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Sage & Onion
[closed, no longer in business]

30 E. Ortega St, Santa Barbara
Phone: (805) 963-1012


Reviews by the General Public

New restaurant
Reviewer: John Dickson from Santa Barbara, CA
Sage & Onion is closed and has been replaced with restaurant named "Seagrass" brought to you by the owners of Bouchon.


Thank you Sage and Onion
Reviewer: Meridith from Santa Barbara, CA
As events manager at the Santa Barbara Natural History Museum I can attest to the fact that Sage and Onion has been an enormous supporter of non profits in our town, particular for us. They catered any event we asked them to, within our non profit budget, treating us to the top budget quality of food and service. Beyond their catering, I have dined their uncountable times over the last nine years and feel like a member of my family is moving far away. Celebrating major holidays, birthdays and romance, Sage and Onion has been the place. They will be sorely missed. (On another note, how wonderful that Mitchell from Bouchon will be operating from the Sage and Onion Space, Mitchell is another local restauranteur who is a great supporter of our community.) I look forward to seeing what Sage and Onion owners, Stephen and Norbert will do next!


Great Thanksgiving
Reviewer: MJ from SB
Seven of us went for Thanksgiving... the food was excellent, the turkey dinner was beautifully presented, turkey cooked perfectly, tender, juicy, stuffing, potatoes, vegetables flavored perfectly. The choice of soup and salad, led to the soup which was excellent. Service was attentive without being bothersome. The ham dinner wasn't as good as the turkey. Only $50 each which allowed for us to enjoy excellent wine!


Another great dining experience
Reviewer: Mike from Santa Barbara, CA
I went to Sage & Onion for a second time last night for yet another business dinner meeting. As with the first visit (a few months ago), we were treated to excellent food and very attentive service. The appetizer and dinner specials were excellent. The regular menu items were inviting, too, but the specials were delicious. Our server was friendly, knowledgeable and helped us pick a great wine. A very good dinner all around!


A delicious evening!
Reviewer: Alex from Santa Barbara
I have dined at all of the fine restaurants in Santa Barbara and I truly appreciate a FINE meal and dining experience. I took my wife and friends, from out of town, to sage and Onion last weekend and we had a great experience. The wine list had a range of prices and a great local selection of reds. I ordered the rabbit, which was cooked to perfection and the lobster risotto which was fantastic. I would highly recommend this restaurant, the food is great, the service was prompt and the ambiance was very nice. It has high place on my list of favorite restaurants.


Disappointing
Reviewer: David W from Santa Barbara, CA
I've wanted to try Sage and Onion for years, and when a friend called up feeling depressed after breaking up with her boyfriend, I pulled it off my list of restaurants to try and we headed over. It was a Friday night, around 7pm, and the place was almost empty. The waiter was attentive, but he had to correct himself a couple of times on the specials. The food however was bland. The best part of my meal was the three pieces of asparagus I got with my mashed potatoes and steak. The steak was overcooked, and the mashed potatoes had zero flavor.. it was as if I was eating pureed cardboard. I'll probably end up trying it again, and will definitely try something different off the menu.


Great Food and Attentive Service
Reviewer: Marilyn Doyle from San Jose, CA
I remembered Sage and Onion from reading the reviews on this board prior to our trip...although hadn't intended on dinning here as there were mixed reviews. I am so glad we ended up there! They were very accommodating, fitting us in last minute, and everything was great. The host, who I believe is the owner, was very gracious, our server, he was top notch - and very personable. We spoke with him regarding our other dining choices for the rest of our trip and he gave some great suggestions. Our food -YUM! I had the Arctic Char, which was excellent, and my husband had...beef..well, I don't remember exactly (this was the end of Feb) His was good, although he thought mine was better. We each ordered desert (and ate way too much) but loved every bite. The only *funky* thing was the little rice crispy treat dipped in chocolate "thank you". Not as good as our dessert..so it didn't leave the best taste in my mouth. So, that was the only low point, if you'd call it that. We'll definitely be back some day!


