Santa Barbara Hotels
Santa Barbara Restaurants
Santa Barbara Real Estate
 Santa Barbara > Restaurants > Blue Agave
 List your business

Blue Agave
[closed, no longer in business]

20 E. Cota St, Santa Barbara
Phone: (805) 899-4694

Reviews by the General Public

Miss Gaby but the place is still good
Reviewer: steve from Santa Barbara, CA
We heard Gaby had sold the place, so finally got around to going down and checking it out. All of our regular favorites tasted just as good as they always have. So it must be the same kitchen staff. Not sure we would like the new DJ music events they are planning though. We like that the place had mellow jazz music etc...playing in the background. We think that Blue Agave's charm has always been that it was a laid back intimate place to be-hope it doesn't turn into a loud party place. Only negative was the very nice blonde haired gal who served us, had either suntan lotion or perfume on-and it really interfered with smelling the wine and food. Very good and friendly service, but please, would someone solve this problem? Thanks, will keep coming back if this stays steady(and no waitress perfume!)

Never going back.
Reviewer: James from Santa Barbara, CA
Met the new owner tonight. Been dining here since the place opened. Great place when Gabby and Neil owned it. Never going back after terrible service tonight. Regular customer for thirty years. Waited for thirty minutes after spending $25+ on appetizers to get my dinner. Bartender girl ignored me to serve drinks to college boys. Good place for boys but not SB locals. Sorry to see this place die.

Net Surfing Hostess. Waitresses were great! Burger bomb!
Reviewer: Jess Sullivan from Santa Barbara, CA
Good and bad experiences: For starters a Fri hostess was surfing the net the entire time we were seated by the door (I'm a wait staff person-this is not professional). Waitresses were great! My date ordered a Hamburger and it was smothered with blue cheese. Thanks goodness it dropped onto the napkin because the smell was over kill. After a quick wash up in the bathroom, we ordered another burger, which our request was honored, thank you.

The Wurst Is The Best
Reviewer: Spencer from Santa Barbara, CA
Since it's technically part of Blue Agave and doesn't have its own page, i'm reviewing Wurst on here. For those who don't know, it's the little side door in the alley next to Blue Agave that serves up sausages of various kinds from 11:00AM to 2:00PM and 11:00PM to 2:00AM. I personally like the Curry Wurst but everything looks good. My only gripe is the small portion size, although it does come with a smaller price as well. I just end up needing to order two.

Dozens of memorable evenings
Reviewer: steve from Santa Barbara, CA
There are several good restaurants in town, but only a very few places give us "memorable meals"....the kind you remember years later. The other night we had their famous Blood Orange Margarita made with fresh squeezed juices. Wow,...we brought our neighbor friends again to try it (they are picky about mixed drinks)..they also said WOW. -We have now informed Gabi, Blue Agave's owner,...that we have declared this "The Best Drink in Town"...perhaps the best drink we have ever's really that good.- We usually also have them make us a Don Julio Reposado Margarita with Cointreau, straight up. Don't know why, but it is even better here than at home with my fresh limes from our tree....they have some little secret going with their specially prepared fresh Citrus sources. Also are addicted to their Draft Sierra Nevada Ale with a brown chaser of draft Guinness added...Yum if you've never tried it. It's the food too...always interesting...creatively different...even the Texas Nachos at happy hour...everyone was grabbing to get them, so we had to order more (and the Rajas Quesadilla too). Only possible improvements??...perhaps if they put their Other- Worldly Filet in Cognac sauce back on the menu During the week too...they do have it as a special most ahead to make sure. This filet also makes it into our few "memorable" dishes of all time...I sometimes sit at work daydreaming about the way the reduction-cognac cream sauce combines with the perfectly-tender-juicy- grilled Filet. Atmosphere is artsy and slightly the most endearing way. Great art pieces by Crosbie, wonderful intimate upstairs romantic places...yet totally casual feeling despite the upscale attention to detail. Downstairs bar area is ultimate in small intimate, cozy comfort. Utterly charming brown haired bartender gal engaged us entertainingly, and professionally made our drinks nicely strong. Even when busy, somehow it retains the feel of intimate rightness...Maybe the hippest bar in Aspen in SB. Don't forget the Mexican Wedding Cookies for desert.(with Upscale Vanilla Ice Cream)...they are crunchy-fresh perfect with a shared glass of Armagnac or Cognac... Yes...addicted we are....oh....and we think -the hands down best happy hour in town...$1 off even the special yum drinks... Well done...maybe even the Coyote on their paintings might smile a little about this place?....naw...he's blissed out from stealing the food!

Another great experience at Blue Agave
Reviewer: Krista and Tony from Goleta, CA
After coming back to the Blue Agave after many years just a month ago we decided to see if our great dinner was just a fluke. Nope, we had another great meal here this week. This time I had the Navajo burger which is a quite strange and very unique tasting burger. I really enjoyed the smoky, peppery elements but its definitely not for everyone. I wouldn't hesitate to order one again though, and I just loved the polenta "fries", very creative. My wife had the fish/seafood tacos and she really enjoyed them as well, three different types of fish with a mild but tasty sauce. A bit more traditional but still well done. I do agree that the drinks don't seem to be strong suit here except for the blood orange margarita, its astounding, don't bother with anything else when you can get one of these. Service was just average but not horribly slow. Lastly, are there actually people here complaining about young ladies wearing cocktail dresses!!? C'mon people do you also complain about women's tennis or volleyball matches? Honestly you wouldn't think twice if you saw these outfits on the street, why all the huff? T

