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Esau's Cafe - Downtown
[closed, no longer in business]

721 Chapala St, Santa Barbara
Phone: (805) 965-4416

  • Category: American
  • Hours: Mon-Thu 6:30am-3pm, Fri 6:30am-10pm, Sat 7am-10pm, Sun 7am-3pm
  • Price: $10 - $20
  • Serving: Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner
  • Reservations: Yes, recommended
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Reviews by the General Public

Nice way to end a vacation, 12/10/2014
Reviewer: Carolyn from Santa Barbara, CA
Heard a lot about the crunchy corn flakes French toast so I wanted to try them. DELICIOUS! Did not use coconut on it. My Aunt had eggs Benedict's. Her only complaint was that she had "too much food".


Gone Downhill...
Reviewer: Keith H. from Santa Barbara, CA
I used to go to Esau's on Casitas Pass road in Carp. 25 years ago. There was always a line out the door; it was THAT good! They sold that restuarant and moved to Lower State St., in Santa Barbara. It was a very popular breakfast spot. I have recently eaten twice at their Chapala address and was disappointed. Both my favorites of Chicken Fried Steak w/eggs and Corned Beef Hash/w eggs were just average at best. The hash browns were tastless, the Corned Beef Hash was "ACK!" spicy and how can someone screw up 'eggs-over-easy'? And what ever happened to their great homemade biscuits? And their sausage gravy is mediocre! The toast was burnt. Esau's really needs to take a step back to the 80's era quality. (And the Eggception restuarant is gone from Carp too) Service was good. Place was empty on a Friday morning...... I recommend spending your $18/meal elsewhere. (Where, I dunno)


Yummy food
Reviewer: Casey from Santa Barbara, CA
I took my friends to lunch there and we all enjoyed it. The place was very very busy on the day after Christmas. There's something for everybody on the menu. If you want something healthy, you can find it. If you want something oozing cheese, with french fries, they have that too. I had the fish burger with fruit cup. It was a nice piece of fish (I think it was mahi-mahi) on a sesame bun with tartar sauce. The fruit was all fresh: grapefruit, banana, blue berries. I'll definitely be going back. I enjoyed sitting outside by the sidewalk. The waitress was very friendly and service was good.


Worst service ever
Reviewer: Josh from Santa Barbara, CA
Sat there for 20 minutes and was not served. We got a far as the menu being handed to us. We left.


Wonderful food, coffee, service, people!
Reviewer: Joan & Dan from Goleta, CA
We have become "regulars" here at Esau's for breakfast, and have always enjoyed the food, coffee, service. The only downside (very minor) is that the jam for the toast or biscuits is sugary-bland with too many seeds (I'm tempted to bring my own jam from home). The coffee is the best, the smiles and attention from the servers, wonderful. It can be noisy inside, but it's fun energy. The photography on the walls is superb. I highly recommend the Greek-Italian omelet, and the French toast. Wonderful!


Great breakfast!
Reviewer: Alison from Santa Barbara, CA
I have been here for breakfast several times and have never been disappointed! Even if there is a wait to be seated, the hostess is always very friendly. Once seated, the coffee and water are always kept full. My only complaint in terms of service would be that they may be overly attentive :) The portions are large and the food always tastes great. I'll be coming back!


Great food / Good service
Reviewer: Jill from Santa Ynez, Ca
I ate at the Esaus downtown a few weeks ago. I ordered the Corn Beef Hash and it was cooked perfectly,a little well done and crispy . The coffee was really good and fresh. It was a busy Sunday morning and the service was awesome. I noticed the staff had really good teamwork and our waitress was really friendly. I will definatly coming back soon.


Great food, troubled service
Reviewer: JT from Santa Barbara, CA
The food here is great. It's one of the best breakfasts in town. However, the service is a problem. It seems to me that the servers need smaller sections because I don't think they can deal with the all the tables they have. The last few times we've gone there's been bad/mediocre service. While my food has been great, my boyfriend had eggshells in his pancakes and his sausage was undercooked. I don't know if we can keep coming here unless they fix some of these problems


TERRIBLE
Reviewer: Amanda Albino from Santa Barbara, CA
I have gone here before the change of hours and i always had a great time, but recently the last 3 times i've gone to this place it has been ridiculous! yesterday was the final straw. not only did the brunette girl just slam our drinks down on the table and go straight to the next table with the rich lawyer looking men to ask how their meal is(we're average income 20 year olds and tip well) then she walked away with no words to us. 15 minutes later she comes back to take our order as she placed our silverware upside down and in the middle of the table. she never asked what we wanted as our sides and walked away with minimal words. 30 minutes later the people who ordered after us got their food and still no food for us. needless to say we just left the restaurant, our appetites completely gone. never again. i dunno if its the employees mad at the change in hours or just poor training on a new girl, but something needs to be done. the food is too good to just waste on bad waiters and bad experiences for customers.


Idiots Online
Reviewer: Jon from Santa Barbara, CA
Look. Here are a couple of tips for "reviewers" (you're not really experts ya know): -Five minutes is not a long time to wait for a table. -Even if the "service was terrible", not leaving a tip should be reserved for ax murders or used car salesmen. If not, then you're simply CHEAP. Get a grip and stop watching Top Chef. You're not Tom Colicchio and its just eggs!


The girls Rock the Place!
Reviewer: Sam from Santa Barbara, CA
I have been going since they opened, I have to say the food is good I always get the Bacado Omelet yummy biscuit but. Overall the servers make a big difference. They are super friendly and upbeat just like Esau's should be. Alma, is the best addition to the place for sure!


Delicious omelette!
Reviewer: Joan from Goleta, CA
My husband and I went to Esau's for the first time, and loved it! The decor is really fun and the most of the food was fresh and delicious. I got the Bacado omelette, and was impressed. It was all very tasty and perfectly cooked. Individual flavors really came through, blending to a perfect taste. The home fries were flavorful, but a bit mushy, almost towards mashed potato consistency. Skip the homemade biscuit though -- it was very dry and hard (chefs, work on this, and I'd give you 5 stars). My husband got pancakes, which he enjoyed, but I thought were a bit too sweet -- but that's just personal preference. Still, I'd definitely go back and recommend Esau's on Chapala to others!


Good Food, Good Service
Reviewer: Ta from Santa Barbara, CA
We tried Esau's for the first time yesterday and had a late breakfast/early lunch. Luckily they serve breakfast and lunch all day as I always opt for lunch. I had the grilled turkey reuben - perfect! I tasted my sister's chicken fried steak, best ever! And excellent gravy! The server was very nice and got our food out quickly. We will definitely be back!


Great!!
Reviewer: Steve from Santa Barbara, CA
Not the same because it's clean inside and the decorations are great. Surfboards all over the walls, surf movies, trinkets, etc. One thing is for sure, the blueberry wheat germ pankakes have not changed the slightest. Alma the server is the bomb dot com. Super friendly and and attentive and has the place wired like she has worked there forever.


Not the same Esau's
Reviewer: Mike from Carpinteria
My wife and I ate often on State St. Efficient staff, hot food, generous portions. Moved to Carp, 3 blocks away from Esau's and had 10 poor experiences in succession. Our attempt at the Chapala location was familiar to our latest impression. A very awkward dining room, our table was sandwiched between several others and I was bumped constantly. Our food arrived after a considerable wait, minus the toast. In Carp, they consider your toast desert and you're lucky to get it before the check. Both our dishes were very well done and the english muffin arrived black some 15 minutes later. I had to push aside the ice cream scoop size dollop of butter aside to see the char. Loud, poorly spaced, same pedestrian food as Carp. Esau's State is officially a memory.


Great food...service could use some work, but its worth it!
Reviewer: Hattie from Santa Barbara, CA
I am so happy that Esaus is open again! Better yet it is not even a block from my house. My boyfriend and I went there this weekend and the atmosphere was great!! However our waitress was really slow and hardly said two words to us...I actually think the only thing she said to us was "ready to order" I am not kidding. One of my biggest problems when I go out to eat is when they drop off the check and don't even ask you if you are done or want anything else. A waitress that wasn't ours talked to us more and was very sweet...she saved the whole meal experience!! The food was great and the bloody marys were really interesting...not bad, but interesting. If they kicked the service up a notch it would be perfect!


Delectable food; superb service; amiable ambiance
Reviewer: Paul Rieger from Folsom, CA
Brought the family in for lunch. Definitely a place not to miss in Santa Barbara. The food was excellent - the Gnarly Burrito was a symphony on the palate; the pancakes unparalleled. The service was professional and personable. Ok, now for the cons - we live in Folsom - 6 hours away.


Welcome Back Esau's!!
Reviewer: John Thyne from Santa Barbara, CA
I was so happy to see Esau's re-open at Paseo Chapala! The service is paramount, the casual atmosphere is fun and it's a wonderful place to get together with Santa Barbara locals! Food is always plentiful and tasty! Welcome back Esau's, glad you're here!


Great Fries....bad service
Reviewer: Barbara from Santa Barbara, CA
I went here for lunch, we waited 5 min before someone even notice we were waiting at the door. We get seated and looked over the menu for 10 min before someone asked us what we wanted to drink. We ordered our food and waited 1/2 an hour for our food. The people seated next to us order/got their food/and ate and left before we even got our food! I only have an hour for lunch and we had to get it to go. The food was good, the fries were tasty, maybe because I was hungry but there was no tip cause the service was horrible. I've been a server before and I know its hard but each waitress should be assigned a section.


