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“Our local favorite restaurant” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Sakana Japanese Restaurant and Sushi Bar

Sakana Japanese Restaurant and Sushi Bar
Ranked #133 of 526 Restaurants in Santa Barbara
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: Japanese, Sushi, Asian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Families with children
Dining options: Lunch, Dinner, Breakfast, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Takeout, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible
Level Contributor
53 reviews
29 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
“Our local favorite restaurant”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 1, 2013

I am reluctant to sing the praises of this tiny little local frequented sushi restaurant tucked away at the end of a nondescript mini mall behind Starbucks as it would mean that the 30 minute waits for a table might get even longer. But we have been going here at least once a month ever since the place opened a few years ago and have never been disappointed. Arigato is probably its' only serious rival for quality sushi in the Santa Barbara area.
An extensive menu with 30+ specialty rolls ranging in price from $11-14 and conventional nigiri sushi at around $5 and up plus a huge sake list; an all Japanese chef line-up behind the bar and efficient and often exotic hostesses and serving staff. Popular dishes with the hip crowd seem to be the Yellowtail melt, Pyramid Roll and Habanero Pressbox. No reservations so either go early or after 8; or be prepared to hang outside for a while, the only downside to a very satisfying dining experience.

  • Visited March 2013
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
1 Thank nikspix
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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55 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    39
    9
    4
    2
    1
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Santa Barbara, CA
Level Contributor
26 reviews
13 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“BEST SUSHI EVER”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 5, 2013

It is the BEST especially for someone just getting into sushi! It's pricey and in Montecito but small and worth every penny. I do not eat the sashimi or as much of the raw stuff but the rolls and press boxes are awesome! The sauces are to die for.

  • Visited January 2013
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank jaxmccalli
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California
Level Contributor
11 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Best in Santa Barbara”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 11, 2012 via mobile

Sakana is my favorite restaurant in Santa Barbara. Other reviewers who have called the chef an artist are absolutely right. Everything I've had here has been amazing! The chef's omakase creations are always the highlight of the meal for me. Although the restaurant is often crowded, I've never had to wait more than 15 minutes for a table.

    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank jennjenjenn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Santa Barbara, California
Level Contributor
16 reviews
13 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Hidden Gem”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 23, 2012

Beautiful plating, innovative sauces as well as traditional sushi. Popular place and very small, so waiting to be seated is not uncommon. More expensive than most, but worth it.

Visited October 2011
Helpful?
Thank pinkabeille
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
portland,OR
Level Contributor
34 reviews
30 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“This is our favorite Japanese restaurant in California - A Magical Dining Experience”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 23, 2011

Tucked away in the corner of a shopping center in Montecito, this little restaurant is a MUST if you truly appreciate the best in Japanese cuisine. Not your standard sushi/sashimi/sake restaurant, Chef Nao and his staff prepare some of the most creative and delectable appetizers and unique dishes we have ever eaten. All of the food is perfectly prepared and presented. Over the past few years, dinner at Sakana has been one of the highlights of our frequent trips to California from British Columbia.

They do not take reservations and it is usually packed early in the evenings, so prepare to either get there early or dine later. This is a unique restaurant ,run by a creative artist. If you want basic sushi...go elsewhere. This place is for those afficionados who appreciate creativity and something different. OUR HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION!!

  • Visited September 2011
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank rcassresearch
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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