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“Can't beat the atmosphere”

El Paseo Restaurant
Ranked #187 of 536 Restaurants in Santa Barbara
Price range: $20 - $35
Dining options: Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Reservations
Reviewed February 11, 2013

The El Paseo has fantastic atmosphere...the restaurant is open to the sky with moveable canvas shades. There are trees inside with "twinkle lights" in the 2 story room. The adjacent bar has a lower ceiling with big exposed beams and a big fireplace at one end with comfortable seating. The whole scene oozes charm.

Unfortunately the food has always been mediocre. So why go??? Soak in the atmosphere, order chips and guacamole made at your table, order a very good Margarita, or the fantastic Caipirinha and relax.

Don't eat there. Move on after cocktails. The staff is very nice. It is not crowded. Sit by the fireplace or under a heater by your table. Enjoy.

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Thank kasialouise
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviews (74)
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50 - 54 of 74 reviews

Reviewed January 3, 2013

This place used to be our destination spot in Santa Barbara. A place we went for romance, fun, ambiance, and phenomenal food. Unfortunately it's now just... ok. We went just four days ago for an early New Year's Eve dinner, and the setting, as usual didn't disappoint. Service likewise was lovely - it wasn't crowded, but was slowly starting to fill up, and our wonderful waiter was attentive. Two things that we noticed had changed, however: 1) we asked for a drink menu (they used to have an extensive one) and our waiter said "I can tell it to you..." and proceeded to rattle off their margaritas, which was fine, but not a drink menu. And 2) the reviews below about the food being less than it used to be are true. Homemade tortillas didn't taste that fresh taste that five or six years ago used to make us crave it in LA and drive up to SB just for dinner! Our meals were a bit salty - some more than others - and although we WANTED to love it, we just DIDN'T. I can't speak to the managerial change, I can only say that this used to be our favorite restaurant in Santa Barbara, and frankly in all of central coast California, but now we all agreed (uniformly all 4 adults) that we're on the lookout for a new Santa Barbara spot to eat phenomenal gourmet food...

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Thank dorkozak
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 13, 2012

It is wonderful when you find a restaurant that has both great ambiance and great food. The chile rellenos are very good as are most of the menu items. Service is a bit uneven, but you won't be disappointed eating here.

Thank worldexplorer88_11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 28, 2012

One of our favorite stops in Santa Barbara. Pretty restaurant tucked away off of State St. The best Margaritas we ever had! Seriously! Home made tortilla and fresh guacamole prepared at your table. And the best service from our smiling happy waitress Yesenia. Not to be missed!

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1  Thank CruzView
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 15, 2012

Arrived and waited to be greeted. Eventually a bus boy came to us ..checked for a table then handed us the menus and pointed in the direction of the table...he couldn't be bothered to bring us down to it. While our waiter was friendly I had to ask for water and a glass for my beer. food was OK nothing special. I was served my fajitas without tortillas ....they appeared on table about 5 mins later ..no apology.Did not feel welcome in this restaurant and was glad to leave.

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Thank savystayer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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