In September 2017 I broke the news that the old El Torito/España space at 29 East Cabrillo Boulevard will be the future home of Oku, offering a menu that draws from Asian favorites such as Wagyu Steak, Japanese Sushi, Chinese Dumplings, Thai Noodles and fresh local seafood. Co-owner Ted Ellis tells me that Oku will open within a week or so after 2 years of construction.
In opening Oku, Ellis and co-owner Tina Takaya, longtime Santa Barbara locals will have created their dream waterfront restaurant. Takaya, longtime owner of opal restaurant and bar located at 1325 State Street, has always prided herself with designing a place where locals feel at home while enjoying a wonderful dining experience. Ellis has the same vision and has equally been in the business for most of his life. Starting as a kid in a vineyard in Napa to managing top restaurants in San Francisco and becoming a Sommelier, Ellis has this business in his blood.
“At Oku, we believe that diners today have experienced so many cuisines, either traditionally, or as artfully-blended fusions which has produced a general level of sophistication,” says Takaya. “As the diverse cultures of Asia have come in to an ever-greater contact with each other, it has continued to energize culinary creativity. We hope you will enjoy!”
Oku will be open daily for lunch 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and dinner 5:30-11 p.m. Dinner hours will extend to 1am for Friday and Saturday service. Call 805-690-1650 or visit okusantabarbara.com