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Left At Albuquerque
[closed, no longer in business]

700 State St, Santa Barbara
Phone: (805) 564-5040


Reviews by the General Public

Built up.
Reviewer: Paola Gonzalez from Santa Barbara, CA
A friend of mine had been bugging me for weeks about having dinner here but we always ended up somewhere else instead. The atmosphere was great we had a young male waiter who was awesome, our drinks were refilled promptly and the chips and salsa kept coming but our dishes were a bit dissapointing. I ordered the red chicken enchiladas and he ordered the green, i wouldnt say they were bad but nothing stuck out, chicken was good, they need to work on the sauce for the red enchiladas, maybe it was just too built up and didnt live up to my expectations, overall, a dissapointment.


Things are looking up!!
Reviewer: Katrina Howe from Santa Barbara, CA
I have dined here many times over the last two years. After reading the reviews I guess I could agree service used to be much slower but the past 10 or so times I've visited things have gone much more smoothly. Great hostess greetings smiling bartenders, amazingly fast chips and salsa brought to you by what seems to be very pleasant bussers and then low and behold an even more pleasant waitress. I had an excelent mohito and watched the brunette bartender hand muddle it!! Yes yes things are much better I would definitely suggest giving this ever improving restaurant another try!!


5 + 5 = a perfect 10
Reviewer: Masekela Polee from Santa Barbara, CA
This place wasn't very good...it was great. Five stars all-around for this brilliant, cozy resturaunt with top-notch service and dynamite food, the perfect place for a couple on a weekend vacation to spend Saturday night. The atmosphere was relaxed, the overhead music complementary to the mood, with the lighting fixed with just the right amount of ambiance, candlelight and all. The service was always prompt (but never annoying), and you have a choice of indoor or outdoor seating, both with the option to watch sports if you're so inclined on flatscreens strategically located throughout the bar so you're never craning your neck. Last, the food! I ordered a bacon cheeseburger with a bottle or two of Dos Equis with a lime. You know how usually you'll get two measely strips of bacon (or one split into two)? Not here. It was packed on, not too crispy and definetly not burnt, yet you can hear the crunch during each and every tasty bite. The meat was definetly cooked to my preference. My wife had a steak wet burrito and pretty much felt the same way about her meal as I did about mine. The only hangup we have with the place is that there isn't one in Los Angeles. But then again, it just gives us all the more reason for a return trip.


5 + 5 = a perfect 10
Reviewer: Masekela Polee from Santa Barbara, CA
This place wasn't very good...it was great. Five stars all-around for this brilliant, cozy resturaunt with top-notch service and dynamite food, the perfect place for a couple on a weekend vacation to spend Saturday night. The atmosphere was relaxed, the overhead music complementary to the mood, with the lighting fixed with just the right amount of ambiance, candlelight and all. The service was always prompt (but never annoying), and you have a choice of indoor or outdoor seating, both with the option to watch sports if you're so inclined on flatscreens strategically located throughout the bar so you're never craning your neck. Last, the food! I ordered a bacon cheeseburger with a bottle or two of Dos Equis with a lime. You know how usually you'll get two measely strips of bacon (or one split into two)? Not here. It was packed on, not too crispy and definetly not burnt, yet you can hear the crunch during each and every tasty bite. The meat was definetly cooked to my preference. My wife had a steak wet burrito and pretty much felt the same way about her meal as I did about mine. The only hangup we have with the place is that there isn't one in Los Angeles. But then again, it just gives us all the more reason for a return trip.


Average at best
Reviewer: Nicole from Santa Barbara, CA
I've been here 3 times, once at its old location and twice in its new and improved spot. The 3rd time I went I had a coupon for "buy one get one free" because it was my birthday. The weird thing is, my birthday is the tail end of August but the coupon had to be used by 8-15 or it was no good. Confusion aside I went with my boyfriend and grabbed a quick dinner. Their staff looked bored and uninterested in working. As a waitress I understand these times happen, but at least go in the back and hide from the few customers you have! The bar was empty and the bartender busied himself cleaning glasses. The food was served piping hot but was average. The enchiladas were just ok and burrito was meh. While there is nothing glaringly wrong with this restaurant, there's nothing outstanding about it either.


