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Finestra Caffe
[closed, no longer in business]

15 E. Figueroa St, Santa Barbara
Phone: (805) 962-6703


Reviews by the General Public

Never Been There, but would have Loved to go.
Reviewer: Jim from Santa Barbara, CA
Born and raised in Santa Barbara, live elsewhere, but never got a chance to visit. Bummed. What I have read throughout the reviews was the service was really good, served with smiles and speedy. Happy and fast is hard to find. The mention of being run by a church has left (pardon the pun), a 'sour taste' in the mouths of some reviewers. What was entirely missed due to their guarded (e.g. defensive, slightly-paranoid) observations was the intent to warm their souls with serving good food and drink, and with a smile I know which came from the heart. It's that place of heart which is unique in a darkening world, that light of a genuine smile, a nourishing meal and experience that every reviewer posting here misses. And I unfortunately never had the privilege of experiencing this cafe, don't know anynof those who worked there, but know as a result of reading fhe reviews, Who ran it.


Can't believe it's not there!
Reviewer: deborah from carson, ca
I come up to Santa Barbara once a month and make a point of stopping in at Finestra's. THe service has been wonderful, coffee, tea and food great. The atmosphere is friendly and comfortable. Who could ask for more?


excellant. they will be missed
Reviewer: rick from /
Sorry to hear finestra caffe has closed. no where else in all of Santa Barbara for Christian fellowship or books!


~Jeannine's American Bakery & Restaurant is coming~
Reviewer: Ronaldo from Santa Barbara, CA
OK.. So most of you know that Finestra is close, and it is very sad that It is. The food and the service was great. THANK YOU FINESTRA... BUT.. From what my conclution of my investigation I was able to conclude that Jeannine's Bakery might be opening on the fist of August. I'm very happy becase they have great food and service. Will Miss you Finestra.. AND Welcome JEANNINE's....


Never been
Reviewer: Colleen from Santa Barbara
I know this place is closed and all, but... I was wandering the Restaurant Guide site for good coffee places and found ridiculous comments on here about Finestra (that I have heard about and walked by several times). I think it's narrow minded and aggressive to ridicule a coffee house simply on the fact it is run by Christians. It says in other reviews, the staff aren't even getting paid and are obviously doing their jobs with a smile. I'm sure Christian consumers don't act like their 'skin is burning' if they go eat in restaurants that have an elephant sized Buddah, etc... in it. Ug.


CLOSED
Reviewer: b from sb
unfortunately as i saw yesterday when i went in for a quick bkfast, apparently finestra has closed... fun having it around. its a beautiful coffee shop.


EXCELLENT FOOD and SERVICE
Reviewer: Kae from Santa Barbara
I very much enjoyed the food at this restaurant (lunch). The service was excellent and the people were friendly. I wasn't aware of the church connection until recently and I'm not part of their church, but it sure was a joy to have good food and nice people around.


rapidly christian
Reviewer: maggie from Santa Barbara, CA
jesus music, christian books and propagandistic signs posted everywhere; not good for those of the secular, jewish, muslim, buddhist, hindu persuasion. quite oppressive actually. i will not return.


Who Cares?
Reviewer: Tom from Santa Barbara
I've now been here twice in the past two weeks. I had no idea it was run by a church until I read these reviews--I did notice all the christian books the first time I was there, but after a double-take I was able to enjoy a great chicken sandwich in a beautiful location. I forget what it's called, but it's the hot sandwich with pesto. More recently I had a quesadilla which was a little underwhelming for the 8 bucks it cost me. The service, however, is always stellar and nobody tried to convert me--they even have CNN on the TVs, not FOX, so who cares?


Cafe Latte
Reviewer: Annex from Santa Barbara
So here is the deal with a perfect Cafe Latte: good espresso, full whole milk and a proper size cup in proportion to the espresso. I wish they would have a nice teacup and saucer for the cafe latte instead of the coffee mug, as the mug is bulky and too big so if they fill it with milk the espresso becomes weak. A small detail but a big difference.


Great Place To go
Reviewer: Schauna from Santa Barbara, Ca
Well, I have to say that Finestra has been a big part of my life since it's inception. I really like that they offer such a variety of books and aides for the Christian. It is a quiet place to relax and hang out. The staff is great too, they always have a smile on their face. I am glad that it is here.


I'd go back
Reviewer: Kristina from Santa Barbara
I have been back several times for a scone and a blended coffee drink. Both were very good!! The staff is extremely nice. Sometimes the service is a touch slow but they are so friendly it doesn't bother me. Great atmosphere too!


