Santa Barbara > Restaurants > Sama Sama Kitchen
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Sama Sama Kitchen
1208 State St, Santa Barbara
Phone: (805) 965-4566

Reviews by the General Public

Giving Up On Sama, 7/10/2018
Reviewer: RC from Santa Barbara, CA
Poor reservation planning: a group of us actually had a reservation at 5:45 and at 7:15 were told the table would be occupied at 7:30 and we needed to leave. Oh, but "no rush of course." This time crunch was of course not communicated when the reservation was made. Also, is it too much to ask the bartender to actually stir the cocktail made, rather than slop it together with all the vodka on top? If I wanted to sip ONLY vodka, I could pay the same amount for a couple of shot bottles and some scratchers at Presidio Market and get some fresh air while doing it.

Yikes, what happened to a previous favorite?
Reviewer: Jinelle from Santa Barbara, CA
From the beginning, this has long been a favorite and re-inforced even just 6 months ago. But our recent visit failed on all aspects, the worst being the unacceptably filthy seating bench cushion with stains and glops from who knows how long. Sambals tasted canned and no longer fresh. There was a major disconnect between the offered menu and the reservation website menu and the preparation of what limited choices they did offer was sadly mediocre, with a bizarre order of presentation. Was this an off night? I would give them that consideration, if it were not for the very disgusting stained seat cushions. Someone clearly is no longer watching the store. We loved you once, and want you to get your game back.

Early delight has matured to a full winner
Reviewer: Jinelle from Santa Barbara, CA
Came here early after it opened and knew there was something very special going on that had not quite hit its full stride. Now a few years later, it is clearly a home run.

Dining ambiance itself has improved and very worthy for the overall specialness of the place. Service as always was friendly, knowledgeable and welcoming. Food, flavor and presentations all top of the game. We ordered the shrimp chips with three dipping sauces as an appetizer to start - all excellent. These flavors alone send you to new dining dimensions in this town. Yes, Indonesian but also more than Indonesian.

Then the octopus, the short ribs and the nasi goreng rice dish all left us wanting more but we knew there were some unusual desserts still left to sample so we left room for those too - butterscotch pudding, and a thyme short bread confection, along with a ginger beer and a very good house red.. The marriage of tastes, textures, heat, spices, mood and setting made this a peak dining experience in our town. Keep it up Sama Sama. You belong here. We love you.

Sama Sama Kitchen
Reviewer: Sally Spork from Santa Barbara, CA
I came here with a friend for two reasons: it was on my access card and I love Indonesian food. I've only had it once in San Francisco and my mom and sister still rave about that meal. Of course I came here to see the reviews and there were loads that were four and five stars so I needed no further encouragement. Atmosphere: This is located in the old 'EAST' restaurant right next to the Granada. The ambiance is both urban but comfortable. A chalkboard announces the farms that they frequent (using their produce). A good size bar for drinks. They don't have rows and rows of seating, but I think that is part of the charm. It's ample enough but cozy at the same time. Service: We were sat immediately, and the waitress did a great job sharing her recommendations. Our food and drinks were delivered in a speedy manner. Food/drink: Ordered the Gado Gado salad. Incredible! Will definitely order this again, especially for a lunch meal. We also ordered the special: quail on a butternut squash sauce. Delictable, not a huge entree but delicious. Lastly we ate the faux burgers which were pork served in white sticky buns and fries. We enjoyed a light beer with our meal. Summary: In a sea of Thai and Vietnamese restaurants, glad a new Asian cuisine surfaced. Sama Sama is a keeper and look forward to trying other items in their extensive and creative menu. Two thumbs up.

Best meal in years
Reviewer: Meridith from Santa Barbara, CA
I went to Sama Sama on a busy Saturday night when State St was packed, I picked it because I knew further down State would be crazy. We sat in the back patio, and from start to finish the food and service was the best I've had in Santa Barbara in many years. I won't even begin to tell you the details, just go for dinner as soon as you can. You won't be sorry.

Delectable, Local, Amazing!
Reviewer: Amy & Stuart from Santa Barbara, CA
Incredible dining experience. From the greeting by Mike, the walk through the kitchen to the warm magically lit back patio, we knew we were in for a treat. Chris, our waiter, was wonderful. Taking us through the menu and helping us create a delicious journey of delectable flavors. Our six dishes brought many moans of delight. The local fresh food, the warmth of the staff, the N.Y. ambiance. Sama Sama is amazing. Bravo to the chef & family! We will be back soon. SB has needed you for a long time.

New favorite!
Reviewer: Shannon from Santa Barbara, CA
I had dinner there with two friends. We had the sampler, the pork belly, and nasi goreng-type dish. Wow! It was the best Indonesian food I've had outside of Indonesia. And the chefs and staff were friendly and professional. The only complaint is that they ran out of a dessert we were all dying to try. I'll definitely be back!

yumma yumma
Reviewer: chris from Santa Barbara, CA
From their relatively small menu we tried a duck leg confit and a multi-item sampler plate. Both were outstanding with complex flavors. Because the front end was packed, we were hiked through the kitchen to the patio out back. (Chefs greeted us both directions.) Didn't even know it was there. A few two-tops plus two huge split-log family tables and some plants. Actually, a very nice spot (across the wall from Arts & Letters). Server was top notch - prompt, unobtrusive, and knew the food. Agree with everyone else - this is a great addition and we'll be back.

Great Food!
Reviewer: Cliff from Santa Barbara, CA
I had the chance to eat here today and was very pleasantly surprised. The food was fresh and tasty.

A great addition to SB
Reviewer: Jonathan from Santa Barbara, CA
I ate at Sama Sama tonight and thoroughly enjoyed it. I've been to Indonesia a few times, so I was curious to try it out. All the food was very good, and their take on traditional Indonesian dishes worked very well. Everyone who works their is very nice. There are issues to be resolve around the liquor license. So, if you are going in the near future (today is 5/4/13), call ahead and find out if a bartender is working. If not, byob is free. Definitely try this place out, it is a good and different addition to town.

Third time's a charm I guess
Reviewer: Eric from Santa Barbara, CA
Since I wrote a negative review earlier I thought it proper to follow up now that I have successfully eaten at Sama Sama... My first attempt was met with a "closed for private attempt" sign. My second attempt was on a Sunday eve but apparently they are only open for lunch on Sundays. My third time, I finally found Sama Sama open and sat down for a unique and tasty meal. I tried the sampler plate that included 6 or 7 various items. All had unique tastes and textures. Being a tapas style menu the servings aren't all that large. Hearty appetites may cost a bit to satisfy but I didn't leave hungry. I don't remember the names of the entrees but I had Bison, Shrimp/chicken, Tempeh, a salad and a corn fritter among other things. I'll definitely return to sample more of their "test kitchen" productions.

WOW and WOW!!!!!
Reviewer: Lynn from Santa Barbara, CA
After meeting the owner/chefs at the farmers market yesterday, we decided to eat here last night. We tried to keep our expectations and excitement that a farm to table Indonesian restaurant was here in Santa Barbara in check considering that they have only been open for a few weeks. They exceeded them all. Try everything...we did and it would be hard to choose a favorite but the black cod was exceptional and the best I have ever had. The spices were yummy and it was prepared and presented perfectly. These guys know what they are doing. Our server was welcoming, knowledgeable and funny and seemed to be as happy to be there as we were. No need to wish these guys is obvious judging by the clientele that the line will soon be out the door. I plan to get as many visits in as I can between now and then.

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