Good food - service needs to improve
Reviewer: Naomi from Santa Barbara, CA
I've ordered several different items from the menu and have not been disappointed - quite yummy! Their alcoholic drinks are tasty as well! However, I haven't been to this establishment and ever been satisfied w/the service. We're happy w/how we are greeted, but then it goes downhill from there. We went back the last time only because we had a birthday discount. We waited for our check as we watched our waitress talk to another employee for at least 15 mins. She even looked at us several times I thought that our empty table and our lingering looks to her would've sparked an idea that perhaps we were waiting for HER and our check. But alas, my boyfriend finally had to get up and go to her directly to request the check. We probably won't be making another visit until the next birthday discount...


I think we were forgotten a few times...
Reviewer: Heather Luikart from Santa Barbara, CA
We were told by the hostess that there would be a 10 minute wait. When we had been left at the bar for over 20 minutes we approached the hostess, who seemed to have forgotten about us. We were seated and then, it seems, forgotten once again. The waiter did eventually come, and was very nice. When he served our food, however, he forgot one person's entree and did not come check on us until everyone else was nearly finished eating, so his food came after the rest of us were done. I had asked that the drinks from the bar be added to our bill but had tipped the bartender for the drinks we ordered from him. I asked the waiter to not auto gratuity the drinks, he said he wouldn't add any auto gratuity, but when he broght the bill he returned the tip I had given to the bartender and said next time I should order from him. I told him I would have, had we not been waiting at the bar for 20 minutes. I was a bit annoyed by this comment, as it was clear that no one had any idea what was going on and no apologies were offered. I got the bill and it turned out the waiter had in fact added the 18% tip he had assured me he wouldn't add. The waiter was nice, but the wait time for everything was frustrating.


christobal
Reviewer: Christobal from Santa Barbara, CA
I first came to this location when it first opened and thought it was going through growing pains. Yesterday, I had from friends from LA that used to live here, that were close by and they said lets try it out. Big mistake, I waited so long for a drink, I asked our waitress do I have to wait much longer? She replied, " Oh what did you want again". I left and told her not to bother. I'm so glad corporate restaurants can afford the rents in these spots. This is what we can look forward to on State Street in the future. Thank God for the dwilding local spots.


Love the Happy Hour! ... and cheesecake... mmm...
Reviewer: Justine from Santa Barbara
I hadn't been here for a while and went for a birthday happy hour last night. They are doing a different thing with the appetizer deal now--used to be 2 for the price of 1, now there is a limited selection of $3 aps. I had the quesadilla with chicken, which was fine, and the garlic cheese fries, which were FIIINE! And how can you beat $3 pints of beer? Then I got a taste for dessert, and splurged on the Dulce de Leche cheesecake. Omg it was amazing. It comes from Cheesecake Factory and is creamy and very caramel-y. The only bad thing about it was that I ended up at the Palace later and didn't have room for one of their desserts =/


Taco Bell has better food
Reviewer: Cody from santa barbara ca
I live in SB and have been to the bar part of L.A.A and decided to try their food. BIg Mistake. I was not impressed with their quality of food. Their beens tasted and ran like water. Their chips were soggy with grease. It was by far the worst mexican food i have ever tried. I would not recommend going back. Unless its to the bar and only for drinks


Slow, s......l.......o......w service
Reviewer: Alicia from Upland, CA
Stopped here with 3 friends on a weekday afternoon for a drink. Wasn't crowded at all. Took forever to get our first round, and don't think we were ever asked if we wanted another one. We would have ordered appetizers if a server had ever checked back with us. Would not go back. Plenty of other places on State St. with good drinks and good service. Server (bartender)was all smiles and pleasantries when he brought the check, but by then, too little, too late.


A whole lot of nothing
Reviewer: Lola Tinney from Dallas, Texas
Nothing special about this place, poor quality food. Okay margaritas, price is great,n$3, but you will never get more than one no matter how many times you order. Even ordered once from a young man who said he was the manager. Ordered Fajitas. Seved with one very large tortilla. Guess you are suppose to shove your whole plate into it? Could not wait to leave.


