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Little Asia
[closed, no longer in business]

6527 Madrid Rd, Isla Vista
Phone: (805) 968-5453


Reviews by the General Public

WTF
Reviewer: Rudy Vaccarezza from Santa Barbara, CA
I am sitting at home wanting rrrittle asia and they are not picking up their phone so how am supposed to enjoy it. Please pick up!


Get the Bibimbap (mixed veggies + egg + beef over rice)!
Reviewer: Susie from Santa Barbara, CA
I visit 2 to 4 times a month for the bibimbap, the only dish I've tried. It is a nice mix of veggies (julienned carrots, bean sprouts, seaweed, zucchini), one sunny side up egg, and grilled beef over rice. Very nutritious and large portion, a great deal for about $7. It comes with kimchi, hot pepper paste to make your dish spicy, a bowl of miso soup with tofu, and unlimited barley tea. Sometimes the bibimbap is slow to come out, but at the back, there is a darkened window where you can see your dish being made by an older Korean lady! Knowing that the food is clean is my consolation for waiting.


Should be called Little Korea.
Reviewer: Curtis L. from Santa Barbara, CA
This is a Korean-run restaurant, and as such I found the Korean food to be rather decent. However, as is typical of Chinese or Japanese restaurants run by people not actually familiar with their respective cuisines, I can say that the Chinese and Japanese food is only mediocre, and usually too salty or greasy. Also, please ignore Dave's disgustingly ignorant "review" down at the bottom of the page. The tourist doesn't even know what bibimbap is.


A damn decent place to eat in Isla Vista
Reviewer: Ken Billingsley from Santa Barbara, CA
My review is going to be short and sweet. I've lived in Isla Vista for four years and Little Asia has always had consistent, great quality food. The owners are very hard working and they're portions are huge! Rock on Little Asia, I'll always be down for your broccoli beef dinner special.


not that good
Reviewer: Jonathon from Santa Barbara, CA
i stopped going here a while ago, but decided to give it a try again. i shouldn't have come back. i usually won't write a bad review, but the noodles honestly tasted like bland Styrofoam. i actually spit it out of my mouth. the ucsb chicken sauce isn't that bad, and the chicken is edible, but only for a couple bites, then i got really really sick of it. too much batter and not enough real chicken either. not worth $6.50. i don't know about their other stuff, but not a good reputation so far


Mediocre at best
Reviewer: Jen from Santa Barbara, CA
As a native of SF, I can confidently say that the Chinese food at this place is mediocre. Many times, the dishes are either too salty, or are much too bland (the fried rice and chow mein). The tea tastes like hot water, and the soup tastes like the tea but salty. The Korean food, on the other hand, is much better and comes in good proportions. If you come here, come for the Korean--don't bother with the Chinese or Japanese. As for the service, for some reason, they always try to gyp me out of my soup which comes with the dinner special. If they try to do this do you, don't be afraid to just ask for it.


A little part of asia to you-ignore DAVE's comment..
Reviewer: janet from Santa Barbara, CA
Ok.. so i'm reading this, and i realize that Andrew 02/28/09 is correct.. PLEASE IGNORE DAVE ON 06/06/08 he is very ignorant on what korean food really is. otherwise he would have known that he did order the wrong dish.. there actually is a cold version of bibimbap.. and it is rather spicey if you order it that way and.. the HOT dish that he is talking about is ALSO ON THE MENU! It is written in korean AND ENGLISH. dave seems to be "good" with the terminology of the korean dialect.. so it's a wonder how he missed this.. (sarcasm sorry) the owners are hard workers, and they provide great service! I am Korean, and I will say, it may not be my MOTHERS cooking (b/c by far hands down, she is the best cook ever ha ha), but it is definitely a good korean food away from home. oh and dave, i really hope you don't think you are this great korean guru b/c you lived in korea for only a year.. and using easy korean terms, where you spelled the pronunciations incorrectly..


A real treaditional korean food
Reviewer: Allen from Santa Barbara, CA
My family and I relocated to Santa Barbarab few months ago, in search of Good Korean Food we were willing to go to San Jose or LA. But Little Asia has our vote for the best Korean Food. The food is excellent, people are very friendly and taste is as good as any traditional Korean food. How do I know that? I lived in Korea for many many years and I am half Korean. We are mostly interested in Good Food, not decorations and this place has a really good korean food.


