Santa Barbara > Restaurants > El Pollo Rico
Omni Catering

El Pollo Rico
No longer in business
Opened: ? Closed: 2018-09

5698 Hollister Ave, Goleta
Phone: (805) 692-5000

Reviews by the General Public

Not all that crazy good…, 4/26/2018
Reviewer: Rex Of SB from Santa Barbara, CA
"Crazy good burger," one reviewer writes. Really? REALLY?? Based solely on this recommendation, I went to El Pollo Rico today for a hamburger. There was no variety from which to choose. Just one. It involved a smallish patty of beef, a bunch of lettuce and chopped onions, a tomato, a piece of cheese, and about two tablespoons full of mayonnaise. No ketchup, mustard, relish or pickles. I would have called it a Mayo Burger. Other than the overwhelming raw onions, it was pretty flavorless. The fries were nice, though. The burger wasn't "bad," it was just…a study in mayonnaise. The nice lady behind the counter was a delight. My first thought was don't go to a Mexican restaurant for a hamburger. I should have listened to myself.

Foods alright, but the new prices!? , 4/18/2018
Reviewer: Jay from Santa Barbara, CA
Okay let's just say the prices for this place have like doubled in the last year. A quesadilla is 9.50, but if you want to add chicken it's another 3.50! That's a $14 dollar quesadilla. I'm sorry, but there's no way that makes sense. This is not to mention the meat plate items. I worry they made a bad call on this and may regret it. The place was empty at dinner time.

Love Letter, 1/7/2013
Reviewer: James Schaffer from Santa Barbara, CA
This place closed up for a month for renovations or something and I practically starved to death. Their meats are fantastic and the house salsas are perfect. I think this is the only place I can go to get a full plate of nachos and not feel sick by the end of it. Pretty much every other burrito and tri-tip/chicken joint in Goleta/Isla Vista is a joke compared to this place in terms of food quality. Even The Habit across the street has a hard time comparing to the burgers you can get here, and even then they don't offer up nearly as much variety. I love you, El Pollo Rico, and I'm coming to visit =)

Crazy good Burger!, 8/19/2012
Reviewer: David from Goleta, CA
Best burger in town! I haven't tried the mexican food. I get the bacon-double-cheeseburger, and WOW! It's crazy good! The bacon bluecheese burger from the Burger Bus is better, but this place is always right where I left it. I heard of this place from some of the other foodies at work that have been taste-testing all the burgers in town. They are a little skimpy with the bacon, but....did I say WOW! Best burger for a place that is not on wheels.

Who would have thought awesome food next to laundry mat!, 7/22/2012
Reviewer: Dave from Goleta, CA
We're local and looked for new place to eat. Had past this place countless times giving it no thought since it was next to laundry mat. Excellent food and helpful staff, great dining experience. We'll be going again.

a great chicken salad, 5/3/2012
Reviewer: chris from Santa Barbara, CA
We highly recommend the unique chicken salad. Their delicious marinated seasoned chicken on a healthy bed of mixed peppers, onion, avo, and lettuce doesn't need dressing, though a nice one is served on the side. Everything else we've had is excellent, service is consistently friendly, and their mixed chili salsa is especially nice.

Reviewer: Tina from Carpinteria
Went here for lunch again...wanted to try something else but just can't get past the Mexi-pasilla-bacon burger. It is soooo good. You don't even have to add anything, it is juicy and delicious just the way it comes.

Great chicken!!, 12/9/2011
Reviewer: Valery from Santa Barbara, CA
This place is awesome; the food is great, the prices affordable and the service is wonderful; that guy of Pasadena I think is a fake because I already saw a review from “another” guy from Pasadena about, guess what… a Mexican restaurant here in this area also, and he used the same argument: the people didn’t speak English and were rude to him. Nothing but a bigot with prejudice in his veins; what a shame that even in sites so useful and nice like this one we have to put up with those jerks.

Great Mexican BBQ Food, 5/23/2011
Reviewer: Paul from Santa Barbara, CA
I come to goleta a few times a month and everytime I come here the food is great. I tried the 1/2 chicken plate this time and it was delicious. The salsa they have to select from is also good. This place is always clean and the staff is friendly. I recommend you stop by and try this place.

Really????, 3/14/2011
Reviewer: Charles Reid from Pasadena, CA
I was in Santa Barbara over the weekend and tried Pollo Rico because of all the stellar reviews. I was disappointed. The cashier/order taker was not friendly and got our order wrong despite telling her 3 times. I suppose I should have spoken in Spanish, although the menu was in English. Anyway the food was just ok, not memorable at all. I suppose if this place were on Los Angeles, it would be great. I ordered a combo plate and had chips and guacomole on the side. Both the chicken and tri tip were a little dry. The chips were a tad stale and the guacomole needed m ore seasoning. IMHO, this place is overrated.

TRI-TIP PLEASE...!, 1/22/2010
Reviewer: Ratatouille from Santa Barbara, CA

REAL MEXICANS, 12/6/2009
Reviewer: Anna Garcia from Santa Barbara, CA
I am from Mexico and almost immediately could taste the authenticity of the food. Unlike the "white washed" Chicken Ranch the rice was made from fresh tomatoes and the beans were totally from mexico. The chicken was almost identical to the place down the street from my grandmothers house in MEXICO, and the Tri-Tip was delicious..and had more meat than fat! The salsa can tell its made fresh too...I was surprised to see they had daughter ordered the burgers and they were so good...the fries were kinda bad..possibly frozen but i was glad to find out that we could of substituted them for fresh tortilla chips.

