12 Best Mexican Restaurants in Santa Barbara, CA
The culture and history of Santa Barbara have deeply intertwined with Mexico. As a result, the city’s culinary scene has long centered around Mexican cuisine.
While visiting Santa Barbra, there are plenty of excellent places to choose from if you are looking for Mexican food. You will find it here if you are craving tacos, burritos, fajitas, or something else.
Thus, we have provided you with a list of some of the famous and best Mexican restaurants in Santa Barbara; check it out below. Add One (or more!) of these locations to your list for your next trip.
Mexican restaurants in Santa Barbara
Located across from the Riviera Beach House on State Street in Santo Mezcal, Santo Mezcal presents contemporary Mexican dishes rooted in Mexican traditions and flavors. That also celebrates seasonal and local ingredients from Santa Barbara and surrounding areas.
Santo Mezcal With the main focus on seafood, some of the menu’s popular dishes include Camarones Al Mezcal (Mexican shrimp with creamy mezcal sauce) and Tacos Toro (hungaro peppers mixed with octopus, shrimp, melted cheese, and chipotle sauce).
Furthermore, every day from 8 am to 11 am, the restaurant offers a special breakfast menu that includes burritos, huevos rancheros, chilaquiles, and more.
In addition, stop at Santo Mezcal if you want a creative drink, such as a range of mezcal, wine, and tequilas, with a complete service experience in a sophisticated environment.
- Address: 119 State Street, Santa Barbara, CA
- Check Website: Santo Mezcal
Chef Ramon Velazquez started Corazon Cocina in 2014 due to his experiences working in restaurants in Santa Barbara.
Situated in the Santa Barbara Public Market, the restaurant offers residents and visitors Mexican cuisine served with fresh ingredients.
Ceviche, tacos, quesadillas, salads, and burritos take pride in place on the menu. There are also special housemade drinks and a kid’s menu.
Don’t miss Colima Ceviche (cucumber, wild shrimp, jicama, avocado, etc.) and Sal De Mar (watermelon, Seasonal sashimi quality fish, cucumber, avocado, fresh chile, etc.,) which include seafood.
Lines at Corazon Cocina are long, so get seated early if you plan to enjoy a grand meal here.
- Address: 38 W Victoria Street, Santa Barbara, CA
- Check Website: Corazon Cocina
Among the Mexican restaurants in Santa Barbara, Los Agaves is the most famous restaurant in the town.
Family-owned and operated, Carlos Luna launched his first place of Los Agaves on Milpas Street in Santa Barbara in 2008. After successful few years in business, he opened its second place on De La Vina Street.
Los Agaves first takes you across their appetizers, which include delicious options like fried Oaxaca cheese, quesadillas, and freshly made guacamole.
Next, order their soft tacos or Chile Relleno (combinations plate), which include Mexican favorites such as mole tacos, agaves enchiladas, and Nachos prepared with fresh seasonal seafood.
In addition, Los Agaves offers breakfast choices, and if you want eggs slightly on the spicy side, breakfast at the restaurant is perfect for you.
- Address: 600 N Milpas Street, Santa Barbara, CA
- Check Website: Los Agaves
Sandbar Santa Barbara
If you are looking for an additional thing with authentic Mexican dishes, drinks, a special event, and sports, Sandbar is the best among the Mexican restaurants in Santa Barbara.
The food menu at Sandbar celebrates the diverse ingredients of Mexico through modern interpretations of classic dishes and some quirky recipes. You can get anything from tacos to seafood and salads among the dishes.
The bar program features creative cocktails, handcrafted margaritas, extensive mezcal, and a tequilas list, including rare, Mexican, and domestic craft beer selections.
Sandbar’s design features custom materials, furniture, lighting, and decor that will transport you to the gorgeous beaches of Mexico.
- Address: 514 State Street, Santa Barbara, CA
- Check Website: Sandbar
Carlitos Café y Cantina
Carlitos Café y Cantina, which opened its doors in 1978, is renowned for serving delicious Mexican cuisine with award-winning margaritas.
The restaurant situates in Downtown Santa Barbara and complements its warm hospitality with a beautiful sun-drenched patio overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
The restaurant, which first operated with a modest menu serving traditional food, now offers a fine blend of Mexican flavors using local, fresh ingredients.
The restaurant’s signature dishes include a tacos list (such as rock shrimp tacos, fish tacos, and chicken tacos), and we recommend you order their special chicken enchiladas or fajitas platter.
- Address: 1324 State Street, Santa Barbara, CA
- Check Website: Carlitos Café y Cantina
Mony’s Mexican Food
Are you looking for a quick taste of Funk Zone in Santa Barbara with a Mexican twist? Then stop by Mony’s Mexican Food, located on Anacapa Street, where you’ll find the best of authentic Mexican fare in a warm and inviting setting.