Great Korean food - ignore Dave's comments
Reviewer: Andrew from Santa Barbara, CA
Dave who posted on 6/6/08 is completely IGNORANT about Korean food if he complained about Little Asia's "Be bim ba" being cold! How can Dave claim he "spent a year in Korea... and have had Be Bim Ba several hundred times" -- yet Dave DOESN'T know how the difference between ordering "Dol Sot Be Bim Ba" (Hot stone bowl be bim ba) and the basic room temperature "Be Bim Ba???" Their Be Bim Ba is excellent. No wonder why the store owner was unfriendly: He probably thought you were arrogantly & incorrectly telling him about Korean cuisine.


Slow to get and Uneventful food
Reviewer: Glenn from Buellton
Not much nice to say about this place. The chicken teriyaki I got was just chicken and rice with teriyaki, no vegetables mixed in. I guess I should have stuck with a Korean choice from below reviews? Cook in back is Hispanic though so unsure of Korean food better claims. Plan to wait at least 15 minutes for your food. At least they have a nice TV to watch while you wait...Not sure what else Asian there is in IV but I'll check.


great resteraunt
Reviewer: dick from Santa Barbara, CA
man do i love this place. great food and service if your hammered. Best orange chicken ever and large portions and great low price. this place is the spot to go


Good Food... but this post isn't about Little Asia
Reviewer: Josh B from Santa Barbara, CA
I like many of the dishes from Little Asia, especially their Bulgogi. For the uninitiated, bulgogi is barbecued beef, one of the most famous peasant dishes of the old country. My wife and I spent a year in Seoul, and can now judge the authenticity of any oriental food... I'm only kidding. But Dave from Santa Barbara's ridiculous review of Little Asia is so weird and offensive. Maybe this cultural ambassador should have tried the Orange Chicken, or recognized he was at the only Korean restaraunt in the 805.


Regulag Bibimbap is served cold.
Reviewer: Samuel from santa barbara, Ca
Last review about Bibimbap is wrong, because Bibimbap means mixed vegeable with rice. If menu says bibimbap, then that means it's supposed to be serve cold. Only egg should be hot. There is another bibimbap called dolsot_bibimbap. That is the one that serves hot with stone bowl.


rude; "convenient" language gap to excuse wretched food
Reviewer: Dave from Santa Barbara
My wife and I had a hankering for Korean food, and saw the ratings on Little Asia and figured we'd head to IV on a Friday night to give it a whirl. We both ordered the bibimbap, which is a peasant dish in "the old country." I should say that I lived in Seoul for a year, and have had plenty of good, authentic Korean cuisine. For the uninitiated, bibimbap is served in a smoking hot stone bowl, with a bed of rice, veggies, sprouts, beef, and topped with an over-easy fried egg. The stuff we were served was stone COLD--even the rice! The fried egg was wayyyy overcooked. When I politely went to the counter to inquire what's the deal, the "adashi" (eldest male) told me that I should have specified that I wanted my bibimbap hot; otherwise it's served cold. Say WHAT? I've had this dish hundreds of times in dozens of places, both in the States and in Korea. I've NEVER seen it served cold. They did NOTHING but thumb their nose at my concern. These blackguards should be run out on rails....


Yes!
Reviewer: Brandon from Goleta
I agree a thousand percent with the last reviewer. Little Asia is so good, it's almost frightening. I consider food here to be one of the things I live for. I'd almost choose one of their delicious combos over pleasuring myself. I love to put tons of the spicy sauce all over the noodles and chili oil too. Love their tofu and everything else. Very nice people here.


everyone dies but not everyone truly lives
Reviewer: Travis Rothlisberger from Isla Vista
I love this place I frequent quite often. It seems to me that everyone is down on the Chinese food here and I feel it is unjustified. I love the stuff!!! Some of my personal favorites are the Kung Pao chicken and the beef and broccoli. Also the soup is delicious especially the Hot and Sour. Mmmmmmmm. Bottom line: if you have never eaten at or heard of Little Asia you have not truly lived. Remember this everyone dies but not everyone truly lives, so make sure you get to Little Asia in your lifetime.


great.
Reviewer: Mr. Nam from Goleta
It's amazing the lack of Korean restaurants in SB. haha...but yeah, LITTLE ASIA is my saviour when I crave Korean food and i can't drive down to LA to get it... Korean cuisine is gREAT! and it's not exactly fast food , but its not that slow...i mean the prices are low...so can't expect the tablecloth and candle light dinners. THe chinese food is pretty damn decent, and quite plentiful....so its great for the price...chinese is supposed to be greasy. try real chinese food. japanese..i had the california rolls and katsu...those are standard not awesome but great for the price.. but i advise to go their for KOrean food...korean owners.... The service could be better, but they are Korean, culture is different in Korea, they are totally freaking nice and perfect compared to other Korean restaurant workers..


