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“Best seafood in Santa Barbara!”

Santa Barbara Shellfish Company
Ranked #10 of 549 Restaurants in Santa Barbara
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: Seafood
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Restaurant details
Good for: Local cuisine
Dining options: Breakfast, Late Night, Lunch, Dinner, Reservations
Reviewed March 5, 2014

Recommended by the owner of our hotel on our first trip to Santa Barbara, SBSC is hands-down the best sea food we've experienced in Santa Barbara! Like their name implies, they specialize in shellfish, so you'll find plenty of crab, muscles, clams, oysters and scallops on their menu to satisfy your craving for the freshest seafood in town. Don't miss their cioppino of crab legs, shrimp, scallops, clams, and mussels in a homemade sauce. It's served in a bread bowl topped with Parmesan cheese and will make you a SBSC addict with your first bite! Prices are fairly reasonable ($10-20) considering they're a tourist trap at the end of the pier, but we found it packed more with locals enjoying a late afternoon lunch and cold beer while tourists seemed to gravitate toward the walk-up window. The atmosphere is that of a bar and grill, so plan on it being a little loud. Your best bet is to wait for a table in the limited patio seating that overlooks the harbor, beach and marina.

Thank Rod R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed March 3, 2014

My wife and I visited the Santa Barbara Shellfish Company during our summer holidays last year. We hadn't heard anything about the place, but stumbled across it by accident whilst we walked down the pier. Judging by the long queue of people outside, we decided to wait around to give it a try…

I can happily say that it was a great experience. Whilst small (explaining the queue), the atmosphere inside was casual and relaxing – it fit perfectly with its location on a pier. The restaurant features an open plan kitchen and, if you sit at the bar, you can watch them make everything fresh. Behind the chefs lie a number of aquariums containing many of the fresh ingredients (crab!), just biding their time before being served…

Both my wife and I opted for the Cioppino, which is kind of like a tomato-based seafood stew (for lack of a better word) containing crab legs, shrimp, scallops, clams and mussels. It's served in a sourdough bread bowl and has a healthy portion of parmesan cheese thrown on top. It was, in one word, outstanding. I had this with a local IPA beer, which was a perfect pairing…

Prices weren't super cheap (the Cioppino was around 20 bucks), but I realise that one also pays for the location and novelty.

In conclusion, we had a great meal and the Santa Barbara Shellfish Company stands out in my mind as the most memorable meal we ate during our two week trip in South/Central California. I would definitely visit again on my next trip through Santa Barbara!!!

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Thank Brad S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 23, 2014

The visitor's center near the pier recommended this restaurant. Great location, but we were disappointed with the fried shrimp, oysters, and calamari. The batter had no flavor and was almost burnt. Portions were very small for the price. Avoid sitting outside or you will be stared down by lots of birds. No complaints about the service. Waitress was attentive and corrected an error with our order by taking the oysters off the bill. Wished we would have spent more time looking for a restaurant.

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Thank WinstonSalemForReal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 19, 2014

We were in Santa Barbara for the day, and wandered down the pier to find a huge line and waiting list at this place (which we assumed meant it had to be the best!). We waited for about 2 hours before being seated, and were so very disappointed.
My husband got crabs, which he said were average at best. I got the lobster bisque, which tasted blander than campbell's tomato soup, with some chunks of celery...and absolutely NO lobster! I politely explained the lack of lobster in the bisque to our waiter, and asked him to discount our bill. He proceeded to be very rude for the rest of our meal, and when he dropped the check off at the end didn't so much as mutter a standard "thank you".
I'd assume this place is overrated due to its location and "quaint" crab-shack feel, the food and service were certainly not worthwhile. I'm sure there are many better eateries in town!

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1  Thank MandC2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 18, 2014

It is an obviously well known seafood place in Santa Barbara. We had to sign our name on the list and wait quite a while for a table but it was worth it. It is a no frills restaurant with no tables, just counters and stools. The food was good and so was the service. We had fried clam strips and clam chowder which were delicious. The crab cakes were good but...if you are familiar with the Maryland crab cakes you will be disappointed...Not the same!

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Thank Bila66
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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