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Relais de Paris
734 State St, Santa Barbara
Phone: (805) 963-6077


Reviews by the General Public

Don't judge a book by it's cover!, 6/16/2014
Reviewer: Joyce from Manhattan Beach, CA
Ya' know the saying, "Don't judge a book by it's cover!"......well, Relais de Paris looks like the real deal when you read the reviews and when you walk in this very nicely decorated restaurant. Well, we went there for a special Father's Day treat yesterday (reservations at 10:30 / they open at 10:00 on Sun) to beat the crowd - hmmmm, we were the only ones in the restaurant until just before we left, a couple arrived. You would think we would have been "swarmed" by the staff, nope. Bottom line: you can do A LOT better than spending mega $$$$ at this place with not the real gourmet food you eat in Paris. I will do one liners on our experience: - with advance reservations you would think they would have the table put together for 5 - nope and again we were the only table occupied - guest 1 - the GodFather - dirty plate for starters, he / daughter ordered the French Onion Soup - waiter says he doesn't think it's done yet, comes back, "Oh, they have enough for one bowl!" - so GodFather orders it (it was luke warm, salty, and had slices of garlic in it) and he had the Salade Nicoise - salad makings are called "Organic" Greens (soft and appeared to be right out of the bag from the grocery store, not prewashed), green beans were raw, had Kalamata olives instead of the customary Nicoise olive, egg was over hardboiled with the green ring around the yolk, salad dressing was at the bottom of the bowl not tossed, had to ask for additional dressing which was another kind - mustard type - for the rest of the guests, will recap: Omelet - came last like they were cooking it real good - it came luke warm without the ham ordered; Natural Prime Entrecote Steak "Montparnasse" (2 orders) serviced with fries / Organic salad with famous dressing - I am still physically ill from the steak - it was a "MIS-steak" ordering it - both were luke warm, not fresh, sauce for steak luke "cold," had to ask for salad dressing; the fries were medium in heat - service was not there - waiter came to fill water glasses (only filled 2 of them), had to ask to get dishes cleared from the table, and remember we were the ONLY ONES in the restaurant - we pay our way and have no problem paying $$$ for great food and service - I'm happy for those who did positive reviews enjoyed their experience - they obviously have different food standards than us. Just so you know, we didn't just get "off the boat", we are real foodies having traveled extensively around the world.


Best Onion Soup in the land!, 6/2/2014
Reviewer: Arlene from Santa Barbara, CA
Everything was wonderful. We ordered the french fries, but there was nothing different except they were not oily. Then we had the onion soup which I could not stop eating. I am ready for more!!! The service was excellent and so was the rest of the meal. Not cheap, but not that expensive. Restaurant atmosphere is nice and you can even sit outside and watch the people waking by.


Comme ci, comme ça, 5/1/2014
Reviewer: Jinelle from Santa Barbara, CA
The place has a wonderful feel to it and the menu is enticing. The staff is friendly so it has a lot going for it. The food however is ho-hum and may have been better at one time, but it is too inconsistent the night we were there in quality control and execution to warrant a second look. Included dinner salad had a gluey, sticky mustard based dressing which was very poorly executed when it should have been light and refreshing. Fries were both mushy and crisp. They could not have been freshly made for that mixed quality, The sauce was insipid and tasted of a dried tarragon based powder mix instead of a beautifully made fresh Bernaise, which is the classic French accompaniment. Entrecôte itself was flavorless and unremarkable on its own, though adequately cooked and nicely sized. Wine list provided well priced options and overall it was a pleasant dinner, but not one to repeat for the price. Up your game because you have a lot of good basics, but they all deserve more finesse in their execution. You had the felling someone untrained was just going through the motions putting our formula food back in the kitchen; not really presenting French cuisine with care and attention to its details. Nor is there anything to be proud of about that allegedly famous "sauce". Not sure what the fuss has been about this. Ours was served room temperature tepid and detracted from the expected food temperature of the entree. Dinner also comes with some heavy but tasty french bread and smidgen of butter on curiously a warm plate. Dinner $27, wine $8 for a nice individual carafe of Mouton Cadet.


