512 State St.
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Dinner: Mon-Fri 4 p.m. – close / Sat-Sun 3 p.m. – close
Happy Hour: Every day from 4 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Holding their own
Admittedly, Holdren’s is not a place that is easy to frequent, as the cost is not something where you can disappear there every day. Having said that, it is definitely worth making part of your rotation on a monthly basis — the food and ambiance will keep you wanting even more.
On a beautiful afternoon, I decided to check out Holdren’s after walking a few blocks on State Street and not really seeing anything that was appealing in the moment.
I chose to sit outside, as people-watching can be fun while enjoying a meal. Holdren’s outside space isn’t huge, but does its job, although an overflow audience might struggle to stay patient with overcrowding.
In trying someplace new, I like to get something that is offered elsewhere, to really compare the food.
Enter: Fish and Chips. And I’m really glad I did.
They were flaky and fries were thick, definitely feeling full at the end of lunch — which can’t be said at many other establishments around town.
My partner for lunch got the grilled chicken sandwich with a nice garden salad — both of which disappeared by the end of the meal, especially bragging about the freshness of the salad.
The lunch took a bit longer than it should, as we were there for well over an hour, and for those that have hourly jobs, that’s a bit too long to be at the restaurant — definitely something to work on.
Thankfully, the food is worth the wait.
High points: The food was fresh, both from the crisp nature of the salad to the steamy goodness of the fish and chips. The ambiance of sitting outside along lower State Street is something that can’t be beat.
Low points: While the drink refills kept coming, the pace of service as a bit slow, which was a bit alarming because there weren’t many folks in the restaurant. Dim nature of the inside wasn’t as inviting as some, which made the decision to eat outside really the only option. The proximity to other restaurants also provide an interesting array of smells.