NOT SATISFIED
Reviewer: Beth from Los Angeles, CA
I visited Sage & Onion with my husband, in-laws and sister-in-law on the Sunday of a long holiday weekend. Here's a summary of our very entertaining, yet disappointing meal. During drink orders, my husband ordered a coke. The restaurant does not carry soda. During appetizer orders, we found out that lobster had been substituted with crab (no price decrease) in the lobster/shrimp cocktail. Our bread was very unimpressive -- pre-cut slices of an Italian loaf -- the likes of which you'd find in a Subway, not a fine dining restaurant. During main course orders, we found out that all fish dishes (except for scallops) were unavailable. Three of us then ordered scallops, of which we were served 3 each, along with 2 slices of sweet potatoes and a couple of broccoli. Not very substantial for the $30 price tag. During dessert orders, we found out that 2 desserts were unavailable. (The flourless chocolate cake was delicious though, thankfully they had that one to give us!) To cap it all off, my sister-in-law requested Equal for her coffee and was lucky enough to receive the very last one in the house. It seems that Sage & Onion was not preparred for the busy holiday weekend. I wish I had known that prior to making and then keeping my reservation. While I'm sure all runs smoothly on a typical weekend, beware of holiday or long weekends -- you might not get what you want.


The best of the best
Reviewer: Sheila Casper from Sanya Ynez, CA
I worked in the restaurant business for 10 years before changing careers, so I know how it's supposed to be done. I'm hard to satisfy. However, I have to give high marks and kudos to Sage & Onion. Everything--everything was superb. From the greeting, service, timing, food...amazing. The atmosphere is relaxing. The food has the perfect blend of tastes, perfect temperature. The chef even came out to help the maitre d when it got busy. That says something. When we left, everyone from our server to the busboy to the head chef said farewell. Best dining experience I have ever had. Highly recommended.


Amazing service and very good food, wonderful ambiance.
Reviewer: Josh from Goleta, CA
My wife took me for my birthday this year, and we were very impressed. The food was quite good, but the service was even better. Professional, friendly, and helpful: everything you'd expect from a nice restaurant.


AMAZING!!!!!
Reviewer: Amanda from Santa Barbara
For our first visit this was just amazing. We didnt know what to expect but what we got was....Phenomenol food! Phenomenol service!! Value much more than money paid especially the few little treats between courses that we received. We definitely will be going back. Also we loved getting to have our favorite dessert wine Kaylra Orange Muscat!!


great food AND great service!!
Reviewer: Patricicia from Santa Rosa
The food was great and the service was impeccable! I have a dietary restriction where I currently can't have any dairy products in my diet. Most restaurants have maybe one or two items on the menu that the chef may be able to accomodate by leaving off the sauce or some key ingredients --- at Sage & Onion, I was told that I could choose from the entire menu. I had the arctic char - it was delicious! The rest of our party had the ahi, the duck and the chicken --- all very delicious! The service was wonderful. We've been to other nice restaurants where the food was good but the service was not. This was by far the best restaurant experience we had in Santa Barbara. 5 stars all the way around.


Hot!
Reviewer: Joanne G. from Montecito, CA
The food is fabulous - and the chef is hot!


wow! yum!
Reviewer: sophie marie from santa barbara/CA
an ecletctic and delightful menu! great service and star quality treatment. Go for lunch for lower prices and savory soups, complimentary fresh bread, and incredible tastes! and never leave without dessert! the semi cooked chocolate cake is to die for!!! highly recommend!


