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Empress Palace
2251 Las Positas Rd, Santa Barbara
Phone: (805) 898-2238

Reviews by the General Public

Where's the rice?
Reviewer: David from Goleta
Is this the only Chinese restaurant that doesn't include rice with the meal? I'd have sworn they used to, but last take-out I picked up, no rice unless I paid extra.

Cant deliver on delivery
Reviewer: David from Santa Barbara, CA
I placed an order for my family and was told it would be 45 min. 1 hour later they still had not delivered my food. When i call they lied and said the driver was on his was but 30 min later he still had not shown up. I only live 7-10 min away. The food was cold and soggy. The only reason i ordered was that they delivered but they couldnt do that. I refused my food and they fought me over giving a refund. They are overpriced and rude both in person and on the phone

Extremely Disappointing
Reviewer: Rebecca Brade from Santa Barbara, CA
Empires was our go to Chinese. The last time we got tale out it took over an hour. They forgot our rice. When I asked for it the girl appeared irritated. Last nighT we aye there, it was awful. The waiter came to our table with our chineese greens order.prior to setting it on the table he looked at the dish as if he saw something in it. He a abruptly took the dish back to the kitchen. He was gone for quite awhile. We asked about the dish and his quick departure. He didn't really answer. The supposed Chinese greens, was only Bok Choy, and tasteless. The beef with two pepper basil was a small portion, sparse in ingredients and not ver flavorful. The rice was crunchy, either ole or under cooked. The waiter never returned to ask how our food was. They had plenty of wait staff on hand but they just seemed to stand around. Time to find a better place. .

Anyone for ick foo yung?
Reviewer: Rex Of SB from Santa Barbara, CA
After reading Sally Spork's review I can remain silent no longer about the Empress Palace. The ambience is lovely and there's good parking. And it's downhill from that point on. The food is expensive and awful. The egg foo yung I ordered had the outer consistency of plaster of paris. My wife and I each had a few token bites of our meal (unfortunately, neither of us now remember what it was that she'd ordered), then asked for take-away containers for the rest. The ultimate taste test occurred when we got home. Our two Siberian huskies, not exactly picky eaters, sniffed the feast we'd set down before them, each took a perfunctory lick or two, then walked away without touching it. No amount of cajoling could entice them back. (The huskies are Chinese food aficionados; they can't wait to dig into the doggie bags we bring them from the China Castle and other Chinese restaurants). I continue to be amazed that the Empress Palace has wound up as a winner in at least one of the myriad "best of" contests sponsored by local newspapers. I just don't get it. The Empress Palace is truly the worst Chinese food I've ever eaten--or tried to eat--in my life. And I've had Chinese food on three continents.

Empress Palace
Reviewer: Sally Spork from Santa Barbara, CA
THEY RE-SERVED US SPOILED SEAFOOD WE RETURNED TO KITCHEN Atmosphere: Clean, spacious dining area. With lacquered tables/chairs and Chinese adornment art on walls and paper lanterns from ceiling. Soft Asian music played in background. Service: We came around 2:30 and were seated immediately and order taken. Food arrived quickly. The waiter came to check in on us after. Food/drink: We ordered Curry chicken which came with bell peppers. Nothing to write home about. On the recommendation of Sam who raves about scallops I ordered the spicy scallops. Both of these were lunch specials and came with soup (a dark tea-like broth), fried wontons and white rice. Okay now brace yourself for this: After I took a bite of the scallops which were overcooked and a spongy texture, Sam took a bite and declared they were bad meaning 'off'. He immediately coughed his bite into a napkin. He then told the waiter about the scallops being bad and the waiter offered to bring something else and we said we would try the Spicy Shrimp. A few minutes later he returned, dish in hand. Everything looked the same (which should have been a clue) but instead of scallops there were shrimp. Digging my chopsticks in I had a bite: no it wasn't shrimp I ate but the SCALLOPS: chopped small. Second bite the same thing. Sam wasn't convinced, so he tried something that looked like a red pepper but then choked up a scallop. We realized quickly that all the cook did was pull out the few large scallops and threw in some shrimp to the VERY SAME DISH. We paid and left. Being close to Macy's we drove there to check out their sale, no sooner had we parked did Sam open the car door and VOMIT(luckIly on the parking lot.) Summary: Wish I could give this zero stars. There is no excuse for 1. serving food (especially seafood/meat) that is spoiled and bad and 2. trying to re-serve the very same dish to the patrons who returned it to