Don't Come Here Unless You Enjoy Waiting
Reviewer: Jon from Santa Barbara
I've given this place many chances, but every time they fail to attempt anything close to resembling good customer service. You have ask repeatedly to get anything from simple napkins and place settings to water and chips and salsa. Even when you ask three times you still have to wait a half hour to get what you want. It seems like they have no manager running the place and the kids working there seem to not want to earn to tips.


Defineately going back!
Reviewer: Matthew Velasquez from Montecito
I have never been to lefty's but one night some friends and I decided to stop buy for some food and drinks. They were pretty busy but we were sat right away. We ate outside with a clear view of state street the hostess was extremely nice and the waiter came over right away to offer chips and ask us if we wanted anything to drink. The drinks came right away, which is unusual in my experience, and we looked over the menus and placed our orders. The menus looked almost brand new and very professional, not to mention extensive. I had the chicken stack, which our waiter reccomended to be the best item on the menu and let me tell you it was! We had great service all around. The chips and salsa were refilled every time we needed them to be and our food was much better than average. Even the manager would come around and check on the tables which I thought was nice. Whoever is running this place is doing a great job! I was extremely happy with the whole experience from beginning to end and would defineatly go back!


What a Great Time!
Reviewer: Emily from Santa Barbara
I met some friends after work for some drinks and dinner and was delighted by the experience all around. We were told it would be a short wait for a table for the 7 of us so we had a cocktail in the bar while our table was being set. The bartender was very knowledgeable about the tequilas he was pouring and the drinks we ordered. When our table was ready we sat down and were greeted by one of the most upbeat servers I have ever been waited on by. Our food came out promptly and really was good, everyone enjoyed what they ordered,from the appetizers to the entrees. I hadn't been to Left at Albuquerque's in a while, but I would definitely go back!


horrible horrible horrible
Reviewer: al from santa barbara
after an absolutely terrible experience here I decided to give it another shot when some of my friends said they were getting dinner and some drinks at lefties. I don't think words can sum up the absolute horrid experience we had however I will try. Starting with the 45 minute wait to get chips and salsa, and the 30 minute wait to get water, which we repeatedly asked for politely several times. Our meals were what you expect at an establishment such as this, but it would have been nice to have any service at all. I had to go into the bar and ask for water and silverware on my own. Due to that, I decided to tip myself, and not in money, as in "never go back into that restaurant again". Do yourself a favor and try out the many other wonderful restaurants in Santa Barbara and hopefully this place wont be here too long.


Fun atmosphere for a party
Reviewer: Laura from Santa Barbara, CA
Went here for a large party the other night - pretty much everyone was there for the drinks (which were pretty good) and didn't eat much. I did, however, get the corn cake appetizer and it was awesome! Very tasty - good size for an appetizer. Our waitress was very patient with our large group and also pretty fun. While I don't know how this place is for a small group and a "normal" dinner, it was a great place for the party!


corporate take over
Reviewer: edward micheals from Santa Barbara,Ca
well. i used to eat the regularly. the Manager Jeremey was great. personable, friendly and a hard worker. then couple years ago the manager left and I guess they got a new investor or something. from there it went to applebee'sville. they save the old food and measure it. and the standards just went down hill. I guess in the greater LA area it might work and not get noticed but to all us that live in SB. good luck. hope the tourists keep you open.


Used to be a good restaurant - what happened?
Reviewer: Bill from Santa Barbara, CA
My fiance and I used to drop in once a week for appetizers and margaritas during happy hour - we loved it. That was before they closed and relocated a few blocks down the street. We were anxiously awaiting the re-opening. We went in for a few appetizers and drinks after it finally re-opened and were rather disappointed. To ellaborate: - The food used to have more flavor - this time it was just OK. (We had the shrimp quesadillas and BBQ chicken taquitos appetizers.) The food used to be served hot - this time it tasted as if it was sitting out for a while. I would have said something, but chose not to - we were hungry and didn't want to cause a scene. - The margaritas were weak; too much sweet and sour mix - this goes for both the house and the cadillac. We thought maybe it was the bartender, but after talking with friends who had the same experience, who knows. The margarits don't need to be Joe's Cafe strong, but they definitely need some attention. - I can't believe they're charging for chips and salsa! This used to be complimentary. That's like an Italian restaurant charging for bread! Plus, the chips did not taste fresh. - The interior design of the renovated new location is bland, cheap, and lacks the southwestern feel - the old location had more character. With such a prime location on State St., I expected so much more. - The waiter took forever to serve our drinks. The employees didn't seem as friendly. We haven't been back since - bummer.