Server not the great
Reviewer: Samhein from Oak View, CA
went there for 1 year anniversary. food was great, service was slow and rather stuck up. im from out of town so im not really used to pompous, pretentious people. noticing all the people who came in and how they acted seemed to be the normal for the area. Server was really unpleasant. you know those servers who are nice on the surface but, underneath you can tell it is an inconvenience to be serving you. yeah she just felt mean spirited. which made our special night rather unpleasant. anyways the food came was pretty good. over priced low ball margaritas stuffed with ice using bottom barrel tequila was disappointing so we stuck with beer after. probably wont be back. and if i do, wont buy margaritas and ask for any other server besides the one we had.. ohh yeah skimpy black dresses for all the serving staff and some staff with flip flops rather tasteless. and seems inappropriate for the setting the restaurant they are trying to convey. definitly not a romantic dinner destination.

Theres A Reason Why They're Still Around
Reviewer: Krista and Tony from Santa Barbara, CA
Restaurants come and go in this town and when one survives as long ans Blue Agave there's a reason. My wife and I visited Blue Agave for the first time in many years recently and we really loved our experience. We started off with a couple blood orange Margaritas which were excellent. Not particularly cheap, but certainly in line with any other place in town. We ordered appetizers and were particularly happy with the simply excellent freshness and quality of the chips and salsa. Really fresh, hot chips and very tasty red and green salsas. The chicken quesadilla was also excellent, crispy and fresh tasting. Entree' wise we were very happy as well. Steak tacos and Enchiladas mole'. The Mole negro was quite good, just the right balance of sweet and bitter with a trace of heat, its tough to get that perfect balance. On top of that, the chicken was all white meat plentiful. The tacos were also very good with tender and flavorful meat. Personally I like the varied menu, there are plenty of Mexican places and plenty of Italian places, why do you have to choose one or the other? I certainly can't speak to anyone else's bad experiences but I wholly endorse this place, our food was great, the atmospheres wonderful and if you have certain problems just keep your eyes on the waitress' face:-) T

Not worth it
Reviewer: Steve from Santa Barbara, CA
We were there for over an hour waiting for our food. I thought the food was going to be good after the super long wait. I was wrong. My burger was burnt to hell. I barely got the first bite down and I was done. I still have a the taste of burnt meat in my mouth. What a bummer!! That was my first time there and probably my last.

Great Eats in Sensual Atmostphere
Reviewer: Steven from Santa Barbara, CA
My wife and I are starting to become regulars of Blue Agave. The upstairs booths are so romantically cozy, and the food and service have been great. The menu does seem to have an identity crisis, but our selections have been super tasty. I've had the buffalo and herb roasted burgers (both with blue cheese). Since these are served on an English muffin, there is less bread and more meat. The fries are hot and crispy. I'd rethink the gruyere dipping sauce, but that's a minor detail. My wife had the checca pasta (with chicken), which has just the right blend of extra virgin olive oil, basil, garlic and tomatoes. The restaurant can be uncomfortably loud when crowded, so go early and enjoy.

Mediocre to say the least... choose somewhere else
Reviewer: Sophie S. from Santa Barbara, CA
I will not go back to Blue Agave after this experience - unless someone else is paying and I can't change their mind. The menu has an identity crisis going on - buffalo burgers, filet mignon tacos, pizza, etc. And, despite their "range" of offerings, no one in our group of 6 particularly loved their dish. We went on Valentine's Day but it didn't seem particularly busy - now I know why. The service was quite poor. I didn't give them a 0 because they didn't spit in my food - that I know of. The waitress seemed fake and not really friendly - she was just doing a job and slapping a smile on. Our dirty dishes from appetizers sat on the table for 20+ minutes and the owner of the restaurant and 2 servers walked right by the table without as much of a glance in our direction. The service was slow and when we were curious about where our drinks were, the waitress told us that we had ordered complicated drinks... (seriously? our fault?!) The two saving graces were the woman who kept filling up my water glass (very friendly - wish that she had been our server) and the habanero margaritas. They're super-tasty but if you want to be buzzed, this is not the place to drink. All in all, choose somewhere else unless you want to be surrounded by snotty staff, dirty dishes, and mediocre food.

I love this place
Reviewer: trisha from Santa Barbara, CA
This is one of my SB favorites. I love the lighting in the evening, the bar is very nice. Ask for the bread with balsalmic spread, OMG to die for if you love balsalmic. It's whipped with an olive oil I think so it's thick and they give it to you with grilled bread. SO good!. The chicken mole is wonderful as well. My only small complaint is that my mojito is always made differently, sometimes good, sometimes bad. The service has always been attentive and pleasant.

Great cocktails...ok food
Reviewer: Brendon from Santa Barbara, CA
Blue Agave deserves an A+ for atmosphere and cocktails but the food could be better. The prickly pear margarita is excellent & the cocktail menu in general is imaginative & original. A great spot for late night, every night, but for dinner...unless you consider home made churros a dinner, not much to be excited about...

Food is Glorified Mediocre (at best)
Reviewer: David Denny from Santa Barbara, CA
Hoping we found a new and exciting restaurant in SB. The waitress had a very cocktail waitress attitude. The Menu offered everything from Tex Mex to Italian to middle eastern which made me wary. I hoped that it would be a suprise but had duck that tasted like rubberized fat. The Filet Mignon Taco's were like hard marbles of dry meat. Ugh!

