Our History

China Pavilion History

China Pavilion was founded in 1995 with Modern Chinese cuisine in mind. We have the traditional Modern Chinese menu and we offer seasonal chef specials which allow us to incorporate seasonal seafood and fresh vegetables. In additional for a more adventurous and well-traveled customer we offer a more cultural experience with our “Chinese Menu”. China Pavilion offers well prepared and presented dishes, offering a great downtown location walking distance from shops with reasonable prices to remain competitive in the Santa Barbara Restaurant scene. We offer Dim Sum on Sundays which is a popular attraction. We believe our well prepared dishes and presentation, prices, location and customer satisfaction keep China Pavilion as a well know Chinese Restaurant for both repeat customers and new business. We are happy to be Santa Barbara Reader’s Poll; best Chinese Restaurant for 10 consecutive years. Please read more about us from the Santa Barbara Independent here and here.

About Us

China Pavilion is managed by a husband and wife team with over 25 years of restaurant experience. In the past (or in addition) we have successfully managed a sushi restaurant for 15 years. China Pavilion is our 5th location for a Chinese restaurant.

Peter Chen, Co-owner and Chef: Peter was born into a culinary family in Taiwan which specialized in wedding banquets; detail preparation and presentation as the most important factors in the successful of the business. Peter received acknowledgment and awards as a Culinary Artist and was invited to prepare Taiwanese Cuisine at the residence of Governor Jon Huntsman of Utah (later Governor Huntsman was nominated as GOP presidential candidate in 2012).

Lisa Lee, Co-owner and Front House Manager: Lisa moved to Santa Barbara at the age of 13, attended the University of California Santa Barbara graduating with a BA degree in Business Economics with an emphasis in Accounting and Business Management. Lisa manages the staff, making sure all health and safety standards and regulations are met, as well as staff well-being and oversees operational expenditures. Lisa ensures customer expectations are met or exceeded at China Pavilion. Lisa has more than 25 years of Front House Management experience and General Manager experience.

Lisa and Peter Chen opened their first restaurant in 1990 called Uncle Chen (Szechuan), in 1992 Ichiban and in 1995, and China Pavilion at Montecito, Pavilion Garden and China Pavilion at Chapala (the current location). As General Manager of five restaurants Lisa Lee managed 7 On Site Managers, 5 Assistant Managers and over 120 employees. In addition, Lisa Lee is Property Manager for the buildings located at 1202 Chapala, 30 West Anapamu and 32 West Anapamu rentals.