Good, But I Wasnt Greatly Impressed!!
Reviewer: Steve from Goleta
This was my second visit nearly four years later from the old location next to Rocks. My wife and I decided to give it a shot since we had a coupon for 10 dollars off. I noted later in the evening that I didnt really sense or feel an immediate connection to this place which is probably why i havent been there in four years. You look around and there is like a divided invisible wall separating the families with children and the singles crowd at the bar area. The food we ordered was good but not spectacular. I guess the only things that we thought were different was the smaller margaritas and the southwest twist on the entrees like my blackened steak with a chipotle sauce with ancho smoked mashed potatoes. Our server Blake was a cool server which I thought made up for the loss of connection. Finally our dessert per his recommendation was delicious... ill give him that! All in all it was okay...but i still cant get past this idea of no relationship with the establishment considering that I have lived in this town for 10 years and I like walking into a place where they know me by name and automatically know what I want without giving me a menu. I realize that I will never get that type of attention from a chain restaurant that serves more than several thousand on a Saturday night. Probably wont be back...but NOT because I hated the place.


Great place to have fun
Reviewer: Randy from Santa Barbara
I really enjoyed my evening at Left at Albuquerque. The margaritas came quickly and were very good. Our waitress was a sweetheart (and good looking!) and was very helpful towards suggesting food and appetizers. The music was a bit loud but understandable because the atmosphere insists you have a good time. I would reccomend getting a group of friends together and having fun here!!


Hostess so rude we left!
Reviewer: Rachelle Jinkens from Santa Barbara
I came to this restaurant during lunch with two friends and we had my dog with us. We knew the dog could not come in so we wanted to sit on the patio so we could keep an eye of the dog, which was tied up outside. The hostess refused to let us sit on the patio, which was completely empty. Apparently it was happy hour and if you weren't going to oder full meals you could not sit out there. We did not want happy hour prices we wanted some apps and drinks at full price. The hostess was not understanding at all, in fact she seemed to want to turn away customers.


Bad customer service
Reviewer: Amy from Santa Barbara
I planned a work happy hour party for 20 people and called a week before to ask about reservations, sitting on the patio and what the happy hour specials were. They do not take reservations, but said we could come early and get a table on the patio for happy hour. Upon arrival, of course the story changed and we could only sit at the bar. The bar did not have room for another 20 people. The "manager" did not have the time to come talk to us himself and sent the hostess over (with attitude) to negotiate. We ended up sitting outside for drinks but did not get happy hour prices and got a whole lot of attitude. Being a customer service manager, I would think that a restaurant would want to keep 20 locals happy since we are the folks that will keep you in business year round. The manager could have made things better by coming over himself and explaining or apologize for the misunderstanding.


Don't be in a hurry
Reviewer: KS from Santa Barbara, CA
My wife and I ate at the new location tonight (700 State St). I'm not sure how long it's been open, but right from the start I knew it would be a long night. After being seated it was at least 15 minutes until someone even spoke to us. They were very busy, probably all new staff who were still learning the ropes. After ordering it took another 15 to get drinks and guac (come on how long does it take to bring out some guac). They food was great once it arrived. I had the NAVAJO CHICKEN STACK and my wife had the TACO SALAD with chicken. After finishing it took another 20 minutes to get the bill. I am not exaggerating this is really how long it took. They were courteous and gave us half off for our trouble. We really did like the food, and appreciated the discount, but the service was horrible. Get it in gear guys.