I'd highly recommend this place!
Reviewer: d richards from redondo beach, ca
The food was delicous. Coffee and soup superb. Muffins wonderful. The location can't be beat. The employees are intelligent, well organized and service is quick and efficient. The prices are reasonable and atmosphere great! It's one of my favorite places in Santa Barbara.


Service with a (genuine) smile
Reviewer: Nicholas M from Santa Barbara, CA
Now that Pierre LaFond Paseo Nuevo is closed, Finestra is our new top choice for Saturday morning coffee. The location is top-notch (the most charming establishment in the most charming mall in Santa Barbara, La Arcada), and is conducive to extended relaxation with plenty of room and multiple flat screens. As for the service, the service described by Lollie (below) must have been an anomoly. Every time we are there, the coffee and food is served quickly and efficiently, and ALL service is completed with a genuine smile on their face. The food is also very good. We've never had the cold-case items, so can't speak for that, but the sandwiches are delicious and well-priced (oh yeah, and the pumpkin latte is ridiculously, sinfully delicious). All in all, Finestra is a jewel in Santa Barbara and we look forward to many more years of patronage.


Slow, slow, slow...
Reviewer: Lollie from Santa Barbara, CA
It's my understanding the cafe is run by Calvary Baptist and that the staff are not paid, but work in service to the church. That's all well and good, but it makes for ultimately a confused and disorganized staff which causes EXTREMELY SLOW SERVICE. The wait for a double capp should not be 10 minutes. Ordering food is a joke because it takes forever. It's NOT worth the wait required. If they trained their staff to be more organized, it would be an improvement. Oh... and the "fresh fruit cup" that comes as a side is pathetic. The two times I've had it the fruit was mushy. Yuck.


Nice place to go
Reviewer: Kristin from Newbury Park, CA
This is a nice coffee shop. The food was good and the coffee delicious. Very nice atmosphere and pleasant, helpful staff. I hope to go back soon and get another "Montecito"...very delish!


Nice Hangout
Reviewer: Hannah from Santa Barbara, CA
Good Coffee, Friendly Staff, and free wireless! There is a great atmosphere when the large windows are open. You almost feel like you are sitting outside.


Geez Louise...
Reviewer: Taryn from Carpinteria, CA
...are you people serious? Why are people so threatened by a religious coffee shop? You'd think that buying a cup of coffee required a baptism of sorts!!! I wasn't offered any Jesus Juice! Am I missing something? Back to the actual review...Peets coffee is heavenly, the pastries are yummo...the food is okay...and the service is what I'd expect from any coffee shop...it's fine. Their coffee is as hot as anyone elses! Get over it!


Different business every year
Reviewer: Chris from Santa Barbara
This space continues changing businesses every year or two. No business seems to stay longer than 24 months, which makes sense, since there are so many better cafes and coffee shops in Santa Barbara. The previous business was far superior to this one, but there are just too many better places close by. The far below-average coffee and food combined with the ridiculous religious environment makes Finestra an establishment to be avoided. If I want religion, I'll go to church. I do not want other people's religion in my coffee and food. That is so tactless. This place is probably "fine" for those with similar self-righteous views as these owners, but it's the work of the Devil if you ask me.


Bland Quesdadilla!
Reviewer: Megan from Santa Barbara, CA
While I've eaten at Finestra for lunch on more than one occassion and have been very pleased with my food, today was an unfortunate exception. I picked up their Southwest Chicken Quesadilla on a to go order so I could get back to my office. When I returned to my office, I noticed it was missing the dipping sauce that should have come with it and also looked overcooked, greasy, and not at all fresh (none of which have been problematic with Finestra's food before). The taste was bland, "warmed over", and unappetizing. I don't expect food that I take to-go to look as good as if I had eaten it in the store, but I DO still expect a flavorful, fresh, appetizing lunch, especially when I spent $8 on just the quesadilla (no sides such as salad). It's not worth the money. I would suggest choosing a different entree.


Hidden Spot!
Reviewer: C.S. from Goleta, CA
The off-State St. location makes it a hidden spot! Another one of my favorite non-franchise cafes in town. I like its high ceiling and this antique bookstore-like (in fact, they do have a small bookstore section) atomsphere. They serve Peet's Coffee and their tea selection is good too. Free wireless internet and friendly staffs make it all complete :) Oh yea, they have yummy baked goods too! I once tried their lemon creme cupcakes and it was amazing.


