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

Certificate of Excellence
$$$
Mexican
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
Improve this listing
Today
11:00 am - 10:00 pm
Open now
See all hours
Hours:
Sun 9:30 am - 10:00 pm
Mon - Sat 11:00 am - 10:00 pm
Good for:
Families with children
Romance
Outdoor seating

TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 257 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 103
    Excellent
  • 95
    Very good
  • 34
    Average
  • 16
    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
  • Romance
  • Outdoor seating
  • Breakfast/Brunch
  • Dinner
  • Reservations
  • Late Night
Add Photo Write a Review

257 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Athens, Georgia
Senior Contributor
46 reviews 46 reviews
24 restaurant reviews
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 16, 2015 NEW

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

Was this review helpful? Yes
Phoenix, Arizona
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 15, 2015 NEW

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
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 12, 2015 NEW

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

Was this review helpful? Yes
Alberta, Canada
Top Contributor
285 reviews 285 reviews
142 restaurant reviews
260 helpful votes 260 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 28, 2015

The patio was a nice place to have dinner. The service was prompt and professional. The guacomole appetizer we had was very good. My fish taco was very bland. It was an okay dinner. The band was setting up as we were leaving, so if you enjoy live music during your meal, this will be a plus.

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Arlington Heights, Illinois
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
17 restaurant reviews
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 18, 2015

The concept was awesome; outdoor cantina on State Street. Loved the atmosphere with live music. It was a little loud for conversations I was having with my dinner-mates but we made the distinct choice knowing the music was there so who can call that a negative? The food wasn't so spicy and I would border on saying it was designed... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 18, 2015

I've been to Carlito's twice now, each time on a Sunday. It's halfway up State Street, across from The Arlington Theater. They have valet parking, which is VERY nice in Santa Barbara. Though it is located in a small strip mall, they have pleasant outdoor seating with umbrellas and foliage. They also had a female musician singing and playing guitar,... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes
Guangzhou, China
Top Contributor
68 reviews 68 reviews
14 restaurant reviews
38 helpful votes 38 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 5, 2015

To me, Mexico is 10k miles away so on this trip to California and while in Santa Barbara (Spanish enough) we bumped into this Carlitos, a 36 years old cafe y cantina. I knew I made a right choice eventually. Fantastic food (exotic enough) with the help of a lovely waitress, warm sunrays casting upon us on the patio, chewing... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes
wilmette, il
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 3, 2015

High quality food, well prepared. This is where the locals eat and is very good. Guacamole is excellent. Salsa and chips are very good

Was this review helpful? Yes
Cincinnati, Ohio, United States
Top Contributor
94 reviews 94 reviews
48 restaurant reviews
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 27, 2015

Arriving from the Ohio snowstorm, we enjoyed dinner on the patio next to a gas heater. Our waiter was friendly and efficient , even as the area filled. The portions were very generous and good.

Was this review helpful? Yes
Oxnard, California
1 review
1 of 5 stars Reviewed February 20, 2015

Well. The food was good. Waiter was nice. But when we asked if they could split the bill, waiter said he couldn't. Which was fine, so we ask for a manager. We ask for some help in splitting the bill since their computer could do it more efficiently then we could. The manager refused to help lost his cool and... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes

Travelers who viewed Carlitos Cafe y Cantina also viewed

 

Been to Carlitos Cafe y Cantina? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

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: Families with children, Romance, Outdoor seating
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?