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Sojourner Cafe
[closed, no longer in business]

134 E. Canon Perdido St, Santa Barbara
Phone: (805) 965-7922

Reviews by the General Public

Should change the name to SoSojourner..., 2/21/2015
Reviewer: 40 yr resident from Goleta
Had the lasagna, basically flavorless. Service was generic. Way overpriced for what they serve. Need to update the menu, service and interior. Natural is way better.

Love the Tofu Buddha Salad
Reviewer: Jay from Santa Barbara, CA
It is not a 'fancy hip place'... it is 'The Soj'. A comfortable place to meet friends and have a good meal. The past three times I gad the Tofu Buddha Salad. Love it! It has a huge variety of mixed vegetables, tofu and rice served with a great dressing. When I go to 'The Soj', my expectation is for what it is, so I'm always happy.

Reviewer: Jean P. from Santa Barbara, CA
2 half sheet cakes were both bad. The appearance was unprofessional and unfinished looking as if a person with no experience made it. The chocolate cake was dry and the frosting sugary without any flavor. The carrot cake was as if it did not rise and cream cheese too diluted. Too sweet. The process to order was confusing. Restricted hours to talk to baker, even then, not accessible if "busy" and you can only order by talking to her. The staff was rude and uneducated as to answering any basic questions regarding specialty cakes. The staff did not open the door for the pick up even though we called ahead and the baker said to pick up. GO TO A REAL BAKERY!

Good healthy options
Reviewer: Kelsey from Santa Barbara, CA
I went here a couple nights ago for a causal birthday dinner for the first time, I was impressed with all the healthy veggie centric items on the menu and my everyone in my group was able to find something on the menu they enjoyed. I ordered the Mediterranean Torta and it was delicious and very filling! My only complaint was It was relatively slow service but since we were not in a hurry it was fine, just had more time to talk. I would like to try their vegan desserts because they sounded good but after looking at them in the display case the presentation was not extremely appealing and could be improved upon. Overall I really enjoyed the food and I will definitely be back again!

Bland, Uncomfortable, but good veggie juice...
Reviewer: Steve from Santa Barbara, CA
Love the veggie juice (beets, carrots, parsley & cucumber), but not much else. Wait staff seem demeaned having to provide service; more interested in chit chatting amongst themselves. The dahl was bland and served with too much brown rice. They were polite when I asked for a little more dahl, but even the waiter commented that it was watery. It wasn't just watery and without flavor, but it had undercooked chunks of eggplant and squash in it, not to mention sour cream and a sickly sweet "chutney" which tasted like orange jam. Yuck. Who cares if it's been around forever? The food and service are very substandard!

Reviewer: Matt from Santa Barbara, CA
We have been going to Sojourner for years and it has always been consistent. I have a couple go to dishes that I would go to if the specials didn't entice me. Among these are the Gazpacho and the Biryani stew. Last week we dined here and I ordered the Gazpacho (always ask for extra horseradish sauce). When it comes to the table the server informs me that they changed the recipe and no longer serve with horseradish so he didn't bring any extra....which turned out not to matter since the sauce and soup were bland and boring anyway. Really bummed, next comes out the Biryani which is even worse. Hardly a stew, very thin broth and just not the same flavor. Service wasn't bad just not that interested in our table. The whole dining experience was just sort of flat.

Reviewer: Whitney from Santa Barbara, CA
It should be a rule that if you are going to specialize in vegetarian and vegan food, you should have to make it GOOD. No meat eater is every going to go to a vegetarian place when the food lives up to the bland, boring stereotype. This place does exactly that. Bland and boring food, and amenic, unhappy waitstaff. Edible. But do you want to go out to dinner to have a meal that is just edible?

Attitude Issues
Reviewer: carolyn from Santa Barbara, CA
I agree with the previous poster about the attitude problems. I feel so uncomfortable about it and it's so negative, that I don't even consider that restaurant when we go out. The food is decent, nothing like what it used to be. With other veg. options around, even at mainstream places, the Soj. can't rest on merely offering vegetarian food. It really doesn't have to be this way, seriously!

Its time to write a review......
Reviewer: Francis Ruggeri from Santa Barbara, CA
I have been going to this restaurant for a few months now, the food is good....thats it. I keep going back in hopes to proove that I am wrong but now its time to write a review. The place is a bit run down and could use some remodeling...... the service is straight up depressing. I have NEVER seen a smile on any of the 4 waiters faces. Today 3 servers walked by me without even saying hello or offering me a menu. It seems as though they hate what they do and would give anything in the world to be somewhere else. I bought a gift certificate for some friends knowing they would appreciate the Vegan/Vegetarian style food, but they had the same thing to say about the service. Wake up guys....if you don't like what you do leave the job for someone who does.

unhappy wait staff !
Reviewer: m.l. genovese from Santa Barbara, CA
The waitstaff never seems to smile. We have been greeted with frowns. The service takes a while, though the food is good. From the moment we walked in we were met by a frowning face. Is anyone happy that works there? Even questions seem to annoy them. Been there many times and had the same experience. Not too fun for a nice time dining out.

Never Again!!!
Reviewer: John from Santa Barbara, CA
Went in last Friday night a little after 10pm after seeing a show. The food and dessert was very good. Our waiter was very friendly and attentive. But the manager who greeted us made it clear that he did not want to seat us or anyone else. Looked bothered that we entered the door. He even yelled at a large party that came in after us. Told them how dare they come in to the restaurant and expect service so late. It was a little after 10pm and the place closes at 11pm. About 10 or 15 til 11pm, manager would walk by and give us the evil eye trying to get us to leave. Our waiter didn't rush us though. But still we finished dessert and left asap. We paid for service and got chased out before closing. Never will return again!

