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Jade
[closed, no longer in business]

3132 State St, Santa Barbara
Phone: (805) 563-2007


Reviews by the General Public

best place that no one knows about
Reviewer: Grayson from Santa Barbara, CA
Jade has become our favorite restaurant in Sb, every time we have gone the wine was great and the food was awesome. The risotto is amazing and cooked perfectly. The desert could be better, but the main courses so much better, with consistency, than what you can find at other restaurants for the same price. We recommend Jade to all of our close friends.


Where do we begin?
Reviewer: Jennifer from Santa Barbara, CA
This was the letter I wrote to send to the owner, but he never responded to my attempts to contact him. Dear Dustin, My group just had a pretty terrible dining experience at Jade. I wanted to tell you about it because I believe you are nice people with a small business and these types of bad experiences can really end up hurting you in the long run. I know you'll want to take action to improve things. Truly unacceptable service was given by our server tonight. He didn't give us his name, and the busser I asked didn't know because "he is new" but we dined tuesday Aug 2. Only one guy was on the floor. Short story is: this server isn't a good fit for you. Having worked in restaurants for over 15 years gives me all kinds of insight as to why this is... but I have a haunch that in the long run, no matter how many chances you give him.. it won't work out. Approaches the table loudly " Hey, can I get you guys some drinks!?" A clunky way to approach in what appears to be a pretty nice place. We all order drinks, and about 15 minutes later we get them. I ask about the specials "Oh, there are no specials tonight" Ok, fine but the way he responded was so abrupt. We wait awhile for food, it arrives... I'm into the ragu. It tastes pretty great. A bit on the sweet side, but delicious. I ask him to see if he can ask the chef what spice he used to give it that special taste... something particular I couldn't pinpoint. allspice, curry leaf, cinnamon? something savory. He says "I can ask the chef but he'll probably be pretty reserved about it, he usually just says salt and pepper" ok, well ask him and let me know what he says" - I wait, and he never comes back and never tells me what the chef said. At no time did he offer anyone more drinks. My friend had wanted more wine with dinner but none was offered. Our group drinks! We often get a second round. We ask for the check, no desserts are offered. After hearing that the deserts are good.. this is a disappointment after the fact. By this time we're finished eating, and there is a large pile of cash together at the end of the table because people have been ready to pay for so long that they all contributed what they think they owe without a check in hand. We wait, and it must have been about 15 minutes for the check. I stand up and hover for awhile, and the server is setting another table for an incoming customer and I'm thinking, his priorities are out of whack, here we are ready to leave and he's cleaning tables this is odd. So I go ask him "any chance that check will be ready soon?" "Oh nobody asked me for a check. (Deadpan)" He seems annoyed. I'm thinking, wow... ok. Do we have to ask again? We clearly were finished, and by then a few of us were standing. He comes around with a check and puts it down. No speaking. We have one credit card, and it needs to be run for a portion of the bill and this seems to confuse him so he asks, "What about the rest of the check?" I say, we're leaving cash, he seems uncomfortable with this. So he has the card, and after taking it in the back for 3 or 4 minutes, comes back out holding it and the bill and opens up the billfold with the cash in it, and asks "is this the rest?" and I say yes... and he takes it unceremoniously. It was clear he wasn't being gracious. After he left I said, "man, he is pissed off" and when he returned with the cash gone (including his undeserved 20% tip) he just slapped it down on the table and clicked his pen next to my ear and walked off. no contact whatsoever. It was rude and we were all pretty offended. Bottom line, the real problem here was this server, and from what I hear.. the guy who usually waits on tables is amazing and wonderful. I hope they bring him back. Thats 13 locals who love to dine and drink having a bad experience trying a new place.


I've been back 6 times since my original review
Reviewer: Cris from Santa Barbara, CA
When I first discovered this place just about a year ago, I couldn't believe I had never been there before. The food quality was extremely good and the prices were about as fair as it gets! Since then, I have been back 6 times, and every time I try one of the specials and can honestly say I have NEVER been disappointed. I recently had a Cajun seared NY strip steak and I have never in my life had a steak with that much flavor in every bite. I still talk about that ONE steak because how memorable it was. This is truly a testament to Dustin (the chef) and the wait staff. Please do yourself a favor and do not judge the place on appearance from the outside because the only disfavor you're doing is to yourself.


High quality food, modest prices, friendly service
Reviewer: Allen from Santa Barbara, CA
This is a very comfortable and friendly small restaurant. The food ranges from very good to excellent and the prices are very reasonable for the gourmet quality food that is only matched in quality at some of the top restaurants in Santa Barbara. We particularly enjoyed the casual informal atmosphere and also it is generally very quiet here, so we can have a comfortable conversation. We have returned several times in the past year or so and plan to be back again soon.


OMG best place in town!
Reviewer: Gustavo L. from Santa Barbara, CA
Small restaurant where the Amazing Chef often comes out and greets you personally. Try the Mongolian BBQ ribs at an amazing price as well as the ravioli with an Asian twist it's an org**m to say the least. Come in through the ally in the back (additional parking) and you will set the mood for a PERFECT date. My absolute favorite place in town.


Consider this my neighborhood restaurant!
Reviewer: Michelle from Santa Barbara, CA
I don't even live in the neighborhood :) Jade just has super yummy, inventive food and a really nice staff. The service isn't always perfect, but the personality and friendliness make up for it. If ever there's a special occasion, I make sure to go to Jade.


Amazing Chicken and Goat Cheese Ravioli
Reviewer: Cris from Santa Barbara, CA
Amazing food! You must try the Chicken and Goat Cheese Ravioli! It was incredible.


