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Carlitos Cafe y Cantina

Certificate of Excellence
$$$
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
Good for:
Families with children
Romance
Outdoor seating

TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 254 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 102
    Excellent
  • 93
    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
Good concept could work on service

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... read more

4 of 5 starsReviewed March 18, 2015
Dan S
,
Arlington Heights, Illinois
Good for:
  • Families with children
  • Romance
  • Outdoor seating
  • Breakfast/Brunch
  • Dinner
  • Reservations
  • Late Night
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254 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
Alberta, Canada
Top Contributor
283 reviews 283 reviews
141 restaurant reviews
255 helpful votes 255 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 28, 2015 NEW

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.

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Arlington Heights, Illinois
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
17 restaurant reviews
8 helpful votes 8 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
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 

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Guangzhou, China
Top Contributor
68 reviews 68 reviews
14 restaurant reviews
32 helpful votes 32 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 

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wilmette, il
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
13 helpful votes 13 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

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Cincinnati, Ohio, United States
Top Contributor
94 reviews 94 reviews
48 restaurant reviews
28 helpful votes 28 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.

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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 

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Claremont, California
Top Contributor
64 reviews 64 reviews
40 restaurant reviews
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 13, 2015

Carlitos is a wonderful Al Fresco restaurant on State Street in Santa Barbara. WE have eaten there two different times and just love the experience. The setting is outside and a lovely street, all the food is organic and super fresh. The salsa is made fresh each day and the chips are the best. The food and drinks are just... More 

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Alexandria, Virginia
Top Contributor
108 reviews 108 reviews
37 restaurant reviews
57 helpful votes 57 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 7, 2015

The food is very good. The service is as well. The carne asada was well worth the price. Would get it again.

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Longmont, Colorado
Top Contributor
89 reviews 89 reviews
72 restaurant reviews
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 3, 2015

The service at Carlitos is outstanding. Margaritas (a little on the weak and too sweet side for my liking) arrived quickly. Order guacamole and it heaps out of the bowl. Good chips! Shrimp fajita was very good - not spectacular, but very good. We always eat here when we're in Santa Barbara (often).

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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, 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?