Good Food Ok Service
Reviewer: Howl from Santa Barbara
This is one of the only authentic Korean restaurants in Santa Barbara. I can admit that the service is slow but "some" of the food is great. The last I went there there was a homeless person sitting at the table next to me and when I looked over the counter all I saw were mexicans cooking the food. But I'm pretty sure the owners cook the Korean Food. What I mean by "some" is the Korean food is the only food you want to order there. If you're looking for cheap Japanese or Chinese food don't come here. But the kimuchi and the galbi are some of the best things on the menu. The food is relatively cheap and if you are a student make sure to bring your student I.D. because you get a discount.


Right for the price
Reviewer: Daniel from Santa Barbara, CA.
The best thing about this place is the Korean menu. The fact that there is only one other place that serves Korean (New China on Hollister) I'd say beggers can't be choosers. The food is actually pretty good considering how cheap it is, and also, the portions are generous. The service isn't perfect - but who cares? This isn't Bacara. For the money and considering the choices, I would definitely recommend Little Asia.


greasy and no atmosphere
Reviewer: Kate from Santa Barbara, CA
They serve the food on styrfoam, and it's mostly soaking in oil. I guess it works if you really want Chinese, but it's not great.


Bad Service
Reviewer: Dana from Goleta
I've only been here a couple of times, but the last time I went the service was extremely rude. My friend and I were standing at the counter waiting for someone to come take our order, we were standing there for about ten minutes, and although they saw us they just kept passing by as if no one was there, we tried calling their attention and were completely ignored. We ended up leaving. As for the food, its not that great, but its cheap.


Hunter, IV
Reviewer: Hunter Orahood from IV
Me and my buddies went to Little Asia for dinner and my friend decided to try the chicken katsu because there was a picture of it up on the board. When he got his meal the breaded chicken looked nothing like the photo at all...it was way over cooked, dark and greasy on the outside and dry as a bone in the center. I told him to take it back and when he put it on the counter the owner pushed it back at him and told him "Thats the way it's supposed to look" I was dumbfounded by his rudeness and lack of concern for the customer. I politely asked him why then would they take a picture that looks completely different from what they actually serve? He told my friend if he didn't like it he could buy something else, but that they prepared what he ordered and were not at fault. Amazing! The food was obviously burnt and he just didn't want to re-do it. On a more positive note...I still go there from time to time, but I know what I like on the menu and I don't get bent outta shape when they forget the soup or egg roll cause they are bound to mess that up just about every time. I recommend the beef with broc, Mongolian beef, or kung pow chicken...can't go wrong with those. But they do have a lot of variety in cuisines so if you wana explore then you are on your own.


review, from someone who has worked there!
Reviewer: anonymous from Goleta,CA
While the service is admittedly bad at times (hey the owners work there non-stop all day and almost everyday so give them a break) the korean food is as good as i've seen in IV or SB for that matter. The owners are korean and thats the cuisine that they know best. chinese menu is decent, and the japanese menu is lacking unless you've already tried it and it piques your taste.


WORST SERVICE EVER...
Reviewer: kobeeeee from IV
this place is only standing up because its cheap food with big portions. all u can taste is the MSG which is the main reason why they can preserve 10000000 items in their menu. the owners are just rude and angry all the time. they mug you while u eat...and dont even smile....and you call that KOREAN FOOD?!?!?!?!? wow......


Yum
Reviewer: brittnty from wi
I <3 this place! :)the food was awsome!!!!!


Solid When You're Craving Asian Flavor in IV
Reviewer: Mike Boss from Isla Vista
food is kind of greasy but offer a pretty varied and inexpensive menu. for some reason everytime I go in and order a student special or dinner special which says it comes with soup, they don't give you it unless you ask. at least four times I've had to request this item which is so called "included." lame way for them to save a few pennies, but the only chinese option in IV now that the other spot closed.


