We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Carlitos Cafe y Cantina

$$$
Mexican
Improve this listing
Map
Satellite
Map updates are paused. Zoom in to see updated info.
Reset zoom
Updating Map...
Your filters are still active.
There are no pins in your viewport. Try moving the map or changing your filters.
Get directions
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: Breakfast, Dinner, Lunch, Outdoor Seating, Reservations

TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 271 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 106
    Excellent
  • 99
    Very good
  • 38
    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
Great margaritas

House made guacamole and premium margaritas were the best. Also excellent tamale appetizer large enough for 5 to 6 people to share.

4 of 5 starsReviewed July 24, 2015
ZorroHouston
,
Houston
Good for:
  • Romantic
  • Families with children
Add Photo Write a Review

271 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Rate and write a review
Roll over, then click to rate
  Click to rate
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Level Contributor
37 reviews
25 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 29, 2015 NEW

Bottom-Line Upfront: Average. Nothing special. Pros: Location has parking - also con as patio sits in parking lot. Cons: Avoid child menu. Quesadillas served were microwave made and cheese was old and bad - sent back.

Was this review helpful? Yes
Batticaloa, Sri Lanka
Level Contributor
37 reviews
17 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed July 26, 2015 NEW

I went with two friends for lunch on a weekday. We we got in before the lunch rush, and staff acted like we imposing on their time. By the time we were finishing up the lunch rush was just starting; our waitress did everything she could to get us out the door, including snatching away the unfinished Guacamole dish we... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes
Houston
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 24, 2015

House made guacamole and premium margaritas were the best. Also excellent tamale appetizer large enough for 5 to 6 people to share.

Was this review helpful? Yes
Huntington Beach, California
Level Contributor
44 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 22, 2015

The food was good and the service was friendly and helpful. They have a nice selection of combinations and the food was very fresh and appealing.

Was this review helpful? Yes
Tolland, Connecticut
Level Contributor
101 reviews
42 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 22, 2015

Came here on referral from a friend and thoroughly enjoyed our meal. The nachos were the best ever. The cheese was superior to anything I've had and the chips were super-fresh. We stayed traditional with our choices and stuck to enchiladas and tacos but found food quality to be high and service decent. If you're looking for a dive, authentic... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes
winnipeg
Level Contributor
38 reviews
26 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 1, 2015

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 

Was this review helpful? Yes
U.S.
Level Contributor
33 reviews
30 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 30, 2015

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 4 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed June 26, 2015

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.

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
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 

Was this review helpful? Yes
Southern California
Level Contributor
43 reviews
22 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.

Was this review helpful? Yes

Travelers who viewed Carlitos Cafe y Cantina also viewed

 
Santa Barbara, CA
 

Been to Carlitos Cafe y Cantina? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

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

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Register now for free — and start getting automatic notification of new reviews, responding to traveler feedback, adding new photos to your listing and much more.

Manage your listing
Improve this listing

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: Romantic, Families with children
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?