Reviewer: Erica S. from Santa Barbara, CA
The food here is decent--I'd call it typical "Santa Barbara" cuisine, with lots of healthy options and fusion-cuisine ideas. Great Mediterranean torta salad! Unfortunately, for one late lunch on a Saturday, I had rather flakey service. As soon as we were seated, we requested water and ordered a lemonade, as we were quite thirsty. The water didn't show up until about 5 minutes later, and the lemonade never materialized until we had to remind him after our food orders arrived that we had ordered lemonade. I found the service to be pretty spacey.

cooo-kies on Friday or Sunday
Reviewer: Chris C from Santa Barbara, CA
We had lunch at Sojourner on Sunday. Service was friendly and attentive, as usual. For those expecting whip-crack discipline, this is the Soj and a little flakiness is part of the ambiance. The Conehead salad with ginger-orange-sesame dressing is a green feast with roasted seeds and Parmesan, and the chile relleno casserole a square of comfort food deliciousness. But the essential treat is their pumpkin chocolate chip cookies baked only on Friday and Sunday. They use local produce and compost the leftovers, so healthy for their customers and healthy for the environment.

Lunch once a week and always good!
Reviewer: Craig from Santa Barbara, CA
My wife and I have lunch at Sojourner once a week and we like it. I am truly surprised at the negative reviews regarding price and service. If there was a recent change... thankfully we missed it. We like the food, the service, the price-value relationship. Sojourner alone showcases the Santa Barbara 70-80's cafe vibe with prices and service for today.

i totally agree with the last few reviewers...
Reviewer: prue from Santa Barbara, CA
and it makes me soooooo sad. the soj used to be one of my fav go-to restaurants, dine-in and carry out. then they decreased the portion size and doubled the prices. we went a few times to keep trying but had to spend a baby fortune just to get enough food to feel satisfied. i wish the owners would read these comments...i miss you sojourner of days gone by!

A good thing gone bad
Reviewer: Ben from Santa Barbara, CA
It's too bad that The Sojourner was turned over to new owners a couple of years ago. It has been a painful experience to watch it slowly decline while the prices steadily increase. My wife and I were regulars 2+ times per week, knew all the staff, but no longer even consider it when deciding where to dine.

HORRIBLE SERVICE and Overpriced! This place is a trainwreck.
Reviewer: kaiden christopher from Santa Barbara, CA
Their service has never really been amazing so I've come to just kinda expect that when I go there, which is NOT a good thing in the restaurant business. It's actually extrememly annoying, especially when you're paying Good money for mediocre food these days there. I had kinda given up on them and decided to just try it again..well these past two times I've "tried again" were complete Fails on the the Soujourner's part. We waited 20 minutes for a waitress to just acknowledge us(while they keep walking by us-the place wasn't even busy). Last night the waitress when she finally got to us was dead eyed, looked at us like we were bothering her, was rude when we asked her two questions about the menu and basically acted like she really didn't give a **** about us, her place of employment or her own integrity. After all that waiting for her HER to WAIT on us(her JOB) we had to just get up and tell her not to even place out order and we left. How could anybody want to eat there with such negative, non-caring employees and overpriced food. I am extrememly dissatisfied with what this place has deteriorated to. I really hope the owner/management hires some people who actually need and take pride in their jobs, especially in this economic time. The food, service, and prices really need to get on the same playing level stat.

what happened??
Reviewer: julibelle from Santa Barbara, CA
We had lunch here last week. What a waste of our time and $$. I've been coming to Souj since the very early days and feel I know what to expect - carefully prepared, very casual food, upbeat & attentive sevice. All of which stayed at home. Really (sorry) crappy tuna sandwich, which came grilled although requested toasted, replaced without comment, no dressing on the cobb variation, no comment when replaced. But the check came quickly enough. It was a textbook ex. of a place where no one cares anymore. What a waste of all the effort over the years!

A Sojourner Addict
Reviewer: Isabella Trudeau from Santa Barbara, CA
So I am a Sojourner addict as of recently. Every time I go the food never disappoints. Every dish has a unique flare and flavor to it. If you go, you have to try the Mediterranean Torta, it is by far the most delicious salad I've ever had! Unfortunately, I had a terrible experience with the service today. My friend and I went in for a mid-shopping lunch. I have told her about the restaurant before and needless to say we were quite excited. We arrived and we seated with no issues. Joanne was our waitress for the meal and she seemed aloof and spacey. She brought my friend the wrong drink, maybe she misheard. I had to ask someone else to take our food order because we didn't see her anywhere after about 5 minutes of being ready to order. We exchanged the drink with another very sweet brunette waitress with short hair. Joanne swung by and apologized for the drink issue, we appreciated it everyone makes mistakes. Our food came and was phenomenal, yet again. When the meal came to an end we ordered the Double Chocolate Bread Pudding. She then asked whether we would like it warmed up with whipped cream and that sounded heavenly to me :) When she brought it out she said the kitchen couldn't heat it because the pudding had to be served cold...okay why did she offer it then...maybe she's new? We took our first bites and it was not bread pudding at all! Just chocolate pudding. Well needless to say Joanna might need better training. As my friend put it, "it seemed like she only listened to the ends of our sentences." I hate to see bad service at such a wonderful restaurant so I wanted to bring this to your attention.

Reviewer: Sid from Santa Barbara, CA
Service was horrible. took a while to be seated, took their sweet time taking our orders, slow to bring the beverages, waited THIRTY minutes before they decided to tell me they didn't have what I ordered and i'd have to order something else. food came out 20 minutes later. Ordered an Arnold Palmer, waitress refilled it with just tea. the food was mediocre, and overpriced. i love that they called their salad some sort of unique pickle salad when it was just hamburger pickles thrown on top of lettuce. don't eat here, save your money.

Reviewer: rosen from Santa Barbara, CA
Went last night to Soj. I don't mind paying a fair price for dinner at all and I understand how prices have gone up, and that they try to be sustainable....BUT.....$16 for stir fried rice, veg. and tofu! And $12 for a salad an additional $2 for a roll? The salad was fresh and the stir-fry was OK, nothing special. I feel like the regulars are being taken advantage of.

