Santa Barbara > Restaurants > Arnoldi's Cafe
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Arnoldi's Cafe
600 Olive St, Santa Barbara
Phone: (805) 962-5394

Reviews by the General Public

Historic Gem!!
Reviewer: Tim from Santa Barbara, CA
Had a gathering here yesterday for well over 100 guests after a funeral. They did a great job with the food, drinks, and the service! Everything tasted great, the place was clean, and everyone so friendly! Highly recommended!! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!

Classic Neighborhood Cafe Forgetting Basics
Reviewer: Steven from Santa Barbara, CA
We're long-time fans of this neighborhood Italian cafe, where the food is consistently excellent. On our last visit, however, I struggled twice to get the attention of any waiter, just for a water refill (I assume they aren't providing carafes at the table anymore due to the drought) and dry red pepper flakes. At this early hour the restaurant was nearly empty. More troubling, however, is the use of electronic tablets by waiters to take orders. We sat there for over a minute watching our waiter struggle to input our simple order. Introduction of this technology is unnecessary, and contributes to ruining the old school ambience this place is known for.

Why is the service SO SLOW!?
Reviewer: GG from Santa Barbara, CA
I want to like Arnoldi's. I really do. The food seems to be fairly priced, the patio is great, but the service is so extremely slow when I have dined there in the afternoon. There will literally only be three tables with two-four diners at each and it took almost two hours to get through lunch. I understand if the food takes some time to prepare. However, it really shouldn't take 10-15 to get a beverage out to someone when there are only five other diners on the premises. On top of it, some of the staff is aloof and rude and offer no apologies for the wait or forgotten items. To the owner's and management of Arnoldi's, please, please, PLEASE care more!

Not the same
Reviewer: Deborah from Santa Barbara, CA
I dined here often growing up as a kid, teen and adult. Just not the same as when the Arnoldi family ran the place. Still charming, the service needs to improve and please bring back some of the home style we loved

Reviewer: Stuie from Santa Barbara, CA
The food was OK, not great. My wife's veal piccata was better than my lasagna. The menu described the sauce as bolognese but to me that means full of meat and here it was a light tomato sauce. We sat on the back patio which was pleasant. The waiter was friendly and efficient. Must be a good place for drinks- the bar was full.

Great place for lunch
Reviewer: Jonathan from Santa Barbara, CA
I was looking for a place for lunch in the area and discovered Arnoldi's has been doing lunch for several month. I had the pasta/salad combo for $9 which was very good. It was very pleasant sitting outside on a sunny afternoon.

Great Food, Great Service, Bocce On!!
Reviewer: Don Knapp from Santa Barbara, CA
I dine here at least once a week, the place is very cozy from the minute you walk in. They have a great patio, with a fire pit and Bocce Courts. The food is great, I eat out very often and I love this place. I have not made it through the entire menu yet, however what I have had was very tasty. I generally bounce between the pizzas and pasta dishes, though I have been expanding my way down the menu. Last night I had the Milanese Di Vitello, which I loved. Couple weeks back they had a Wine tasting with the liquor & wine grotto, and they served an Ossobuco that in my opinion was top notch. They also make a damn good bocce burger, and sometimes I can get the chef to find me some Jalapenos to grill up. The Staff is very friendly, and pay attention to detail. They always seem to anticipate what I may be needing. On to the Wines, now those who know me know I have a passion for the Italian wine. For the most part I switch between the by the glass wines of Banfi Chianti and the Sangiovese. However, it is great to know that they have some of my favorites which include a great Borolo and a few Brunello’s.

Good food, bad service
Reviewer: Kris from Santa Barbara, CA
This restaurant is a staple in our community, but the service is beyond slow lately when they have a 'big group' in the back to attend to. We waited over an 1.5 AFTER they took our order, so we just left and went somewhere else. Great food and wine though if you can get it served to you in a timely manner. The servers are nice and seem to try their best, but this seems to be an ongoing thing since it's happened more than once. We do love this restaurant, but things have changed it seems.

You can't go back
Reviewer: Joni Graves from Scottsdale AZ
This place was my families favorite place to eat out. We started dining here in 1964 and Momma Arnoldi would meet each guest at the door, the place felt like you were walking into their home for the best italian meal ever. The menu was traditional and I can remember a 7 course meal ( soup, salad, bread & bruchetta, spagetti, steak and of course spumoni for dessert ) was a mear 6.95. The food is not the same Arnoldi recipe and the menu has become expensive take on foo foo italian that you can get anywhere. Get back to the history of this awesome restaurant and back to a family style dinner.

My Favorite Local Cafe!
Reviewer: Tammy Merritt from Goleta, CA
The whole family LOVES Arnoldi's! The kids love the Bocci courts, and so does Grandma when she comes for a visit. Sitting outside, under the flowering vines, by the fire pit, one feels like they have found a little slice of the homeland. The gnocchi is quite possibly the best ever, and I have tried it whenever/wherever possible - BUT I always make sure it is house made, like Arnoldi's, anything else is a total waste of money. My husband loves the seafood stew. My only complaint is that they don't do the family style meals like they used to... I loved getting the soup and salad (which are still very good) on the table for all... but gone is that day, and the prices have gone up a bit. But that is true everywhere... Also, I see the chef or manager shopping at farmer's market all the time. Great, local, fresh food!

Good food, good service
Reviewer: Sabrina M. from Montecito, CA
We dined at Arnoldis a few weeks ago (for the 3-4 time) and had a good experience. It is a cozy old style restaurant with a homey feel to it. The bartender, Willy, mixes fantastic drinks, and is very friendly. We sat out on the beautiful patio for our dinner, although it was a chilly night, we were comfortable once our server, Chris, turned on the heaters. (Marco, another server, was also very helpful). We had the Salmon, Pork Chops, Chicken Piccata, and Lasagna. All prepared nicely. We had a nice bottle of wine recommended by our server as well. The service we got from Chris was fantastic, very attentive and very friendly...and it was a very busy night! Only complaint is that while sitting at the bar, we overheard the manager/waitress talking down to her fellow servers as well as the bartender, and frankly being quite rude. I recall the same young woman being loud and disruptive, and making a scene a while back as well, although that time I thought she was just a customer, not an employee, let alone a GM. A fellow patron told us that he also has witnessed her being unprofessional to her staff on many occasions. As someone who worked in the food industry for many years its a shame to witness poor treatment of staff, since a restaurant can only be as good as those who run it.

Authentic and Flavorful with a Twist
Reviewer: Micah from Santa Barbara, CA
My visiting friend and I were initially attracted by the local character of the place, safely away from the touristy italian spots on state st. We are both italian food lovers and don't just fall head over heels for some tomato sauce and cheese potpourri. That said, our meals were virtually flawless, full of flavor and sufficiently generous portions for the right price. The highlight was the spinach and ricotta rotolo, fresh, chewy, and rich. This was followed closely by the pesto portion of the 3-part gnocchi, though the pomodoro and gorgonzola slivers were quite good as well. And while you may think that house salads are a pretty mundane affair, this one packs a punch, perfectly dressed. The bruschetta was the mundane affair in this one, though nothing to turn your nose up at. Too much bread nearly derailed us, but we fought through the pain for one last drop of italian heaven.

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