Just Okay
Reviewer: Isabella Trudeau from Santa Barbara, CA
Oh Blue Agave…it’s just not very good. They have a great margarita and some interesting southwestern appetizers, but in general Blue Agave is very overrated! It is basically a glorified bar. In addition, the servers’ attire is quite provocative, which I suppose is a plus for some. I was not pleased with my dining experience.

yummy happy hour!
Reviewer: Sarah Clark from Santa Barbara, CA
Came here for happy hour and loved their special! You get a delicious margarita and a chicken taquito for only 6 bucks... the upstairs also has a really nice set up, it was a great date night!

Terrible wait, with mixed rewards
Reviewer: Andrea from Santa Barbara, CA
Our party of 6 waited an hour to get the appetizers on the table. No bread, and the drinks came out awfully late. The server was very sweet but clearly over-worked. The filet mignon was smothered in tasteless sauce and had been pounded into submission such that it had no texture. Though our other guests enjoyed the short ribs, the pizza with figs, goat cheese, and pine nuts and calamari, everything took so incredibly long that by the time the food arrived, we felt dispirited and grumpy. There is no return policy if you don't like your meal. It would be enormously helpful if The Blue Agave staffed their upstairs with at least one more server and trained their managers to have somewhat better diplomacy when dealing with unhappy customers.

Good Ambiance but Dissapointing Food
Reviewer: Ixchelle from Santa Barbara, CA
My husband and I decided to visit Blue Agave a few nights ago after my initial experience a few years ago. The conclusion...we won't be coming back. First I will say the ambiance is the primary draw, very romantic, soft lighting, cozy almost private booths, and a refreshing balcony upstairs to savor the night air while waiting for your food. The service was pleasant (unusual for this town). The hostess was very nice, smiling and taking our drink orders with a pleasant attitude. Our waitress was constantly smiling and was good about pre-bussing our table. We did have to wait a tad too long for refills but in this town I can forgive that. The food started off mediocre. We had calamari and tortilla soup. The calamari was decent but not great. Seasonings were bland and I enjoy a crisp calamari which these were not. The trio of dipping sauces made the dish redeeming. The soup was good but I've had much better tortilla soup (granted it was on vacation in Mexico). The main courses were just disappointing at best. My husband had the chicken with mole and I the mushroom pasta with lemon. His dish was very bland and the mole while covering everything was not impressive. The chicken was also a bit tough and dry. My pasta just tasted like a lot of cream, I missed the earthy mushroom flavor that I expected and there was no hint of lemon as described in the menu. The pasta at Roy's or Bucatini is much better. Overall we spent about $75ish (without tip) for one soup, one appetizer, two entrees, and two drinks. It was $75 I wish I had spent elsewhere.

Acceptable Food -- "Piss Poor" Service -- Unprofessional
Reviewer: Martin Short from Santa Barbara, CA
Acceptable Food -- Piss-Poor Service ...the cooks seem to be the only ones that know what they're doing. Steak is better than average, and everything else on this menu is acceptable for the price (we've tried everything on the menu over the past year). But, now for the service... sorry, but when regulars come in and sit down for more than 5 minutes at a bar that has only a handfull of people at it, and don't get greeted with even an "I'll be right with you", well... there's really no reason to be a regular. The service is crap. Bar tenders are only attentive to the people sitting right in front of them, and sometimes not even to those. Extremely unprofessional; when I can hear the bar tender and waitresses wanking about how difficult a customer is being? Well that's just plain unprofessionalism at it's worst.

Consistently Great Food and Service
Reviewer: Geoff Gray from Santa Barbara, CA
Had a private party upstairs for 60 people and everything was GREAT! Gabi helped make a great menu of tapas and appetizers, the servers took great care of everyone, and the food and drinks were very well made. There is a great variety of food--from empanadas to unique pizzas--and everything was very tasty. I love the comfortable yet stylish decor and upstairs balcony as well. I have had many great dinners there before and would highly recommend it for a nice dinner out or a private party!

Blue Agave is the Best!
Reviewer: Amanda from Santa Barbara, CA
Blue Agave is such a fantastic restaurant. My boyfriend and I had our first date there and we now go about once a week for dinner or happy hour. The staff is fantastic and so is the food, I've never had better mole than the type they put on the enchiladas. They have a speciality blood orange margarita that has ruined all other margaritas for us. I love the atmosphere, the music, the 100% organic menu, the bartenders and servers and most importantly the food. We're going to be spending a lot of time at Blue Agave as long as it's around.

Never disappointing
Reviewer: Camille Mason from Santa Barbara, CA
Great atmosphere, drinks and food. I always order either the lamb burger with goat cheese (best burger in town with a thin, crispy bun) or the chicken mole enchiladas (again, best mole in town). It's never disappointing. I also enjoy the little bruchetta teaser that comes out before every meal. Wine list is great, as are the custom margaritas. Service is generally good; can be a bit spotty, but always tolerable. Last night waited 40 mins plus for food, but this isn't always the case. Adding to the atmosphere is always the fabulous, indie electronica music mixed with a little hip hop. Keep it up-

I do not know why so many people recommended this place...
Reviewer: Kelly from Santa Barbara, CA
My sister and her boyfriend are visiting from out of town and we were downtown and decided to go to dinner, and I had been told to go to blue agave, its locally owned and the food and drinks are amazing!!! I don't think there is any way I was in the right place. We get there and get seated right away. Our server takes a little while to greet us, but no big deal. so we order drinks and an app. We get our drinks and then order dinner. She NEVER brought us our appetizer and never came around to where we could say anything until she brought out our salads which were fine. then shortly after brought us our dinner which was margerita pizza, which had like 2 pieces of cheese and was disappointing, how can you get pizza wrong? so she said she will be right back with three plates so we can eat. NEVER BROUGHT THEM. and again never came around to say anything. this was almost a joke. So then we got the bill. OUTRAGEOUS. the drinks we too expensive the guava margarita was horrible, i could not even drink it. and we felt it was crazy we were paying so much for horrible service and food. I will NEVER go back here and I will never recommend this place to anyone!!!!