The worst meal I have ever had...ever
Reviewer: Carole Rayor from Redondo Beach, Ca
I visited Santa Barbara last week. I researched the restaurants that I thought would be great dining experiences (price was not considered). Jade was on that list. I went there early. No one was there...gosh, this should have been a warning! I asked for their signature dish..the waiter told me it was the pulled pork dish...it sounded interesting...so I said okay. The pork did NOT have any flavor..infact I thought...this pork must have been sitting in water for days..not even a broth...tasteless. The sweet potatoes were mashed and also tasted watery without any flavor...the snap peas were wrinkled without flavor...HONESTLY....THIS IS THE TOP OF MY LIST FOR THE WORST MEAL THAT I HAVE EVER HAD...NUMBER ONE!!! I can not believe this was just a bad night. Everything about their food was wrong.


Definitely recommend!
Reviewer: Christine from Charlottesville, VA
I went to Jade with a celebratory group last week and we loved it! The food was great--the ribs, shrimp potstickers and corn fritters were the highlights along with the gooey butter cake for dessert. My shrimp chow mein entree was nice too and the wine list had lots of options. Most of all, the staff was extremly accommodating of our large group. I think I speak for everyone--we highly recommend it!


One of My Favorite Places
Reviewer: Mari Martin from Santa Barbara, CA
I love Jade, pure and simple. It's got fresh food cooked with a pan-asian flair that is different and delicious. (Favs: corn fritters, ribs, nakaoi salad, salmon special, spring rolls, and risotto) The service can be a bit slow at times, yes, but they've always been kind, not over-attentive (don't like that), and knowledgeable. The owner/chef loves his work and you can tell. He'll frequently come out and talk with customers...a true labor of love. I highly recommend this place.


One of my favorites, but...
Reviewer: Camille Mason from Santa Barbara, CA
I come to Jade often, and am often compelled to bring new people in for what I regard as high quality, innovative, and well priced cuisine. However, what I'm sometimes hesitant about is the quality of service: its so so hit-and-miss. Last night, my dirty salad plate was left around for 20 minutes after I was done, nearby tables were not bussed, and I had to request my water be refilled. Jade management-- please either hire a (1) busser, or (2) some more experienced or just MORE waitstaff. I know its a small restaurant and probably doesn't always need two servers, but the experience would go from a 7 to a 10 if the service was more reliable. LOVE the indonesian corn fritters and the kalua pork, by the wa.


great neighborhood spot
Reviewer: Nancy Wahl from Santa Barbara, CA
I've been a loyal fan of Jade's for many years. Their dishes are primarily Asian-Californian fusion, with strong hints of Italy, and some original creations thrown in a wonderful eclectic mix. Best of all, they're not a chain; the owner is the chef, and he frequently comes out to say hello. A delightful neighborhood hangout. My only suggestion is that they break out of their salmon-mahi mahi-pork specials now and then. How about Albacore? Flank steak? Shrimp?


A hidden gem
Reviewer: dan from Santa Barbara, CA
Have become a Jade regular - typically once a month or so. You can't beat the food quality - even at restaurants that are far pricier. Service is adequate but on the slow side. Don't plan dinner at Jade if you are in a hurry for the theater. The wine list is small, but excellent. Also, they allow you to order by the glass from the entire list. This allows the luxury of matching various wines to individual courses. Thankfully for us, the tourists have not discovered this hidden gem.


Great Cuisine and Service!
Reviewer: Reno from Santa Barbara, CA
The food was is a very well rounded mix of Asian and California cuisine. One member of their wait staff has more personality than any other waiter I have ever met. It's a truly fun experience to dine at Jade. Looking forward to my next visit!


Excellent Food in Understated Surroundings
Reviewer: Paul from Santa Barbara, CA
First time to Jade and I can see what the fuss is all about. The food was excellent. Great place with a small menu with very creative dishes. Had a great lamb dish in an amazing home made sauce. Desert was creative and delicious too. Like the menu, wine list is small but excellent. Inside is understated, and it's location is certainly a sleeper, right next to a few dive bars on upper state. Very cool sneaky local place to go. Our service wasn't outstanding, a few mistakes here and there, but our server may have been pretty new, and was quick to correct mistakes. We don't eat out much at pricer places like this, so this was a excelelnt under $100 meal for a couple.


A perfect romantic evening
Reviewer: Chris Fowler from Santa Barbara, CA
We live a stone's throw from Jade; so already a winner as we can walk and therefore both drink. This was our second visit to Jade and we chose the five course tasting menu. The wines paired with the food by Brent (the sommelier) were not what we'd have typically chosen but they complimented the food perfectly. The food was delicious and we enjoyed learning about the wine selection as the evening progressed. Jade is unassuming from the outside; but don't judge the book by its cover! We'll return...


It is a gem
Reviewer: Jill Brouillard from Santa Barbara, CA
Dined last night again at Jade. This is what a restaurant should be, casual, friendly and food that is both unique and delicious. Dustin is a one man show and the service is attentive and unpretentious. This is one Mom & Pop restaurant that rises above the rest. Dine at this wonderful little dinner house and come away satisfied, with a smile and little extra change left in your pocket. Have a little fun at dinner and support this little gem!


Great owners, good food
Reviewer: Nicole from Santa Barbara, CA
The service here was spotty but our waiter was really nice and explained that a few large parties had arrived late so they all sat down at once. He seemed to be the only server in the restaurant and as an ex-waitress I fully understood. I shared the sampler, it was good but the wontons were really out of this world. The best thing on that plate! I had the scallops and my bf had the salmon. The salmon was ok, not great, not bad. The scallops were a little charred on one side but they seemed to be having problems with their grill. I got a side of curry sauce and they were delicius! The best part of the meal (besides the wontons) was the apple crisp. The apple crisp is amazing! I'm going to give this place another try, maybe just for appetizers and dessert.