What's happened to the Soj?
Reviewer: Lyni Lawson from Santa Barbara, CA
I have seen the Soj change over the past few years and keep trying it in hopes it will be great again. I have been disappointed each time and no longer will eat there. Had brunch last Sunday and the eggs were overcooked. Bagels were on the menu but when I ordered, was told they don't serve them anymore. The tomato soup tasted like it was from a can with huge pieces of onion in it. Ordered coffee and for the price thought refills would be offered. Had to track down the waitress for one refill who seemed very put out. Then to charge for a roll on top of the overpriced soup....that's it for me. The good old days are gone. The Soj is no longer what it was. It almost feels as tho there's a new owner that doesn't care. Perhaps he or she should read these reviews.

went back for dessert after concert!
Reviewer: william boyle from Santa Barbara, CA
we were out of towners looking for vegan place to eat before we saw Derek Trucks concert down the street. our family was surprised to find menu with so much selection for us. Portions were small, and it was not cheap, service was very good and the food was very good also. Good enough for us to return a few hours later after the show for desserts. Hip veggie place. recommended. Good concert too!wi

Reviewer: Isabella Trudeau from Santa Barbara, CA
I went to Sojourner today for a casual Sunday lunch and was pleasantly surprised! It has a great simple Café atmosphere, nothing too fancy and just is a few blocks off state. I thought the food was phenomenal and the service was quite personable and accommodating. It actually proves relatively difficult to find a good Restraunt that serves lunch on Sunday and I think I found my new spot! Everything on the menu looked amazing so I asked the waitress for her opinion and went with her suggestion of the Mediterranean Torta Salad and a cup of Coconut Curry Pumpkin soup. Boy was I in heaven! The combination of flavors that they have discovered is one of a kind and I dine out quite often.

Agree with last poster -- boring and expensive!
Reviewer: karolyn from Goleta
I go to the Soj for historical reasons, but each time I am tempted to never go again! Food now is either too boring and tasteless or too contrived and complicated (coconut curry spinach with corn soup). And, it has gotten too expensive with all the add-ons -- $2 for each roll with a $12 salads. Almost $25 for fish if you want a salad with it. I know it can be better -- Soj folks, please try!

Disappointed... 13.00 bowl for sour soup????
Reviewer: Annex from Santa Barbara, CA
Everyone know Soj is great for desserts, and I will pinch myself to remind me of this fact next time I get a craving for soup. Went for soup and salad: both were unappealing, no protein or lentils or beans in either choice ?????? coconut soup- tasted like someoone opened a can, threw in can of tomatoes and spinach. OUCH... to hurt more the soup salad and roll came to 13.00 without tip. NOTE TO SELF: do not eat at soj.

big disappointment
Reviewer: Amanda from Goleta, CA
I was very excited to try out Sojourner's as I'd heard many rave reviews about it. Unfortunately when I went with a group of friends our food was very poor. We each ordered something different (5 different dishes) and each one was seriously lacking in flavor, seasoning, and texture. I was SO disappointed, because I love vegetarian food and was expecting to really enjoy this place (and prove to my meat loving friends that vegetarian cuisine is delicious too)! The service was just fine, no qualms there. But I'll never go back, the food was that big of a let down.

Healthy and Delicious--I love it!
Reviewer: K. Afflerson from Santa Barbara, CA
This is my favorite all-time restaurant. There are so many awesome dishes, such as the tempeh taco salad, the buddha salad, the wonton pillows, tofu ricotta pasta shells, the veggie nut burger...and the service is usually very friendly. The coffee buttercream fudge cake is the best thing i have ever eaten in my whole life. (We order full cakes for special occasions--I will never get tired of it!) You can't go wrong with any of the desserts. I often see the owner, Donna, there at lunch, and you can tell she loves what she does and appreciates every customer. It's always a great experience!

Pretty cool place
Reviewer: Niki from Santa Barbara, CA
There aren't many vegetarian places to go so I like this place. It has a cool vibe. The food isn't spectacular or anything, but I don't think that anyone could say it was bad at all. I thought it was really cool and I would go back because I liked it enough. The prices aren't bad either.

Never lives up to expectations.
Reviewer: Nick from Santa Barbara, CA
We just keep trying this place and it never quite hits the spot. The interior is boring. Staff is friendly enough. But the food is so bland. It gives vegetarian a bad name. Meatless food can be so much better than this. Honestly, the best thing I've had there is the turkey burger, which doesn't say much for a veggie place. I'd just go to natural cafe if you want simple vegetarian.

Bland food, so-so service
Reviewer: Meg from Santa Barbara, CA
The food is bland and over priced for what it is. They try to get to fancy with a lot of the dishes but they end up missing the mark. I keep on trying to give it another shot because I like healthy food, but I end up disappointed every time. I've heard some of the waitresses are nice, but the last time I went mine was kind of stuck up and flakey. Desserts looked and sounded good although I didn't try one, thats the only nice thing I can say.

Delicious food, friendly service
Reviewer: M. Mulroney from Santa Barbara, CA
I dine at the Sojourner fairly often and I absolutely love it. The soups are terrific, and the specials too. My favorite: the veggie pot pie special, it's sooo delicious! Fresh juice bar, organic options, great salads and sandwiches (the veggie rueben is to DIE FOR!). I think it's a wonderful place, local and interesting. I also like the art shows they have. I only have 3 complaints: 1. When they sometimes play the techno type of music it just doesn't seen to fit and it is kind of bothersome. 2. I really prefer the OLD veggie burger buns to the ones they replaced them with, they were much softer and tastier. I actually don't order this item any more because of the new buns they use. 3. Prices tend to be on the high side for this type of food. Over all, the Sojourner is a really good place. Hearty and healthy and I recommend it.

We loved this place!
Reviewer: Torrey from Encinitas, CA
We liked everything. We were visiting from San Diego and we allways look for vegetarian/vegan places to eat. This place is excellent for dinner. We had the Crispy Tofu with ; grilled onions, brown rice, steamed veggies and a tangy horseradish sauce. Also the Portabella ravioli special with an awsome sweet marinara sauce, veggies and garlic bread. The portions were right on and we ate everything on our plates. Next time we're in SB we will be eating here for sure.