Last visit...terrible service
Reviewer: Elizabeth from Santa Barbara, CA
The first three times I was here, service was excellent, the food good, though pricey for the portions, but I'm willing to pay for a good time. Last night, however, was different. When asked whether we wanted dinner, I said, "Just appetisers and dessert." We were seated with the tapas and dessert menus. I went the bathroom, came back, and after 20 minutes debated whether we should just leave. Finally, the server came by and asked, "Did I forget something? What did you guys order?" We got the burger and extra order of fries, a coke, and a cup of coffee. We mentioned that we would order dessert later. For $13.50, the burger was TINY: 2.5 inch patty with some torn lettuce and a spoonful of onion. Another server passed by to ask if we were waiting for drinks. A few minutes later, our server reappeared with my tiny glass of coke and his coffee. She asked if we wanted water but never came back. My fiancé went to the bar to get my refill of coke. 15 minutes after we finished our food, the server reappeared to drop the bill. We paid and went down the street for dessert.

Been here 30 + times over the years for a good reason
Reviewer: steve from Santa Barbara, CA
What can I say...there have been occasional mistakes. But they do so many things exceptional if you hunt them out..great Filet in cognac sauce and nice mashed potatoes to have with the yummy sauce(please start serving more sauce). ALWAYS perfectly slightly underdone high quality vegies. They can make you your favorite drink if you are explicit. Their mexican wedding cookies with vanilla ice cream is of astonishing must try...with a little glass of cognac chaser. The art...well we love the "coyote"...and the owner is a well known and accomplished artist. The atmosphere of the whole place is fab. and romantic at night. Don't take a date there who likes you...but you don't like much...because you will be having to fight them-off later that night... Complaints: drink sizes have gotten too small...and they know it too(if you owners are reading this..better to have larger glasses and charge $1 more). Sometimes they don't change the oil soon enough to keep fried things best...otherwise the happy hour would be astonishing(chicken taquito and a Hornitos margarita for I think $ it tastes otherworldly when its on...but less-so if the oil is not the freshest...and also believe the drink should be offered with a good anejo substitute for a couple $ more..for us "don't care for hornitos folks"'s LOUD there if you want it mellower..sit upstairs..or go at 7 instead of 8.

Wonderful overall experience
Reviewer: Madhura from Los Angeles CA
We ate at this great little joint past 10PM on a Friday night! We loved the food and the service. I would surely recommend this place if you are visiting SB. The server was very nice and friendly. We loved the drinks as well.

Not worth the ridiculous wait
Reviewer: Jonathan Schulkin from Goleta
We were promptly seated upon our arrival and were very excited about our first experience at Blue Agave. We ordered drinks right away and unfortunately they were the wrong drinks so we sent them back and promptly received our honest mistake, but it proved to set the tone for the rest of our night. After our correct drinks arrived, it was a 45 minute wait for our waitress to take our order. Numerous times we attempted to get the attention of our waitress and never were given the slightest glance. When she finally arrived to take our order she was rude and very reluctant to answer questions. I ordered the duck, which was dry and featured a rubbery polenta with it that could not have been worse. However I was so hungry after my long wait and so worried about waiting longer that I did not send it back and instead ate what I could. My girlfriend ordered the cowgirl, and it was decent and cooked correctly. However the 45 minute wait followed by an additional 40 minutes to get our entree's out was unforgivable and it was a shame since the atmosphere was so close to being cool and funky, but came up just barely short of what it tried to pull off.

Horrible Service
Reviewer: Ren from Santa Barbara, CA
Blue Agave has a neat atmosphere which is really the only good thing I have to say about the place. My date and I had to wait to be seated while the hostess ignored us when clearly there were tables available. After our server took our order we waited for 1 hour and 45min while others who were seated after us received their orders. The server never came to check on us. Finally I asked if it would be much longer and the server said, she was just going to check on it. I felt the service was poor, at best, and when the food arrived it was cold and not worth the money. I have been here before a couple of times, but after this experience I won't go back.

I really like this place. Consistantly Good!
Reviewer: Jennifer from Santa Barbara
I've had probably 10-15 dinners at this resturaunt and of those times the food has always been very tasty, large portioned and has come with excellent service. I've had drinks from the bar and at the bar, both have been of good size and quality. I continue to take out of town guests and clients alike because I know I'm getting consistancy and quality. The only downside, it's SUPER busy on the weekends and especially the holiday weekends. The atmosphere is superb.

Perfect Place for a Romantic Meal
Reviewer: Jen from Riverside, CA
My husband and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary here and it was wonderful! We were seated as soon as we walked in the door - we did have a reservation- but that was great for Valentine's weekend. The food was excellent and our plates were large and full of food!! It was not too expensive since my husband and I each had two drinks and each a delicious meal all for $70. I do have to say though that I do not recommend the martinis. I had a raspberry lemon drop and it was probably one of the worst I ever tasted. It was very bitter and had little if any alcohol. Other than that, the waitress was friendly and the atmosphere was extremely romantic. Definitely request an upstairs booth if you are on a date! Overall it was a great experience.