Good experience, but not because of the restaurant...
Reviewer: Nancy from Santa Barbara, CA
We made a 7:30 reservation on a Friday night. We arrive at 7:29 only to be completely ignored by the wait staff, the hostess must have been off that night as there was none to be found. We were just about to leave when a waiter finally acknowleged our presence and said they would have a table for us soon. It was curious that there were 2 open tables right in front of us...hmmm. While we were waiting for an available table, another group of 3 people came in who had been there earlier, having shown up without a reservation and were told to return at 7:30 as there would "definitely" be seating by then. They were subsequentaly told that they would be seated momentarily. As we stood in the small entryway we started to talk to the other group. As it turns out we had a lot in common and the conversation flowed. By the time our 7:30 reservation table was available at sometime after 8pm we had established quite a connection with the other 3 patrons and decided we would like to be seated together for dinner. Then we were directed to a table that had been open from the time we arrived...hmmm. The wine list was more than adequate and the meals were very good. They even included a desert (which we didn't order) for someone in our group who had a birthday and they sent the chef out to talk to us after the rest of the place was empty. Overall I would say the food was better than average, the wait staff was overworked, and because of the fact that we made new friends of the people we were waiting with it will go down as one of our better experiences in a restaurant. So my suggestion is, be open and upbeat and you never know what will happen!!!


Better than before
Reviewer: Flor from Santa Barbara, CA
We went back after a long layoff. Mostly because the service last time was atrocious 2 years ago, but the food was still good and our daughter visiting ewanted to eat there. We went, adn the problems are solved. The food is still great. The service is impeccable. We joined the mailing list, and will be going back quite as often as we can. I reccomend that no one miss out on this little hidden gem!


Won a date dinner from the radio.
Reviewer: K. Smith from Santa Barbara, CA
I won a dinner off one of the local radio stations $ 40 off, I brought my friend in to join me. They had a table ready for us, I noticed at our table the wine glasses were unique from the other tables. Our waiter was in his mid-twenty's, very professional, but most of all made sure we enjoyed our experience at Jade. The wine list was a little overwhelming of all the wines we wanted to taste. Food was so delicious, we are looking forward to returning this week. Thanks Jade!


Excellent food, very good, friendly service.
Reviewer: Josh Stewart-Oaten from Santa Barbara, CA
Had a wonderful dinner on 9/12 with my family. Both myself and my father had the lamb ragout (perfectly cooked lamb, vegetables blended very well with the garlic mashed potatoes and formed a very pleasant whole) while my mother had the grilled scallops (which were also perfectly cooked - I usually don't like scallops, but these were quite to my liking) which were, she felt (and I agreed) were in slightly too sweet of a sauce. We opted to try some desserts, which were also very good (unfortunately, too rich for us, as I was 'forced' to take a small amount of their chocolate cake home). Brent, our waiter, was courteous, humerous and very prompt. Within 5 minutes of seating us, he had brought us water and some rather tasty rosemary bread. Throughout the meal, both Brent and the owner/chef came by our table to check up on us (and all of the other tables) and ask if we needed anything else. Brent had suggestions for the meal as well as the dessert. The only slight knock on their service was that service slowed down a bit towards the end, when 7 tables finished essentially at once. With just the one waiter, we were waiting for nearly a quarter of an hour for our receipt. In short, the food and service were excellent, and while our bill was fairly substantial (one appetizer, three main meals and *cough* 2 desserts as well as drinks) the cost was accompanied by food to match. We will return.


Very Happy
Reviewer: Helen from Santa Barbara, CA
This was a very interesting place. The food is filling and delicious, with the only minor down being that there are so many flavors that it gets a little overwhelming if you eat too many things. The restaurant was full on a Tuesday (they are only open on Tuesday thru saturday)and there was one waiter, Brent. We had four people and the service even with about 20 other people was still perfect. The food was delicious, and it turned out there is only one cook - the owner Justin! Two people running the restaurant without mistakes is unheard of. Talent, delicious food, and a nice local atmosphere. Very amazing. We are now on the mailing list for the restaurant, and will be back regularly. Try it if you havent, because otherwise you are missing out.


Not Sure What to Expect...
Reviewer: Karen from Santa Barbara
..but now we know. The food is very good, and original, and the ability of the staff is really astounding. We dined last night and had to wait a few minutes (the restaurant was full on a Wednesday), and were amazed to find out that there was one waiter and one cook - the owners. These two are a perfect team, and produce an amazing product. We really felt like we were in someone's living room. I have read some of these other reviews, the few that seem negative, and it seems like the few people that were negative just didn't bother to ask. My husband is very difficult, and Brent (our waiter) and the cook (Justin)made it feel very easy. If you didn't like it before, go again.


Exceptional Food, great value, outstanding service
Reviewer: L J Steppan from Santa Barbara
Every month my freinds and I have dinner at a different restaurant in town. I was pleasantly surprised by Jade. The food was exceptional, as well as the service. I wanted to try everything on the memu. There was nothing I would not have ordered. I had that evenings special Mahi-Mahi in coconut basil cream. Prices were reasonable and portions adequate. I can't wait to go back again.


A Hidden Gem
Reviewer: Eric from Santa Barbara, CA
In a low-key atmosphere you will find first-rate food. The chef does an impeccable job of preparing and presenting each dish. The wait-staff is friendly and knowledgeable of the food menu. Recommended for a week-night dining experience or a casual weekend date. Favorites include: pork kahlua and tomato/basil pizza.