Boring or Strange
Reviewer: Carolyn from Santa Barbara, CA
I wish I stilled like the Sojourner. It just seems that the old standbys have gotten bland and boring and their soups are just strange (Coconut curry pumpkin, Pesto w/cabbage). Sometimes their specials can be good, but it has gotten overly pricey. Can eat pasta at Ca Dario for about the same price! Wish I still looked forward to going there because it is (was)the Soj!

I don't get it either
Reviewer: Karen from Santa Barbara, CA
I have to agree with the previous post. My lunch was just average...nothing stood out. Portions are a bit on the small side, which is okay if the flavors stand out. Service was cordial, but a tad slow.

I just don't get it....
Reviewer: Lisa from Santa Barbara, CA
It's a cult thing, the 'Soj'. The food is really bland. Again today, the cooked veggies I had for lunch today were OVERcooked. The people are so nice, and I want to like it, but I've tried it quite a few times over the years, and it just tastes bland every time. Natural Cafe, for instance, seems fresher, crisper, more flavorful.

Reviewer: Anna Davis from Santa Barbara, CA
This was only my 2nd visit to this restaurant. I had the Chicken garlic cilantro stew... or something like that, it was one of their specials. SOOOOOOO good! My friend had the half-size cornbread supreme and she was full by the end of it, she wondered if anyone could even eat the full size version. They had so many desserts we wanted to try, and our server told us they have two full time dessert bakers who make everything from scratch, but we were just too stuffed to even attempt it. I had read somewhere that they had lost their chef, and I asked our server, who said the people in the kitchen have pretty much all been there for over 10 years, and now they have free reign to bring in their own ideas, like the chicken stew that I had. It was really great and I will definitely be back to try more!

Reviewer: Sarah from Santa Barbara
Thank God someone introduced me to this restaurant. I love the healthy organic food restaurants and this one is a personal favorite for many reasons: The food is always quick and hot. The soup is amazing (Squash mmm) and OMG the dessert! (Make sure you try the flourless chocolate torte it is to die for.) And you must try the Ginger Pillows! There's not usually a long wait, and the staff is always nice. I read a review that someone said the waitresses gossiped and were slow. Well all I have to say is that not many restaurants have people that dont speak when they work (would you want that at your job?) And also, the whole atmosphere is calm, homey, and casual. Everyone who works and eats there takes on this same attitude and people who are used to the quick and short meal, this is not your place. Keep doing what you do Soj, I love you!

One of my favorites
Reviewer: Esteban from Santa Barbara, CA
I absolutely love to explore different restaurants in Santa Barbara. But the one that I come back to time and time again is the Sojourner. It's a warm, friendly and healthy alternative. Simple dishes that consistently taste good. I appreciate the simplicity of the menu and love that food isn't disguised in sauces or in immaculate presentation. And don't forget to try a cookie after your meal! Service has been generally good. The place gets busy and sometimes I've waited a little longer than I wished, but have never encountered rudeness or general bad service like I have on State Street. A simple, tasty vegetarian choice in my opinion worth checking out if you haven't.

Reviewer: beth from goleta, ca
cute cafe with pricey decent food but nothing spectacular. i would rather go to ihops for the french toast but i guess it was healthier at sojourner's. the service was rather horrible. the employees seemed to gossip among themselves and it took too long for the drinks to come out. the deserts seemed limited but the menu had some yummy sounding foods.

Vegan Dishes, Good Food, Friendly Staff
Reviewer: A Teague from Los Angeles, CA
Based on reviews, we tried Sojourner Cafe on our recent getaway to Santa Barbara and had a pleasant experience. It was a relaxed cafe with a home-like feel. Our waiter was friendly. I was happy to find Vegan options. The Vegan stuffed pasta shells were very good as well as the Vegan Apple Cherry Crisp Cobbler. It was also very affordable! Pros: Vegan Dishes That Are Very Tasty! Great Waitstaff! Affordable!

Pricey Mediocre Food and Bad Service
Reviewer: Stuart from Santa Barbara, CA
This was our first time dining at this place. We originally wanted to come here becauase we heard it was very healthy, organic food. First, off it took a very long time for the waitress to even ask us what we wanted to drink (and the place was not busy). Second, the "Pita and Hummus" we ordered only came with a SINGLE PITA for $4. If you ask me, that is a little on the cheap side for that price. My tosdata tasted like crap and to top everthing off, they miscalculated our final bill. At that point, I just wanted to get out of there, so I didn't complain. BOTTOM LINE: Doesn't live up to the "organic" hype, it's way overpriced for what you get and the service is sub-par.

Great food, service, and atmosphere
Reviewer: Jeanne Romero from Rayne, Louisiana
I ate at Sojourner while on vacation. Honestly, I wasn't expecting much because I'm from south Louisiana and it's very hard to compete with the food here. I had the vegetarian lasagna and it was spectacular. It was the best lasagna I've ever had. The service was wonderful and the atmosphere was nice. I liked the layout and art work. I am looking forward to returning and would recommend Sojourner to anyone.

Best and healthiest food in town... and tastes delicious
Reviewer: Christen Gomez from Carpinteria, CA
Sojourner is myself and my husband and our best friends favorite place. There was a time we went once a week. The iced tea, and mocha frosted are delightful. The Nut burger, soups, torte, and wonton pillows are a must have. Everything at Sojourner is delicious. The deserts are amazing as well... there are many vegan deserts. You must go! Service is friendly.. Food is fresh and natural.

Great waiter, great food
Reviewer: Diane Goodboyboise from Santa Barbara, CA
My husband and I had lunch today at Sojourner, Veteran's Day, and enjoyed it to the hilt. We eat out alot and our waiter, Jasper, was the best waiter I have had in Santa Barbara in a long long time, and I made sure to tell the manager how friendly and with-it he was. It was like he actually cared! He even wrote a nice comment on the bill. The tower of vegetables I had was enough for two meals, and the salad dressing was very good. My husband enjoyed his chicken sandwich and hot salsa. The Arnold Palmer beverage is the best we have ever tasted and we enjoyed the chocolate chip cookie. Thank you for accepting our discount card, too, getting one meal free was just great.