Too much money for too little food
Reviewer: Tim from Santa Barbara, CA
This Valentine’s Day I had two meals at restaurants. For lunch I ate at a sit-down Mexican restaurant where the total bill was less than $40, and much of the food had to be boxed up because we couldn’t possibly finish it all. For dinner, I brought my fiancee to Blue Agave, which would turn out to be very disappointing. I could go in to great detail with all the issues we had, but it can be summed up as TOO MUCH MONEY FOR TOO LITTLE FOOD; and a waitress that seemed to be too new to be working by herself on Valentine‘s Day. For example: Our waitress forgot to bring us our soup, to which she replied something like, “That’s the third time I’ve done that tonight…” Then the food…it tasted acceptable, but was the equivalent to putting a ritz cracker and an olive on a plate and calling it a “meal.” The final bill came to $212, of which $30 went to the terrible waitress, and $182 went to a meal that left me still hungry. But thank goodness when I got home we still had the leftovers from lunch…

Reviewer: Cam from Santa Barbara
Wow - the food here is unbelievably good. It truly is! I have to say though that the service and ambiance is kind of a hit and miss. I've experienced great service where the staff was very warm and friendly, but I've also experienced just okay service where the staff seemed a bit pretentious and just don't care. At least the food is consistently delicious.

excellent service
Reviewer: Robert Earnshaw from Norwich
I am from the UK and I really liked this place. It was the first time I have been too Santa Barbara and this was one of my favourite restraunts there, I especially enjoyed the streak I had and would reccomend it too many. The service was wonderful and very efficient. Overall I think it was an outstanding meal and compliments too the chef.

finest dining experience
Reviewer: Ray from Out of Town
I'm visiting this week for an environmental audit, and brought my wife along. Last night we stopped for a drink at Blue Agave, and stumbled into one of the finest dining experiences either of us has enjoyed. I thought you should know about it in case you have a special occasion coming up to celebrate. For the last two Monday nights, and continuing indefinitely, this restaurant (on Cota east of State, in case you don't know it) has brought in an executive chef who is concocting a fantastic 5-course prix fixe meal starting at 6:00 pm. It is not cheap eats ($55/head last night) but is a terrific value, given the five-star quality and flawless service we received. If you stop in between 5:00 and 6:00, you can try an equally first-rate Marguerita and snack for a bargain $6. I don't normally do this kind of thing, but it was outstanding enough for me to recommend it to any of you who might enjoy this treat sometime in the future.

One of The Best
Reviewer: Daniel from Santa Barbara
First off the food here is great, it is one of the best in SB. The steak is great very tender and favorful. The steak tacos also very good. If there burger is good, and the fries are some of the best i've had. I have the quesadilla for my app. and it is out of this world. I also really like the tortilla soup it is really differnt but in a good way. There salads are also really good as well i think the duck is the best. The desserts are alittle plain. Oh and the creamed spinach is great to. As far as the service and the atmosphere is a very hip place, and a fun place to good. I have never had a problem with the service but I go a lot, so I can see how others might have had a problem.

Blue Agave - total disappointment
Reviewer: Indy from Goleta, CA
My friends and I went to the Blue Agave without a reservation on Saturday around 7:30. We were able to get a booth upstairs. The décor was fabulous and I’d read great reviews of the place on this website so we were excited to give it a try. We ordered two margaritas and a mojito from the server and I asked her if I could be on a separate check from my friends to which she replied yes or something to the effect of being able to separate the check. My friend enjoyed her mojito, but the margaritas were very unimpressive for a place named from the plant which brings us tequila. There was plenty of alcohol, but little if any flavor. I could have just ordered a shot with a couple extra limes for the same effect. I went with two appetizers - the quesadilla and the black tiger shrimp. The shrimp were fine, but there was something distinctively off with the quesadilla. I just assumed that I was tasting some new gourmet interpretation but now that I look back at the ingredients listed on the menu - there was definitely something extra in mine. Something sweet - chewy - red - and diced up into little pieces. Something reminiscent of Craisins or worst yet - Twizzlers. Now - I have nothing against Craisins or Twizzlers; I just don’t want their sweet chewy flavor in my quesadilla. The mystery red chewies should really have been listed on the menu. My friends had the crispy duck salad and the shrimp pasta and they were relatively happy with their entrees. Incidentally - I never complained about anything. I probably should have. So here comes the check and you guessed it - she didn’t bring separate checks. I KNOW servers hate to do separate checks - I used to work in the food industry, but if you’re not going to do it, don’t say that you will. Plus we were only asking for two checks not 10. She hands me the bill and says “just tell me how much you want to pay”. I was furious! I circled what I had, wrote my name and told her to add it up and add the tax on to those three items. She eyeballed the check and didn’t even bring us itemized receipts when she came back. We were all so put off by her “add it yourself” attitude, along with the dissatisfying food and drinks that we will never go there again. Some will say that by not complaining I didn’t give the restaurant the chance to make things right, but at that point, complaining would have just got the manager to properly split the check for us or comp the entire thing. The server might have later been scolded for her rudeness and in the end I still wouldn’t want to go back there so we just paid our bill, left normal tips if you can believe that, and left.

Set the Mood in a Killer SB Original
Reviewer: Tenisha Lybbie from Santa Barbara, CA
Not only does Blue Agave have some of the best food in SB, but the servers are friendly, not stuffy, and do a great job. I especially love the drinks and the bar downstairs. They serve food until I believe around mid-night from a special menu. I have never had any complaints about the Agave, only around Fiesta it gets a little stuffy and service can be a little slow, but who isn't. This place is recommended to anyone of my family or friends from out of town.