To the reviewer below
Reviewer: Jeremy from Goleta,C A
How can you say they are dishonest & shifty? The coffee shop is half Christian book store. They are marketing an honest business. If you don't want religious affiliation there are plenty of other coffee shops in the neighborhood, practically on every other corner. And what makes the service mindless? Your personal beliefs or the actual workers? I understand if the product is bad but I've never experienced this. They have delicious sandwiches, great coffee, a peaceful atmosphere and a friendly staff. Take your bias to Starbucks.


I would highly recommend this cafe
Reviewer: deborah from torrance, ca
The coffee and tea were excellent. The staff is very intelligent and hospitable. Food very tasty and reasonably priced. The soup was delicious, especially on a cold, rainy day. We love Finestra!


Great Place
Reviewer: James Becker from Santa Barbara
I love the place because of the great tasting pastries and them serving Peets coffee now. In response to the review labled, "What the...?", Since when do restaurants have to post what religion owns the business? Or since when do they have to at the bequest of an annoyed customer present this information? I have never seen a business post that they, say, worship Buddha. I have never seen that, nor do I think it has anything to do with how good the food will taste, and how good the service will be. The review entitled, "What the...?" has little to do with rating a restaurant, but more about somebody wanting the business to state what the owners beliefs are?! Thats Crazy.


tasty baked goods and nice atmosphere
Reviewer: chee from santa barbara, ca
This place rox! the white chocolate raspberry scone was quite good (really flakey, filled with raspberries and chocolate chips), and the peet's coffee was good and strong (having a little bit of a sour and acidic aftertaste). personally, I like the atmosphere, the corner book section, and the Bible verses dotting the cafe. I feel like consumers will be able to tell from the get-go that it's a Christian-run cafe (especially since the Christian music and book center are pretty noticeable), and they can make their own choices regarding whether they'd like to stay or not. even if people aren't that "into" the atmosphere, the food and the service are great.


What the...?
Reviewer: Jack from Santa Barbara, CA
Located Downtown in La Arcada, who could say anything negative about the location and ambiance? The coffee was average, but I guess that's a matter of taste. The pastries my group and I had were fine - average, or a little above. The counterstaff were what I would expect from college students working behind the counter of a coffee house. However, as I was enjoying my drink and blueberry thing, I thought I heard Christian music playing in the background - I couldn't tell for sure because lots of people were talking. Then I began noticing the titles in the bookstore had a definite theme. After some investigation, I learned that the place is owned and operated by Calvary Chapel. Now, I am a lifelong Christian myself, and I can trace my family's church affiliation back for at least 350 years, but I think it's unfair that many patrons are entering without even the slightest hint of what this place is about. I felt duped. Why don't they put up some kind of tasteful notice on the door? This isn't just a case of a Christian-owned business - you can worship squirrels for all I care. Rather, this place plays as a church extension youth group that serves coffee with an overt Christian message (but you don't know this until you've already sat down with your coffee). If that's your thing, then wonderful. I, for one, would have liked to know before I bought my blueberry bar.


way better than starbucks!!
Reviewer: Richard N. from Montecito
I really enjoyed their raspberry white chocolate scone, it's delicious! great sandwiches as well. it took them about 10 minutes to get my sandwich out but it was worth the wait. Very attentive and cheerful service.


awsome awsome
Reviewer: Genevieve from S>B>
I always get my capps there and the quiche.. I love the food the atmosphere and the high ceilings!!! its grrrrrreat..


Most Pleasant Atmosphere in Town
Reviewer: j. ritterbeck from goleta, ca
I've been looking for a place like this for 3 years in the greater-SB area and when a friend finally recommended I check out Finestra I was hooked. Great staff and excellent coffee.


All I can say is...
Reviewer: B from Santa Barbara CA USA
the BEST Banana Shakes! Period!


Fantastic Finestra
Reviewer: Amy June from Irvine
I currently moved out of Santa Barbara into Orange County. I used to live 2 blocks away from Finestra and I can't even begin to tell you how much I miss it. Finestra is the place to go to see a smiling face in every noke, to relax in a cozy chair, enjoy excellent customer service, and have a party in your mouth for your taste buds. The coffee, quiche, scones, muffins, ect...are delicious! My favorite is the Turkey sandwhich on a crossiant with a vanilla latte.


Great Coffee Shop
Reviewer: Ada from Santa Barbara, CA
I have been there a couple of times on my way to work. If you like a cup of good, strong coffee, this is your place. Although I did not like the cappuccino, the coffee here definitely beats the watery stuff Starbucks serves sometimes. Cute atmosphere, perfect hangout place with friends. Great service!