This place is the Donnie Danko
Reviewer: Candice from Isla Vista, CA
I have been to sojourner twice, the most recent time being my 21st birthday. the staff is very quirky and eccentric and cute. they can be kind of awkward but in a nice way. they fit right in with the atmosphere, which is really laid back, with nifty art all over the walls. it is a fun place to hang out downtown. this place is veggie friendly, almost to the exclusion of omnivores, but who cares about those guys right? haha. for instance, the vegan jumbo pasta shells are a vegan's sensual fantasy dream come true!! but, my dining companion ordered some sort of seafood boullabaise, and we all agreed that it was rather unpleasant-seeming. the excellent service made up for it though, because they kindly replaced his seafood with a dish of the pasta shells, which he loved, and they didn't even charge us for the MUCH more expensive seafood dish. THANK YOU FRIENDS! they also accommodated us with reservations for a large party on a friday, when they normally wouldn't, but they did because it was my birthday. it is nice that they have organic fair trade coffee as well. I give them an A+. I don't think their food is boring at all. it delights me.

tasty, but organically pricey!
Reviewer: chee from sb, ca
this place is super popular...even on a weekday lunch! I got the albacore salad, and it was really fresh, filled with tuna, and the ranch dressing was light and not too caloric-feeling. even though the salad itself was $10, the 10%-off discount card helped to ease the financial burden...the service was also really good and attentive...I recommend this place if you have a few bucks to spare, want some fresh, organic food, and are looking for a rustic atmosphere.

Organic worth the price.
Reviewer: chryss from santa barbara, ca
I would just like to point out to those who think the Soj is overpriced: organic, cage-free, fair-trade.... these items are typically a bit more expensive, so when trying to provide an ethical and healthy alternative, it makes sense that to cover their costs, the price is a bit higher. Yeah, it's not cheap, but it's worth it. The Soj is a special place in SB, unique indeed.

Real, natural food!
Reviewer: Kristen from Carpinteria
Finally, a place that has actual natural food (unlike somewhere on State Street which will remain unnamed). The food here is great, and the desserts are AMAZING. You can't go wrong with any of them. Sometimes the specials are kind of weird, like the chef is doing a crazy experiment, but I suppose that's what the specials menu is for. Everything here is good, I have to be careful not to eat here too often and make myself get tired of it! When it's busy the service can be inattentive and slow, but usually it's not. One of my favorite places in SB, and not many places have that distinction because I am really picky.

Glad to Have Veggie Options
Reviewer: Naneki from Santa Barbara, CA
I'm a vegetarian and it's hard to find food that I like at restaurants. It's nice to have a place to turn to. I like the hippie vibe. It's super laid back and the food is great! It's nice that they offer fish too because then I can go with my boyfriend, who doesn't do veggies.

Creative Yummyness!
Reviewer: Christina from Santa Barbara, CA
I have lunch here quite often and have always been so satisfied. I usually get their Tempeh Tostada's SO good, perfectly spicy. Today, I branched out and ordered this dish off of the "Lunch Specials" was a baked Yam with black beans, steamed veggies and feta cheese. I ate the entire thing! Can't wait to go back!

Great ingredients, but more flavor please
Reviewer: Sally from Santa Barbara
went with friends who loved their meal (they are vegetarian) but as I make lentils, salad and soup all the time for myself at home, wanted to try something different. I tried the special, which was about 17 dollars (not cheap): seafood stew. Beautiful presentation of seafood: mussels, scallops and fish and rice, BUT DISAPPOINTED: the broth was not flavourful. Bland, in all truth I think it just need maybe saffron or another delicate herb (parsely, cilantro) and a good dose of some kosher/sea salt. I have noticed that at veggie places that they can lack salt...salt does wonders! don't skip this basic culinary necessity!!! The same goes for the Natural cafe: SALT PLEASE.. IT IS CHEAP, DON'T SKIMP! I brought the rest home and will proceed to doctor it up with a flavorful broth of my own. Their desserts are excellent (maybe because they are sweet and don't really need salt! )

Never a bad experience!
Reviewer: R. Withers from Santa Barbara, CA
In reading all of these bad reviews the Soj got, I can't help but wonder if they are confusing the place with somewhere else! I've lived in Santa Barbara since 1986 and I've eaten here regularly since with NEVER a bad experience. They are always accommodating for special dietary needs and the wait staff is friendly and fun. The only thing I can see is that they sometimes have too many people working and sometimes it looks like they are bored or have too little tables to wait on. But never...NEVER a bad experience. I would heartily recommend this restaurant to anyone.

Reviewer: Allison from Santa Barbara
I think the food has gone downhill in the past few years. It used to be my absolute favorite restaurant but I often find now that they aren't as creative as they used to be and the last few times, had to send my meal back to be microwaved....not worth the money anymore.

Veggie haven
Reviewer: cait from santa barbara, ca
I'm new to SB, and I'm a vegetarian, so I was dying to try this place. The decor is simple and homey, but don't let that fool you. The menu has some very exotic dishes, as well as some familiar ones. I had the pasta shells with tofu ricotta, which was one of the best veg dishes I've ever had. We also ordered a hummus and eggplant salad that I don't remember the name of, but it was equally delicious. The hummus is great and unlike any I've ever tasted! We finished with the apple-orange cranberry crumb pie, which was similar to rhubarb but I little tangier. Overal, the soj has fantastic food, is reasonably priced (about $28 for 2 drinks, 2 entrees, and dessert), and friendly service to boot. very impressed and definitely going back for more.

Great salmon dish
Reviewer: Sean W. from Goleta, CA
I had dinner with couple friends there, and it was wondeful. The salmon dish is one of the best I have tried in Santa Barbara. The salmon is very tender, and the berry based souce is refreshing. The only issue about the salmon is the size of portion, which is kind of small in compare to their pasta entrees. The service was good. Our waitress was very nice and sweet with a warm smile. The restaurant itself is pretty nice and comfortable. I am very happy with everything.

