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


Reviews by the General Public

Sama Sama Kitchen, 11/21/2013
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, 10/27/2013
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!, 10/27/2013
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!, 10/4/2013
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, 7/17/2013
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!, 7/14/2013
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, 5/4/2013
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, 4/25/2013
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 luck..it 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.


Tried, but no luck
Reviewer: Eric from Santa Barbara, CA
I stopped by here on a Friday night but they had a crappy, handwritten sign in the window saying "closed for private event" and no one in the place... It was around 7:30pm and I made a special trip just to try them. Not sure if I'll bother giving them another try.


Very worthy newcomer in downtown
Reviewer: Jinelle from Santa Barbara, CA
Love the originality and accessibility of this menu. Yes, there is Indonesian heritage to some of the ingredients and flavorings, but their take is highly unique and creative. Even if not on the menu, ask for the shrimp chips and house made fresh sambals as a delightful way to get started. Crispy scoops picking up micro chopped herbal/veg combos set the tone for what was to come, taking one thousands of miles away from our more local chips and salsa. Chicken satay was a whole new take on this classic and absolutely delicious with perked up, intensified flavors and succulent pieces of meat. Ordering double would have satisfied me for an entree. Just these first two choices would be reason enough to come back over and over again. What on earth is an Indonesian "poutine" other than more evidence of this eclectic fusion of fanciful and flavorful - excellent choice. And the sampler nasi rice plate is exactly what it intends to be - a sampler or flavors, textures and ingredients from this 17,000 island nation where the star attraction is the intensely flavorful and exquisitely textured rice itself. But wait, there is more so leave room - all three of their custom made ice creams exceeded flavor perfection: Thai Ice Tea; Lemongrass Ginger and a haunting German biscotti. My goodness, what a good start. Wishing you every success. Prices good; service friendly and attentive. There is a lot to love in this restaurant. Share it. Only minor, minor and subjective drawbacks were the practical but industrial paper table cloths and the overly coy ice cream service in small mason jars. The food deserved a little more opulence in its setting and service, but why gild a lily when everything else works so well.


Great Start for Indonesian Test Kitchen
Reviewer: Steven from Santa Barbara, CA
Stopped by on Saturday and tried 4 of the tapas sized plates. Everything was super tasty and affordable. The bison sliders were dense and richly flavored. They had no problem making the fried rice with an egg white only. Chicken satay was just slightly undercooked, but served with a rich peanut sauce. The Cucumber soda was great compliment. Decor was light and airy. It's really great to have some non-generic ethnic food on State Street, even if they readily admit that it's "inspired by" rather than strictly authentic. Full bar will be great for late night snacks. Look forward to discovering new items coming forth from the TEST kitchen.


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