French food without French attitude or portions, 2/24/2014
Reviewer: John from Santa Barbara, CA
The staff are so friendly, helpful, and genuine. We eat here regularly because the food is delicious and consistently delightful. The sauces with the steaks, chicken, etc are outstanding. The ambience and decor is French Bistro - charming, inviting, with a touch of formality. Yet somehow it's also a comfortable place to hang out and eat. We've taken our 6 year old with us, but it would be a great date place as well. A rare combination - I'm not sure how they achieved it. Probably due to the friendliness. There's a come as you are ethos. You can come here with your date, your kids, or with a group of friends - whether you're young or old. You won't leave hungry or disappointed. Everything is fresh, and they seem concerned with sourcing from good vendors/farms. It's not an extensive menu - mainly steaks, chicken, salads, a few specials and French staples such as Croque M, French Onion, mussels - but what they do, they do well and the sauces make the simple dishes sing. The fries are made like only the French can - crisp. Portions are generous.


So French you will feel like you're in Paris.
Reviewer: barbara from Santa Barbara, CA
The best soupe a l'ongnon and croque monsieur outside of Paris. Loved the Bistro/Brassserie atmosphere. Will definitely return.


I have been waiting for this to come to SB!
Reviewer: CJ from Santa Barbara, CA
One of my favorite places to eat in Paris is Entrocote. I was so thrilled to see it here in SB. I had high expectations and they have made or exceeded it!


Relais, Really?
Reviewer: Steven from Santa Barbara, CA
Provide construction criticism? Ok, lighten up on the the salt. Fourth time's not a charm, it's a red flag to abandon this sodium palais! Au revoir!


Great!
Reviewer: Mike from Santa Barbara, CA
I had been (twice) to a similar restaurant in Paris. So, i was eager to see this arrive on State street. Steak frite met my expectations. same sauce that I love. Wine list must be upgraded. Onion soup was excellent. We will be back. I hope they make it. It is a small menu full of things I like. I am not sure they wii get the traffic. We are local. Good luck. Fingers crossed.


Great, --but please give us sauce options
Reviewer: steve from Santa Barbara, CA
Was prepared that this place would be phoney like a lot of French wannabe startups. Glad to report they are mostly REAL. Amazing Fries...best in town? Amazingly good high quality Profiterole for desert with very good icecream and high quality chocolate. Mussel sauce wonderful to dunk warm bread in. Amazingly good onion soup...lots of cheese and complex flavors inside... Beef was fine, but here is the BIG problem....none of us at the table cared for their "famous sauce" that much.-Don't think it is some big mysterious wonderful beef reduction sauce or something. It is greenish...too herbal tasting. PLEASE PLEASE, owners....we will come back 10 times more often if you will add a Bernaise, or Beef Reduction Sauce option for sauces for the Beef!!!!!--Please...lots of REAL French restaurants do that. Good service, refilled nice filtered water, lots of warm bread they kept bringing. The house red wine Pal Mas 2011 was great for 20. Asking 36. for Mouton Cadet is NOT. A winner if they add sauce options...will never order an entre again if they do not. Aoli sauce was poor and horribly over garlic-ed. Wonderful other stuff as said above...do you agree about the secret sauce not being that great?


What a welcome addition to Santa Barbara!
Reviewer: Frank from Santa Barbara, CA
We had dinner at Relais de Paris with another couple - it was the first time for all of us. It will not be the last visit! The staff could not have been more helpful and knowledgeable. Each and every one took time to smile whie doing their job, and seemed to truly enjoy doing so. The menu, while limited, is similar to any good Parisian bistro - their most popular entree is the entrecote with French fries and a light pepper cream sauce. It was served sliced, exactly as ordered, and was delicious. Another popular dish is the moules frite, Hope Ranch black mussels in a delicious sauce with french fries on the side. The onion soup was piping hot, with a generous amount of cheese on top and very onion-y. The house salad is a fresh mix, including butter lettuce, with a light mustard vinagrette. The wine list is good, but not overpowering, and the bartender is prompt, savvy and friendly. What's not to like? Also open for lunch - just across State from Paseo Nuevo in the old Ruby's Cafe location.