Christmas!!!
Reviewer: Bina from SB
It is the greatest place for pumpkin chais and incredible christmas decorations. While as 'intelligent design' commented it has a stylish interior, not only that, but it also has a warm atmosphere completely filled with christmas cheer. Finestra is an wonderful haven, offering free wireless, formidable coffee, peace and a cheerfull staff. Funny, I miss it when I'm not there. Ciao!


Mediterranean Class in Santa Barbara
Reviewer: John from Solvang, CA
The second you walk in the door at Finestra, the rich, Mediterranean ambiance makes you forget where you are! As you s-l-o-w-l-y turn to take in the airy, five star hotel-like lobby atmosphere, with lush plants, ultra-comfortable, over-sized chairs, three massive plasma TV's, customers relaxing with their laptops enjoying the FREE WI-FI, the aromas grab your next sense! Finestra's baked goodies are THE BEST in Santa Barbara - Period. The pastry chef could easily be working in Paris, Milan, Florence or anywhere else for that matter. But here? In Santa Barbara?! This is pastry heaven. The scones rate an "10" on the 10 Scale, as do the muffins, cakes and other daily specials that rotate and sell out if you don't "strike" when the urge hits. The quiche, is also tops for a lunch or late afternoon snack; it's simply the best - not too dry or moist. Oh, and generous in size. The beverages! The coffee drink variations are first class due to Barbara's knack for selecting the best beans on the Central Coast. Smoothies and other "cold" drinks are a sensory experience with each sip, er, make that gulp! Lastly, the staff is the ultra-friendly type where they all know your name by your second or third visit along with your favorite beverage and goodie preference. No matter your mood or how the day's going to be or ended, the time spent here is almost a therapeutic escape from the world outside the doors of Finestra. Enjoy!


The finest finestra
Reviewer: Neil from Santa Barbara CA
not only have i been there... i used to work there... it is fabulous... great food, great service, a great atmosphere that is classy yet casual... i highly recommend FINESTRA as one of the finest caffe's in SB


Finestra Rocks!
Reviewer: David Jay from Santa Barbara
I love Finestra! The cute girls behind the counter are always so nice and helpful and the Ham and Swiss sandwich (with soup) is definitely a must have! :) DJ


I can't stop eating the turkey sandwich!
Reviewer: Amy from Santa Barbara, CA
I have only tried the turkey sandwich so far, but I am hooked. I am really picky about deli sandwiches; the ingredients need to be good quality, and that is definitely the case with these. The bread doesn't taste like it came from the supermarket, (I've tried the thickly-sliced wheat & the foccacia, which seemed more like a little ciabatta roll, but it was still good) and they do NOT skimp on the meat and cheese either. The lettuce is bright green, fresh and crispy, and I love the long pickle slices! The salad that comes on the side (chips are the other option) is non-slimy fancy-shmancy lettuce, and I like that too. I'm trying to think of a suggestion to make it better, but nothing comes to mind. I brought a leftover half home the other night and my roommate was jealous! "That looks really good."


great place!
Reviewer: mary jane from SB,CA
This is a very cute coffee shop. The baked goods are delicoius.The staff is very friendly. i highly reccomend this caffe.


Intelligent Design
Reviewer: Gregg McVicar from Walnut Creek, CA
This is a lovely coffee salon, with a stylish, airy ambiance, wireless internet, big flatscreen TVs, LA Times on the table and very good coffee. It feels a bit like Tully's in Seattle. The only negative was that Fox "news" was babbling-away on one of the plasmas. Along with our coffee order, we asked the cheery Barrista for a cup of warm water to take some allergy medicine, and she replied "I'm sorry Sir, we only have hot water and cold water." Slightly taken aback, and with a straight face, I asked for a mixture of both -- and we laughed about it. But this should have been a tip-off. On the way to the restroom I discovered a little bookstore in the back, chock-full of nutty tracts against Darwin's Theory of Evolution. This led to an interesting and amusing conversation with the bookseller, who revealed that this coffeehouse was a project of his church (Calvary as I recall) as a way to "better connect with the community." During the course of our conversation, he assured me that "The Bible is a scientific textbook." I certainly hope he's wrong, otherwise I'm paying way too much for my daughter's science textbooks at UCSB, buying stacks of them when one would do. All in all, Finestra Caffe really is a nice spot to retreat from the energy of State Street, and I'd go back again, for the good lattes and to continue discussing science vs. anti-science with the friendly people there.


Great coffee, food, and location
Reviewer: S.I. from Santa Barbara
Have been here three times now and love it - staff is very nice/helpful. Tastefully decorated. Quiet - I like the fact that it is not noisy/crowded and bustling like other coffee shops in town.


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