China Pavilion

Jen Villa

China Pavilion

Dim Sum Delights

China Pavilion’s Weekend Brunch Turns Santa Barbara into a Big-League Restaurant Town

On Saturday, November 1, at 11 a.m., Santa Barbara finally became a big-league restaurant town. At that moment, the China Pavilion (1202 Chapala St., 560-6028, opened its doors to a small crowd of slatheringly expectant people with hope in their hearts responding to the promise of real dim sum served from carts in steam baskets. They were not disappointed. Peter Chen’s unbelievably hard-working kitchen turned out a menu ranging from plump pork and shrimp shu mai, through unguent thin pork and seafood porridges all the way to a Chen innovation, shrimp and lychee fruit in a fried wrapper. The best news is that the dim sum was as good as anything we’ve experienced north of the San Gabriel Valley and, even better, an order of six dishes with tea came to a mere $25.22, which is a price competitive with Chinatown menus from Boston to San Francisco. The bao was fluffy with anise-y five-spice flavor BBQ pork inside, and the pan-fried daikon cake was firm, warm, and delicately crisped on its outer shell. The elegant rooms were packed with families, couples, and friends indulging in that most pleasurable of treats, a midday feast you didn’t need to traverse the state to enjoy.

China Pavilion

1202 Chapala St., Santa Barbara, CA
805-560-6028. More Info

View our complete restaurant guide here.

To submit a comment on this article, email or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email

Be succinct, constructive, and relevant to the story. Leaving a comment means you agree to our Discussion Guidelines. We like civilized discourse. We don't like spam, lying, profanity, harassment or personal attacks.

comments powered by Disqus
event calendar sponsored by:

Santa Barbara Rental Prices Have Skyrocketed Over the Last Five Years

The average rent for a South Coast studio is $1,553.

Trio Stops the Show at Board of Education

More than a dozen appeal to Santa Barbara Unified School District to maintain music classes and programs.

Santa Barbara District Attorney Endorses Villaraigosa for Governor

Joyce Dudley preferred the former Los Angeles mayor’s positions on crime and education.

San Marcos Principal Files Suit Against Santa Barbara Unified School District

Ed Behrens charges emotional and physical distress due to demotion.

City Water Use Hits 1958 Levels

Population was twice today's; revenue close to falling short of expenses.