Fabulous Food and Wonderful Staff
Reviewer: Kassi from Ojai Valley, CA
We dined recently at Sage & Onion with some friends who live in Santa Barbara. The food was wonderful, and the service just as wonderful. I had the arctic char, my husband the chicken; both were delicious. Our friends enjoyed their food as well. It is definitely pricey, but worth it for a special occasion or if you just feel like treating yourself. Before submitting this review, I read all the previous reviews, and was stunned by the review directly below. We find Norbert (whom I believe is part-owner, not merely the maitre d) to be the perfect host. He is in fact the reason we went back to Sage & Onion after not going for some time. We had received an email informing us that he is back at Sage and Onion, and we decided to go as soon as we could. We live closer to Ventura, so were semi-regulars at Deco, his erstwhile restaurant there, and always found him to be funny and charming. We're definitely not executives from a large corporation, and as stated above, were semi-regulars as opposed to regulars, but Norbert always remembered us and treated us well. He recognized us the other night at Sage & Onion, and although he was friendly and attentive, did not fawn over us or anyone else in the restaurant that we could see. Of course, we were not there the night in question, so can't know what transpired. But for anyone who might be turned off to Sage & Onion by the review below, please know that Norbert is a wonderful host whose presence has always enhanced, not detracted from, our overall dining experience.


Truly Great Dining Experience
Reviewer: K & T from Santa Barbara
We've lived in SB and the SB area for more than 20 years and in that time have eaten at most of the restaurants on this list. The dinner my girlfriend and I had at the Sage and Onion last Sunday was one of the top 10 meals I've had in all that time. Although we'd seen the Sage and Onion and knew about it for years, we'd never tried it until now, definitely our loss for all that time. The service was perfect, its a smaller place so the team approach worked very well, every staff member was friendly, knowledgeable and efficient. They have a very nice wine list to boot. We orederd the filet mignon and a fish dish (arctic char). The filet itself was an excellent example and was prepared perfectly (med-rare). Combined with some nicely cooked vegetables and a reduction sauce it was a classic preparation done to perfection. The arctic char's was described as being between salmon and trout on the flavor scale and while we were a bit skeptical at first it really lived up to that billing. Served with a cauliflower au-gratin it demonstrated a wonderful blend of subtle flavors that when brought together in one bite...melt in your mouth. Unlike a lot of restaurants these days the Sage and Onion is quiet and pleasant. Even though it was 3/4 full when we arrived at 7pm we found it easy to converse and an all around comfortable atmosphere to be in. Now this is not an inexpensive place, but I've paid this amount many times in the past and have very rarely been this happy with all aspects of dining experience. PS we didn't find any of the dishes to be overly salty in any way:-)


What a nice experience...
Reviewer: Paul and Maryellen from Napa
We sat down and were well taken care of by the entire team. Menus handed out and a few questions answered and we are on our way. Enjoyed a Quady Rose with the abalone starter which was best for the fried tomatoes...we still don't "get" abalone. Had the scallops and monkfish with a brilliant Taz Pinot Noir. Lot's of fun having discussions of georgraphy and wines with the knowlegable professionals...all with a few grins. It's just foood and wine after all! The PAssion Fruit "pavlova" thingy was really great and we had it with both black and white muscat sweeties for desert. Again lot's of knowlegeable too and fro ing with the staff about which desert wine rules...no decision was obvious, but all tasty. This is a great restaurant and staff who gets it on many levels. So many Santa Barbara's dissappoint yet have great reps. We recommend this for the service first, and the food next... this needs to be on your must do lists for Santa Barbara. We loved it and will come back...


WOW
Reviewer: hotforcockneys from venice beach
Not only was the food spectacular but Chef Steven Giles made me feel like a movie star. Complimentary hors d'oeuvres and champagne were just the start to a fabulous meal and dining experience. A MUST when you visit Santa Barbara!


OUTSTANDING
Reviewer: Cindy Mae from Seal Beach
We make a special trip from OC every year just so we can eat at Sage & Onion and every year it surpasses our expectations. The staff always makes every visit special and often Steven will come out to greet us. The seasonal menu right now is fantastic and the wine list is super-impressive. Try the pumpkin-croissant bread pudding before the season's over.