Great for vegans
Reviewer: Jen from Santa Barbara, CA
Great food, atmosphere, and service. Portions are fairly large (for me) and I always have some to take home for lunch the next day. Lots of vegan options, including wonderful desserts!

yummy breakfast!
Reviewer: karen from Goleta
I went here for the first time over the weekend. How could I have missed this place for the last few years?! I had a chipotle salmon omlete from the daily specials menu and LOVED it. There were so many other menu items that were tempting me that I will certainly have to return to try out more! The environment was comfortable and there's a great view of the Presidio across the street.

great local option
Reviewer: lemonjelly from santa barbara
My favorite time to come here is Saturday lunchtime, after picking up fruit, veg and flowers at the farmers' market. I like the healthy vegetarian options at reasonable prices. I really like the plain coffee (and I am a cappuccino gal at all other times), and I *really* like the desserts. I once had an African nut stew on special and was pleased, it was different than anything I'd ever had before (think peanut butter soup, with goodies). The staff are a friendly local lot - I run into them all around town and they are equally genuine whether their working apron is on or off.

Best Drink in the World
Reviewer: Robert Garven from Ventura CA
They have the best brink I've ever had, the Mocha Frosted. McConnels coffee ice cream Ghiradelli chocolate and a shot of expresso (de-caf for me0. I have driven 30 miles just to have one. Starbucks and every other coffe shop move over. This is by far the best mocha coffe drink on the planet!!! BTW the food is great also :-)

it's ok except desserts are really good
Reviewer: Amanda Lieber from Santa Barbara
The food here is OK. The desserts are yummy and I like all the non-wheat and non-dairy and non-sugar choices. The wait staff is kinda awkward and impersonable- When you walk in sometimes they look right at you and ignore you-not all the time though-One time I asked if I could pre-order a dessert before we sat down- the hostess said yes---so I pointed to the one I wanted in the dessert case--she said, oh those are on reserve already- OK- well do you have any more in the back, I said-- no(she laughs) that's it-anyway she was acting like she was 12 and being kinda weird and stoned like---take the friggen dessert out of the case so others won't want it. I don't need to go back here now that I think about it

Great food, great service
Reviewer: Jennifer from Santa Barbara, CA
I loved it!!! The ingredients were fresh and organic and the service was great. Even though the restaurant was packed, we were seated after only a short wait by a very friendly hostess. Our waitress was attentive and the food came was served in a nice order, I started with their creamy tuscan tomato soup and it was fantastic! Make sure you stop by the sojourner when you come into town. It is my new favorite stop off when traveling through town!

Reviewer: Aimee from Goleta, CA
I had a wonderful experience at Sojourner's. The only downside was that there were so many delicious options on the menu I had trouble choosing what to order! Fortunately, the very friendly (and patient) waitress helped me to decide. The food was both creative and delicious, and the presentation was beautiful. I'm not a vegetarian, but I appreciated the fact that the meal was healthy AND filling AND tasty AND inexpensive (my massive entree salad was only $8). I've also heard that Rachael Ray chose this restaurant as one of her features when she did her Under $40 show in Santa Barbara.

Not a health food restaurant! Food is microwaved
Reviewer: Claudia Brachtl from Santa Barbara
The Sojourner should not advertise as a health food restaurant. The last few times I ate there, the food tasted old and reheated (microwaved) the vegetables were probably precooked and then microwaved, too. The rice was old and also just heated up. This food has no nutritional value left.My advice: Get rid of the microwaves and cook the food fresh!

Great experience
Reviewer: Brian from Whittier, CA
5 persons whose ages ranged from 16 to 85, and there was something for each of us with such a splendid menu. Tastes,smells and feeling of this restaurant is A+. We were sat promptly, it was about 6:30pm on Tuesday evening. Service was there with no hovering just comfortable and nice.Food was tasty and well presented. great cup of coffee to top off a really lovely dinner.

What a Relief !
Reviewer: Michael from San Diego
The outside seating was great - right across from the Presidio. The street was a little noisy, but what can you expect ? I loved the attention to detail - like organic ketchup. The waitress was helpful and overrode my sojburger choice with the nut burger since I wanted vegan. The burger fell apart, but I've made these and that's the way they are. Accompanied by a vegan dream shake - it made for an compassionate alternative to the traditional American lunch. A welcome relief from the grinding insensitive food machine all around. Thanks P.S. to another reviewer - eating tuna is not even vegetarian, much less vegan

Reviewer: Vivica from Santa Barbara,CA
I always enjoy my meals at Sojourner. The food is always fresh, delicious and served promptly. I have never had poor service while dining at this establishment. I'm not quite sure what people expect from food servers other than prompt, polite, efficient service, so I am bit bewildered when other guests complain about the service. Servers are there to deliver your meal, keep your beverages full, and be courteous. They are not there to entertain, be a punching bag or boost egos. Pardon my tangent...anyways, dine at The Soj, it's WONDERFUL!!

Great Food, POOR service
Reviewer: Chanimal from Santa Barbara, CA
This is my 5th time at this restaurant. Their entire menu is wholesome, unique and tasteworthy. The curry stew was sweet with the right amount of spice. However, the service is consistently rude & enough to steer my wife & I from visiting again. Our waitress simply refused to bust a smile throughout EVERY interaction. Moreover, everytime i said "thank you" she simply walked away. Keep in mind she did the same to other tables as well. I´m almost compelled to tell the manager to send their waiters/waitresses/hostess next door to Jimmy´s to take a lesson on how to properly treat customers.

Always Personable and Creative
Reviewer: JL from Summerland, CA
In a world of scripted service and cookie-cutter menus, Sojourner stands out for its personable staff and creative menus. My curiosity often finds the specials appealing. My palate never finds them deceiving. My wife prefers the sojourner classics. Tasty and healthy are rarely combined so well. Sojourner makes me enjoy soup, eat my vegetables and save room for desert.