A favorite for us!
Reviewer: Frank D Dato from Santa Barbara, CA
Looking for a romantic low light atmosphere with Killer food? this would be it. My wife and I call this our place. This 2 story well decorated modern building has a balcony that looks over the street. The upstairs provides a warm fire place and lounge. Excellent bar, food and kind service make this place what it is. Want to re-kindle the spark, check this out. Call in and request one of the booths on the 2nd floor. These half moon 8 foot tall purple velvet plush booths provide the perfect light and privacy for intimate conversation. Show up early, have a drink or 2 and enjoy some of the finest food in SB.

Great Margaritas
Reviewer: Spinelli from Santa Barbara
...I had a Patron Silver margarita at Blue Agave which was one of the best I've ever had. It tasted perfect and was nothing like other sorry excuses for margaitas that you get on State St, that have way too much sweet and sour and taste too sweet. We also had a piece of their chocloate cake that was simply sinful and delicious. I loved every minute of it.

Bad service, as everyone says
Reviewer: Nora from Santa Barbara, CA
The bus staff is great - on top of everything with the crostini and the waters and everything related - but boy the wait staff is slow. I can't speak for all obviously but there is a unanimity in these reviews that is worth noting. The food's ok; I noted the absence of the small pasta appetizer (olive oil, garlic, parmesan) that they had a few years ago because that is why I went actually. Everyone should note, too, that they have "old" and "new" menus with different prices printed on each. We had an "old" menu but "new" prices were printed on the bill. When I asked about this the owner is reported to have said that we could adjust the prices "if we wanted." So, that's great: go out to dinner and be reduced to begging for money at the end. I really like the position that put me in. I have the rather quaint idea that I should be told at the outset how much I have to pay and then I just pay that amount. Quaint!

Great bar!
Reviewer: Tina from Santa Barbara
I love this place.... hot guys behind the bar, good drinks on my side of it.... And you can always beg homemade chips and salsa off the kitchen guys even if they stopped serving hours ago. Very good selection of liquors, creative bartending, and quite a few good options for draft beer. Only warning is, if they have a guy carding out front, don't buy anything at last call, b/c 10 minutes later when they close, that guy will take the drinks right out of your hands.

Fireplace and a drink for locals!!!
Reviewer: Lew Marklin Mash from Santa Barbara
If your a local then this review is just preaching to the choir, but if you're visiting SB, here's one of the favorites for locals on the beat. Before going out we go Blue Agave. It's great for a date or a few good friends. Bar is quaint and cozy, the upstairs is equiped with a great sofa and fireplace, and you can check in at the balcony to see whether downtown traffic has picked up. Very warm atmosphere for chatting with random people, which can really cure you for the mood to go out late!

The food is Tops, the service could be better
Reviewer: Patricia from Folsom, CA
This was my 3rd time to Blue Agave. I made my friends go with me this time because I had had such an excellent time both times before. The upstairs was stuffy with no open windowns. The service could have been better, we waited a good 20 minutes before a waitress came to check on us. Had the food not been so good my friends would have looked at me like I was nuts for suggesting such a place. The Tiger Prawns are my favorite and I will return though, I'd hope from all the bad reviews on the service that it will be better the next time.

pretty average
Reviewer: Kristin from Santa Barbara, CA
I went here on a date thinking the atmosphere had poetential, but the food and service were average and nothing to spectacular- luckily the company was. I would not recommend this place, unless you are downtown and just stopping by upstairs for a drink.

Best food in SB, Service just changed to really good!!
Reviewer: vanessa from downtown santa barbara
So I already left a review before saying the food was amazing and the service sucked. but that was 1 year ago. Since I have gone about ten more times because it is afterall my favorite place to go. The martinis, chicken enchiladas, and filet mignon are just out of this world!!!!The service has been amazing!!!!!! They must have hired a new staff because the servers are right there to get whatever you need and sweet. I never once had to touch our wine bottle to fill our wine glasses because our servers have always been so ontop of there service that they refilled it in an unobrtusive manner. EXCELLENT SERVICE!!!! BEST RESTAURANT IN SB!!!!

I eat here every time I'm in town
Reviewer: Patricia O from Folsom, CA
I have to say that this is one of my favorite places to go in Santa Barbara. The food is phenomenal. Every time I eat there I end up wanting the lick the plate. It's a great place to go to kick back, drink some cocktails and have some appetizers. The service could be better, but the food and the atmosphere more than makes up for it. I think the problem with the service is that it gets so crowded because people love the cool ambiance. I'm going back in 2 weeks and the Blue Agave is on my list of places to go again.

"Never again"
Reviewer: Anne from Southern California
My husband and I were celebrating our anniversery and heard from a local that Blue Agave had a nice bar. We ordered two drinks at the bar and were told by an employee that there was more tables upstairs. Uptsairs we sat at a table for forty five minutes before we flaged down the waitress to order a second round of drinks. While we were waited another thirty minutes for drinks the hostest came and told us the table was reserved and we had to move, not even offering to seat us somewhere else. It felt as if we were being kicked out, so we left. The waitress followed us outside yelling that we didn't pay our bill, I gave her my credit card then relized that we were chargerd for the drinks we never got. We asked to speak to the manager to get a refund. The manager said we must of misunderstood and blamed it on us. She was not very nice about giving our money back. This sounds like a problem seeing it has happened to others. I would never go back or recomend this place to anyone I know.

In response to the not-so-hot reviews...
Reviewer: Megan from Santa Barbara, CA
I have to say that I disagree with the negative reviews of Blue Agave. This restaurant has such a great is romantic and cozy...with the fireplace upstairs and the intimate booths. The food is awesome- the seared ahi dinner is incredible- so flavorful! The portions are relatively large, definitely worth the money- the dishes are in no way overpriced. I went in on a BUSY Saturday and the server was so sweet- she was very corteous and seemed to genuinely care about how we were doing. I was very impressed with how she handled herself in such a busy situation. I would recommend Blue Agave to anyone, but do make reservations on the weekends because it gets packed!!!

Fair to Poor food and Horrible Service
Reviewer: Jack Murphy from Santa Barbara,CA
My mother in law was in town so I thought I'd take her out to what I thought was suppose to be a nice restaurant. The food was not very good the drinks were freaking tiny and over priced. The food was definetly over priced for the quaility. Lastly the service was absolutely HORRIBLE! The Server took 45 minutes to get us chips and salsa. The margarita came in a glass hardly bigger than a shot glass and Cost $10. I didn't know the had margarita shots. I would never go here again and would recomend no one else does either.

Reviewer: Michelle from Santa Barbara
My husband and went to Blue Agave for our first Valentines day together so we decided to try it again. How disappointing. Last time we were upstairs and it was very quiet and intimate; this time we were downstairs and it was loud and busy. It was a prefixed menu and we didn't get our first appetizer until I asked for it (after our soup and salad). The soup had no flavor even after adding salt and pepper. Everything was taking so long that while we were waiting I asked for some bread. The bread tasted like burnt toast without any other flavor. My lamb required a stake knife even though it was cooked to medium. For dessert, they gave us two little chocolate covered strawberries and two little cookies to share. All of this set us back $65/person. The portions were small but if the flavors made up for it I would not have minded paying so much. We will not be patroning Blue Agave again.

sometimes hot sometimes not
Reviewer: Amanda Lieber from Santa Barbara, CA
I liked my waitress one night and I liked the food. Another night I didn't get a chance to eat there because some of the staff was so rude I had to leave

Service Ruined It
Reviewer: Emily Marks from Santa Barbara CA
I have been a long time customer at Blue Agave. I normally go with my boyfriend after we have saved up for awhile so that we can have a good night. The food is amazing and the drinks are excellent as well. It is a very romantic atmosphere... Basically this place has everything going for itself except for the service. Two weeks ago my boyfriend and I walked in around 8 on a Friday night. Surprised to see one of the booths open- we asked the waitress if we could sit there. After ordering two lemondrops and being half way done with them, another waitress came up to us and told us we had to move. She said it was being saved for a reservation. She didnt provide us with anywhere else to sit and basically left us standing with our drinks. I am a waitress myself and i know how the restaurant business works. This was beyond innapropriate and I will never go back. Not only did their staff screw up but they made us suffer by asking us to move. NEVER AGAIN. Food doesnt come close to being worth treatment like this.

MY Favorite SB restaurant
Reviewer: Vanessa from Santa Barbara
The food here is so good. I love the chicken mole enchiladas, gorganzola salad, and the filet mignon. They have a nice selection of red wine as well. Usually the waitress's up stairs are rude and never get the order correct but the servers and bartenders down stairs are amazing! The atmosphere is hip and upscale bohemian.I love this place!

Reviewer: Kevin the screenwriter from Los Angeles, CA
Nice bartenders, great waitresses, friendly hostesses. Yummy organic food. If I was a local that lived near State, I'd come here once a week. How much do you want for the place?

Great atmosphere and service

I had an excellent dinner experience at Blue Agave... I give it 4 stars for because I reserve 5 stars for restaurants where I would tell friends "You MUST eat at this restaurant." I can´t quite go that extent here, because I rarely say that. From the reviews that I read about this place, I expected a semi-rowdy atmosphere, but during my 7:30 reservation, it was a very pleasant, dimly lit dinner venue (I sat upstairs). My waitress was friendly and full of detailed opinions on the different dishes. The service was prompt without making me feel hurried. The food was very good.

Amazing Experience...
Reviewer: Sophie from Santa Barbara, CA
I had never eaten at Blue Agave and had heard nothing but great things about it... my friends took me there the other night and we had a BLAST! I am a very picky about service and food quality - having been a server in the past - and was INCREDIBLY happy with the service that we got. Our waitress was friendly , prompt, and attentive. Our food was UNBELIEVABLE! Cooked prefectly, it was delicious and HOT! I would recommend Blue Agave to anyone local or from out of town.

Good Place to Meet Hotties
Reviewer: Fun Boy from Santa Barbara
This is a great place for drinks and to meet fun guys and gals but the food can be average. Note review from the ladies who had a bad time a few weeks ago....oh dear, if it´s true.