If your looking for an outstanding dinner, Don't miss this!
Reviewer: Cathie Roe from Agoura, CA
Quite small, 13 tables...but don't be fooled by the modestly decorated dining room. This dinner was excellent!! I had read the reviews about the food being salty and was alittle hestitant about eating here. I ordered the Halibut...unbelievable!! My husband order the Pork tenderloin, it too was outstanding. Service was great!! The chef (Stephan) even came to our table to make sure we were well taken care of.....Don't go to Santa Barbara without stopping by.


Private room for a party of 11
Reviewer: Doug Graff from Pasadena, CA
This was our first experience at this restaurant (we are not local to Santa Barbara) and we were very pleased. We hosted a party of 11 in the restaurant´s private room which is really lovely. The service was exemplary, the food beautifully composed and quite pleasing in taste, etc. All in all, we were very satisfied with the dining experience and the private room was a great venue for an intimate, special, celebratory dinner.


Really Nice!
Reviewer: Ellison from Brea, CA
We really enjoyed Sage and Onion. The two of us went there on our wedding day for lunch. The food was good and the service was great! The food was not salty, but just right. They had a little desert with congratulations written in chocolate for us as a nice surprise. The waiter was the best. The nicest thing was that the owner actually congratulated us after dinner as we left. He was very nice. We will certainly come here again and recommend it to all our friends who would like a nice quiet place with good food and service!


salty

I concur with Sharon´s comment that it was too salty. I thought exactly the same thing, and I normally like lots of salt. I wasn´t planning on writing a review but I´m glad to see it wasn´t just me who found it salty. Other than that the food was good but I think it didn´t live up to what I had heard about this being the best restaurant in town. I´ll go to the Wine Cask, Bouchon or Nu before returning here. I give it 3 stars for "average" - not bad but you can find better.


Do the Tasting Menu!
Reviewer: MR from Santa Babs, baby!
OMG! Service was perfect, the food was insane. I particularly recommend the Lobster Risotto if you dine ala carte, but treat yourselves to the tasting menu. Loved it.


Doesn´t live up to the hype
Reviewer: Sharon from Santa Barbara, CA USA
I heard great things about this restaurant. We went there for New Year´s Eve dinner and it was a horrible dining experience all around. The food was way too salty, almost to the point of being inedible. I can understand maybe one of the dishes being too salty but every course was over-salted. The pre-set menu consisted of Char or Venison, which was like shoe leather and tasted really gamey, I couldn´t get past the 3rd bite. The service was really slow and our waitress didn´t do much except stand behind the bar. We were there for 3 hours and it wasn´t super busy that night. The bussers did everything from bringing the food out to clearing the table. I don´t have an option to give 0 or 1/2 a star so 1 star it is. On the flip side, the hazelnut ice cream was really good. Overall, it was a really dissappointing experience.


Used to be great
Reviewer: ilovefood from santa barbara
This was the first restaurant we ate at when we first came to Santa Barbara and we were really impressed. We go back twice a year and the food just keeps getting worse and worse. Now, you never need a reservation which is a bad sign. I hate to say it but it´s time to close this one up and have a redo.


One of the Best in Santa Barbara and even further afield
Reviewer: G Man from Santa Barbara, CA, USA
Great for special occasions, treat your girl (or guy) or business appointments to impress. Excellent service, food, ambiance. I´ve tried 3 or 4 dishes and never been less than impressed. In reference to a previous review about too much salt, if you are sensitive to that stuff, just tell the staff and they´ll accommodate you from my experience.


Too Much Salt

Last Supper In this day and age, when people are a little more health conscious, excessive salt is unexceptable. Both my husband and I had different meals (including the appetizers) and their salt content was more befitting of food from Norm Peterson´s favorite restaurant The Hungry Heifer than of a fine dining establishment. Stay away unless you crave salt.