Bait & Switch but I took the biat!
Reviewer: Stacy Kerwin from Los Angeles, Ca.
Upon reading a brochure from the lobby of our local hotel, my companion and I decided to eat lunch at Left at Albuquerque while on our shopping excursion of State Street in Santa Barbara. I took the brochure with me to the restaraunt, already having previously chosen what I wanted to eat, and was very surprised to find that the prices on the brochure were all $2-$3 less than any price for the same item on the menu! When I questioned our server and showed her the brochure, she apologized and excused herself to speak to her manager, brochure in hand. Upon return she explained that there was a disclaimer on the back of the brochure, in fine print, stating that prices were subject to change and she once again apologized. The server handled things very well and was only doing her job, but being a retail manager, I was insulted that we weren't even offered a discount or a free desert by the manager. It was the brochure that brought us into the establishment. Prior to the brochure, we had never heard of the chain. We ordered the sampler platter, which we both found to be a delight to the taste buds with every new bite. And, we each had a cup of tortilla soup which also was different than I'm used to, but very good. After a couple of drinks, our tab came to $42. We were very pleased with our server, whom of which I tipped $10 but we were very disappointed with the management of the Santa Barbara location this past Sunday, Oct. 16, 2005 at 1 PM! Living in L.A. I frequent Santa Barbara. Left at Santa Fe would have become my new favorite place on State, next to the Brighton store that I frequent.


1st timer - Monday night - "happy hour" until close...
Reviewer: Russell Dean Brown from Goleta
First off, the margaritas could have been a little stronger. I think I speak for most happy hour attendees when I say that the only drink you want after a hard days work is a cold and stiff one. The service was about average considering the staff-to-business ratio that was present at the time. On a somewhat empty stomach, I ordered (2) appetizers; the artichoke/spinach dip, and the chicken strips w/fries. The dip was decent, and I reccomend it, but the chips were a tad stale. The chicken & fries were average. The food could have been served little hotter. Overall, the experience was a notch above satisfactory. I spent $20 including tip, and didn´t feel cheated. I´ll consider coming back. Actual rating: 3 1/2 stars


Excellent food and service

I liked the Margaritas, and the food, and the atmosphere. Very friendly and good service. Great food....


Bad
Reviewer: Allison from Monecito
The onle decent thing about our visit this week was the margaritas, even though I suspect that they were made quite weak. The chips were stale, the food seemed microwaved, and service was lousy. We sat in the bar, and although it was not too busy, we waited several minutes each time we needed something for our server to come back. My friend wanted to get up and wave at her, to distract her from her oh-so-important chat with the bartender. There is nothing specail about Left At Albuquerque, or even acceptable for that matter. If it wasn´t for it´s location, I doubt I would´ve trued it considering all the bad things I´ve heard. We will not be back.


Terrible Service Apathetic Wait Staff

We had been here before, and the food was good even though the music was a little too loud. The last time we went, though, we had a miscommunication with the waitress, and we were surprised by her defensive attitude and curtness. Last time I checked, I was the customer and she should at least have been more diplomatic and schooled in customer etiquette, even if the error was not her fault. In addition, we asked another waiter what the name of the manager was, and he lied to us. Overall, a terrible experience.


Best Burger

I gave it 4 stars because of the burger. The burger was great, tasty like steak. The rest of the food is so so. Get the burger with blue cheese and you will not be disappointed if you like thick burgers.


Left at Albuquerque
Reviewer: Kimberly from Santa Barbara
Everything about this restaurant was excellent- our service, the food, the presentation of the food, the drinks. Highly recommended if you find yourself in SB hungry to make a pit stop here! Lots of great Mexican food and an excellent staff.


Best Happy Hour in SB

$3 margaritas and 1/2 price appitizers are great.... Their salads on the regular menu are good quality as well.


Great Drinks, atmosphere

The drinks are great (awesome selection), chips & salsa very good, personally I don´t love the menu choices but quality is usually good & the servers are FUN!!!! Especially the Manager close to closing time ;-)


Fun, Casual and Good!
Reviewer: Linda from Northridge, California
I will definitely be back!! Stopped in by accident and were we surprised! The food was excellent and the margaritas...WOW. I was really impressed and the staff was really great. Eclectic atmosphere....and, oh,...did I mention the margaritas?! Great happy hour specials too. (My boyfriend wants me to add that HE makes the best margaritas, but these were really close.)


GREAT PICK
Reviewer: erin from atlanta, ga
my mother and i were recommended to this resturant by some locals when we said that we wanted mexican food. this food is amazing. it is an electic type of mexican. the food was really good. the waiter we had looked like joey from "friends" and was every bit a snappy too! good place to go!!!


Great Tequila selection

What a neat place! The establishment boasts that they have more types of tequilas on their menu than any other area restaraunt. Highly recommend the crab & lobster nacho appetizer. It sounds a little weird but WOW is it good!


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