Given the very good selection of restaurants in Orcutt, traveling the 5 miles to Santa Maria for dinner at the Santa Maria Inn turned out to not be worth the trip. To begin, the restaurant was just about empty, yet we were seated at a table with no napkins, no pepper, and no centerpiece. We were there early enough for their early special, $22.00 for salad, entree, and dessert. One of my friends and I had the green salad, described on the menu as having greens, tomatoes, cucumber, etc. We each received a bowl of lettuce swimming in dressing. When we mentioned it to the waitress she just giggled and apologized, but no explanation was offered. Two of my friends had the stroganoff, while I had the shrimp. Imagine my surprise when my shrimp entree (NOT appetizer) consisted of two shrimp. Yes, two. The shrimp were overcooked, stuffed with something that was supposed to be clams but was mostly breadcrumbs. The shrimp were served with sauteed spinach. Dessert (no choices) was creme brulee, and it was just average and a very small portion. I am give this an average review rather than poor because the atmosphere is very peaceful and pleasant, and we were able to linger at our table for quite some time without being disturbed. However I would recommend skipping the Santa Maria Inn and trying Trattoria Uliveto, Rooneys or Passion in Orcutt, just 5 miles down the road.
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