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.

“Superb tamales and guacamole”

Carlitos Cafe y Cantina
Reserve with OpenTable
Carlitos Cafe y Cantina is not available for your requested time. Choose another time, or search restaurants with availability.
The time you selected has already passed.
Ranked #50 of 534 Restaurants in Santa Barbara
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $20 - $35
Cuisines: Mexican
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic, Families with children
Dining options: Breakfast, Dinner, Late Night, Outdoor Seating, Reservations
Austin, Texas
Level 5 Contributor
90 reviews
44 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
“Superb tamales and guacamole”
Reviewed July 26, 2014

We had drinks, plus the guacamole. We could have almost stopped there because we got full fast. The guacamole was tasty. The trio of tamales was superb - very fresh, very soft, quite tasty. The shrimp empanadas were disappointing, soggy and not so tasty. Our daughter had steak tacos, which she loved. Overall, it was a pretty good place (and we didn't even get on the patio), but I would recommend reading through the reviews to find the best dishes.

  • Visited June 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank DbTX
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

435 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    172
    165
    58
    27
    13
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Level 3 Contributor
21 reviews
19 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Quesadillas and margaritas”
Reviewed July 21, 2014

If you can get a spot outside, go for it. It's got a great view of the Arlington Theater and if there's anything happening on State Street, this is a great place to belly up (particularly the Summer Solstice Festival). The quesadillas are some of the best I've ever had and the margaritas are delicious.

  • Visited August 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Mike O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Patterson, New York
Level 4 Contributor
45 reviews
38 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Very Good... Expected more...”
Reviewed July 14, 2014 via mobile

Expected better based on concierge recommendation. Ample entree's - food was tasty and plenty served. Staff was not very attentive or very familiar with menu. Would return for a second try for better wait staff if returning to Santa Barbara...

Visited July 2014
Helpful?
Thank Racerrx-3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dartford, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
54 reviews
17 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“Family Mexican which is hard to beat”
Reviewed July 14, 2014

From the time we arrived to when we left we loved everything about this place. You will probably need to wait for a table or prebook because it's popular. The menu is good (all Mexican of course- the clue is in the name). The service hard to beat. The food is excellent. The portions more than enough. There's a good wine list. Even two picky teenage girls couldn't fault it!

Visited July 2014
Helpful?
Thank Pickyperson910
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cypress, California
Level 2 Contributor
8 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“An relaxing and enjoyable eating experience.”
Reviewed July 6, 2014

Our family really enjoyed an exceptional meal at Carlitos. The posole was so tasty. Pork was tender and the broth was rich and full of flavor. Their guacamole was different and with chips and black bean and corn salsa and red salsa too it was a perfect blend of flavors. We enjoyed fish tacos which they split with no problem and the guys enjoyed their meals too. Didn't have room for dessert because their was so much food brought to the table. By the way their drinks were exceptionally made with a perfect balance blend of flavors. I had a basil and cucumber gimlet that I enjoyed throughout the meal. People were delightfully pleasant at every turn. Nice experience.

  • Visited July 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank nanaonabike
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Carlitos Cafe y Cantina also viewed

 
Santa Barbara, CA
Santa Barbara, CA
 

Been to Carlitos Cafe y Cantina? 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