Serial restaurant entrepreneur William Lam is the owner and chef of several restaurants in town including Saigon at Five Points and on State Street (near the Granada), and Sachi Ramen on Chapala Street. You can now add to that list Sunny Korean Restaurant at 532 State Street, the former home of Zia Café. “I like the food business,” says Lam. “I like to create something different. I started with Vietnamese food then ventured into Japanese Ramen. In downtown Santa Barbara we had nothing close to traditional Korean food, so I wanted to do something different than other restaurants around here.” Lam tells me that he modifies the dishes to make the food a less spicy to satisfy local tastes. He does at the same thing at Saigon. I asked Lam why he opened Sunny Korean Restaurant and not another Saigon or Sachi Ramen. “I love Kimchi!,” he replied. While visiting the newly remodeled downtown eatery The Restaurant Gal and I enjoyed a few dishes including dumplings, stir-fried glass noodles with vegetable, Bulgogi, and Jjigae. It was terrific. Give it a try.

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  1. ted mills says:

    Doesn’t look like it’s set up for BBQ. However, hopefully the hot pot will be legit. I also hope he has done something to alleviate the curse of that spot, like an exorcism of some kind and possibly digging up the corpse in the well under the kitchen and OMG I’VE SAID TOO MUCH

  2. Ken Palley says:

    I’m gonna try it very soon. I LOVE Korean food. Yes the BBQ is epic but so are so many of their other dishes.

  3. Gary says:

    Hmm making the food “less spicy to satisfy local tastes” doesn’t bode well for me. I’m not sure I’m too excited about adulterated Korean food. Probably give it a try, though.

  4. Laurie says:

    Delicious! had lunch there today and all of us really enjoyed the food. You can order items mild, medium or spicy – my spicy Jjigae could have been even a bit hotter for my taste so now I know to ask for a little more heat. Nice people, great service. I hope they break the curse of this space!

  5. We ate there yesterday evening. We love everything about it. The service was 100%. We loved the food – the presentation – the cleanliness – and definitely will be back again. In this building, the Frank Yi family once lived for many many years upstairs and served classic Chinese food. It was called Frank’s Rice Bowl and closed in early 70’s to the best of our recollection. We are told the family still returns.
    Thank you William and Stephen for your attention and conversation. We definitely will be back again soon! We want to try everything on your menu!!!

  6. Saul says:

    Just to fill everyone in, SUNNY can be ordered for delivery through my business RESTAURANT CONNECTION. You can order online at or call (805) 687-9753 to place your order. Enjoy their delicious food!

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