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“Is It Hype? Maybe an off night...”

Empty Bowl Gourmet Noodle Bar
Ranked #66 of 585 Restaurants in Santa Barbara
Certificate of Excellence
Restaurant details
Reviewed 11 March 2018

I had avoided Empty Bowl because it's always slammed and having lived and dined in SB for so many years, I'm wary of hype.

My friend who was an Empty Bowl enthusiast and I ordered food to go on Friday night. It was underwhelming. The Pad Thai (which many have raved about to me) was inconsistent in that one bite tasted like sugar noodles with some peanut flavoring and another bite had a spice so pungent it seemed to burn my tongue.

The Papaya Salad was fine, nothing to write home about, but not as varied in its veggies as I am used to. 99% papaya with a piece of (tomato?) an minor sprinkling of peanuts.

In all fairness, this was close to average. However, the hype, wait even after ordering, stressed staff (c'mon, it's a Friday, you're a popular restaurant, prepare!) brought down the average score.

Date of visit: March 2018
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    • Food
Thank Everan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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13 - 17 of 120 reviews

Reviewed 9 February 2018

Small counter top restaurant in the Santa Barbara Public Market also known as "Alma del Pueblo" (Soul of the Town). Their menu has many delicious dishes, including soups, noodle dishes, green papaya salad, and duck buns. This is the favorite lunch spot for my wife and me. There is almost always a little waiting line for a seat at the counter. Although many people order take out and eat at the tables that are available throughout the public market. They have good draft beer and wine. Their service is quick and the servers are very friendly. This is a family run restaurant. They are in the process of opening one in Montecito due to the success of this one. There is a limited amount of parking underneath the building off of Chapala street. Otherwise parking is available across the street and behind the New Vic Theater in a large public lot.

Date of visit: January 2018
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    • Food
Thank viarueda
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 January 2018 via mobile

We went here 30 minutes before they closed. We were served the most amazing noodles and were welcomed to stay longer. Also good vegan options if you like. Really amazing food, every bite was an explosion in the mouth.

Date of visit: January 2018
Thank ScarletF32
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 January 2018 via mobile

Delicious food (recommend the curry noodles, definitely!), nice staff, quick service. Really brilliant place in the centre of Santa Barbara.

Date of visit: December 2017
Thank CarmaiP
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 January 2018 via mobile

I love this place a must stop for lunch or dinner we go there every time in Santa Barbara can’t wait to go back

Date of visit: January 2018
Thank R4676PKjohnb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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