My 2nd visit was better, 7/16/2009
Reviewer: Glenn from Buellton
They decided to make the sodas self serve now which is a plus from before. I tried the burgers here this time and they are good, they remind me of a Char West or Chubbies one. They still have the same CNN on with mexican music playing at the same time so you still can't hear the TV well(they should put both TVs on captioning to fix the problem). Wait was still a little long. Nice server. Plenty of seating in and out but not a lot of available parking(shared with laundromat) that I could see.

Great Burgers, 6/20/2009
Reviewer: T Smith from Santa Barbara, CA
My son and I stopped by The Habit but it was packed when I remembered Pollo Rico had burgers. We decided to go there and now it is my place to get burgers. I had the Pasilla burger and my son the double-bacon cheese burger and they were both delicious and very filling. I liked that I could substitute chips for the fries on my combo too. Reasonably priced as well.

Ok food/service, soda setup poor, 9/4/2008
Reviewer: Glenn from Buellton
A big burrito place. Issues are compared to other similar places include no free refill drink area. The drink I got was 1/2 soda water and a ton of ice in it. Don't get the soda drink. The salsa could have been labeled a bit for what was hot or not(like el pollo loco), no cilantro. Also two TVs going on separate sides of the room with little sound and mexican music playing in the middle does not work great. Server could be friendlier. So similar to a Jerry's Pollofino but Jerry's has the soda out for self refills. Also try Cal Taco and compare. Not as good as Baja Grill in Camino either(very good). I would say better than SB Chicken Ranch though. No self service refills(maybe I should have asked for refill) and poor drinks a definite downer. I may try the burgers at some point.

THE BEST, 8/14/2008

Enjoyed, 7/12/2007
Reviewer: Mike from Goleta, CA
Great burger selection. Fresh juices. Minus 1 star for fake McDonalds-style french fries. Friendly and fast service. Relaxed atmosphere to watch CNN Headline News and eat your food.

Great Meat, salsa is hard to beat., 2/3/2007
Reviewer: Aubrey from Santa Barbara, CA
I eat at this place often to be able to try a little something of everything on the menue. The Chicken is very good, but can be very greasy. The tri-tip is rich in flavor and has a great cut, to where it just melts away. The tortillas they serve are great, they are very hot and fresh. Beans are a huge plus, they arent fatty at all and the flavor is all bean. Rice has a authentic flavor and is very soft and small grained. With the ice cold fresh salsas, you have a great selection from your blended up salsas or your pico de gallos. Everything is fresh and is fast. If you are looking for a great place to have a bite to eat and not feel rushed, then please take the time to grab a bite to eat at this place. There are enough options for the pickiest of eaters, so take the chance and just go there.

Did not realize you can miss a restaurant so much, 1/6/2006
Reviewer: Erik Padilla from Santa Barbara, CA
El Pollo Rico was closed for about two weeks and man did my stomach miss them. The reason they were closed one of the owners told me was because they went on a well deserved vacation since they had not taken one in about 5 years so it was time for them to do so. I usually eat there about 3-4 times a week and I'm considered a regular. If I call my phone order in, Laura already knows it's me and she knows exactly what I want to order and how I like it made. All their food is excellent and I've visted other similar chicken and tri-tip places and they do not come close to the great taste and friendly service. Their Salsa bar is the best I've ever had and there are so many to choose from. Again, I'm glad they are open again. I missed their friendly service and great food and I'm sure I'll put back the weight I lost while they were gone. Hats off to you El Pollo Rico and have a fantastic New Year!!I

Reviewer: Crystal from Santa Barbara, CA
My friends and I just went to El Pollo Rico recently to have some chicken and tri-tip. When we arrived there we were surprised to see that they also offered incredible looking burgers. A little over 6 different hamburgers to choose from. My friends had the Double-Bacon Cheeseburger Combos and I tried the Guacamole Bacon Burger combo. My friends loved them and mine was so good because they used authentic guacamole not the frozen kind. I think El Pollo Rico is going to give The Habit and In & Out Burgers a run for their money. We have eaten the other items at the restaurant and they are also very tasty and we love their unique salsa too.

Unexpected surprise !!, 6/2/2005
Reviewer: Rollo Montgomery from Toronto, Ontario, Canada
We pulled of the highway to get some gas, and decided to give this place a try. It kinda looks like a really big cafeteria. The service was fast and friendly. The place was spotless. We were blown away by the food. The tri tip is amamzing. the fresh juice and horchata also outstanding. Never mind the bland decor, the food can´t be beat at twice the price. Sometimes the simplest things in life are the best.

One of Kind Delicious, 5/14/2005
Reviewer: Mike Romero from Santa Barbara
I´ve tried pracitcally everything on the menu and have never had a bad expierence. The service is always fast and friendly, the place is clean and eat there at least 3-4 days a week. I was really upset when I read the comments of the person who ate there back in March and asked "where´s the beef when he/she ordered the Wet tri-tip burrito" I´ve had it and I left there full. The fresh juices they offer and all of the different salsas they have are unique and tasty. I´m glad they opened.

good Gtown grub, 5/3/2005

This place serves up some good chicken and tri-tip, fluffy rice, fresh pintos and good salsa.

where´s the beef?, 3/31/2005

We ordered the wet burrito (w/ tri-tip). In eating the burrito, it was namely filled w/ rice and beans and hardly any beef! It´s debatable if I´d return, but the likelihood is not.

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