Consistent
Reviewer: Eric from Montecito
It generally takes only one visit for me to complain but three to praise. I have eaten breakfast at Esau's three times now and have yet to be disappointed. The corned beef hash was good, the eggs were properly cooked as ordered - over medium - a rarity in my experience. I have a thing about runny egg whites, they turn my stomach. Esau's nailed the order with runny yokes and solid whites. I also enjoyed the california eggs benedict (ordered over well for above reason) My only real criticism is WAY too many potatoes! I wish them the best of luck! EMI


Dinner was so good!
Reviewer: Marie Kelly from Santa Barbara, CA
My husband and I decided to try this place for dinner since we love the breakfasts and the location. At night, the atmosphere is different,cloth napkins candles etc, really nice.The chef is from the south and all the dinner choices look like they have a little southern touch to them. They start out serving us a bowl of freshly made potato chips free! I ordered an appetizer, the Monchego cheese and chorizo stuffed wontons with a chipotle cream to dip into and loved them!! My husband had the salmon atop a seafood stuffing topped with crabmeat and drizzled with Holandaise sauce! Very tasty!! I had the baja fish tacos and really liked how they batter their fish, its nice and lite.They have wine and beer and some fun mixed drinks. For dessert we had the individual chocolate cakes,soo good.We will definetly be back!


Decent food, awful service
Reviewer: Steven from Santa Barbara, CA
Went there twice. First time the food was fantastic, second time it was just bland. The first time I ordered a burger the bun was wonderful, the second time they had changed to a regular, nondescript boring bun. Ruined it. The pancakes were fluffy, but really bland. The service though. Took 10 minutes before waitress even came (after we had to ask). The couple seated next to us who arrived 15 minutes later got their food at the same time. No one seemed to want to take responsibility for the bar area. No drink refill offered. As a result, no tip.


Full and satisfied
Reviewer: Allison from Santa Barbara, CA
New locations is funky, cool... I miss the outside benches but the counter tops are beautiful and the Surboards hanging are fun. I had the pasilla chile omlette; fantastic, my boyfriend had the pancakes and the ower brought out a fresh mable syrup that was limited and delicious! We will come early again to avoid the wait!


Not impressed, kinda grossed out.
Reviewer: Anna from Santa Barbara, CA
Thought we'd try out this new cafe for breakfast...won't go back again. There were 3 of us and they sat us at an awkwardly shaped table that was cramped and uncomfortable. We asked our waitress a few questions from the menu and her answers were incomplete or she had to go ask someone else. The menu is kinda pricey for what you get, I'd rather go to Cajun Kitchen or Sambos for a better experience. For 2/3 of us the food was OK, nothing special. And the 3rd found eggshells in her pancakes...gross. It is cutely decorated though - beachy with surf boards on the ceiling and tons of beachy/surfy art on the wall. Maybe it's just because they're new, but I don't plan on frequenting this place anymore.


welcome back
Reviewer: eric from SB, CA
Had breakfast here a couple weeks ago, pretty good. Had dinner here last night, that was very good. a little pricey, 12.99 for a burger, but it is a new building and in Santa Barbara where rent isn't the cheapest around. glad they are back.


Not the same Esau's!
Reviewer: Robin from Santa Barbara, CA
Here's what's changed from when Esau's when on lower State Street... 1. Food quality and quantity - we ordered the Blueberry Wheat Germ Pancakes - they were really small, had hardly any blueberries and where topped with wheatgerm rather than mixed into the batter - it is not that hard to screw-up pancakes but they did, even the cakes themselves where pasty and tasteless. We also ordered the Greek Omlette and were not impressed with the portions - we have ordered this before at the old Esau's and it used to rock! 2. Service - 3 of the 4 tables around us were complaining about service, and of course we joined in, it took awhile just to get coffee, our toast came 10 minutes after our omlette was served, no one checked on us, and it took forever to pay, we actually had to chase down a busser and give him our money so we could leave. 3. Space - it was so tight in there no wonder the servers didn't come around to check on us, I don't think they could shove one more table in the joint. AND if you have the opportunity to design the whole restaurant from scratch why would you put the service stations, and kitchen, for that matter on display - you walk right buy the toaster, breads, tubs of open butter and jelly, ice bin, fountain drinks station - not a very nice atmosphere. Granted SB lacks when it comes to a good, hearty, old-fashioned breakfast so it is a total bummer Esau's had a chance to do this and missed the mark big time.


Finally a NORMAL breakfast in SB!!
Reviewer: foodiefreak from Santa Barbara, CA
We are sitting at the counter right now and feeling very full after a great breakfast. Eye candy on the walls and a great big screen for the US Open. Everything good survived the original spot on State St. but with a modern sharp clean twist. The best new feature is the late 10 pm closing time. We will be back!


Hopefully they're just working the kinks out
Reviewer: Jon Sullivan from Santa Barbara, CA
Went to Esau's for lunch today after reading the 5 star review posted here about the burgers. I beg to differ about it being the best burger ever. I got the Western and it was way overcooked (ordered medium, got well). The help staff was not paying very good attention to the patio and the people next to us waited ten minutes for jelly on their now cold toast. Let's hope they clear these issues up soon (it's the second day open). For now, go with their breakfast items.


Sensational buger
Reviewer: will from Santa Barbara, CA
i may have just experienced the tastiest hamburger ever served on earth... past, present and future. most impressive.


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