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“Great setting, good food, poor service”

Bella Vista at Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara
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Ranked #29 of 528 Restaurants in Santa Barbara
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $15 - $48
Cuisines: American
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Large groups, Local cuisine, Special occasions, Business meetings, Families with children, Scenic view, Romantic
Dining options: Lunch, Dinner, Breakfast, Brunch, Accepts American Express, Accepts Discover, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Buffet, Free Off-Street Parking, Free Wifi, Full Bar, Highchairs Available, Outdoor Seating, Parking Available, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Valet Parking, Validated Parking, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible, Wine and Beer
Dining style: Casual Dining
Description: Bella Vista Restaurant is Santa Barbara's most beautiful premier al fresco oceanfront dining experience. With panoramic ocean and island views across Montecito's Butterfly Beach, guests will enjoy a contemporary Italian menu showcasing fresh California ingredients inspired by Executive Chef Marco Fossati. The expansive terrace features Italian marble, indoor fireplaces, an outdoor fire pit and a retractable glass roof further create the indoor-outdoor dining experience. Bella Vista has the distinction of being one of only 12 restaurants in California (the only one in Santa Barbara) licensed to cure its own meats and the shared charcuterie plate is the most popular appetizer on the menu. Thursday nights a crudo bar offers shucked oysters, shrimp and scallops at sunset and the restaurant is home to one of the most celebrated Sunday brunches in the United States.
Paris, France
Level Contributor
186 reviews
126 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 208 helpful votes
“Great setting, good food, poor service”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 6, 2013

We had lunch on the terrace which was most agreable, facing the sea and surrounded by a beautiful garden.
Lunch menu was short and somewhat reasonable for a place like this. What we took was pretty good, nothing better: if the lobster sandwich and the beef salad were great, the mussels taste was "killed" by this balsamic vinegar mania (why not in ice creams?) and the bacon which really did not match mussles and the desert, a very nice fruit sald with a good lychee sorbet here "killed" by loads of sugar syrup.
Very inefficient service, most surprising in a Four Seasons, terribly slow with the necessity of requesting things twice nearly each time. To be fair, the lady manager did everything she could but the servers were if polite, quite hopeless.

  • Visited August 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank HGBParis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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397 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    229
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    19
    13
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
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English first
Charleston, SC
Level Contributor
81 reviews
62 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 69 helpful votes
“Go ahead, pretend you're rich.”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 25, 2013

I get back home to SB about once a year and have developed a tradition of reuniting with an old best friends Father over breakfast. Both being Santa Barbara natives, we treat the town as if were its most important residents, sampling establishments that we likely would not and could not, but for once a year. This year we breakfast'd at the Biltmore.

Now, a restaurant review should be about the food, but its the Biltmore's setting, decor, and Spanish Revival opulence that is the star here. You will not find a more beautiful spot to dine, this side of heaven.

The menu and breakfast buffet is also a cut above 'top notch'. As is the service. Even if you're only pretending to be wealthy for the day, the staff will treat you as if you were born to it.

Its not inexpensive, (the excellent buffet is around $30) but it is worth every penny.

Go ahead treat yourself, you deserve something like this, even if its only once in a year.

  • Visited July 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank portofcaller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Little Rock, Arkansas
Level Contributor
6 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Overpriced food and average”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 22, 2013

Food was not great especially for the price. Restaurant has birds everywhere even inside. Really disgusting when you are trying to enjoy eating with birds at the table.

Visited July 2013
Helpful?
Thank simi1228
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
49 reviews
26 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Unbeatable brunch and view”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 20, 2013

I always remembered running by the Biltmore on business trips to Santa Barbara, but never had eaten there. I remedied that last trip and took a business associate to the best brunch ever. We sat outdoors perched above the ocean (across the road) and enjoyed a breakfast that any Brit, Aussie, Frenchman (or woman) would write home about. Eggs anyway you wanted them, beautiful smoked fish, caviar, gorgeous French pastries and croissants, and fruit worthy of a painter. Their espresso can't be beat and is included in the price of the smorgasbord. Even gluten free diners will be thrilled to find yummy selections, which isn't always easy. I can't wait to go back.

  • Visited June 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Meryl M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Encino, California, United States
Level Contributor
48 reviews
19 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Best Brunch in the Area”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 8, 2013

We come back to this restaurant annually and it never fails to deliver quality food and service. It's a mandatory stop when we come up from LA. Equally awesome is the ambience: the view of the ocean and the cool breeze that makes a 3-hour meal like a quick bite. It's rare that we drive through SB without stopping here. Can't wait to come back, and hopefully one day stay here overnight!

  • Visited July 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Martin G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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