This relaxed restaurant is a superb choice when you want to enjoy salsa and chips with family and friends.
The most popular dish on the menu at Mony’s Mexican Food is the taco, which can be quickly and easily customized to taste.
Choose from various toppings, including steak, chicken, vegetables, and more, upon request. Conversely, the guacamole at Mony’s Mexican Food is always a good choice at Funk Zone.
- Address: 217 Anacapa Street, Santa Barbara, CA
- Check Website: Mony’s Mexican Food
The Lilly’s Taqueria at Chapala Street is one of the most famous places to pick up tacos in Santan Barbra, a local’s favorite.
You can choose tacos from several types of meat, such as steamed beef, marinated pork, and chicken.
Once grab your tacos, you may add onions/cilantro, radishes, lime, and salsa to your taste. Also, the condiments are buffet-style.
We highly suggest darker brownish salsa if you are comfortable with spicy food. It is really hot; however, it’s addictive.
Place your order at the counter, and then they provide you a number and get your order when it calls.
- Address: 310 Chapala Street, Santa Barbara, CA
- Check Website: Lilly’s Taqueria
El Paseo Restaurant
The historic and romantic El Paseo restaurant offers authentic Mexican food and has been a favorite for visiting guests and local patrons since 1922.
Situated in the heart of Santa Barbara, El Paseo features Mexican cuisine, including chicken enchiladas, sizzling fajitas, beef taquitos, homemade beef tamales, and many more.
Don’t miss delicious desserts like Fresas con Crema (fresh strawberries with vanilla bean whipped cream). Over seventy varieties of tequila are available, along with full cocktail service.
Furthermore, El Paseo is the perfect background for a wedding reception, group events, and city celebrations; with includes an outdoor/indoor patio, attractive terrace, and fountain seating up to 275 guests.
- Address: 813 Anacapa Street, Santa Barbara, CA
- Check Website: El Paseo Restaurant
A locally owned Mexican restaurant chain, Los Arroyos specializes in homemade food with fresh ingredients at a reasonable price.
The restaurant is located at Figueroa Street in Santa Barbara any day of the week and is a great spot to stay for lunch or dinner.
Several traditional dishes reflect Santa Barbara’s seaside location on the restaurant menu, such as burritos, crab enchiladas, salads, and entrees.
It is an excellent place for ceviche! In addition, the restaurant offers a unique drink menu that includes Mexican sodas, beer, fountain drinks, and wine.
- Address: 14 W Figueroa Street, Santa Barbara, CA
- Check Website: Los Arroyos
Flor De Maiz
If you want to eat fresh Mexican cuisine with a view of the ocean, go to Flor De Maiz, an Oaxacan restaurant right next door.
The menu includes a long list of tacos, traditional salads, and meat platters. Especially if you are a fan of vegetarians, order a taco that includes sautéed cauliflower with corn and onions, parmesan cheese, green rice, and tomato emulsion.
At Flor De Maiz, an indoor/outdoor dining area is complete with a cocktail bar, vibrant umbrellas, and many comfortable booths where you can relax and enjoy the ocean views.
- Address: 29 E Cabrillo Blvd, Santa Barbara, CA
- Check Website: Flor De Maiz
La Playa Azul Cafe
With a large and beautiful outdoor seating space in front, La Playa Azul Cafe is a local favorite and family-owned and quaint old house located just a minute from the Santa Barbara Historical Museum.
Inside, the space is cozy and intimate, with large tables that make it the perfect place for parties and events.
There are several types of margaritas to select from and a full bar. The traditional menu is comprehensive, with tamales, burritos, enchiladas, chilies, tostadas, and just about anything you could ask for in coastal-style dishes.
- Address: 914 Santa Barbara Street, Santa Barbara, CA
- Check Website: La Playa Azul Cafe
La Super-Rica Taqueria
La Super-Rica Taqueria is another famous place for tacos among Mexican restaurants in Santa Barbara, which always sees significant queues.
The restaurant is located on Milpas Street and has a spacious indoor and little outdoor patio.
Upon entering this restaurant, you will smell the aroma of sizzling meat. Tacos were the restaurant’s only menu item long ago, but now it serves all types of Mexican food.
In the restaurant, tortillas are the star, but quality ingredients and garnishes elevate them.
A highlight at La Super-Rica is the delicious tacos de Adobado, practically grilled marinated pork improved with melted cheese.
- Address: 622 N Milpas Street, Santa Barbara, CA
- Check Website: La Super-Rica Taqueria
Note: Since all the information in this article is based on the date of publication, for some reason (health, economic, social), these businesses may be temporarily or permanently closed or moved to another location.