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.
The latest reviews. The lowest prices. The perfect place to shop for hotels.

“Great Atmosphere, great service and Good (not great) food” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of El Paseo Restaurant

El Paseo Restaurant
Ranked #156 of 526 Restaurants in Santa Barbara
Price range: $20 - $35
Cuisines: Mexican, Latin, Spanish
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic, Dining on a budget, Business meetings, Families with children, Large groups
Dining options: Lunch, Dinner, Full Bar, Outdoor Seating, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Waitstaff
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Level Contributor
24 reviews
12 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Great Atmosphere, great service and Good (not great) food”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 24, 2013

We were here after a concert with about 16 people. We are not fans of Mexican food but the restaurant decision was not ours. The menu was varied enough for us to find something. I had a whole fried fish which was large and OK - frankly, I didn't think it was that fresh (probably frozen). I am a fisherman and restaurateur and have been cooking fish for over 50 years. My wife had a Caesar salad with shrimp that she said was great but she left a bit so again - not quite 100%. Our compatriots declared their Mexican offerings superb so that makes me increase food from 3 stars to 4 as it is, after all, a Mexican restaurant. The cocktails enjoyed by some were also pronounced A-1.

The ambience and service are simply lovely. Retracting panels in the roof allow sun or stars at will and the room is designed like a lovely inner courtyard - really very, very nice.

A definite recommend for Mexican food enthusiasts.

  • Visited April 2013
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank Vancanman64
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

68 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    23
    22
    9
    7
    7
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Santa Barbara, CA
Level Contributor
65 reviews
52 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
“Can't beat the atmosphere”
4 of 5 bubbles 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.

  • Visited February 2013
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank kasialouise
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
los angeles
Level Contributor
34 reviews
16 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Still nice location, but ain't quite what it used to be...”
4 of 5 bubbles 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...

  • Visited January 2013
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank dorkozak
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
La Jolla, California
Level Contributor
183 reviews
81 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 82 helpful votes
“Ambiance and Tasty”
5 of 5 bubbles 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.

Visited November 2012
Helpful?
Thank worldexplorer88_11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Santa Cruz, California
Level Contributor
7 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Beautiful restaurant homemade tortillas, ole!”
5 of 5 bubbles 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!

  • Visited September 2012
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
1 Thank CruzView
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed El Paseo Restaurant also viewed

 

Been to El Paseo Restaurant? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing