We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Review of The Palace Grill

The Palace Grill
Ranked #20 of 531 Restaurants in Santa Barbara
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $20 - $35
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Special occasions
Dining options: Lunch, Late Night, Dinner, Reservations
Description: Established in 1985, The Palace Grill is a Santa Barbara landmark restaurant featuring authentic New Orleans-inspired cuisine and a fun, lively atmosphere. Winner of The Santa Barbara's Independent Reader's Poll for "Best Restaurant Service". Located in Santa Barbara's charming Old Town district, The Palace Grill has something for everyone. Our menu features a wide range of contemporary American Grill items with a focus on authentic Southern and Louisiana specialties such as Jambalaya, Crawfish Etouffee, New Orleans Bar-B-Que Shrimp, Blackened Filet Mignon, and delicious daily "Menu Additions". In addition we have a number of exciting Caribbean dishes and a line of Creole-Italian pastas. To insure that we remain authentic, the Palace routinely flies its staff to New Orleans to experience first-hand the magical quality of the city that has inspired the spirit of the Palace Grill. The Palace has been featured in dozens of national publications including Gourmet(R) Magazine, Bon Appetit(R) and USA TODAY(R). Throughout the years, The Palace has also been a favorite of culinary legends (including chef Julia Child and chef Wolfgang Puck) and has served its cuisine to countless global dignitaries - including 5 U. S. Presidents. At the Palace Grill, everyone shares one goal: to give our guests the most extraordinary dining experience possible: every time they visit. Besides our wonderful cuisine, The Palace is known for it's unique style of "Team Service" (which the Nation's Restaurant News called "an idea whose time has come") and our nostalgic nightly staff and guest Sing-A-Long to Louis Armstrong's iconic song - "What A Wonderful World." Come join the celebration known as "The Palace Grill Experience."
Level 6 Contributor
48 reviews
13 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 205 helpful votes
Reviewed April 13, 2006

Wow! I really like this place! I'm not sure if it would be the "romantic, quiet" date place, so if you know what you're in for then you might not be disapointed with the atmosphere. The tables are shoved into a tight fit between two small rooms. There isn't much of a waiting area inside and the kitchen is open to the rest of the restaurant, occassionally sharing it's smoke and spicy airs.

But the food -- I really don't think you'll be dissatisfied! We came here twice on a recent work trip and I was here years ago remembering it enough then that it was worth coming back. They have many meat dishes, so it's probably not the vegetarian's choice place. Jumbalaya, pastas, N'awleans influenced dishes that are atypical. The muffins are to die for (a wide assortment with dinner). The chicken dishes i had were excellent...and the veggies and rice (one night dirty and spicy..mmm) were good too.

Our food came really fast, also (the night it was just 3) but slower when it was 8 or 10 of us). The martini's were STRONG. Prices reasonable for SANTA BARBARA -- the wallet emptying place that it is.

My only complaint is we sat late one night (in our big group) and the service was a bit poor (surprising, not like the first night we went). They rotate servers so you don't have one person at your beck and call -- it's their "thang". Anyway, they stopped coming by and never refilled any of our waters even though I asked when they brought the check. Then I watched the 20-year old waiter grabassin with another guy in the back, while I was sitting there dying of thirst....

4 Thank FlipperGirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

544 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Norwegian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Santa Barbara, California
Level 3 Contributor
7 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“This is a must visit!”
Reviewed January 29, 2006

This place will put a smile on your face. The food, the energy, staff, decor, music all capture the best of New Orleans.

3 Thank MDeRousse
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Trip-Adviser-3000, Guest Relations Manager at The Palace Grill, responded to this review, August 21, 2013
Thank you for recognizing our efforts, and we are glad you enjoyed our sing-along to Louis Armstrong's "What A Wonderful World". It's become a tradition that our guests enjoy. Thanks again for taking the time to write.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Simi Valley, California
2 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Cajun royalty”
Reviewed January 26, 2006

Laissez les bon temps roulez!
Don't let the naysayers confuse you, cher! This is a lively place that will enliven your tastebuds, too. Some people are put off by any place where you have to converse above a whisper. If you want excellent food in an atmosphere that allows you to have fun, this is your place. The wait staff is attentive, great with kids, prompt and caring and the kitchen staff is, no doubt, rightfully proud of what they serve.

If you know that Mardi Gras is just one day of a full season of celebration, there is a taste of Carnival at The Palace Grill waiting for you!

3 Thank Chris M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Goleta, California
Level 6 Contributor
165 reviews
101 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 113 helpful votes
“Give this place a miss!”
Reviewed December 20, 2005

After plodding the Santa Barbara pavement for an hour or so, we finally found The Palace Grill to be open for business after 8 p.m. Imagine our excitement.
After quickly being seated, we proceeded to be greeted by a friendly efficient waitress who took our drink order. We asked her opinion with regards to the food selection, based upon her response we ordered.
Hmmmmmmmmm, after gazing at our plates upon arrival a scant eight minutes after the order was placed (where they expecting us????) we proceeded to succumb to our meal. I sliced through somewhat raw scallops, feeling sorry for them as they had not been cooked thoroughly and lived to tell the tale.
My partner was wishing that Taco Bell would show up and deliver food to him within eight minutes to satisfy the spice craving he was longing for.
Two days later, major stomach upheaval, lack of appitite, I am finally here to tell the tale. Avoid this place at all costs, it is pricey, food is well below average and now I can safely add...Taco Bell takes longer to safely prepare a meal.

4 Thank toplay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Santa Barbara, California
Level 6 Contributor
107 reviews
65 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 115 helpful votes
“What's the fuss?”
Reviewed December 1, 2005

The noise, the noise, the noise. The Palace is okay if you are not into conversation with your food. The food is okay, lots of flavor--maybe strong flavor is its strongest suit--but it's obvious not a lot of attention is paid to each dish. It's a place to have fun and be seen, to drink a lot to calm the spiciness. Way overpriced for the quality of the food--you are paying for the liveliness.

1 Thank SophiesAunt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed The Palace Grill also viewed


Been to The Palace Grill? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing