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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
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Today
11:00 am - 10:00 pm
Open now
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Hours:
Sun 9:30 am - 10:00 pm
Mon - Sat 11:00 am - 10:00 pm
Dining options: Lunch, Dinner, Breakfast, Late Night, Outdoor Seating, Reservations

TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 283 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 110
    Excellent
  • 106
    Very good
  • 39
    Average
  • 19
    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
Tasty! Tasty!

Carlitos at fiesta time had great atmosphere! Guacamole the best I've ever had and hearty Mexican fare to follow.

4 of 5 starsReviewed August 24, 2015
Rita A
,
Cheltenham, United Kingdom
Good for:
  • Families with children
  • Romantic
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283 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
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English first
España
Level Contributor
39 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 1, 2015 NEW

We had a nice dinner at the patio of the restaurant on a late night this August (restaurante closes at 10). Food was really excellent (true mexican food, not "tex-mex") and portions were huge. The service was simply perfect and the price was very reasonable. Excellent choice if you like true Mexican food in the heart of santa Barbara.

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Cheltenham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
18 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 24, 2015

Carlitos at fiesta time had great atmosphere! Guacamole the best I've ever had and hearty Mexican fare to follow.

Was this review helpful? Yes
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
23 reviews
17 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 23, 2015

We ate here twice. The first time we rolled up without a reservation and had to sit inside. It was noisy and lacked atmosphere but the food was good enough to prompt us to return but this time we booked ahead and asked for an outside table. I'm not an expert on Mexican food so while I can't judge the... More 

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ALBUQUERQUE
Level Contributor
11 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 22, 2015

The restaurant has excellent food and service. You can eat inside or outside. Just a charming place in Santa Barbara

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San Jose, CA
Level Contributor
33 reviews
18 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 17, 2015

According to my Mexican born husband, the pozole here is BETTER than his own mother's version. Cant share that with her though! I ordered the chicken quesadilla and it was spectacular. Guac, cheese, carmelized onions and poblano chiles. Would definitely go back next time we are in the area.

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Dallas, Texas
Level Contributor
76 reviews
53 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 8, 2015

We stumbled upon Carlitos while waiting for the Old Spanish Days Parade. We were seated on the patio and had a wonderful time. The waiters were friendly and efficient and the food was fresh, well prepared and presented. The margaritas were very good. I had the fish tacos and asked for them to be grilled rather than fried. They were... More 

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Lancaster, California
Level Contributor
56 reviews
28 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 7, 2015

We all really liked the food here it was Yummy. Nice atmosphere and good service. The music added a nice touch to our Friday night dinner experience. Chips and Salsa really good, drinks good, we ordered a couple of salads and a chicken plate with black beans and everything was fresh and tasty. A little pricey but good.

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California
Level Contributor
34 reviews
26 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 6, 2015

Pricey for Mexican food. The service was OK, but there are many places in Santa Barbara that have better Mexican food and they are significantly cheaper.

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Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
7 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 4, 2015

Wow. This restaurant is absolutely amazing. I love myself some good hardy Mexican food and Carlitos was just that. There was an awesome vibe with live music and lots of people yet the food came quick and there was no long wait. Our waiter happily greeted us and brought chips and salsa. I think his name was Greg. He recommended... More 

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San Francisco
Level Contributor
53 reviews
18 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 31, 2015

The music played outside is authentic theme for the cuisine served on their menu, and the price, while not cheap is moderate. You won't walk away still hungry. Families with their children come in here, and there are crayons on the table for them to play with and draw on the paper. I've seen them host large parties while accommodating... More 

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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?