Next time the tasting menu!
Reviewer: Angela F. Lazear from Newark, CA USA
My husband and I finished off our recent trip to Santa Barbara with a meal at Sage and Onion. After having an amazing meal at another SB eatery the previous night, we thought nothing could surpass it, but this place did. The knowledgeable & courteous staff is clearly working together to present food as art and as an experience to be remembered, and is succeeding at every level. I had the abalone and it was delectable. Each bite was a dream, and the little goodies sent by the chef made me wish I´d ordered the tasting menu after all. Staff was polite, food was perfect, and it´s even a really pretty place!


My boyfriend picked a perfect restaurant for our anniversary
Reviewer: A & C from California
My boyfriend surprised me on our 2 1/2 year anniversary by taking me to Sage & Onion. I was very excited because I knew that this restaurant would be great. We were treated wonderful be the staff they made us feel very important, not to mention the food was spectacular! Truly the best of the best. We would like to thank chef Gavin, waiter Shawn, and entire staff for a beautiful evening.


Pretty good

The food was great and the atmosphere was nice, but man was it expensive! I don´t know if the experience was worth the price we paid, but good none the less.


Offcious Service, Over-rated, Over-priced
Reviewer: Mike from California
The food was solid; however, the curt, condescending attitude of our male server and minimalist, busy small restaurant does not justify the pricey experience. Clearly, the management paid respondents for their Zagat guide reviews because there are plently other excelllent food, great ambience, good-value dining locations in Santa Barbara to choose from. Whether this restaurant truly becomes the so-called #1 restaurant in SB, remains to be seen.


wow, all restaurants should treat people this way

They realy make you feel important here. Shawn was our waiter we ordered a bottle of wine, that was very reasonable. He greated us with a complimentary glass of champain to start and he must of filled it three times through out the knight. As we enjoyed our bottle he brought out two more diifferent glass for us to compare, complimentary as well. And with the wonderfull entree that called for a red he insistead on the perfect match so he brought us each a glass to pair with our entree´s. My wife and I could not believe it. We spoke with the table next to us and their experience was just as wonderfull. The bill came out with complimentary cookies and port. regardless of all the bells and whistles we where out for under 100.00. Not including the fat Tip for the great service which was above and beyond. Thanks we will be back often.


What an experience!
Reviewer: Toryalai Hart from Annecy, France
Staff were extraodinarily friendly, though completely formal in their interactions. Unannounced, I was presented with a series of "Amuse Gueulle" starters. I had the vegetarian special and was completely taken a back by the presentation, colors, and succlence the dish. The cheese selection was tasteful and unusual for any restaurant. Wines are domestic but the selection is extensive. Desert came close to showing up the entree. I ate slowly in an attempt to prolong and hold the experience.


Atmosphere, service and taste
Reviewer: Jay Wright from Detroit, Mi.
It started with the service and attention to detail. Although it was small and busy, we were treated with excellent attention. They kept bringing small treats from the kitchen between each course. I would highly recommend and we plan on bringing 20 people back for a treat in April. Excellent wine choices too.


DINING SAGE & ONION FEB 20, 02
Reviewer: KATHY HERZING from HYDE PARK, N.Y. U.S.A.
IN FROM NEW YORK THIS AFTERNOON,, FOUND THE RESTAURANT QUITE BY ACCIDENT....WONDERFUL FOOD, GREAT ATMOSPHERE, I PERSONALLY PREFER A VEGETARIAN MENU & THEY ADDRESSED THAT BEAUTIFULLY.. MY COMPANIONS CHOSE A FISH DINNER & THE OTHER A MEAT ENTREE,, THEY RATED BOTH EXCELLENT BOTH IN FLAVOR AND PRESENTATION... MY NEXT TRIP TO SANTA BARBARA WILL INCLUDE A VISIT TO THIS WELL PRESENTED RESTAURANT...


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