Great food, mediocre service.

Excellent and unique menu, best desserts in town, fabulous downtown location. Yet, despite the fact that I´ve been eating here almost weekly for about 7 years, even the veteran staff act like they´ve never seen me before - no friendly "hello," "good to see you again," etc. In fact, they almost never smile. Kinda creepy. Like they´re all in some kind of Sojourner cult.


I eat at this restaurant at least two times a week and find the food well prepared and quite healthy. It is hard to find a place that will accomodate special dietary needs, but sojourner makes it easy and enjoyable. The restaurant is somewhat like a quaint community. My only complaint is the frequent poor service. There are some vetran servers that are outstanding and for the most part the staff is mostly made of conscious people, however, more times than not things are forgotten and done in a slow careless pace. If you are a vegetarian or eat a healthy diet and are looking for good food and nice people in santa barbara, this is the place for you.

Its Ok diner type food
Reviewer: Stephanie from Carpenteria
Been to this restaurant a few times. It´s just ok-nothing real exciting on the menu. Everything seems like the same old thing. If you want just a quick bite to eat this is ok but if you want to enjoy a dining experience you are better off choosing something else other than this cafe. The food here is more lunch oriented and lunch is probably the best time to choose to eat here.

A Santa Barbara Institution
Reviewer: Emily from Santa Barbara
As a Santa Barbara resident, I can´t think of a better community dining establishment than the Soj. The food is great (the wonton pillows are my favorite, but the cheaper tofu Buddha salad is yummy too). The desserts are deservedly famous--I´ve never had a bad one. A couple reviewers have complained about the wait staff, but I´ve always gotten excellent service. Plus, it´s nice to be waited on by actual human beings rather than the scary clones that one sometimes encounters in trendy eateries.


This restaurant is wonderful. If you are not looking for red meat, you can choose almost anything and it will be delicious, fresh and mostly organic. The servers truly seem to care that you enjoy your experience, and I look forward to each visit.

rude service

the service there was verry rude and they overcharged for are dinner when I brought it to there attention they said that they would give me a drink on the house. I waited a half of an hour and no drink then I decided to just leave nedless to say the service there was not verry good and the food is overpriced for what you get.

Reviewer: ln from goleta, ca
My friend and I stopped by for dinner. Being in the area for awhile, we finally made our way to SC. I enjoyed a half caesar salad w/ sandwich. Everything was fresh and delicious, but it looks like you need to get there earlier to enjoy the daily specials as it seems to run out at the dinner hour. Service was good, and boy, I enjoyed the dessert--YUM! Would definitely go again!

The Best!!!

I am a vegetarian and in my town you have to drive 1+ hour(s) to get to a good vegetarian restaurant. When we visited Santa Barbara by people´s comments we found out that Sojouner was "the place" for vegetarian food. We stopped by there for lunch. The staff was quite young, but helpful nonetheless. I tried the tuna fish sandwich (I am a vegan, but I do eat fish) and it was the best I had ever tasted! It had sprouts and was quite healthy. Then I had one of their delicious salads. You can expect it to have a bug occasionally, but is a bug in your salad really going to spoil your day? If you are the type of person who eats burger and fries for lunch and does not like vegetarian food, don´t visit this place. I saw some bad reviews here but a lot of them said something like "I don´t like vegetarian food. Buy a steak instead." I can´t wait to visit there again! It is one of my favorite restaurants.

Always a Hit
Reviewer: JJ from Austin, TX
Every time I am home for a visit - I make it a point to have a few meals at the Soj. The food is always fabulous and creative which is a nice change from most available vegetarian fare. I have no problems bringing my meat-eating husband there or satisfying my vegan sister. It is a small, cozy space with friendly staff and the most AMAZING desserts. It does get busy during the lunch crunch but outside of that time the staff will often go out of their way to help and suggest. Definitely worth a look for new diners.

Great Food. Casual Environment
Reviewer: John from Palm Beach, Florida
Casual, with a younger crowd but great food and service. Portobello Mushroom Soup and Cioppinno were excellent.

An honest natural food restaurant
Reviewer: Doug from Santa Barbara
Always a great meal at a very fair price. Staff is friendly and really helpful with the menu. They have a lot of very creative meals and many of their items are like nothing you´ve ever tasted (in a good way). I´ve never regretted recommending them to friends and have never heard anything but positive comments.

Something delicious for everybody!

I eat at the Soj at least once a week, and I have been eating there for about 18 years, and from vegetarian, to meat-needer to vegan, I have always found plenty to choose from. Try the frequent special turned standard menu offering: Ginger Tofu Wonton Pillows (v) ... they are exceptional! The Soj is as Santa Barbara as the Courthouse and the Mission. It´s a must-eat-at! They are one of the few restaurants open late, the service is friendly, the food is fresh, often organic, and delicious. They have several fabulous dessert offerings daily, several of them vegan. The vegan cookies are the best in life!

Feeling good about what you ate!!
Reviewer: Patricia Nightly from Santa Barbara, CA USA
I cant believe you guys. Why do you go to the sojouner if you dont want healthy food! I think this resturant has a great welcoming atmosphere, the food is fantastic! The menu has a large variety for vegetarians and non-vegetarians. I usually hate vegetarien food but the sojourner cafe puts the "veg" into vegetarien! They make an excellent honey rootbear as well. You people really dont know anything about this cafe, and have not looked at thier menu! If you are looking for a good, healthy, resturant, that makes you feel good about what you are eating, try it! Dont let these people tell you any diffrent!They wouldent know, having only tried one thing on the sojourner´s menu! Walk out feeling good about what you ate!

Bad in 1979 and still bad in 2004

While a student at UCSB from 1979 to 1983, I gave the Sojourner a few "second tries" after experiencing marginal to no service, barely warm food and, in general, bland-tasting meals. Tolerating this place was a function of my youth, for my friends and I used to walk in in our "preppy wear" and stare at the unshaven legs on the waitresses and the rhasta hairdos. Well, little has changed in 25 years; the service still stinks and the food is still bad . . . however, I have changed and no longer find wait people stuck in the past an excuse for just plain BAD service. TRY SOMEWHERE WITH MEAT! People who get enough protein tend to be nicer waiters and waitresses . . .