Not disappointed on a busy Saturday night
Reviewer: Rose and Matt from CA
My husband and I have not been to the Blue Agave in a few years since we have become new parents. Longing for a nice, quaint dinner, sans toddlers, we thought of our old haunt. However, after reading some of these "reviews", we couldn´t imagine that one of our most favorite places had gone to hell in a hand basket, so we decided to live dangerously and see it for ourservles. We are both extremely picky when it comes to service and food quality. I asked for a special request with my dinner order. Not only was our dinner correctly cooked to perfection, it arrived hot as well(the horror). Our server was courteous, timely and friendly with a sense of humor(gasp). Quite frankly, as we looked around, we found nothing to our dissatisfaction except the lack of scantily dressed/hooker type bartenders we´d expected to find based on a previous review. We found no drunk waitresses or owners. Sure there are other really nice restaurants in SB. But they come and go. Let´s face it...they wouldn´t still be in business if they were horrible. There are always 2 sides to every story...and I hate to break the news folks, the customer is NOT always right. Kudos to an owner who stands up for his people!! My suggestion...go to the Blue Agave and have fun...just don´t expect anyone to roll out the red carpet for you, and you won´t be disappointed.

cool bar scene, but horrible service
Reviewer: Dean from Santa Barbara
Let´s just say, a tip was given, but not earned. Maybe they were understaffed that night, maybe it was really busy that night, but our service was horrible. Had to wait a good 15 minutes to get my drink. Waitress only came around a couple times to check on us and it took her forever to get the bill and then messed up our bill after a long wait. Food was better than average, but service was a major downer.

great cocktails, awsome scenery!
Reviewer: kevin d´andrea
the blue agave always mixes a superb drink and the waitresses are terrific!

Great Exciting Food, Refreshingly Exotic Ambience

For great food in a charismatic atmosphere try the Blue Agave! Everything from the appetizers to the art on the walls was full of life!

Home away from home
Reviewer: Cynde from New York
My dining experience at the Blue Agave was wonderful! I met a girl friend at the bar for drinks and appetizers, I´ve heard a lot about the place and had to try it. The bartenders were very friendly and attentive to my needs. I noticed there were many regulars, so that gave me a warm feeling that people enjoy the company of the staff and others. It seemed to be a family oriented establishment, very relaxing!! The appetizers were very tasty, especially the quesadillas!!! I will definitely return when in town. Thank you Blue Agave for giving me a place to visit and make me feel at home.

Great Food, Bad Female Bartender

Great atmosphere, great food! Love the comprese salad and grilled bread. Music is fun and different. Amazed at all the beautiful waitresses and waiters working there! However, the female bartender seemed more concerned about her friends at the bar than her paying customers. Also her dress was was more appropriate for a strip club than a classy place like Blue Agave, she constantly had to "arrange" herself.

Drunk Waitress/Terrible Food
Reviewer: D from Santa Barbara, CA USA
We have been to Blue Agave for drinks downstairs, but never for food. It is safe to say we will never eat there again. Our waitress forgot one entree entirely, and was taking shots with people on the balcony, with another table, etc. Without any apology, she said it would only take a few minutes to go order the missing entree being that she had forgotten to in the first place(all without an apology!). The food was alright, nothing major, there are MUCH MUCH better restaurants in Santa Barbara. Bottom Line: Stick to Blue Agave for drinks only as their bar has a good atmosphere. Go to The Palace or Chad´s for a great dinner with great waitstaff for the same prices.


The service was delightful and the food delicious. The portions are not small, they are what used to be considered a perfect for a normal human being...we just live in a society now where massive plates are considered the norm. Atmosphere was wonderful!

Great atmosphere, a little pricy

The atmosphere is tres chic, particularly the booths upstairs (fabulous for an intimite night out with a close friend or a lover). The food was very good, the desserts were particularly scrumptious, but most impressive was the presentation of the entrees. The entrees themselves were very good though the portions were not extraordinary - enough to fill a person when accompanied by an appetizer and dessert, but not so abundant that one needed a box to take half the meal home. Dining late is exciting, because the place turns into a swinging night club. As a night club, the atmosphere is equally enjoyable - and more importantly, classy (for "class" seems to be something Santa Barbara´s nightlife consistently lacks). All in all, definitely fun though a bit pricy for someone with budget constraints.

Upscale disappointment
Reviewer: Indra Bennett from Santa Barbara
I have been to the Blue Agave three times too many, for three separate birthday gatherings. What I disliked most about this place was the rude, condescending service. Since I, too, am a waitress, I am neither finicky nor overly critical of other service workers. It is very safe to say then that the server I had (on more than one occassion, no less) was inattentive and downright rude. Furthermore, altough the taste of my meals was satisfactory, the AMOUNT of food on the plate was minimal and insufficient considering the relatively high prices (and this is coming from a petite, 120-pound woman). If I am paying fifty dollars to take my boyfriend out to dinner, I don´t want both of us to be hungry afterwards. Elegant with a psuedo-hip atmosphere, sure, but hardly a pleasant experience. I will never go there again.

Romantic night for you
Reviewer: Yukon Dave from Los Angeles
The atmosphere is fantastic! Someone figured out that most people want to eat in a place with a warm fire, candles and soft indirect lighting. Throw the OSHA standards out the window, this place is not a police interrogation room and you will not be made to see 5 lights or be made to talk. You will start to relax the moment you are seated. The wine selection is limited but well thought out and works with the food. The food is great. I have yet to have a bad item yet and I never have the same thing twice. Take a walk on the wild side and let the server pick something for you. You will be in for a treat.

Best dinning experience yet.

The food is without a doubt my favorite in Santa Barbara and prices are great for what your getting. I eat at the Blue Agave about twice a week and I never get sick of it. I think what attracts me most is the atmosphere; great music, dark with warm undertones, really beautiful surroundings, fresh flowers at the door, and the people are great. All of the employees seem friendly and happy to be at work, everyone is relaxed which makes me feel like I can relax and just really enjoy my night.

Have you eaten here? Write a review of this location!  Terms of Service