Hungry Cat Burger

Jen Villa

Hungry Cat Burger

The Hungry Cat

A Review of This Downtown Santa Barbara Spot for Cool Cocktails and Sensational Seafood

Where: 1134 Chapala Street, 805-884-4701,

What: Cool cocktails, sensational seafood, and a sizzling scene

How much? Small plates $9-$16, larger plates $16-$26, seafood platters $45-$125, cocktails $10-$11

Hungry Cat's Head Chef Dylan Fultineer prepares the whole fish of the day.
Click to enlarge photo

Paul Wellman

Hungry Cat’s Head Chef Dylan Fultineer prepares the whole fish of the day.

The dish: While the Hungry Cat is the second of David Lentz’s restaurants following his success in Hollywood, the day-to-day cooking is done, impeccably, by executive chef Dylan Fultineer (he came from the acclaimed Blackbird in Chicago). That pedigree does mean the Cat thinks and feels and feeds like a big city restaurant, but in Santa Barbara. The freshest of seafood can be had in wonderful preparations including the scrumptious bowl of braised clams, house-made chorizo, sofrito, and grilled bread, which is almost always on the ever-changing menu. You can never go wrong with the oysters, of which there are regularly several choices, and if you feel rich, splurge for that seafood platter that can include sea urchin and caviar. Although the wine list offers unusual choices (a muscadet for those oysters, several ch•teauneuf du papes for the scrumptious Pug burger, the only meat selection), it’s hard to pass up the clever made-to-order cocktails with fresh-squeezed juice (try the Cucumber Martini, made of Plymouth gin, cucumber juice, and lime). There’s a weekend brunch, too, that also offers farmers’ market fresh produce and top of the line seafood and baked goods (not to mention some killer Bloody Marys). The place has one big problem, though: it doesn’t take reservations. You can call and get on a waiting list 45 minutes before you hope to dine. It’s just a shame the bar is so small you can’t just drink there pre-dinner.

Hungry Cat

1134 Chapala St, Santa Barbara, CA
805-884-4701. 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:

Observed Altercation Leads to State Street Car Chase

Crash at De la Vina and Alamar precedes hours-long search for occupant.

Santa Barbara County Sets Carpinteria Cannabis Grow Cap

Neighborhood activist Anna Carrillo scores a victory in limiting pot acreage.

Evacuees Across Santa Barbara County Allowed Back Home This Evening

Mandatory evacuation order lifted for all burn areas.

New Scam Involves ‘Ground Stability Testing’

Fake 'land tech' tried to enter a home on the Westside.

Family Sues Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office for Wrongful Death

Five deputies shot Bryan Carreño 20 times.