Service w/attitude -- food ok
Reviewer: lisa from santa barbara, ca
Based on the quality of their food, price and taste are inconsistent. Rice, veggies and tofu $10 for barely warm food is inexcusable. Cone Head Salad, good quality, delicious, fairly priced, but to be charged $1 extra for a slice of bread when paying $9.00 for a salad?! Also, the servers seem to merely tolerate the patrons.

Excellent desserts.
Reviewer: Daryl from Goleta
I have been going to the Soj for 16 years. It has the best desserts in Santa Barbara. Most of the entrees range between good to excellent, and it serves the tastiest vegetarian food in SB. The staff are friendly and the place is favorite with locals.

Overpriced veggies
Reviewer: Joshua from Goleta, CA
My main gripe was the tofu and stir fry veggies for $10. It´s frickin tofu. The taste was bland, the veggies were simply blanched...nothing to write home about. The desserts were AMAZING. The service seemed lost the whole time. This place seems like a blend of the Natural Cafe and The Good Earth (goleta).

As if they are doing you a favor

Some of the food is good enough, but what I object to is how the servers make you feel as if they are doing a favor to bring water, extra napkins, condiments or whatever. Also, many times the food is not the proper temperature. Also, some of their dishes seems like experiments: coconut-curried-lentil-pumpkin-spinach soup? Huh?

There are other choices
Reviewer: Shawn from Monticeto, CA
The food is ok the only good thing I have had was the nut burger but did not like the "chunck in a cup" they call salsa. The wait staff is more like delivery people. For a better alternative and a step up in quality, but not in price, try Spiritland Bistro. Its organic global cuisine and they have a nice variety of vegetarian, non-veg., raw and vegan choices with a variety of alternative protein options. Amaizing in its preparation and attention to detail.

Highs and Lows, But Where´s the Balance?

I would say that this restaurants strong point is dessert, but it needs work in some other areas. Most of the meals have a watered down, flavorless quality to them. Or, worse, many selections on the menu taste like "ethnic" cooking experiments gone terribly wrong. I have never truly enjoyed any of the soups, and most of the Mexican food hardly qualifies as anything close. Sojourner cafe needs to spice it up and stop catering to humdrum tongues. On a positive note, the service has almost always been good and the desserts, which are about the only thing I ever go there for anymore are fabulous. It´s a good pick if you have a crowd mixed of vegetarians and non-vegetarians. I recommend the cornbread and garlic bread.

night and day?
Reviewer: Barbara Givens from Santa Barbara, CA
From reading the previous reviews... I notice a "you either love it or you hate it" trend forming. I am a local Santa Barbara resident. Yes, they are organic, and that does mean that there can be critters. They assured me that their greens are bought from local farmers at the farmers market, and that the leaves go through 5 seperate washings before going into a salad. If the bug holds on that long, you have to give them credit! The food is excellent. This restaurant will never have trouble staying full. They are comfortably busy year round at all times of the day. The staff is casual and gracious. If you enjoy healthy food, that is creative and flavorful. This is the place.

Great Casual Dining in SB
Reviewer: mac from SB USA
This is a wonderful natural "gourmet" food restaurant. It´s not Piattis, Citronelle, or the Montecito Cafe. SB has so many fantastic 4 and 5 star restaurants that if you are coming in from out of town to be impressed with SB pinache, you might try something a bit more upscale. But it´s a nice place to come for a casual, santa-barbara-urban-hippie-dining-experience. The daily specials menu is excellent and creative and the prices are great. It´s a good local favorite, for those of us who can´t afford to spend $100 a pop everytime we eat out. My fave is the bouillabaise or the chile relleno casserole. My husband goes crazy over the stews. And yes, organic greens sometimes do have bugs - but I´ve never had that experience at the Soj!

Hit and miss

70s style hippie vegetarian: this should tell you what you are getting. The menu is a crapshoot - their nature burger is superb but I cannot bear to think about some of their tofu-casserole-like dishes.

Organic BUG Salad ....Yikes!!!!!!!
Reviewer: Dara from Los Angeles, CA
We made the trip up from LA with our 11-month old, and were very excited. Ordered my salad, and started chompin away.... To my utter horror...I spotted a giant green bug the size of a fifty-cent piece, and it seemed to be enjoying my tofu salad a lot more than I was!!! Long-story short: They handled the incident in a completely inappropriate manner. My husband was charged for his meal. There was no visible signs of remorse or apologetic behavior. They scooped my plate away without even asking what I wanted to do (they assumed I wanted another bug salad?!?!) I had to stop them. There excuse was that the salad was "organic"...and it sometimes had bugs in it!!! This was a nightmare visit, and I do not recommend this place to anyone....stay away@!!! (unless you enjoy trully-organic BUG SALADs Dara

Feels like home

We were visiting Santa Barbara last month and we decided to have dinner at The Sojourner Café. We really enjoyed the food and the atmosphere! Hopefully we´ll be back some day. Linda from Rotterdam and Adrie from San Diego

Reviewer: Sarah Bacon from Santa Barbara, CA
This restaurant was terrible. From the outside it looked nice and warm, but inside it was actually dim and seedy. The food was dry and crappy, my chai was watered down and nasty. The clientele was seedy as well. In its place I highly recommend The Main Squeeze, which is also a ´healthy´ restaurant and is immediately adjacent to the Sojourner Cafe.

Favorite Health Restaurant
Reviewer: Peter Alvin from Colorado Springs, CO
The food is amazingly creative and delicious.

everything is good
Reviewer: Jen from santa barbara
Always fresh, great menu recipies... a local favorite. Many regulars eat here every day. People come to santa barbara on vacation and end up eating there every day and try something new each time. They rave about it. enjoy


Too many sprouts and rude servers.

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