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5404 Carpinteria Ave, Carpinteria
Phone: (805) 684-8893

Reviews by the General Public

Reviewer: D. from Carpinteria , CA
Ignored sums up the service & management. I was given a gift card & took a couple of friends for dinner. The server took 20 min to come over & greet us & was annoyed when my friend had questions about some of the menu items. We ordered our food & it took another 45 minutes to get our mediocre food. I'm local & won't recommend to anyone.

Not a good experience
Reviewer: Eryn from Santa Barbara, CA
Living on the other side of town, I found Zooker's on Yelp as a place to meet a colleague coming from the south for a business lunch. I ordered a bean and veggie burrito, my colleague ordered a chicken caesar salad. I was told the burrito had onion and peppers in it, when it arrived it was loaded with primarily eggplant-which to me did not taste good at all inside a burrito. I picked that out and the rest of it was just flavorless-same with the salad according to my colleague. The service was horrific, we were absolutely ignored, I had to ask for water, where our food was, and get up and walk over to the chatting waitresses and ask for the bill. I'll never return again and am surprised at the positive reviews.

The best in Carp
Reviewer: Mattie from Carpinteria, CA
I can't believe people will complain about excellent food being "expensive." We eat at Zookers at least once a week and don't have any problem justifying the price of the amazing food we get there. As a life-long Carp resident, I can say it's easily the best place to order REAL food in Carp. And it's often a place that I'd rather come home and eat at than any of the other great choices in SB and Montecito. If you are used to eating fast food and think that $50 for two, with drinks is pricey for homemade, fresh and inventive food, then maybe you're not going to "get" why Zookers is so great. The food is fresh, we see it change on the menu seasonally to match what local produce and meat is available and freshest and we also are happy eating old favorites (meatloaf is amazing, always.) The service is great and attentive with very friendly wait staff who don't hover, but are knowledgeable about food and wine if you need to ask a question. Bottom line - Certainly the best place to eat in Carp and among one of the consistently best restaurants in our area.

Good food - way over priced
Reviewer: Karen from Santa Barbara, CA
My husband and I have dined at Zookers several times. Each time the experience has been pleasant - good food (not "wow"), good service. We happened to be on our way back into Santa Barbara the other night and decided to stop for dinner. Again the food was "good" but overpriced. It seems as though the prices went up at least $5 per entree since the last time we had been there (and you might want to change the price range which is currently listed at $10 - $20). Again, good food, but not for that price. We will probably write Zookers off our list of places to go for a reasonably priced dinner. By the way this was a Saturday night and there were plenty of tables available at 7:00 p.m. Not a good sign for any restaurant.

Service Always great, excellent food
Reviewer: Ari from Carpinteria, CA
I think sometimes people don't realize how difficult it can be to run a restaurant. For example, if someone goes with a large group on a regular basis and orders eight or ten dinners or lunch entrees at a place where there are only so many tables, it makes sense that they would have to call in an order to make sure there is enough food for everyone for that whole day. And did people ever think that eight credit cards is just eight credit card fees racking up when it could be just put on one card? I don't have any affiliation with this restaurant, I'm just a loyal, happy fan of the place and it gets me down that people don't think outside their own world and then accuse others of being rude to them. I've personally never had a bad experience here. The food is always excellent (you may end up leaving smelling a bit garlicky, just a warning, but that's ok by me!) and the service is always great. If you're not sure what to order, try the sea bass when it's on their specials board. A great standby is the turkey meatloaf, also excellent. Rock on, Zookers!

Avoid if you have a larger group
Reviewer: Leana from Santa Barbara, CA
I work near Zookers, and we usually have our monthly work birthday lunches here. Well, we used to have our work birthday lunches at Zookers, but we will probably never go back given our experience today and other times we have all gone. One, they ask that our office manager gather orders for food and drinks a few days before we go for lunch so they can have the food ready beforehand. I understand that they think it will cut down on time, but the staff is really rude when passing out the food and stand at the end of the table screaming the name/order. They then gets frustrated if you don't answer them in a given amount of time. Today, someone in our party asked for mustard for her burger, and the waitress said "I'll get to that when I can. I'm going to get the entire order out first." Rude. Also, they added 20% gratuity. I wouldn't have thought anything of it except someone in our party is a waitress somewhere else and said that it was bad practice to automatically add 20%. She brought it up to the owner, and she said "Oh my gosh, the waitress put 20%? She is only supposed to put 15%." To top it all off, we had about 8 credit cards for our party of 20. Our waitress told us that we should have "gone to the ATM beforehand to get a $20" as if she was put out by us using credit cards. And the finale to lunch was how we asked to charge $18.20 on each of the 8 credit cards only to get back our receipts saying she charged an even $19. HORRIBLE SERVICE.