Making the extra drive to China Pavilion!
Reviewer: Kristina from Santa Barbara, CA
We ordered $70 worth of food, which came to 4 dishes and the chow mein that was supposed to be a free coupon item. When the food came, the portion was small, not worth the $15/dish that we forked over. There was no rice and no chow mein. When I called to say something was missing, he proceeded to tell me that the entrees don't come with rice and that he would send the delivery man back with the chow mein. I'm starting to wonder if I will even see this chow mein which I specifically didn't order because of the coupon, for my 2 year old daughter to eat. She refused to eat anything else, so now I need to make something for her to eat for dinner on top of paying a crazy amount of money for so little food. Needless to say, we wanted to try something new, but will be making the extra drive to get great food from China Pavilion. Not ordering from this restaurant again.

LOYAL Customers Need a Replacement
Reviewer: Lara from Santa Barbara, CA
Unbelievable. We are small business owners that have built our business on customer service. Six of the last eight orders in a row have been wrong - missing items or wrong ingredients. We call immediately to advise and they offer a credit of egg rolls when we have never ordered egg rolls in our life. We call this evening for delivery and are three dollars away from their minimum $25 after spending $45 on average frequently and they refuse to deliver as they don't include the egg roll value as part of the total order. The straw that broke the camel's back was she tried to blame the delivery driver and took ZERO responsibility for the numerous errors. We have two toddlers at home and are very patient people. The conversation that just took place was unimaginable as we continued to "work with them" to see if they could redeem themselves for a couple or six bad nights. If the English-speaking (daughter) of the owners reads this, please make some major staff changes and/or implement some basic customer service policies before you are forced to close your doors. We're sadly taking Empress Palace off speed dial.

Crossed off my list!
Reviewer: Foodie Dan from Santa Barbara, CA
We have always ordered from here, last night was the final time. I advised the order taker that we had a coupon for free egg rolls. When the delivery person arrived, I couldn't find the coupon. He proceeded to admonish me for ordering something for free when I didn't have the coupon. I apologized and he continued to berate me. Our order was for over $30.00 and we were accused of trying to cheat them out of an order of egg rolls that probably cost them $1.50 to make. Very unprofessional!

Best food and friendly staff.
Reviewer: CaliGirlForever from Santa Barbara, CA
Haven't had anything we don't like. It is all delicious and flavorful. Sometimes, when you order Chinese food, after a while, the different dishes all seem to taste and look the same. Here, every dish is different and unique and nothing disappoints. The wonton soup is our fave in town. Really friendly staff and quiet comfortable dining room.

Best Chinese food in SB
Reviewer: Stuart from Santa Barbara, CA
We went with the Axxess card which they not only honored but let us use it for a special house dinner for two. The food was as good and tasty as that we ate in China. Try the Hot and Sour soup, mixed appetizers, fish filet in black bean sauce and the Peking duck. The portions were huge and we are big eaters! Service was very good too. The room is decorated in a lovely style and the mood music very soothing. This was a five star experience for us.

Never Again
Reviewer: Bryan from Santa Barbara, CA
We live nearby, so this is the most convenient place to order delivery from. First of all, they charge a few dollars more per dish than any other chinese place in town. Second, most of the dishes I have tried are very bland. The Kung Pao chicken is not even close to being spicy. It is good quality white meat chicken with some nice tasting bell peppers and onions, but the sauce is just so flavorless... They even forgot to put peanuts on it once. We have ordered the orange chicken a few times and it is usually actually pretty decent, but last time it HAD TO have been from the day before. It was so hard and chewy and almost indebile. It was really disgusting. I cannot beleive I paid $15.00 for it. I should have called back and told them no, this is unacceptable. I will say that their egg rolls and cream cheese wontons are always good! I highly doubt I will ever order from this place again. I wish we had a good chinese delivery option in the San Roque area!(No, Madam Lu does not count as good)If only Ming Dynasty delivered out here! They have the BEST Kung Pao in town.

Great food, great service!
Reviewer: Becca from Santa Barbara, CA
We always have great food and service every time we go here. Our waitress was fantastic and the food was excellent. We ordered chicken egg foo young and sweet and sour chicken and both were just delicious. I highly recommend this restaurant!

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