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“Not extraordinary, but tasty”
Review of Le Petit Valentien

Le Petit Valentien
Ranked #20 of 561 Restaurants in Santa Barbara
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: US$15 - US$25
Cuisines: French, Fusion
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Special Occasion Dining, Local cuisine, Romantic
Dining options: After-hours, Dinner, Reservations
Reviewed 12 January 2014

Attractive room, crowded and busy in a French way. Small menu but good variety, each dish prepared individually and presented beautifully. Quite a small wine list, primarily California with some French, pricing quite reasonable -- and a good by-the-glass selection. Food prices are surprisingly low for Santa Barbara (entrees at $19). Like another reviewer, we arrived to find that our reservation, made weeks ahead, didn't exist. Service was slow at the start, quite awhile before we could order a glass of wine, but attentive thereafter. The food itself was very good, particularly the duck, perfectly cooked and presented, and the frog legs, tender and not over-fried. Desserts were a yeoman-like creme brûlée and a heavy, rich chocolate marquise, good but not transcendent. Like a good French bistro it was all quite tasty but didn't rise to a five-star level. A fine and satisfying evening all the same. One picky note: the chef insists on putting kosher salt in the salt shakers so that its large grain prevents the patrons from over-salting (we took the lid off the shaker...). Why is it that some chefs feel the need to either deprive us of salt shakers altogether or censor how much we use? They don't tell us whether to sweeten our coffee, or how much. Arrogance.

Thank Michael M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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115 - 119 of 237 reviews

Reviewed 8 January 2014

Very good small French restaurant, located on a pedestrian shopping walkway just off State Street. For lunch, I had a pretty good caesar salad ($8), which used large crisp lettuce leaves topped with pieces of fried bread. Main course was a flat iron steak ($19), cooked plenty rare with a dark, heavy sauce. Nicely prepared and very tasty. The house white wine-by-the-glass was French and unusually good. Overall, very good but with a need for the kitchen to dial back on the salt.

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Thank glendale-member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 January 2014

We went for dinner based on a friend's recommendation. We had a reservation but the hostess and flighty server couldn't find it, only to tell us later that it was on the list but that the person who took our reservation butchered the spelling so much that no one could tell it was us. ??

The food was very nice. The menu was limited but each dish was very well prepared. I particularly liked the duck. Seating is limited so be sure to make a reservation, carefully spelling your name.

There was a selection of wines but no liquor. We are told that it is hard to get a liquor license in Santa Barbara. Perhaps, but lesser places serve liquor.

At any rate, go for the food and elsewhere if you want a drink.

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Thank Otto W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 October 2013

Pleasant quaint atmosphere. Grandma would probably love it except for the hard benches. The heavy decorative kitchen items on shelves overhead of the seating area were a bit off-putting since we live in earthquake country, but a bike helmet would probably do. Bring one for Grandma. Food was "good", but not enough to incline me to return, salmon was served a bit undercooked. Wine list offered by the glass was mediocre. Our waitress wasn't exactly warm and fuzzy, going through the motions and forgetting the dessert we ordered. You get the impression it's just another day at the 'old Bistro. Ho-hum. There's other restaurants in Santa Barbara I'll take my out of town friends to.

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Thank NinSB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 October 2013

What a delight. This wonderful bistro, tucked in an alley, serves authentic, refined bistro fare.

They make wonderful use of the small, superbly decorated space while serving up exquisite dishes. The grilled pork chop was the best I've had and the other two diners were similarly impressed.

Le Petit Valentien is the best French bistro I have enjoyed in the US.

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

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