Disappointing
Reviewer: Karen from Santa Barbara, CA
We tried Jade last night (Friday night), based on the reviews here, but it was disappointing. The food was pretty good. My husband liked his dish (prawn risotto). I had the tempura-style mahi-mahi. The sauce was really good, but the tempura crust didn't translate well to a big hunk o' fish. The hot water for tea was tepid. The passion fruit creme brulee was good...a nice twist on the usual creme brulee. The service was very disappointing....we were neglected the whole meal. This restaurant could really do with an extra wait person...or even just a floater/busboy/runner. Water glasses were left unfilled....dirty dishes were left unappetizingly in front of us. The two nice young men just couldn't keep up with the pace of the place...or at least ours couldn't; the other guy did help him out by finally removing our dishes as he passed by. There are just too many wonderful restaurants in Santa Barbara to return to one that is disappointing as this one was. Sorry, Jade, it has potential, but we'll pass.


Fabulous Food, Great Service, Incredible Value
Reviewer: Mel from Takoma Park, MD
This week, my wife and I enjoyed a terrific Tuesday evening meal at Jade. The outside of the restaurant is very unassuming, and inside, the room is small but nicely decorated with art work and a well-chosen color scheme. Not a particularly formal setting, but a nice ambience, nonetheless: very comfortable and appropriate for fine dining. The service on this quiet night was very good: attentive and polite but not overbearing. We shared the potstickers appetizer, which was wonderful--a particularly intriguing sauce accompanied perfectly delicate dumplings. She had the sampler, a small plate entree made up of four appetizers, and each one was better than the last. A terrific array of lovely flavors and textures. I had a mahi mahi special, which included a spicy kung pao sauce. The fish was fresh, flavorful and juicy, and the sauce was splendid--spicy enough to be interesting but not so much that the intricate flavors could not come through, and they worked quite well with the perfectly done fish. We also had three glasses of wine between us, and yet the bill was under $75 before the tip--a ridiculous bargain. You cannot get better food than this at any price.


Most toothsome
Reviewer: Scott from Goleta, CA
My wife ordered the Goat Cheese and Chicken ravioli with the soy beurre blanc. I ordered mahi-mahi wrapped in rice paper with avocado and cilantro with a passion fruit/curry sauce. Both, as Bertie Wooster would say, were most toothsome. For dessert we had passion fruit creme brulee. The creme brulee was tart and creamy. The coffee was too weak. The waiter was friendly and was helpful in choosing a glass of wine and was prompt in checking on our enjoyment. We went early on a Wednesday night. The quiet atmosphere made for a conversation-inducing ambience. An excellent restaurant for the price. We'll definitely go back.


AT the top of our list!
Reviewer: Mike from Santa Barbara
This is the best food in SB. Not a huge menu, however the choices are done with perfection. Salmon w/wasabi EXCELLENT, Kalua pork very flavorable, and the desserts were just great. My wife and I eat at a lot of local restaurants, quite often, we now have a new #1 on our list.


Pleasantly Surprised
Reviewer: Hannah from Santa Barbara, CA
I have wanted to try this restaurant for quite some time. I finally went last night and had a wonderful dining experience. The atmosphere was intimate yet well lit, the music was charming and the food was fantastic. Our waiter was very attentive, helpful and friendly. The chef came out to bring us our appetizer (which was an order of their Mongolian ribs, mmm mmm good!!) and was very personable as well. All in all the food was excellent (an interesting mix of Asian and French/Californian), the wine was superb, and the ambiance was inviting. I am definitely adding Jade to my list of favorite restaurants.


Great place!
Reviewer: Rachael from Santa Barbara, CA
The restaurant has a small town feel, very personable service, and food that was surprisingly affordable! Not very many items available on the menu, but unique ones with a variety, and the food actually was great! Definitely will go back.


As before, a great place for food!
Reviewer: Frank from Santa Barbara
I'd not been here in a while, though it's been a favorite for years - both in its current and in its former incarnation. I tried the Mixed Grill for the first time, and loved it! Chicken, a big scallop, and a big shrimp with rice and veggies, and a wonderful jammy/soy sauce glaze. Give it a try! The wines are very reasonable, but not as creative or extensive a list as under the former owner. Don't look down your nose at them, though - they are good!


Extremely Yummy!
Reviewer: Michelle from Ventura, CA
I've been to Jade several times and it's a favorite of many of my friends. The last I was there, we had a wonderful blackberry apple crisp and the chef/owner chose a dessert wine to go with it which was absolutely perfect! I thought I was too full to eat my full half of the dessert, but I was totally wrong and was wishing for more. The service was also superb and I have never found it lacking.


Great food and service
Reviewer: Jamie from Santa Barbara
First time dining & I was impressed with the skilled, attentive service. The atmosphere was pleasant and we were greeted by all the staff, & seated right away. I had a "special" (salmon with garlic mashed potatoes and wasabi sauce)-very good. The servers choice of wine was excellent & we enjoyed a delicious dessert, green tea creme brulee. Very courteous server and pleasant dining experience. Of course it was a Tuesday....I'll go back when busier to see if quality the same. :) Great people!


A great find
Reviewer: Alison from Santa Barbara, CA
The crab taco appetizer and pork entree are fabulous and the prices are decent.


Fantastic!
Reviewer: Krista & Tony from Goleta
Wow, this was our first time here and it definitely won't be our last. We've driven by this place a million times but when a friend recommended it we knew we had to try it out. Jade is a small and intimate place and thats a good thing as the chef can easliy mingle with the guests and you get the chance to actually discuss the meal wtih him if you like. Starting off, Jade has a great wine list, its not gigantic nor is it full of pretentious (and expensive) imported wines. Just the opposite, its full of VERY reasonably priced, very tasty, local and central coast wines. On top of that, almost all of the 50 or so wines they offer are offered by the glass as well as the bottle. Of the three different wines we ordered (by the glass) each was poured from a freshly un-corked bottle!! As an appetizer I'd recommend the Indonesian corn fritters, they're like traditional fritters, with a zesty and spicy twist. And when the 6 tennis-ball sized fritters arrived I knew we weren't going to get short-changed on the portions! OK, onto the main courses, I ordered off the main menu (Kaluah Pork) while my fiancee had one of the specials (Salmon). I loved the pork, slow cooked (over 6 hours the chef said) so tender you could cut it with a fork and fantasticlly flavorful on its own. Combine it with the slightly sweet and mildly spicy sauce and you've got a winning combo. On the Salmon side, we got a decent sized, wasabi drizzled hunk of salmon, surrouned by a wonderful soy beurre-blanc (soy, white wine & butter) sauce. Now, I can see if you don't like or arent used to rich or spicy sauces, how this might seem unusual, but we both found our entrees to be wonderful and so much quality for the reasonable price. Finally, dessert. Not a giant selection but definitely made up for in quality. Espresso Creme' brulee. While I'm not normally a CB fan, this one was fantastic, a rich and creamy texture with perfect sweet-but-not too..flavor that capped of a great meal. Lastly, while I try not to comment on other reviews, I have to say that this is so far from "strip mall " food I've got to wonder whether the other reviewer was actually in the same restaurant. In any case, Jade left both my fiancee and I dying to try some of the other menu selections and this is one of the few places that I can guarantee we'll be visiting again.


Magical Evening
Reviewer: Kaye from Santa Barbara
I had a 7:30 reservation at Jade and stayed pretty much till closing. The food was very diverse and though I have never ever liked blue cheese before, I absolutely adored the blue cheese mashed potatoes that were served with my pork tenderloin. The appetizers were delectible, especially the ribs and the crab. They have a phenomenal wine list complete with delicious dessert wines and excellent, knowledgable servers. I'll definitely come back again, especially to try the scallops.


I don't get it.
Reviewer: Kim R. from Goleta
Heard this place was great so had to try it. Looks like your average strip-mall joint; have to park in the back and walk in through the kitchen, which is always odd. Was pleasantly surprised to see menu so inexpensive--realized WHY when food arrived. My scallop salad ($12) had a whopping THREE scallops. (In comparison the scallop salad at Opal has about three dozen.) Everything else was simply underwhelming, like the portions. The service was good though, and my friend enjoyed her meal (whih I tasted and thought was horrible, but different strokes!).


Terrific, we'll be back again for sure!
Reviewer: Stacey from Santa Barbara, CA
This was our first time eating at Jade. After hearing so many good things about it both here and on another board, we decided to take a chance and go here, instead of one of our tired old "usual" places, for tonight's 5th wedding anniversary celebration. We were not disappointed! The atmosphere was very pleasant - quiet, romantic without being sentimental or overdone - and the staff were extremely courteous and attentive. My husband ordered the mini crab tacos, the blackened scallop salad, and the Kailua pork. He enjoyed all three; I had to fight for bites, but the nibbles I did get to taste were quite good. Whatever that salad dressing is, we both love it! I had the special appetizer, which was salmon spring rolls with a dipping sauce. They were outstanding! My only quibble is that I would love to have more veggies inside and a little less salmon, but I'm sure I'm in the 1% minority of the eating public with that opinion. For my entree I ordered the mixed grill (chicken, shrimp, scallop), which came with a blackberry sweet and sour sauce and sauteed vegetables. It was mostly chicken, with one shrimp and one scallop, but for the very reasonable price I felt that was fair. Plus the portion ended up being way more than I could et, any way you look at it, so why complain? The flavors were well balanced, not only sweet and sour but also spicy. We did order dessert as well - hey, it was our anniversary! - and the staff were very helpful and honest while we tried to determine what my husband could eat (he has a minor nut allergy). He ended up ordering the lemon tart (a huge lemon bar, better than Mom used to make) and I had the passionfruit creme brulee. I've had a lot of bad creme brulee in this town - this is NOT one of them! It was fantastic! Overall we were extremely pleased with the quality of the food and with the courteous, unintrusive service. We did feel a little left out when every other party in the restaurant knew each other - but I guess we can fix that by just going to Jade more often! And with the total for our dinner, including drinks, being only $85 - we'll be back for many more occasions.


When in Doubt
Reviewer: Ryan from Santa Barbara, CA
...go to Jade. There are a bunch of great little spots in town, and here is one more. We had dinner last night, and the restaurant was packed - but our service (with waiters nick and brett) was perfect. They are a great team to accompany the food which is at the very least winderful. This will be our new spot!


A wonderful little restaurant with terrific food
Reviewer: Dave from Santa Barbara
For those of you who were fans of Aja, you'll be happy to know that Jade is essentially the same restaurant. Same ambiance and furnishings. Same great service. And virtually the same electic menu. That's because, as I understand it, Aja's sous chef is now the owner/chef of Jade. We had dinner there this past weekend and were delighted to discover that what we loved so much about Aja (my knees go weak thinking about the lamb ragout) is still largely intact. Fabulously creative dishes well prepared and presented, a good wine selection, an attentive wait staff (thanks, Nick!), and all outside the State Street tourist zone. What more can a local ask for?


