Carlitos Café y Cantina

1324 State St, Santa Barbara
(805) 962-7117

Recent Reviews

Alan Pottkotter

Love the atmosphere. Drinks are great and food is a little pricier for Mexican food but it’s worth every penny for the atmosphere and location. Fajitas are great! Pozole is also amazing.

Candy G.

My husband and I randomly walked into this restaurant while walking around down town. We didn't expect much from it because Mexican restaurants can be a hit or miss in Santa Barbara, but it was definitely a hit! The pozole was savory and spicy. The chille relleno was perfectly cooked, not soggy or mushy. The taquitos came with a large portion of guacamole! And the churos and drinks were the perfect ending to our meal. The service was great, friendly, and on attentive. The patio was clean and breezy on an October Sunday . I'd definitely recommend this place

Adrienne O.

They've definitely updated their menu over the years and it's only gotten better. So have the prices... we keep coming here expecting to have a main but keep ordering the The amazing Roasted Eggplant, Tomato and Basil Quesadilla Botana, Gamabas Al Ajillo Botana & Calamari Frito Botanas and get so stuffed we end up not making it to the main courses. Though we have had the spicy baby back ribs, and the Ceviche is to die for and if their mains are a thing like their tapas I imagine they'll be just as good! Oh and of course the Margaritas are wonderful too!

Hope R.

If you're looking for a cute patio spot on a gorgeous day, this is the place! Carlitos has a very friendly staff and delicious food. I was craving pozole, and theirs did not disappoint. You can order the soup with either carnitas or chicken and it comes with their delicious tortillas so you can soak up all the yummy goodness. They have different fresh fruit purées that they use in the margaritas that they also use for mimosas if you order a cava split. Blood orange is a must try!

Marilyn M.

The service was lacking. Poor timing. It took forever for our server to come to the table. A lady at another table got up and asked for a server. He showed up took our order. The food showed up and the server never came back to check on us. The chicken was pre cooked and very rubbery. The veggies on the fajitas weren't seasoned at all. The server dropped off the check and never said a word. What did I do or say to be treated this poorly? Nothing. He was just a d******* that didn't deserve his job. I've been eating here for years but why bother coming back. If you haven't been yet stay away.

Roderick Morrison

Amazing! Was driving through the area for a little weekend getaway with my girlfriend, and we both absolutely loved the food. We ordered some takeout, and I got distracted on the phone out in my car while waiting. They brought the food all the way out to our car when it was done without us asking. Good service indeed


We visited here for dinner after recommendation from our hotel. We were not disappointed! Great fresh tasting large portions of Mexican food. I had the steak enchiladas - tasty chargrilled steak and loads of veg, came with black beans, sour cream, salsa and guacamole. Delicious! My wife had the Carlitos combo which was a choice of two selected menu items. She chose the steak enchilada and the chicken taco, which came with a choice of black beans and rice or salad. Both items were really tasty, again plenty left over to take home. We didn’t have dessert as we were too full but I would thoroughly recommend Carlitos if you like Mexican food .


When in SB this is a must for us. I don't normally choose this style of dining much as I'm more of a stand up and eat on your hood kind of guy when it comes to Mexican food, but this place has a cool atmosphere and good food. It's right on the State st. strip and the patio is perfect for the weather and people watching.

Sabrina Skøt

The staff here is on point. Absolutely aware and quick. The food is really lovely and prices are good. Would definitely come back. Recommend you go aswell!Good with kids as well.Kid-friendliness: Drawing and a menu.

Misty G.

Nice atmosphere, tasty food and great margaritas. A little pricey and slow kitchen service though. The free chips and salsa are always appreciated but we went through 3 baskets before the food came out. So we filled up fast. The salsa was nice, 2 types and both good.


I really wanted to like Carlitos. We'd visited before and did not love it. But we wanted to give it a second chance. Oh well! The service was good. Super professional. The outdoor dining was also comfortable. And what a great location for touring State Street. But we did not love the nachos or margaritas. There were way too many black beans in the nachos. And their flavor was OK. Nothing memorable. The margarita berry/jalapeno margarita was tasty enough but small for the price. There is simply too much great Mexican fare in SB to return to Carlitos.

Melody K.

Lunchtime on a Monday,we just happened to come across this place because the restaurant I wanted to try was closed on Mondays. I'm glad we gave it a try. Nice patio seating, good service from Marco along with good food. We started off with Carlitos Traditional Margaritas while perusing the menu and enjoying the chips and salsa. We asked for a spicier salsa which they had and was so good. Food ordered were the Carlitos Tostada and Burrito Asada. All the food came out hot, fresh and tasting delicious I would definitely come back again!

Corina R.

I like that they still have outdoor patio that they set up during Covid. It was so nice to eat outside on a wonderful summer evening. The staff is extremely attentive. The food was very good. We had enchiladas, burritos, sopas, and the margaritas are fantastic. Of course you are in the middle of Santa Barbara and so everything is pricey but if you don't mind it's actually a nice place to have dinner or lunch

Qukah P.

This is a great place if you want some good Fish tacos. We also had the fried Calamari. Nice outdoor seating and there is ample seating inside as well.

Ashley L.

Been coming here for the past five years or so with various friends and family. Their complimentary chips and black bean salsa are good. They also have an actually spicy salsa - just ask your server. I have gotten the steak fajitas, which is a great portion of steak for the price, and the two item combination with crispy chicken taco and an enchilada. The quality has held up over the years. I usually get the blackberry margarita which always hits the spot. They have ample outdoor seating and with heat lamps, but if you're seated on the street side, there will be noise from passing cars since it's State Street. Service is usually great and they refill your chips and salsa.

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