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Carlitos Cafe y Cantina

$$$
Mexican
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1324 State St, Ste A, Santa Barbara, CA 93101-8720
805-962-7117
Website
Today
11:00 am - 10:00 pm
Closed now
See all hours
Hours:
Sun 9:30 am - 10:00 pm
Mon - Sat 11:00 am - 10:00 pm
Dining options: Dinner, Breakfast, Lunch, Late Night, Outdoor Seating, Reservations

TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 265 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 106
    Excellent
  • 95
    Very good
  • 37
    Average
  • 18
    Poor
  • 9
    Terrible
Rating summary
  • Food
    4 of 5 stars
    Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
    Atmosphere
    4 of 5 stars
Great experience

We had just arrived in Santa Barbara for the weekend. Decided to try this restaurant was am glad we did. Food was fresh and tasty with very generous portions. We sat on the patio by the fountain which made for a relaxing meal. I had the shrimp tacos. The shrimp was seasoned and cooked beautifully... read more

4 of 5 starsReviewed April 15, 2015
Trixie F
,
Phoenix, Arizona
Good for:
  • Families with children
  • Romantic
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265 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
winnipeg
Level Contributor
38 reviews
26 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 1, 2015 NEW

Mexican food is not usually my first choice, as it can be quite heavy, but the food and drinks at Carlito's were exceptionally fresh, flavourful and authentic, not overloaded with refried beans and cheese and the like. A group of twelve of us dined there on a Monday night. We shared several appetizers and ordered a variety of main dishes.... More 

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U.S.
Level Contributor
26 reviews
23 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 30, 2015 NEW

Really looked forward to an authentic Mexican meal, and what we got instead is a menu of the "usual suspects." That would have been ok if it was a cut above the typical tex mex. Alas, not to be. Hope to have a better Mexican meal before we leave Santa Barbara.

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Hurricane, Utah
Level Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed June 26, 2015 NEW

We visited Santa Barbara annually for many years and always enjoyed dining at Carlitos. Four years ago we dined there again and my husband got food poisoning. We thought it was a fluke and ate there again last month. This time I came down with a bad case of food poisoning. Needless to say, we will never eat there again.

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San Francisco, California
2 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 17, 2015

Man everything about this place is excellent, first let me start with the Margaritas...Perfection! Then the chips and salsa...Perfection! I ordered chicken enchiladas...Perfection! I love to cook Mexican food whenever I get a chance, and think that I am pretty good at it, but when I tasted the cuisine at Carlitos I was transported to a land savory goodness! You... More 

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Southern California
Level Contributor
40 reviews
20 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 22, 2015

Everytime we're in Santa Barbara, we eat at Carlitos. This time I had their fish tacos . . . yummmm. My daughter had the chicken nachos . . . delish. The food's always very good. Sit on the patio and soak up some great Santa Barbara vibes.

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Santa Barbara, California
Level Contributor
27 reviews
13 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed May 19, 2015

It could be a wonderful place to sip sangria or margaritas and watch the world walk by. But the food ruined it for me. We have tried to like this place, and we have given it several tries. I can't drink enough to cause me to overlook just how ordinary the food here is.

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Santa Barbara, California
Level Contributor
157 reviews
103 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 97 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 27, 2015

First, Carlitos is in a convenient and ideal outside setting on upper state street and the restaurant often is frequented by patrons of Arlington Theater across the street. It is also almost always very busy, if not hectic. The food is also pretty good and relatively more healthy than traditional Mexican flair. I have eaten here probably a dozen times... More 

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Athens, Georgia
Level Contributor
46 reviews
24 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 16, 2015

Great place to eat. Wonderful and kind staff! Great food. Great margaritas! Great, fast service. Fun time! You will like it!

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Phoenix, Arizona
Level Contributor
23 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 15, 2015

We had just arrived in Santa Barbara for the weekend. Decided to try this restaurant was am glad we did. Food was fresh and tasty with very generous portions. We sat on the patio by the fountain which made for a relaxing meal. I had the shrimp tacos. The shrimp was seasoned and cooked beautifully and were abundant. My sister... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes
Thousand Oaks, California
Level Contributor
12 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 12, 2015

great avocado dip, always busy,grab a cab and go and enjoy. they have a live band playing your favorite mexican tunes

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Additional Information about Carlitos Cafe y Cantina

Address: 1324 State St, Ste A, Santa Barbara, CA 93101-8720
Phone Number: 805-962-7117
Location: United States  >  California (CA)  >  Santa Barbara
Open Hours:
Sunday 9:30 am - 10:00 pm
Monday 11:00 am - 10:00 pm
Tuesday 11:00 am - 10:00 pm
Wednesday 11:00 am - 10:00 pm
Thursday 11:00 am - 10:00 pm
Friday 11:00 am - 10:00 pm
Saturday 11:00 am - 10:00 pm
Average Prices: USD 20 - 35
Cuisine: Mexican

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Restaurant Details

Location and Contact Information

  • Address: 1324 State St, Ste A, Santa Barbara, CA 93101-8720
  • Location: United States  >  California (CA)  >  Santa Barbara
  • Phone Number: 805-962-7117

Price and Cuisine

  • Average Prices: USD 20 - 35
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Restaurant Characteristics

  • Good for: Families with children, Romantic
Open Hours
Sunday
9:30 am - 10:00 pm
Monday
11:00 am - 10:00 pm
Tuesday
11:00 am - 10:00 pm
Wednesday
11:00 am - 10:00 pm
Thursday
11:00 am - 10:00 pm
Friday
11:00 am - 10:00 pm
Saturday
11:00 am - 10:00 pm

Questions & Answers

Questions? Get answers from Carlitos Cafe y Cantina staff and past visitors.
Posting guidelines
Typical questions asked:
  • Do you have gluten-free options?
  • Is there a dress code?
  • Do you allow dogs on the outdoor patio?