Mixed emotions
Reviewer: Amandajade from santa barbara
Had dinner at Jade for the first time last nite, our service was excellent and most of the food was exciting and refreshingly different. I had one BIG disappointment, the fish, I had the Mahi Mahi and it was so fishy smelling and tasting I didn't even eat it. It's very sad restaurants don't pay much attention to the freshness of their fish. I mean how hard is it to figure out if the fish smells fishy ITS NOT FRESH!dont serve it! Sorry, probably wont go back. Amandajade


Service: great; Food: delicious!
Reviewer: Patty from Santa Barbara, CA
My friend and I have eaten at the new Jade twice now and have not been disappointed. The first time we went we were surprised that it was no longer Aja, but thought, what the heck, we'll try it. The place is small, but we go to dinner early so we have never had to wait for a table. The waitresses have been really attentive and the chef came out to see how everything was. My friend had a sauce on her dish that was to die for! We were using it on everthing we could get our hands on! The atmosphere is quiet and not rushed. We sat and talked for quite a while and never felt hovered over like they wanted us to leave. I don't see any advertizements for it, so I think they need the word-of-mouth help. Go!


Fantastic Fish!
Reviewer: Christine from Los Olivos
We drove down from the Valley last Friday for a special dinner- to celebrate our 4th Anniversary and to try out the new restaurant out. We arrived to a 3/4 full house and the place was humming the entire time we were enjoying our meal! We drank some great Qupe Chardonnay and split a Spinach/Blue Cheese salad (simple ingredients and excellent dressing) and Duck won-tons. Then for our entrees', we enjoyed two specials- Tempura/Macadamia nut crusted Mahi-Mahi (with a fruited beurre blanc to die for) and a Polynesian/Hawaiian style Pork Tenderlion- so good I never got a bite of it from my husband. The dessert tray included 4 types of goodies- we choose a terific passionfruit creme brulee and a dense chocolate slice of love. A very lovely space with nice lighting-very capable help- though they were basically slammed- the waitstaff never let it show and always had a smile! I want to go back for the 5-6pm special service!


Unfortunately, a disappointment
Reviewer: Leah and Scott from Goleta, CA
For three years, Aja was my favorite restaurant in all of SB. Going there would make my entire week. I loved everything about it -- from the casual atmosphere to the wine list to the service to the food -- and I say that about hardly any restaurants, ever. For a variety of reasons, I didn't make it to Jade until just last weekend. I was very excited. From the reviews on this site and my own optimistic hopes, I figured we would be in for a great dining experience. I took along someone who had eaten at Aja with me many times. He described that experience as "exciting .. it was so good you were excited about it." I am sorry to report that there is nothing exciting about Jade. Even the mainstay crab tacos were overly refrigerated and not made using farmer's market tomatoes. We had a so-so bottle of wine and our entrees were overly sauced disappointments. I won't go back, and I'm sorry to say that I wouldn't recommend this restaurant to anyone. I don't like being critical of restaurants because I know they take a lot of work to run, but this criticism is well deserved.


One of the finest restaurants in Santa Barbara.
Reviewer: Nick Savage from Santa Barbara, CA
I have been coming to Aja for at least 8 years, and was devistated to hear that it was closing, but when I heard that it was reopening with the same Chef, I knew magic was going to happen. It is one of the finest restaurants that I have been to in the country. The food is of the highest quality, and the atmosphere is quaint and romantic. Dennis is a wonderful chef and is extremely friendly to talk to, and his ever changing menu makes each experience unique from the next. The crab tacos are to die for.


Friends in California
Reviewer: Michael Sullivan from Kula, Hawaii
Well, our trip was on the Harley's, there were four bikes going and we had no plans, except to try to get up to the Central Coast, Morro Bay, San Luis Obispo, etc. We left early Friday morning. Well, on a bike we found out you need to make stops about every couple of hours or you will be dead. So, we ended up only making it to Santa Barbara Friday night. We were fortunate enough to find hotel rooms (boy, did we get ripped off). I told every one about Jade, and every one wanted to try it. I called and made reservations for the seven of us, no problem. When we arrived, we found this quiet little restaurant with the most awesome menu. Every one of us was very impressed. I asked for Dustin when we arrived and they said he was buried in food in the kitchen, but they would let him know we were there. He came out as soon as he had a chance and we introduced ourselves and told him how we knew you and Dennis. He continued to come up through out the evening to chat with us, very pleasant person. The food was incredible! My brother said it was the best food he has had in his life! His friend continued to make the same comment. I had the Kailua pork, as you recommended, awesome, the best I have ever had. Jack had the lamb he said it was incredible. We were all very impressed with the meal. Thanks for getting back to me so quickly. Just wanted to share what a great place Jade ist and let Dennis know when you have a chance. Have a good day! Mary


Would definitely go again
Reviewer: cj from goleta
I've lived here in SB for almost 30 years and have somehow missed this jewel until 2 nights ago. The food was fabulous. The service 5 star. What a great place with very reasonable prices. The only thing I could recommend for improvement would be the ambiance. They could do with a little make-over especially in the lighting dept. Some candles and dimmer light at night would make the already cozy atmosphere a bit warmer. Otherwise, we loved it!


great food, great service, nice atmosphere
Reviewer: Heather from Santa Barbara, CA
The kalua pork is awesome, so are the beef spring rolls appetizer, the espresso creme brulee is excellent! Very good service and nice atmosphere that allows you to dress up or down. Great place for a date or to take out of town guests. Very affordable and classy. Also, I am not a bread person but the bread is warm and delicious and should not be skipped.


Still a great place
Reviewer: Gracie from Santa Barbra, CA
We had dinner here early last year and were very impressed with the food and the prices. We went back yesterday and again had a very enjoyable meal. The appetizer sampler included some of our previous favorites (crab tacos and corn fritters), and the lamb ragout entree was very good on both visits. Desserts (dark cherry creme brulee and fruit crisp with vanilla ice cream) were delicious. The wine list was not large, but diverse, and the mark-ups were very reasonable. I hope we can come back again and try some new dishes.


