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Holdren's Steaks & Seafood
512 State St, Santa Barbara
Phone: (805) 965-3363

  • Category: Steakhouse
  • Hours: Mon-Fri Lunch from 11:30am, Dinner 5pm-10pm, Sat 4pm-11pm, Sun 4pm-10pm
  • Price: $20+
  • Serving: Lunch & Dinner
  • Reservations: No
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Reviews by the General Public

Pleasant Evening at Holdren's
Reviewer: Greg from Santa Barbara, CA
What attracted this first visit last night was the Baby Back Rib special, which were ok, but it's hard to find ribs in Santa Barbara that are nearly as good as Swiss Restaurant in Santa Maria, for example. Vegetables were good, drinks were strong and the waiter was excellent. The Australian lobster tail was big, rich and tasty. Pleasant environment, overall. Will return at some point.

Not worth the money in any way, shape, or form
Reviewer: Kristen from Santa Barbara, CA
We are SB locals and couldn't believe the awful quality of this restaurant — its location and price had us anticipating amazing food and service, but that's not what we got. With so many great choices in town, we'll never be coming back. Here's our list of what went wrong on our visit: 1) Had to wrestle a drink menu out of the server 2) avocado in ceviche was rock hard 3) chips were stale 4) lobster was not local and totally overdone - that's an outrage at $49 a plate! 5) outdoor heater was broken 6) Server was not the friendliest or very attentive. Just to be fair, the gauvatinis that we ordered after we wrestled the drink menu from the server were great, and the bread was good, too, but that definitely doesn't make up for everything else when you are paying top dollar and there are so many great choices in town. Stay away from this place and hit Brophy's for seafood or the TeeOff for steaks instead.

Good food, great service, excellent value
Reviewer: Jim from Concord, CA
Holdren's is the type of restaurant that will never go out of style. A place with good steak, good seafood, a wide variety of sides and appetizers, and a great bar will always be in demand. Each time we have eaten at Holdren's we have been completely satisfied. Our most recent visit was for their Surf n Turf special; sirlon steak, bacon wrapped tiger prawns, soup or salad and choice of side for 20 bucks! It was a great deal and the food was plentiful and delicious. The entire menu is a good value though since all entrees come with soup or salad and a side. The sevice was also great and the atmosphere is very old school and vibrant with a bank of booths on the wall opposite the classic old bar. I will not hesitate to return to Holdren's whenever I am in Santa Barbara.

No happy hour
Reviewer: Christel from Goleta, CA
This place should be taken off the Happy Hour list. I went in there with a friend around 5 and the bartender looked at us like we're crazy when we asked for the happy hour specials. He said they dont ever have happy hour. And their regular menu is too expensive if youre looking for a snack with your drink. I'm sure the food is good otherwise, I ate there a few years ago, and the servers are nice. Seems popular with the older crowd. They should do something to freshen it up a little though. You wont get a young clientele with a prime rib special. I wish there was an affordable small plate or appetizer menu and drink specials.

Thanksgiving Dinner
Reviewer: Chris from Santa Barbara, CA
Just had Thanksgiving dinner. Steak, potato, etc. Heavenly. Very prompt and curtious service. This restaurant is a true gem!!

Love this place....
Reviewer: Chris Allen from Santa Barbara, CA
I was at Holdren's a few months ago from San Diego (took the train up)...loved the food and service. I sat outside and never felt rushed by the wait staff. I'm going again on Thanksgiving Day, as I hate turkey. Thank goodness they have a full menu. And the sides are to die for!!

Visiting from Swamp Country
Reviewer: Davey Martin from Houma, La.
This was my first visit! A romantic's dream spot! Loved dining out-doors! My Filet Mignon was great and the service was as well! However, what I liked least... still thinking!

Great steaks but poor presentation
Reviewer: David Neunuebel from Santa Barbara, CA
Okay, the steaks are great, really great. But that's about it. The presentation of the food is slop, it's messy. At $41 for the steak I'd expect, like other restaurants at that price, a much nicer presentation. For instance, they could put the potatoes on a side dish plate. The bone-in ribeye is huge and wonderful but plopped down on a messy bed of fried onion rings and sliced of jalapeños. Mind you it all tastes great but they present food like it's a truck stop. Additionally they need to train the wait staff not to bus dinner plates until all at the table are finished. It's just truck stop when they do that and at $41 per steak I'm sure they want to be something more than that.

Reviewer: Randy from Westerly, RI
Place was packed, so we sat at the bar. Brad was the bartender, pleasant and helpful. My wife ordered pear salad and petite filet, loved them both. I ordered the pepper steak and steak fries and they were great. I read the bad reviews and I am stunned. Would highly reccomend.

Special Occasion a Complete Disaster!!!
Reviewer: Dianna Roberts from Montecito,CA
I made reservations for a party of two for a very special Birthday dinner, We arrived on time and were seated by the hostess. The restaurant was starting to clear out and we were not tended to by anyone for a good twenty minutes. Finally the waitress comes to take our drink order but does not return for 15 mins. The waitress was in the back of the restaurant talking with staff and eating. She finally retuned to take out order and we ordered the steaks well done. Mine came out barely cooked with blood running out of it.My good friend had her steak cooked but it was tough and her vegetables were cold and mushy. I have been to many a fine restaurant in my day and this failed on every level. The waitress was rude and did not seem to like her job. We had to flag down another wait staff for our bill. The staff are not a cohesive group and it seemed very unfriendly. I will never go back to any of their establishments nor will my friend and anyone we can tell to avoid it at all costs.

As a local I would never go back
Reviewer: Leslie from Santa Barbara, CA
Having lived in Santa Barbara a long time and trusting that friends advice that this was a really good restaurant, from now on I'm getting in my car and driving to Agoura Hills - go South. It was my family member's birthday and dinner for 2 was nearly $200.00 (steak and lobster). I've had Australian lobster tail - this was the tail of a rubbery sole of a shoe that was overcooked, and tasted nothing like lobster (that alone was $49)or $89 for both. The twice baked potato? (Frozen if you ask me). The caesar salad wilted with no taste and no anchovy paste, nor garlic; Caesar would have rolled over. The service even worse. I had heard this from others. The wait staff were bored, and seemed inattentive to refilling a water glass. When is Santa Barbara going to get decent restaurants that someone with a non-McDonald's like palate will enjoy?

Great But Needs Food Quality Consistency
Reviewer: John Hunt from Santa Barbara, CA
Holdren's is one of my favorite restaurants, most of the time. We went there two weeks ago and honestly I had the best cioppino I have ever had, anywhere! My son's bacon wrapped filet was to die for! Then last Friday I ordered the same and it was honestly some of the worst Cioppino I have had, just sauce that had never touched the fish until it hit my bowl. The porterhouse my friend ordred was pretty sketchy. The service was fantastic though! Having grown up working in restaurants I know it is hard to maintain food consistency but it really is crucial to retain customers. I hope they can do a better job next time we go.

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