Sambo’s, a Mouth-Watering Experience


Photo Jessie Dusebout

According to the locals, Sambo’s Restaurant has been known as the place to go for “the best pancakes in the city.”
Located on the beach front with a view of Santa Barbara’s Harbor and pier, Sambo’s has occupied the same small brick and tile building since 1957.
Upon arrival, we put our name in at the glass desk lined with mugs, T-shirts, stuffed animals, and matchboxes all bearing the name Sambo’s.
We headed outside to wait for our name to be called.  The brisk ocean breeze blew through the palm trees surrounding the exterior of the restaurant; and the customers enjoyed their food on the patio, bundled up in jackets to fight off the cool, salty morning air.
Moments later we were lead inside to a circular booth in the back.  Immediately a warm basket of mini chocolate chip and blueberry muffins appeared in the center of our table and drink orders were taken.
The muffins were fresh out of the oven, leaving the chocolate chips still gooey. Creamy hot chocolate and fragrant tea was served.
The hot chocolate warmed me from the inside out and the chocolate melted in my mouth.  The whipped cream was creamy and obviously made from scratch.
We skimmed the menu while enjoying our drinks: chocolate chip pancakes, banana caramel pecan pancakes, roasted Fuji apple pancakes, blueberry pancakes.
Deciding on a cheese and bacon omelet and chocolate chip pancakes, I sat back and took in  the atmosphere. It was loud and lively, but the energy was warming.
Waiters and waitresses rushed around the tables, providing excellent customer service; elderly couples sat at the counter sharing a plate of buttermilk pancakes and coffee; a large group of teenagers squeezed around a table laughing and sipping on hot chocolate; and families piled into booths, kids drawing with crayons on paper place mats and begging for quarters to use in the gum ball machine by the door.
Sports games played on the flat screen televisions mounted to the corners of the sunny yellow walls and customers cheered for their teams throughout their meals.
A short while later our omelets, fresh fruit, and pancakes arrived- also sporting yellow, blue, and salmon colored dishes.
I began with my omelet, saving the famous pancakes for last.  Thin and well cooked; they were excellent.  It was a perfect serving size, and didn’t force me to rationalize my intake to leave room for my pancakes.
After enjoying the omelet, I prepared to eat my pancakes.  I

Photo Jessie Dusebout

spread the butter and drizzled the warm maple syrup on top.
My first thought was: I have never tasted anything like these b

efore.  They were the fluffiest pancakes I have ever seen or tasted, melting the second the  entered my mouth.
I continued eating until the last drop of syrup was soaked up by the pancakes and my plate was clean.
When all of the plates were cleared, I looked out the windows lining the front wall, spotting the waves crashing roughly on the shore, took a las

t whiff of the coffee and maple syrup, and smiled at the sound of the children squealing over their gum ball.
Sambo’s will see us again that’s for sure.