512 State St, Santa Barbara, CA | Directions 9310134.417114 -119.695857
Mon-Fri: 11:30am - 2:30pm
Mon-Fri: 5pm - Close
Sat: 4pm - Close
Sun: 12pm - Close
Neighborhoods: Lower State
Have always had great food,ambiance and customer service. – We have had many great meals at Holdrens. The blue cheese topping over the filet is the way to go. They have a great wine list that competes with any restaurant on state st. We always go for the smores as they are a family favorite. We can't wait till we go again.
Great people watching – My husband and I were in Santa Barbara to celebrate our 21st anniversary. Holdren's was recommended by several locals we talked to. We arrived at 6:20, no reservations, and were seated immediately at the outside cafe. We started with the crab cake appetizers, served on pilaf. Delicious crab cakes, didn't need the pilaf. My husband ordered the crab stuffed chicken breast. He ate about 4 bites, and couldn't eat the rest. He didn't enjoy the 'odd' taste. I ordered the house salad, good, but a little too much dressing. My entree was crunchy coconut shrimp with mango chutney- delicious and a large portion thankfully, because I ended up sharing with my husband (and he doesn't really like coconut). For dessert, he ordered the double chocolate sin cake - enormous serving, and very tasty. I ordered the caramel apple cobbler with streusel topping. I took one bite and tasted onions, not to mention, it wasn't completely cooked, and the 'struesel' was 'gooey'. I expected more from the food after the rave reviews the locals gave it. The service was just ok. When I mentioned to the waitress that my dessert was still uncooked, she acted like it was putting her out to fix it, so I told her nevermind, and just didn't eat it. Probably wouldn't go there again.
Terrible Filet Mignon – My boyfriend and I were recently in Santa Barbara for my 30th birthday. We were off to a late start so we didn't have too many choices. As we were driving along State St. we saw this steak place was still open and it looked like a fairly nice restaurant. We enjoyed the atmosphere, the service was fine and the food came out timely. I could have saved a lot of money had I only ordered the salad. The Carmelized Apple & Walnut Salad was delicious. It went downhill from here... Both my boyfriend and I ordered the filet mignon medium rare and it had absolutely no taste. The only reason I continued to eat part of it was because I was starving and I didn't want to chance not finding anything else open. By far this was the worse piece of meat I've ever had. Very disappointed.
Excellent meal and friendly wait staff – While in Santa Barbara this past weekend for a wedding I had occasion to dine at Holdren's for dinner. Since we were splurging on a two-night weekend stay in SB, we decided to make a splurge weekend of it -- and this was our dinner splurge. We started with the sauteed mushroom and grilled Castro Valley artichoke appetizers. They were a wonderful start. The mushrooms were sauteed with sliced garlic (that I was eating off the top) and with a hint of white wine. The artichoke was grilled with seasonings and had a garlic aioli and clarified butter for dipping. YUM! They had a great crusty bread and a chewy dark brown bread...also with butter for spreading and dipping. I had the sirloin and shrimp entree with rice pilaf and a side of grilled asparagus. As usual, my eyes were bigger than my stomach and I barely dented my steak, but I made sure I tasted a little of everything...and I was not disappointed in the least.
One thing I noticed about Holdren's that made me feel like we'd made a wise choice was that there seemed to be a large local contingent dining that evening. When locals dine, it's got to be a good place...especially in a town with sooooooooo many options.
Give Holdren's a try.
Best steak house in Santa Barbara – Most restaurants on State Street aren't great because they cater primarily to tourists so they don't need to be great - folks will only eat there once!
I frequent Holdren's and have had great meals there every time. I recommend their bleu cheese and rosemary porter steak - it will melt in your mouth. A great selection of comfort food side dishes like mac n' cheese, creamed spinach, twice baked potatoes...mmm mmm. The staff, though always busy (except at lunch time) are attentive and a lot of fun. They realize you are there to enjoy a good meal and don't pester you. Timing is right on. Their specials are created to get you in the door and are good creations in themselves but you can order of the menu and feel confident of freshness and quality. Pretty good wine list, though marked up more than usual. The sign of a good restaurant in this town is if it is full even on weeknights - this means that locals come back time and time again.
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