Very Pleased...Excellent!
Reviewer: Joanne Von Tolle from LasVegas (ex-SB)
My husband and I left Santa Barbara for Las Vegas 3 years ago. When we left, Aja was our favorite restaurant as we knew the previous owners Tim and Sandy. So it was with hesitation that we went to the new incarnation that is now called "Jade". Well let me say now- We loved it! The new owners are a young couple who both attended City College Culinary program and it shows! The chef even came to our table, poured our wine, and chatted to us about the wine list and the pairing of food and local wines. We have heard that service in Santa Barbara is dead- Not true! If you want to go to a local place that will give you the attention you deserve and not treat you like some "tourist"...Go to Jade! And the food? Superb! We had an appetizer sample that highlighted everything from Kaluha Pork wontons to crispy crab tacos- yummy! My main entree was island inspired yellow tail with a delightful mango curry salsa- I felt like we were in Maui again. Try this! My husband chose the grilled salmon with a bacon bar-b-q sauce, blue cheese mashed potatoes and vegetables. This was the best treatment of salmon I have ever tasted. Try this too! Overall an excellent dinner, fine service, and the warmest dining experience we have had in a longtime. Recommended..****


acceptable food, slow service, great hostess
Reviewer: sharon from goleta, ca
this was the first time i dined here. the food was acceptable. nothing too fabulous but not bad either. actually the salad i had was GREAT- had some kind of lemongrass in it or something. the atmosphere was nice. the chef came out to speak to the guests to make sure everything was going alright- that was nice. i had one of their fresh fish specials- salmon with bacon and some sort of cheese cristed on top. pretty good but not the best salmon ive had. the food came rather slow. i think due to the place being fairly small. but what made the night was the friendly and attentive hostess. greeted us right when we got in the door, promptly brought us our water and bread, kept checking up to see if we needed more water, and also checked if our dinner was good.


Disappointed
Reviewer: Dana Alexander from Santa Barbara
I had heard a lot about Aja and was really looking forward to the experience. I had the fish special and was not pleased. The fish was under-cooked, tasteless, and the sauce very mediocre. It was served with bland noodles. My friend had the Asian crepe, which I tasted and we both found unexceptional.


Still good, but about to change
Reviewer: Karen from Ojai, CA
We've been going to Aja for years, and still like them a lot. I would agree with the last reviewer that as of late, the food hasn't been quite as creative as in years past, but it's still a great deal for the price. We just went last week, and learned that the owners have sold the place and that their last night will be December 31st. Maybe that's why they haven't put in as much creative effort in the past few months. Our waitress told us that a former chef has bought it, but we don't know if the food will be the same type of Pacific Rim cuisine. Some of the staff will stay, but we don't know about the old favorite dishes, like the corn fritters, baby back ribs, kalua pork and lamb ragout. We'll give it a try after the new owner takes over, and hope for the best.


needs improvement
Reviewer: Dan from Santa Barbara
We used to love this place, and wish they would return to their former creativity and quality. The past three times we have gone have not been so good. The dishes have either been very bland compared to the description, or else so hot even a tabasco lover finds it "too hot". The vegetables, desserts and wine selection are always tasty. Perhaps it is individual taste, but we find there to be an unnecessary amount of oil used that detracts from the meal. Ambience is pleasant, management and service are always friendly, and prices are more than fair. Please pick up the quality, we miss you!


We loved it
Reviewer: kim crane from kyoto, japan
we're americans living in japan, with a daughter who attends ucsb. we visited santa barbara earlier this year and our daughter treated us to dinner here. it was wonderful. the food is not the best pacific rim we've had, but for the price is quite a deal. the restaurant is also not a fancy 5 star, which may put some people off if they're looking for a really high end place. we thought the comment from the "college student" was interesting; our daughter would love to know where you can find the same food for a third the cost. seriously, try it, esp. the kalua pork, the rib appetizer, lamb entree and any of the desserts. you'll be happy, believe me, and your wallet will be happy, too.


Great Service, okay food
Reviewer: college student from santa barbara, ca
The service is great here the owner was very friendly and interesting. However, I was not too impressed with the food. For the price they charge I was expecting something extraordinary, instead, it tastes like something you can get for a 1/3 of the price.


Drat. Now we have to move.
Reviewer: Rosemary and John Saur from San Clemente Ca.
Aja,our new favorite restaurant, is about 150 miles from San Clemente, and we need to dine there frequently. Our first (and thus far only) experience at Aja, started with mild surprise; the stylishly subdued interior is far more pleasing than the nondescript exterior. Our server was very helpful and friendly, but our first clue that our travel budget is in trouble came with the three appetizers we ordered; they were each delicious, and in very different ways. The entrees were superb, and the prices were most reasonable, considering the delightfully innovative quality of the cuisine. When does the South Orange county location open?


My last resort
Reviewer: Grant R. Destiny from Santa Barbara
My advice, make reservations early. I couldn´t get the worst table in the place for an hour. Next, forget about taking anything to go. Everything was put onto a paper plate with foil over it. My dessert to go was some hot fruit crisp with a side of vanilla gelato. The waitress brought it to me 15 mins. before she brought the bill and she put them both on the same plate. When I looked at the gelato under the foil before leaving, it was a cream soup puddle. The wait staff was friendly, but seemed a little frazzled. This was my first time there. The food was good and the vibe was good. I´ll probably try it again, but next time I´m only ordering what I can eat there.


Great change of pace
Reviewer: gary from santa barbara mission area
We have been dining at AJA for over 7 years & have always had a great meal. The food a little different than anywher else & is a nice change. The prices are reasonable & a good value.


My favorite
Reviewer: Paula
Hello. I visit Santa Barbara in August from Brasil. My friends take me to many restarants, but this my favorite. Food is good, people so nice. Cost not at cheap as home, but cheap for Santa Barbara. I will remember always!