Good Korean Menu
Reviewer: lei from santa barbara
Too bad there aren't more Korean restaurants in this town. This one is leading the pack. The owners are Korean, so I order from their Korean menu. The food is authentic, and great every time, my favorates are the BBQ shortribs, BBQ beef, BBQ pork, seafood soup, and beef soup. This is a fast food setup, so don't expect service. But it's cheap and good food. What's more to ask for?


oooh, spicy like we like it!!!
Reviewer: M.S. from Isla Vista, CA
I don't know if you are like me, but sometimes I get the craving for MSG that can only be satisfied by the delicious melange of asian tasties from Little Asia. My redheaded girlfriend absolutely loves the dol sot bee bim bap you on the head and we are definitely regulars in this fine establishment. Call in ahead of time or else you will wait forever for the fatties that salivate over the extensive menu. Oh yeah, ask for your soup or they might not give it to you and never take more than one water cup or they will bark at you. All in all, the food is great and you get better deals than a bum at a thrift store. There will always be a place in my heart for Little Asia


One of the worst asian restaurants in SB
Reviewer: Chris Sake from IV, CA
Service: N/A, DIY, so 2.5 points food: not fresh, not tasty, not real asian food. The only 1 point is honored which its edible. If you have a car, get out of Isla Vista, restaurants in IV are horrible. price and atmosphere is good because theres a TV.


Tasty food, Bad Service
Reviewer: Justin from Goleta, CA
The food, especially the Kung Pao Chicken (actually the only thing I have ever bought there), is tasty. You get a large portion for a good price (esp. considering it's in IV). Only problem is the service. They always forget to give me my soup with my meal purchase!


Great food and great prices
Reviewer: food junki from santa barbara, CA
Little Asia is an affordable all around Asian food place that has the some of the tastiest Chinese, Japanese and Korean food. The best and authentic being the Korean food, they have the largest selection of korean food in santa barbara. The Japanese menu is quite nice and they keep to the style as well as some of the tastiest Chinese food I've had in town. I can't complain because the portions are large and the prices are right. The food is good.


YUMMY
Reviewer: Robert from Goleta
It was yummy, yummy, yummy. Very delicious. UCSB Student.


Try this plate
Reviewer: david from goleta,ca
try the combination express bowl, with beef, chicken, and shirmp. This is th best entree there


Great
Reviewer: Fritz Spitz from Honolulu
The restaurant is really great. There`s a very Asian atmosphere in the rooms. Everything is very Asian there. Asia is wonderful!!!!


low budget, but good Korean food.
Reviewer: E. Sciulli from Santa Barbara, CA
My husband and I moved up to SB from Santa Monica and sadly lamented the lack of Korean food in the Santa Barbara area, but we found this "hole-in-the-wall" haunt to be worthy of returning a few times when we are in the mood for bi bim bap or jap jae. Sometimes the food is better than others, but in all it's been worthy of several repeat visits for the food we desperately miss. Don't expect much of the decor or service; it's a walk up and order, "we don't deliver to your table" and "clean up your own mess when you are done" kind of place. But the girl taking food orders (owner's daughter??) is nice. This place does well to cure our longing for K-food, but I can't speak for any of the other cuisines on the menu (Chinese and Japanese).


Best non-Japanese Asian food in town...
Reviewer: Reed from Goleta, CA
Very good service, but moreover great food. Their Chinese food is decidedly far better than Kung Pao (now China Garden) on Pardall. The real hidden treasure here though is the Korean food. The place is owned by Koreans, and it shows, although they do not advertise the lesser known Korean faire nearly as much as they should. Reccomended are either regular or Dol Sat Bibim bap, which is a bed of rice with pickled and non-pickled vegetables as well as beef placed on top, and finished off with a single fried egg. Mix it together with the chili paste they give you and the side of kimchi - wonderful stuff. Their Bulgoki is also good, as well as the Chicken Katsu on the Japanese menu.


Yum!
Reviewer: Jeff from Isla Vista
I gotta give it to them, the chinese food here is great. But there are some set backs: 1. the "feel" of the place is pretty cheap (notice the nappy looking chairs, floor, tables, etc.) 2. don't ever go there if there's alot of people because you'll be expecting about a 20+ min wait. (it takes them like a year to cook anything) -- but again, atleast it tastes good.


yea...only korean food in SB
Reviewer: jenny from santa barbara, CA
i'm a big fan of korean food, i'm chinese but i don't like to eat chinese food. i guess i hang out with too many koreans and i think i'm half korean...the food is not the same as k town in LA...but i learned to settle for less in SB...coz there is nothing in SB...no walmart, no target and of coz no real korean food. the owners r not really friendly. but the korean menu is gd, bee bim bam, kalbi, bulgogi and soon tofu r very typical well-known korean dishes. #11 is speical, spicy pork with veggie, tastes gd and the portion is huge. i'll go to little asia for my korean food cravings


Rude Owners Mediocre Food

I ate here for a while because the food was cheap, fast and decent for IV. I regularly got the Chinese lunch specials. But the owners are intolerably rude. Even though I was a regular, they always treated me like I was a guest that had overstayed my welcome. And the kitchen is horribly dirty. Avoid this place!


yay

not a friendly owner, but food quality okay. no other korean food around here anyway!


