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China Pavilion
1202 Chapala St, Santa Barbara
Phone: (805) 560-6028

  • Category: Chinese
  • Hours: Mon-Sun 11:30am-3pm, 5pm-10pm
  • Price: $10 - $20
  • Serving: Lunch & Dinner
  • Reservations: Yes, but usually not needed
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Reviews by the General Public

Change of ownership or chef?, 4/17/2014
Reviewer: Heather from Santa Barbara, CA
I've always loved the food here and usually get takeout. Last night I ordered takeout and everything was different, bland and tasteless, especially the chow mein. Bad luck or did something change? Any info would be appreciated. Please don't change China Pavilion, the food was great before!


China Pavilion, 12/26/2013
Reviewer: Sally from Santa Barbara, CA
Atmosphere: 2 spacious dining area, white walls and white tables and chairs. Asian esqu ambiance. The waiters and waitresses wear Chinese garb. Service: We were seated promptly, we did have a rsvp for Christmas Day evening. For how busy the place was we did get our meals relatively on time, although one person got their food in a to-go container. Food: We ordered a myriad of dishes and appetizers. I have to be honest and did not want to come here, I've had their war won ton soup and was not impressed. But the others wanted to come so there you go. I ordered a rice dish, it was blah. As I've shared before in my Madam Lu review: "I will say I'm really wanting to find Chinese food in the Santa Barbara area that knocks my socks off which I have NOT found. Oh well, I guess that is what a good trip to Monterey Park is for." Summary: Meh.


Dim Sum!, 12/7/2013
Reviewer: Stu from Santa Barbara, CA
I agree with all the positive reviews about the Dim Sum. Rivals the best of LA's Chinatown restaurants for this fun way to try new things like chicken feet. We sharedthree dim sum plates each and were stuffed ( and we have Big appetites). Great service. Wonderful ambience. Reasonable prices. Only negative was you order from a special D'S menu. No carts rolling around the dining room. Try it, you'll like it!


Very good experience
Reviewer: Kevin from Santa Barbara, CA
We had dinner on Tuesday evening and were very pleased with the flavors, volume and quality of the dishes selected. The war wonton soup in particulaar was delicious. Service was attentive and polite. The family in the booth behind us had a child playing a noisy video game. This was noticed by our server and he immediately asked them to please turn off the sound! We will definitely return to try more items from the menu.


Horrible Service - Disorganized Staff
Reviewer: Mike from Carpinteria
We were there today for lunch. It has been about 8 mo. since we were last there (service was horrible then, but decided today to give it another try). Well, nothing has changed. A lazy glum hostess sat us at a table, and then we sat there for 14 minutes -- nada, zilch, zippo service. The restaurant wasn't that busy plus even if they were -- the servers were running around like chickens w/o their heads! I finally motioned to the glum looking hostess and she had a server come over to our table - if I hadn't done that, we'd still be sitting there. The server was a sweet girl, took our order but the food today, except for the filet fish with ginger sauce, was horrible. Cripy noodles were greasy and you could taste the oil. The calamari appetizer was greasy and the batter was tasteless and not thoroughly fried enough. My tofu dish was tasteless. I could have eaten just a block of tofu from the grocery store and it would have had the same taste. We were out of there in about 75 minutes and this time, we shall not return EVER.


excellent, excellent, excellent
Reviewer: lisa from Santa Barbara, CA
We had five items of Dim Sum. The atmosphere was nice, the food was VERY good and the service was great. It was plenty to fill us up. We would have gotten more for less in Los Angeles County, but for Santa Barbara, we were pleased with the service and price.


Better dim sum experience
Reviewer: karen from Santa Barbara, CA
Went on Sunday for dim sum and had a better experience than the last two times, when service was barely tolerable. They've hired more staff, I suppose. Dishes came out very quick, and they were more attentive to refills of water and tea. I was pleased that it had improved! The dim sum is yummy and we stuffed ourselves. I especially enjoy the crispy shrimp balls and the steamed egg custard buns. MMMMMmmmmm!


Great
Reviewer: Stu from Santa Barbara, CA
Had a wonderful meal with my wife here. Ask for Patrick to be your waiter. He is exceptional and all of his recommendations were right for us. We had a beef dish, a chicken entree and a wonderful shrimp dish with onion and pepper. The chicken was a hotpot with Japanese squash. We enjoyrd everything very much and will certainly return. We also plan to try the Dim Sum on the weekend.


Great Dim Sum
Reviewer: Mai from Kansas
Dim Sum here are pretty good, i especially like their Sao Mai. There are 20 some items on the Dim Sum menu, and some are kind of pricey for the 3 or 4 pieces you get. Service here needs improvement. My party waited 10 minutes at our tablet without any water, given the place was very busy, but still; we ended up walking out the restaurant. When back to the place another day and took them a while to serve our food. Other then the wait time and service quality, the food is pretty good.


Very rude staff
Reviewer: Vishal Gupta from Santa Barbara, CA
I am writing this review because i had almost three bad experiences with china pavilion. Last time i took my parents and wanted to taste chinese food. We asked the waitress that we would like to have variety of food, and she suggested us 3 entree. We ordered all three and all tasted exactly same. Upon asking the waitress, she didn't talk to us properly. After we had our meal, i left 15% tip and waitress started talking about how less tip i gave to other staff in from of me. Very rude treatment.


Yummy Dim Sum - You'll need to wait, though
Reviewer: Karen from Santa Barbara, CA
Tasty dim sum here on the weekends, but service is spotty. Some of the dishes took FORever to come out. The service peope are not very aware of patrons as they all buzz around the dining room, and you don't have a specific go-to waiter. When no one person is responsible for the table, then no-one is. :-( You either have to get up and go get someone or practically yell across the restaurant to get their attention. Annoying. If you have a lazy weekend afternoon, it is a good way to spned it, noshing on dim sum!


Don't Confuse With China Palace!
Reviewer: marilyn Baseman from Sheffield, Ma.
This is a top-of-the-line Santa Barbara restaurant from staff to food to ambience. In error, we went to Monticetto, not realizing that China Pavilion's former branch was now owned by China Palace- a hugely disappointing experience (see my review of that restaurant). Two of my favorites are crispy walnut prawns & szechuan eggplant, but everything here is delicious.


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