The best neighborhood restaurant in SB
Reviewer: Midwestern tourist from Columbus, OH
We live in the midwest and visit Santa Barbara once a year. We heard about Aja from some local people while we were dining at another restaurant last year. They told us it was their favorite moderately priced restaurant in Santa Barbara, and that it was frequented mostly by locals and some tourists in the know. We rushed over to try it, of course, and loved it. In fact, we went back a couple of times during our stay. This year, we tried it again and liked it just as well. We also visit Hawaii once a year, and feel that the food at Aja is very much like restaurants we love in Hawaii. The baby back rib appetizer is wonderful, as are the Indonesian corn fritters, and we love the kalua pork. The salmon entrees are also always very tasty. And the desserts! Try whatever creme brulee is offered, they´re always great. For a more homestyle dessert, the fruit crisps are always good. The wine list has some very good local offerings. Overall prices are very reasonable. Give it a try if you like casual, laid back, local hangouts.


Even the wine list is affordable!
Reviewer: Ryan from Santa Barbara, Ca
AJA is the best. The food is well prepared and owners Tim and Sandy are very passionate about their restaurant. The wine list has quite a few hidden gems and is very reasonable. I have found a new favorite winery called Kahn Winery thanks to Tim´s recommendation. You have to try the Kahn Syrah with the ribs, a great pairing. The restaurant is small, but that just adds to the charm. I hope this review is helpful.


excellent. Small, undiscovered by LA invaders
Reviewer: Bob from Santa Barbara Ca
We are LV escapees with a 2nd home in Santa Barbara and keep trying all restaurants in SB. Ignore the hype and judge for yourself. This place is great. Have never had a bad meal here. Very small which means that the owners are right there and want to please and care about what is placed on your table. Friendly and intimate atmosphere. You can´t go wrong.


Aja is Santa Barbara´s best restaurant!
Reviewer: Sandy from Santa Barbara, CA
I´ve recently re-discovered Aja, a restaurant that serves the most delicious California cuisine with an exotic Asian flare. The service was impeccable, and the food was even better. I was impressed with every dish we ordered. I´ve been to a lot of the restaurants that Santa Barbara has to offer, and nothing even comes close to this place! It´s a cute little restaurant, and the prices are very reasonable. I´m definitely going to become a regular.


Loved the chicken ravioli; it was great!
Reviewer: Bernie Schaeffer from Goleta, CA USA
My wife and I ate here during Memorial Day weekend and were totally impressed with the freshness and quality of the food. It reminded me of affordable bistro dining. We saw both couples and a family with children having a good time in a modest yet classy setting. The Mini Crab Taco appetizer was excellent. For the main course, I really enjoyed the chicken ravioli topped with a tasty wine sauce. In regard to the menu, I liked that they offered less expensive "small plates" (too often restaurants pile on the food, tempting you to eat way more than is healthy for you). The portion for me was just right. We definitely will return--soon.


Excellent food, great value, wonderful owners
Reviewer: Leslie from Santa Barbara, CA
I dine here about 6 times per year. I love Tim´s (the host) enthusiasm as he describes the dishes, & he is very knowledgeable about food/wine pairing. This place is a neighborhood gem & I hope they don´t change a thing except of course for seasonal variations in the menu. Aja´s popularity is well-deserved, but sometimes that makes reservations challenging on short notice. Try walking in anyway -- it´s worth it!


great little place

we are staying near santa barbara with friends who just took us here. my fiancee and i loved it. i was born and raised in hawaii so had to try the kalua pork. it was great, better even than my grandma´s (sorry grandma!). my fiancee had salmon that was delicious. to start we all split a pizza and baby back ribs and were very happy with both. and the desserts are fantastic. best creme brulee ever and the cheesecake was awesome. they have a pretty decent wine list too, with lots of local wines. i agree with the last review that aja not up there with roys or chinois, but last time i checked those places cost almost twice as much. our friends said that aja was a little neighborhood cafe that was "discovered" by angelenos, so maybe people expect to much now. don´t go expecting a fancy 5 star restaurant, go expecting a little local place with great food for the price and friendly, helpful service and you´ll be happy. mahalo and aloha from maui boy.


Done better elsehwere

The food is fine and this asian/californian restaurant. They are taking asian dishes and adding a californian/south-western mix to it. This is being done elsewhere with way better results. It is far from Chinois, Five Feet, Roys or even Spago for that matter. It is not in the same league at those restaurants many others in the same genre. The room is small. Tables tight. Plastic or glass on top of a table cloth. Hardly exciting. Yet the prices are good and the people very friendly. You could do worese but do not expect something extrodinary.


Our favorite place in S.B.
Reviewer: Rebecca from Santa Barbara, CA
We discovered this gem a few years ago and eat there twice a month. The prices are more than reasonable for great, creative sauces. We always have the ribs and firecracker salmon for appetizers. Scallop entree, Kalua pork and lamb ragout are favorites. Tim and Sandy and crew keep us coming back again and again.


A wonderful, well-kept local secret

This is a great place! We heard about it from some locals when we were in Santa Barbara recently. It seems to draw a lot of neighborhood folks, with some tourists mixed in. The food is delicious, sort of California fusion with distinct Hawaiian overtones. Everything was fresh and prepared just right. The place itself is quite nice inside, although it is not a "view" restaurant. The servers are pleasant and the atmosphere is laid back. There is a parking lot in the back, but street parking seems easy to find. It is not on a touristy part of State Street, but in a more residential neighborhood (although there are some other restaurants on the same block), so it has a more relaxed feel than some other places we´ve tried in SB. The prices seem very reasonable for the quality of the food. We´ll definitely go back every time we´re in town!


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