan from Santa Barbara, CA
For some reason I continue to eat here as some experiences are better than others. At it's worst it's pathetic. At it's best it can be a nice dinner out. Avoid "special" dinners like Valentine's Day unless you can spend three hours for dinner. The management needs to pay better attention to the quality of the food coming out of the kitchen. The last time my wife and I ate there both my wife's dinner (sea bass) and mine (salmon) were bland and tasteless. The meat entrees are generally better, although I've had pretty bad cuts (full of gristle). The wait staff is very friendly and always offers to replace entrees, so it appears they are used to bad meals coming out of the kitchen.

Nice atmosphere-good food
Reviewer: sylvie from Santa Barbara, CA
I have been to Holdren's many times, this was the first time that my meal was overcooked. I had the Chilean sea bass with guajillo chili sauce, it was burnt to a crisp. When I notified the server, she apologized and retuned with a perfectly cooked Chilean bass. The rest of the meal was delicious. I will definitely return to this neighborhood gem.

Top Notch Customer Service!
Reviewer: Pam from Santa Barbara, CA
Our office ordered take out for a meeting this week. Unfortunately, there was some mis-communication and the order sat at Holdren's for over 2 hours. When we realized that nobody from any department had retrieved the food, we called and asked them to re-make the order. They had to scrap the entire first one we called in because it contained fish and items that wouldn't keep. They were very gracious, understanding and kind. They waived charging us for the first meal and completely absorbed that cost. The server and owner were so customer service oriented and it was greatly appreciated!! The food, of course, was delicious and we will continue to be loyal customers!

Bad News Bar
Reviewer: Sam from Santa Barbara, CA
First time ever went there will be the last time! Ordered an after dinner drink that was so watered down it was a joke. Expensive and horrible, I felt sorry for the bartender it was not his fault he had to comp one it was so bad. Bummer it could be a nice dinner house. The downtown location should help Goleta!

Mind Bogglingly Bad Management
Reviewer: Tony from Goleta
If this Holdrens location goes out of business it won't be a surprise to me. It won't be because of bad service, the wait staff and servers are usually quite good, and it probably won't be because of bad food because that's fairly decent as well. The problem that strikes me as a critical concern are the management policies! Here's a prime example of the foolishness: Holdren's has gone to great lengths to develop a very good happy hour menu and cultivate a following for that segment. They regularly draw enough people to their happy hour to fill their patio and their bar, yet for some reason, they feel that its acceptable to book their entire patio for private events closing it off to happy hour patrons (on busy weekends no less) yet, at the same time they refuse to let happy hour patrons sit in the main dining room!!?? So , essentially, if you encounter this confluence of events (which I have now twice) you and the other happy hour throngs are relegated to fighting for the dozen or so seats at the bar or the 4 two-top tables in the bar area. All while the main dining room sits virtually empty!!!! This is no way to run a business folks, and the 8 or so other HH patrons who stormed out this past Friday eve will be happier at another establishment. Perhaps one that understands that butts in the seats mean money and empty tables DONT!! Normally I try to stay with local businesses but with the big chain restaurant just a few feet over... well, lets just say they weren't refusing people seating!

Quiet, good food, excellent service
Reviewer: Betsy from Santa Barbara, CA
We had a gift certificate to this restaurant and almost couldn't find it, tucked into the corner of the "Big Box" restaurant row. But it was delightful. The food was excellent: blackened salmon, chicken piccata, a rib eye steak... all very well-prepared. The service was unobtrusive but professional. The booths were comfortable and it was nice to be in a restaurant that was quiet enough for conversation. Prices and portions were reasonable. We'll be back.

Unprofessional waitress and very bad service
Reviewer: John Wang from Santa Barbara, CA
My family went to Holdren's Grill at 6920 Marketplace Dr. in Goleta at about 6:20 pm on Sept. 9th. We waited for 20 minutes for a table on the outside patio. Finally, a table became open at about 6:40 pm. The lady at the front said "there is a reservation at 6:30 pm, but they are not here, you can go ahead and take the table." So we sat down and ready to order. Suddenly, a waitress, who claimed she was a manager, came to our table and told us we had to leave. I told her we were told to sit here. She insisted that we leave because the people just showed up, 20 minutes after their 6:30 pm reservation time. We have ate at many restaurants, but had never ran into anybody so mean and rude. We will never eat at this place again. I will never take my business customers to this place again either.

Surprise! Great meal, great service!
Reviewer: Barbara from Santa Barbara, CA
Wandered in hungry, came away pleased! Bar fixed me a great drink; menu was enticing and the kitchen delivered! Had a petite filet minon done properly with asparagus, crispy fries and a delightful mushroom accompaniment. Left happy. What more could one ask for? I'll be back!

Hit and Miss
Reviewer: Tally from Santa Barbara, CA
The first time we went to Holdren's Grill, we had a great time. The service was a bit slow because they were so busy, but we were in no rush. Positive--they provided complimentary cocktails. The waiter was very attentive! The food was delicious. The second time there, very disappointing. The portions were small and overcooked and the waiter was slow/disinterested/distracted. Advise...opt for the specials. They are delicious and well priced. If you go during "happy hour", drinks are much more reasonably priced. Seating outdoors is preferable as well. We will definitely try this restaurant again...opting for the special. Enjoy!

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