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Summerland Beach Cafe
2294 Lillie Ave, Summerland
Phone: (805) 969-1019

Reviews by the General Public

An Off Day?
Reviewer: Isabella from Santa Barbara, CA
Having lived in Santa Barbara for 11 years, I've only made my way into Summerland Beach Cafe a handful of times, but each time have received wonderful food, great service, (and even a few free birthday meals!). This visit wasn't tragic, but certainly wasn't reminiscent of the experience I was used to. It was a June Gloom day and my friend and I were seated inside, next to the server's station in a large wooden booth - no problem. We had a view of both outside and inside, kind of nice. It also meant we had a fairly attentive bus boy for orange juice, etc. I was a little surprised to learn that tap water wasn't an option, even upon request. Instead, glass bottles of Voss bottles were advertised for sale for $1. I'm aware Santa Barbara is in a severe drought, but I'm not sure the designer Voss water was a good fit for this little rambling cafe. Regardless, still not a huge deal - grabbed my water bottle from the car. After a good 10-minute wait, a pleasant server appeared to take our order. When my Veggie Omelette arrived, I was genuinely surprised to find a flat pancake of egg folded over a very basic mixture of barely-cooked veggies that appeared to be straight out of a frozen bag. No seasoning, no oil, nada. With no seasoning or oil of any kind of the eggs either, it was nearly impossible to enjoy without smothering it in ketchup, and even then left a lot to be desired. Luckily, the home fries were very good and so was the apple butter on the English Muffin, all of which came with the meal. When we received the bill, we were a little surprised that they charged my dining companion, a vegan, for an entire omelette, when she only ordered the vegetables (same bland near-frozen vegetables that I received). All-in-all, I will absolutely go back to this Summerland landmark, but will hope for a different chef!

August 1993
Reviewer: Karen from Santa Barbara, CA
On a holiday from Canada, we had lunch here on our driving trip from L.A to S.F. It was so memorable, with the ocean view and the Hwy. 101 between. So, when our daughter was planning a driving trip I recommended this restaurant, but I couldn't remember the exact name. Guess what? I just found the cashier slip-- from 1993. Glad to hear you are still providing great meals.

annual breakfast birthday
Reviewer: duain from Santa Barbara, CA
delicious breakfast that is always enjoyed on our birthdays. for a couple of reasons: 1- it is well made and tasty; 2- it is served relatively quick; 3- it is free for the birthday person; 4- beautiful location to start your day at the beach from; 5- it is free for the birthday person!

Left laughing
Reviewer: Lily from Santa Barbara, CA
I have always loved the Summerland Cafe. My family and I have visited for breakfast at least once a month for the past 21 years. The food is above average and typically the service is as well. My last visit was so ridiculous my boyfriend and I left laughing. When we arrived the tall dark haired gentleman that always seats us was there. We asked to sit outside on a slightly overcast morning. Instead of taking us to the patio closest to the fire station where there were plenty of available tables in the sunshine, he brought us to a small deck I never even knew existed on the opposite side closest to the liquor store. Perhaps the reason that I never knew of this section is because it is completely shrouded by their large magnolia tree and other hedges from the neighboring business. Not only was there absolutely no view of the ocean, or anything besides the tree, there was absolutely no light by which to eat a meal. On a lovely but overcast morning a dark, dank, moist cave-like deck isn't necessarily the most desirable place to dine. I politely asked to sit on the sunnier deck. Without a word but with a very irritated expression he turned on his heals and brought us to a bench table in the light. Eventually the kind bus boy brought us our coffee and juice. Then we proceeded to sit there for at least half an hour completely unnoticed. They were not busy in the slightest. Other tables who were sat after us were chatting with their servers and ordering. We looked around, we enjoyed our coffee and juice but we didn't have all morning and we were hungry of course! After at least half an hour of not even a glance from the staff we had to get up and leave for a restaurant willing to serve us breakfast. On our way out we got a "Have a good day" from both a server and the same gentleman that rudely sat us. We did have a good day and a lovely brunch at a certain cafe on the beach. I'm sad to see, however,that the Summerland Cafe no longer takes care in its customer service. It really was a lovely spot for breakfast but it is difficult for a loyal patron to tolerate such a degree of disrespect from resentful wait staff. I hope the management will address the poor attitude and attention of their staff. Until that time we will have our brunch elsewhere.

No Competitor For Food Or Service
Reviewer: James from Santa Barbara, CA
For more than twenty years this restaurant has been my weekend destination,even when I lived in Orange County.The owner has a hands on approach and oversees every detail from ketchup bottles to the cleanliness of the parking lot.He personally interviews and selects all his staff.He expects high standards from all of them, but at the same time he is sensitive to their personal needs.One former employe describes him as the best boss she has ever had.As a result,the food servers and busboys go above and beyond to make the guests feel welcome. The lead cook has the same philosophy of perfection as the owner.He personally supervises the food preparation and ensures the quality of the food and the attractiveness and celerity of presentation.His work ethic is admirable. The Summerland Beach Cafe is food and service at its best.

Great Food and Service
Reviewer: Glenn from Buellton
Agree with all the other good reviews, this is a great place to go. Positives are: you are eating in an 1800s Victorian House, the server is probably the nicest person I've ever had as a server, everyone looks happy to see you, they have indoor and outdoor seating, they serve a hearty breakfast all day, the portions are huge and of course the food was tasty. They decorate for the holidays(Halloween for me), be nice to see it for Xmas. No reservation was needed either. It reminds me of Big Yellow House used to be next door.

Buckwheat rules!
Reviewer: Elena from Santa Barbara, CA
I enjoyed the buckwheat pancakes that come along with plenty of fruit (banana and strawberries). They are consistent in their quality with generous portions. A fun place to enjoy breakfast near the beach.

A must visit when in the area
Reviewer: Ann from Phillips Ranch
Every time we visit Santa Barbara, we always stop at the Summerland Beach Cafe. We have been enjoying the restaurant for about 23 years. We love the food, service and location. Our two children have grown up at the cafe. A great place to visit!!!

Generous Portions
Reviewer: Elena from Santa Barbara, CA
My sister who was visiting me from Boston wanted to eat a classic breakfast so I took her to the Summerland Beach Cafe. She and I split the eggs benedict and oatmeal. The portions were so generous we really could've split one dish. What's nice is being able to drive across to the beach itself and walk along it after a great meal.

Best Breakfast/Brunch In SUMMERLAND!
Reviewer: Claire from Santa Barbara, CA
I love to go to this spot when I'm in the area... the food is always delicious! And the service is good too!

Great Food, Fantastic Service!
Reviewer: Lindsay G. from Santa Barbara, CA
I called in an order for Eggs Benedict and when I went in to pick it up, all staff were very friendly and attentive. The kind gentleman at the front even made a suggestion for a different kind of eggs benedict for the next time. I was very pleased with the service and the delicious eggs benedict (I'm quite the E.B. connisseur). Will definitely be returning, especially since they give out frequent eaters cards, by the 7th one, I think you get a free meal! What a deal!

Reviewer: Kimberly from Santa Barbara, CA
Me and my dad have been coming here for so long I can't even remember when we first started. Now that I go to school at UCSB I bring my roommates here whenever we feel like going for a drive. Perfect service, wonderful view, and delicious food!

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