Always, always good.
Reviewer: Minnie from Santa Barbara, CA
This place has been consistently good since they opened. The staff are friendly and knowledgeable and even when they have new wait staff they must make them taste the food becuase they are familiar with everything like they should be. The decor is simple and its lovely to look at the beautiful orchids and ever-changing local art or to sit on the front or back patios and enjoy the great weather we have in California. The food is always just really good. No matter what we order, it's GOOD. Not overly done or too fussed with, just simple, great clean and fresh tastes. It's honest home-made food that processed stuff doesn't hold a candle to. (The smells that come from this place in the morning before opening are enough to make your mouth water!) Wine list is great, haven't gotten a dud yet. One thing I have a slight issue with is that the menu is often pork and red meat heavy. At one point, even some of their fish dishes were inclusive of pork, which is hard for someone like me who doesn't eat that. I'd also love to see them go back to a simpler salmon dish. The one they have now is EXCELLENT with a light curry sauce and spinach risotto, but it's nice to have a milder salmon dish once in a while. I would recommend they have two choices. I'm not sure what these complaints about bad service are all about. Everyone has bad day, but we've only ever had friendly, happy servers. We've never left after ordering though...

Completely agree
Reviewer: Erin from Santa Barbara, CA
with the last posting... we love this place for lunch, super yummy salads and sandwiches. We were in Carp one evening and decided to try dinner, thinking it would be the same casual place and we walk in and there are white linens on the tables and candles lit, but almost the same menu just WAY overpriced. We were so turned off by the prices, and the food was nothing great, very uninspired! It was like the restaurant was trying to be something it's not. Stick with the fresh, upbeat, atmosphere like at lunch, ditch the white linens, and your lunch followers will come for a casual dinner.

Great Lunches - Over Priced Dinners
Reviewer: Robin S. from Santa Barbara, CA
I've dined dozens of times at Zookers for lunch over the last couple years and have always had a great experience - their Turkey Meatloaf, Turkey Burger, Chicken Kabobs, and Oriental Salad are among my favorites - the tasty pita chips are a nice compliment! However the 2 times I have dined there for dinner were both unpleasant experiences for several reasons 1) the dinner menu is much different and VERY over priced!!! The EXACT same entrees on the lunch menu were priced $3-4+ more on the dinner menu i.e. Oriental Salad, Turkey Burger, Ahi Tuna Salad! 2)The Oriental Salad was smaller, and was not served with bread or pita chips like the lunch serving. 3) And we were seated outside despite being only 1 of 4-5 parties in the restaurant on a Wednesday at 6:30; when asked to be seated inside we were told most of the tables were reserved. Granted we were in active wear just coming from a walk on the beach, we felt the waitress acted rudely and not just at this issue. On a positive note, the bus boy was great and made sure our drinks were always full and empty plates were cleared immediately! OWNERS please be advised you have a huge lunch following that would love to also make Zookers a regular dinner spot but you need to realize we are looking for the same, good quality, tasty, and reasonably priced meals for dinner as lunch - don't gouge us like the tourist focused spots!

Excellent Food - One of our All Time Favorite Places
Reviewer: Cathie Hand from Ojai, CA
Zooker's is one of our all-time favorite restaurants for lunch and for dinner. The food is always fresh and prepared to perfection. Congralations to the Chief and Owner!!

We were very impressed by this restaurant
Reviewer: Kate Faulkner from Ventura, CA
I am writing because I am surprised by the extremely negative reviews below (sounds like they have/had a waitperson who deserves to get the boot). I've been to Zookers twice (based on the highly favorable recommendation of friends) and enjoyed it. Nice atmosphere, good service, and a nice selection of options on the menu.

Good Food and Great Service
Reviewer: Glenn from Buellton
I'll have to disagree with below and say this place has good stuff from what I can see. Food out quick, they have interesting specials and really top notch waiters. Only negative is Curry chicken sandwich needs bigger bread(not as good as Panino) and tended to fall apart. The waiters are really good and professional and my drink got refilled more times than I can remember. It seems pretty popular too in Carp and they are willing to change orders for people. A little but not too pricey for the service, I did not see any waitresses just waiters.

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