The Lark - Santa Barbara

The Funk Zone in Santa Barbara are a few blocks of restaurants, bats, coffee shops in downtown close to the beach. Most of the places there tend to be more focused on attracting a young crowd than really focusing on the quality of dishes. The one exception for us was The Lark which just celebrated its 10 year anniversary and is a great example of a place which emphasizes interesting New American cooking with still a great, rustic ambiance and good service. It’s a place which encourages shared plates (which tend to be quite generous plated) and so we order a few examples from different parts of their menu and didn’t have any disappointments - and a well executed cocktail list adds positively to the place

Citrus marinated castelvetrano olives - calabrian chili, orange peel, garlic, mint

Crispy brussels sprouts - sesame, garum, dates, lime

Belgian endive & “frog hollow” pears - brown butter hazelnuts, caramelized shallot vinaigrette, pear vinegar, beemster aged gouda, scarlett frills

“Mary’s” duck liver mousse tartine - marcona almonds, duck fat grilled sourdough, pickled red flame grapes

Hand cut pappardelle pasta - roasted butternut squash, maitake mushrooms, black pepper breadcrumbs, soft poached egg, Comte, crispy sage

Grilled “Creekstone Farms” 8oz prime hanger steak - caramelized cauliflower, grilled scallions, shaved rainbow carrots, red wine sea salt, beef tallow jus

Baked fuyu persimmon crisp - almond & oat streusel, rori’s speculoos ice cream, nutmeg


I dined at The Lark recently and thought the food was great. But it was the worst service I’ve ever had at a restaurant of this caliber. Our server was incredibly attentive and helpful up until when we ordered entrees. He then proceeded to disappear for the rest of the night (75+ minutes). We kept asking other servers to help us, who did - but also promised to send our server over, to no avail. Some of the items we had ordered failed to appear well after we finished the rest of the meal. It got so ridiculous that we assumed our server had gotten suddenly sick and the restaurant management wasn’t aware. Ridiculousness ensued yet again when it took over 20 minutes to get our check. After we paid and were walking out……we saw our server, clearly in good health and still waiting tables. The manager ended up apologizing so profusely that she got us a prime table at the “Santa Bar” connected to the back of the restaurant, which was impressively decorated and had good service….but had abysmal drinks.

That’s disappointing to hear - hopefully it is just a one off event for the restaurant

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