Classic French bistro cuisine
Reviewer: Shawn from Summerland, CA
Relais de Paris is a classic French bistro--small space, small menu and small wine list. If you are seeking classics like steak frites, steamed mussels, onion soup and profiteroles, this is the place for you. Everything was authentic and very tasty but the choices were very limited especially the wine list--a list of about 8 reds and half had been replaced with "specials" not actually on the list. Adding a few additional menu items, especially first courses such as a housemade pate plate or onion tart, would be nice. Classic desserts such as lemon tart, molten chocolate cake and profiteroles were excellent. Service was friendly and attentive and the atmosphere was also authentic--reminded us of many a simple bistro dinner in Paris. Took some guests from out of town and would absolutely recommend for a casual dinner.


meat and movie
Reviewer: amador from Santa Barbara, CA
Best meat, fries and service fast if you need to go to the movie, the food is awesome, staff very helpful.


What a place
Reviewer: Alice from Santa Barbara, CA
There is something about this restaurant when you walk in you don't want to leave. We love the decor and atmosphere. Don't change a thing. We started with the onion soup and salads. Now that was an onion soup but maybe too big portion size. Three of us shared it and it was filling but we could of kept eating it all night. The Mussels "Now I don't usually order mussels because of dissapointment however these were the best I have ever had and the rest of table agreed". Good desserts nothing too exciting and the service was friendly not perfect, but friendly and intuitive. Thats all we ever ask for when dining out in Santa Barbara and we can't wait to go back.


excellent!
Reviewer: Linda from Santa Barbara, CA
We went to Relais De Paris on New Year's Eve as we did not want a set menu. We had excellent service, even though the place was full, and the food was fantastic! The Nicoise was ample and very fresh with local ingredients. The Chateau was tender and perfectly cooked! Pommes Frites great. The onion soup looked authentic and was enjoyed by another diner!! A welcome French restaurant!!


Great experience
Reviewer: Amis from Santa Barbara, CA
Definitely better than Maggi's the other new French restaurant. Steak Frites sauce as advertised is special. Escargot also quite good. Mussels were tender and sweet. Chicken moist and tender. Different wine list but not extensive. Hope they open soon for lunch!!


Loved this place!
Reviewer: Felicia from Santa Barbara, CA
I wanted to try out Relais de Paris because I had read some good reviews, and it was even better than I expected. I had the steak frites, which came with a simple but delicious salad, perfect french fries, and one of the most tender steaks I've ever had. The sauce was flavorful and really enhanced the steak. I would absolutely recommend this restaurant!


Great Start
Reviewer: Steven from Santa Barbara, CA
This was our first time in this newly opened french bistro. Service was very warm and friendly, and the atmosphere was inviting. The menu is somewhat limited, but the items we chose were perfectly executed. Pomme frite (basic fries) were served with ketchup and the "secret" Relais sauce (the same sauce that they serve with their steaks). The French onion soup was densely dark and thick with sourdough bread an a generous cap of Gruyere. We then shared the Salade Nicoise (they offered to split it in the kitchen), which came with olive oil poached tuna and intensely flavorful white anchovies. We also shared the shrimp brochette, which was perfectly grilled. They will soon open sidewalk seating and lunch offerings, which will be a nice addition to mid-State Street!


Amazing food
Reviewer: Manu from Santa Barbara, CA
We went there on Friday evening with our kids. We started with the mussel appetizers, then we shared two steak-frites and one chicken-frites. Mussels were local and delicious. The frites (aka french fries) were just delicious, crunchy and tasty, and we could not resist and ordered some more. The summum of the meal was the meat and the secret sauce. We ordered our steaks rare and the combination with the sauce was perfect. We finished our meal with raspberry sorbet, lemon tartelette, profiteroles and creme brulee. It is as good, if not even better, than what you can get in Paris!!! We will definitely come back here.


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