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The Blue Owl at Zen Yai

425 State St. (E. Haley St.) Send to Phone
805-705-0991 | Menu
Thai influences meet California cuisine at this unique downtown eatery.


Lunch Mon.-Sat., Late Dinner Fri.-Sat.
Open late
  • Parking available
  • Dress code: Casual

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Operations may be disrupted due to COVID-19. Be sure to contact the restaurant to find out its current status and offerings.

The Blue Owl at Zen Yai Restaurant Review

: With the preponderance of Santa Barbara’s nightlife clustered into a small area downtown, you’d expect a similar array of eateries there to capitalize on the midnight hankerings of voracious revelers. Not so. Around the witching hour, the culinary landscape of Lower State Street goes barren, with few exceptions. The Blue Owl was conceived as a late-night eatery --- and it still is one: reawakening at 11:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays --- but now lunch is served as well. Thai influences meet California cuisine in dishes like a tri-tip sandwich with pickled vegetables and oyster-chili mayo. The classic American cheeseburger is slathered in buttery mushrooms and treated with a cool dose of basil and red pepper. During the dinner hours, the space is a Thai restaurant called Zen Yai, but this is an entirely separate business, with different owners and a unique culinary approach: something of a street food version of Asian fusion. The menu, including dessert specials, changes weekly.

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Read GAYOT's review.