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Carlitos Cafe y Cantina

1324 State St, Ste A, Santa Barbara, CA 93101-8720
805-962-7117
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Ranked #68 of 440 restaurants in Santa Barbara
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Price range: $20 - $35
Cuisines: Mexican
Good for: Families with children, Romance, Outdoor seating
Dining options: Breakfast/Brunch, Dinner, Reservations, Late Night
Restaurant details
Good for: Families with children, Romance, Outdoor seating
Dining options: Breakfast/Brunch, Dinner, Reservations, Late Night
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206 reviews from our community

76% Recommend
    91
    67
    28
    15
    5
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Lakeside, California
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
17 restaurant reviews
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 27, 2014 NEW

This is a very fun, very loud, very tight squeeze restaurant. The patio is the best place to sit but very close to your neighbors. The food is amazing! The halibut with a Mexican twist was super! The tamales were some of the best I have had!

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Austin, Texas
Top Contributor
71 reviews 71 reviews
34 restaurant reviews
44 helpful votes 44 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 26, 2014 NEW

We had drinks, plus the guacamole. We could have almost stopped there because we got full fast. The guacamole was tasty. The trio of tamales was superb - very fresh, very soft, quite tasty. The shrimp empanadas were disappointing, soggy and not so tasty. Our daughter had steak tacos, which she loved. Overall, it was a pretty good place (and... More

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Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
18 restaurant reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 21, 2014

If you can get a spot outside, go for it. It's got a great view of the Arlington Theater and if there's anything happening on State Street, this is a great place to belly up (particularly the Summer Solstice Festival). The quesadillas are some of the best I've ever had and the margaritas are delicious.

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Patterson, New York
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
23 restaurant reviews
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 14, 2014 via mobile

Expected better based on concierge recommendation. Ample entree's - food was tasty and plenty served. Staff was not very attentive or very familiar with menu. Would return for a second try for better wait staff if returning to Santa Barbara...

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Dartford, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
44 reviews 44 reviews
13 restaurant reviews
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 14, 2014

From the time we arrived to when we left we loved everything about this place. You will probably need to wait for a table or prebook because it's popular. The menu is good (all Mexican of course- the clue is in the name). The service hard to beat. The food is excellent. The portions more than enough. There's a good... More

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Cypress, California
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 6, 2014

Our family really enjoyed an exceptional meal at Carlitos. The posole was so tasty. Pork was tender and the broth was rich and full of flavor. Their guacamole was different and with chips and black bean and corn salsa and red salsa too it was a perfect blend of flavors. We enjoyed fish tacos which they split with no problem... More

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Santa Barbara, California
1 review
2 of 5 stars Reviewed June 26, 2014

The ambiance is great outside, but the appetizers were mediocre, served barely warm, cheese not even melted! Entertaining out of town guests, and disappointed. The dishes were poorly prepared, guacamole and sour cream does not make up for tasteless appetizers.

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Olathe, Kansas
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 25, 2014

I know my title sounds silly for a Mexican Restaurant, but it's true. I didn't want a huge lunch so I ordered a chicken taco and side Caesar salad...which I never order Caesar salads, I generally order a spring mix or house salad. I can't describe the salad, except to day it was light on dressing and amazing. My husband... More

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Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 18, 2014

Negative: We asked for recommendation and ordered Fajitas. The meat had practically no taste at all. Mexican food is supposed to be full of taste and flavor. This one was a great disappointment. Positive: Parking in such busy area was free. Drinks were very good. Service was above average. I would not recommend this place.

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London, United Kingdom
2 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 18, 2014

My husband and I were in California (all over) for 3 weeks and this was one of our BEST dinners. Fantastic rose wine, lovely & helpful waitress and excellent food. Not to mention huge portions. And very friendly ppl sitting around us. It's also nicely located on the central State Street but just slightly out of the way of all... More

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