It is the best...

I missed korean food for such a long time. I finally decided to check this place with couple of my friends..and it was pretty good!! The food is soo much that I couldn´t even finish..and the price is really decent. I would recommend dol-sot bi bim bap (korean) that was really good. the chinese food can be a lil salty but i really like the japanese and korean food.


Only Korean food around in Santa Barbara!

OK, I love Korean food and finally found a tiny place in I.V. catering to students. This is the only Korean food place in the immediate Santa Barbara area, how sad! All the normal chinese and japanese dishes are excellent quick homestyle meals. Large portions and decent price make it worth while. Now I go here for the Korean food and everything on the menu is excellent for a small mom & pop shop. It´s not like Korean food from L.A. or San Francisco restaurants, but it is a great to be able to have some access to Korean food in Santa Barbara county. This place is packed everyday at lunch and if you get the authentic dishes, you won´t be disappointed.


average in every way

The food is greasy, but besides that fairly good...especially for the price. As an alternative to Panda Express, this place is worth it....but that really isn´t saying much, now is it?


Not Good
Reviewer: Keith Murai from Goleta
So I parked my car in the back parking lot and walked around the building to the front entrance. First mistake, I looked in the back door. My advice....run away. The dirtiest kitchen I have ever seen. I should have gone with my gut- but I ordered food anyway....I was fiending for some Asian food. I got my UCSB Chicken. It smelled good, but the taste was awful. The pieces of chicken (at least I think it was chicken) were very chewy and contained many tendons/veins...gross gross gross. I get the willies even thinking about this gross food.


Awesome cheap Asian food
Reviewer: Deryck from Isla Vista, CA
I´ve been at UCSB for 5 years now, and I´ve been eating here just as long. The selection is nice. It isn´t the best food ever, but for the price (roughly 5 bucks for Japanese and Chinese, 6-7 for Korean) it is a great deal. The staff is small, so sometimes lunch and dinner wait times can reach 20 minutes. But it generally takes about 8-10 minutes to receive food. There is free tea to drink, and the sodas now have free refills. Try the Bulkogi or Chicken Katsu if you are new to Asian food.


Excellent food and service
Reviewer: Hamilton from SB
I have had several chances to have Japanes and Korean food here, together with my wife and young child. My family are always happy to have such excellent quality food and service. The staff always provide generous portions and the price is very cheap. I highly recommend very delicious Korean BBQ, and Korean Bi-bim-bap (rice with mixed vegetable). This is the best Asian restaurant in Santa Barbara. Good place for family with healty food!


Good all around asian food
Reviewer: Tony from SB
The price is right and the food is good. Very consistent and yes the Korean menu is very good. Order from the premium menu and they just might give you real bowls and silverware. Can´t really go wrong with anything they have. Beware though, make sure you ASK them to give you soup if you order any of the combos. I didn´t know it´s supposed to come with the meal for over a MONTH!!!


Fantastic!!

We go there and eat at least a couple of times a week. Great selections of Chinese, Japanese and Korean food, and service is always good. We love Spicy chicken and Bulgoki.


Awesome!!

So far the only Korean restaurnt I like.. there are no other korean restaurants in SB, so this will have to do!! Try their spicy BBQ chicken.. it´s the best ever!! take my word for it.. I am a critic of asian foods.. =)


Awesome korean food!!!

I agree with you all!!! Food is very delicious, and the prices are great. Highly recommend it~ Go check it out:)


Looking for Korean Food?
Reviewer: VM from Santa Barbara
The place to go for fresh and delicious Korean food is Little Asia in Isla Vista. I´ve been there three times and the dishes I´ve tried have satisfied my craving. The prices are very reasonable and there are many Korean dishes to choose from which also includes Chinese and Japanese items.. It´s definitely worth checking out!


Great place if u are looking for some wonderful Asian food

I think this is one of the best Asian restaurtant in SB, it´s very worth it for its price and it have so many different type of asian food. I personally recommend the Chicken Katsu, and Teriyaki Beef... Wonderful place to go if you are looking for some place with nice and inexpensive food.


Yummy food, Great Prices

I enjoy the fresh healthy selection of Japanese, Chinese and Korean food available at Little Asia. If you only have a couple of bucks, stop in for lunch. It will leave your tummy satisfied!


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