Santa Barbara > Restaurants > Natural Cafe - State St
Omni Catering

Natural Cafe - State St
508 State St, Santa Barbara
Phone: (805) 962-9494

Reviews by the General Public

What has happened?
Reviewer: Y from Santa Barbara, CA
I've been a Natural Café diner for over 20 years, Beginning with the Goleta location and have gone to all the SB and Goleta locations. I have never had a bad meal until this past week at the Hitchcock location. I ordered a sandwich with no onions. The sandwich came with huge slices of onions, the bread was old and hard, the lettuce wilted and tomato slices were in odd shapes. The mayo dressing was missing and there were pieces of croutons on the plate. I was so disappointed.

Over cooked
Reviewer: Jessica from Santa Barbara, CA
I have gone to both Santa Barbara State & Hitchcock locations many times over the last 5 years... Always fairly happy until recently... I ordered the veggie stirfry with sautéed tofu. OMG soggy tofu & just overlooked mushy. &&&! The best part--- there was basically a whole onion uncut just hanging out. I got it to go, my baby was sleeping in my arms & i didnt check it until I had out her back in her seat. So sitting outside the Hitchcock location I called & explained the situation. They were excellent, bringing a freshly made dish however, they failed to check it & there was still an uncut onion, almost in its entirety. Seriously?! Ive had this dish before & it was good but two rounds with the complaint & it seems this is just how they are making it now & for me... Its just not good.

One of my favorites
Reviewer: Kelsey from Santa Barbara, CA
I go here more often than any restaurant in Santa Barbara because of healthy options on the menu and convenience. Its a nice casual restaurant with many veggie centric dishes. My favorites are the Old Town salad and East Beach salad. One of the great things about the menu is each entree can be customized and there are so many good sides to choose from!

Inexpensive Disappointment
Reviewer: steven from Santa Barbara, CA
My wife and I used to go to Natural Cafe about once a week, but then we stopped when the quality of the food took a noticeable downturn (e.g., lettuce butts and wilted lettuce in the salads, etc.). Last week we made the mistake of giving it another try. While the food is not horrible, it certainly is not as fresh or special as it could be. The sundried tomato pasta was a such a cheesy, gloppy mess that we ate only a few bites; but it did come with some nicely toasted garlic bread which I ate up. My salmon special was overcooked and only saved (barely) by the rich butter topping. However, the flavorless vegetable medley that accompanied the fish was overcooked (yellow squash) and undercooked (broccoli), and there was no soy sauce or tamari to add some flavor. When we asked for a soup spoon for my wife's small bowl of soup, the young helper said that they were washing dishes, but suggested that we could use a plastic spoon; same with missing water glasses. Texting on her phone and chatting with her coworkers was clearly a higher priority than serving customers. With so many other mid-price options in the lower State Street area, there's really no reason to bother anymore with this run-down establishment.

I'd like a refund
Reviewer: Kelly from Santa Barbara, CA
I phone ordered the "ranch" salad at the natural cafe today since I was in between jobs. When I got there, I found an unfriendly cashier and a salad with an aluminum foil on top. Anyways I took my salad and left as I was in a hurry.. After driving away, when I opened the bag to eat, there were no napkins or forks. I opened the aluminum foil and there were chunks of chicken in it. No knife either. And to add to the greatness of the situation, the salad tasted so bad I threw it away. So thank you natural cafe, I'd like my 9 dollars back that I spent on a horrible salad with even more horrible service. Definitely not going back.

Positively Delish!!!
Reviewer: Debrina from Glendora, CA
While vacationing in Santa Barbara we were looking for not only a vegetarian restaurant...but a restaurant that serves healthy and fresh fare...we found this at the Natural Cafe. My mother is vegan and is very particular when it comes to how the food is prepared and the freshness and crispness of ingredients. The food at Natural Cafe was delish..the servers were helpful, fast and efficient. I had the veggie tacos, the serving was plenty and tasty. Nice sunny atmosphere, nice of those places where you watch the plates go by and decide what your going to eat the next time you visit.

Reviewer: Kate Polk from Fort Irwin, CA
During our week long vacation in Santa Barbara, my husband and I checked out the Natural Cafe... We fell in love with the wholesome goodness brought to you on every plate. The flavors are AMAZING! Prices are very reasonable for the top quality and portions size of each meal... MUST TRY: FISH TACOS!!! We have been to the Natural Cafe twice now in this week long visit, and have one day before heading home... still time for another trip to the Natural Cafe :)

Good Food
Reviewer: Glenn from Buellton
Food here is good and fairly similar to the other two places in the chain in my opinion. I am really happy that the mishmash store next to it(inside open doorways to it) is changing their format and will go with a "healthy" market theme apparently soon. That store is so smelly from their sweet incense products that it makes natural cafe very unappetizing. Chicken enchiladas I had were really good. The smoothie was too thick for the straw and just Ok. Order taker was somewhere else far away in their mind. For better ambience try Hitchcock one which I think is the best. A healthy alternative for those in the lower state area but getting vegetarian crowd competition of late.

Natural Cafe is Going Down Hill
Reviewer: local eater from Santa Barbara, CA
I've frequented the Natural Cafe on State St over the last 7 years and regret to say that the quality of food and service has gone (and is going) downhill. At one time I was eating here 3 times a week because of their reasonable prices and use of quality produce. Unfortunately, as time has gone on, the use of local produce has declined (is now "regional"), and the preparation and service worsened dramatically. If you DO decide to eat at one of their locations then avoid the State St location and steer clear of the chicken ranchero (very poor).

Reviewer: Al from Santa Barbara, CA
I went to the Natural Cafe for lunch today and got the grilled veggie sandwich thinking I'd try and eat healthy for lunch. I wasn't expecting anything great since I never order vegetarian. I absolutely loved the sandwich and will definitely make it a regular stop. Love it!

just mediocre
Reviewer: a p c from Santa Barbara, CA
i really wanted to like this place! conveniently located, catered to all my changing diet needs through the years... but i can't! the long lines mean you have to stare at all their new-agey knick-knacks surrounded by either high-powered business people tapping their feet or creepy spacey latter day hippies (not the business's fault, i know). i'm not a fan of the 'union ale' ordering schema anyway (ie wait in line, THEN have your food delivered... do you tip? why, when you haven't even gotten your food yet? if you're gonna order at the counter why not pick up your own food while you're at it? can you ask the food deliverer for additional things?), but the kids they have manning the register ARE pretty friendly. ANYWAY the food has noooo flavor whatsoever. i think it's part of the 'we're healthy so we don't add any salt at all' school of thought, but everything is blaaaand. and adding sprouts to everything is passe now, right? a big flavorless mouthful of baby plants to drown out anything else flavorwise that isn't happening anyway? meh.

I'm very picky...
Reviewer: Alyssa from Santa Barbara, CA
And I loved it. I got the chicken enchiladas and they were great. I traded the side salad for my girlfriend's chips and salsa because I don't eat lettuce, and everything was very tasty. I'll go back!

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