Santa Barbara > Restaurants > El Caballo
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El Caballo
No longer in business
Opened: 2006-04 Closed: 2008-05

3130 State St, Santa Barbara
Phone: (805) 687-5916

  • Category: Mexican
  • Hours: Mon-Sat 11am-9pm, Sun Closed
  • Price: < $10
  • Serving: Lunch & Dinner
  • Reservations: Yes, but usually not needed
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Reviews by the General Public

A treat for lunch, 1/18/2008
Reviewer: chris from Santa Barbara CA
We tried the combo plates with chiles rellenos, shredded beef enchilada, taco, and pork tamale. The relleno was delicious - breading slightly thick and crunchy under a beautifully spiced red sauce with onions; loads of cheese inside. (One of the best reds in town.) Everything else was yummy, too. Chips and salsa with a smooth garlic undertone. Rice and beans (covered in cheese) with cabbage salad. Generous portions, friendly atmosphere, and excellent service. It was noon and the place was empty. (Given the approach, we suspect the service would have been good even if it had been busy.) Maybe people are missing a treat because parking on upper State looks challenging. Finding a spot is worth the effort for a meal at El Caballo. We'll be back for more.

Always AMAZING!, 11/29/2007
Reviewer: Nicole from Santa Barbara, CA
El Caballo has always impressed me. The service is EXCELLENT! It's way better than the upscale mexican restaurants in this town. The chicken tacos, enchiladas and tostadas I highly recommend. Also they have THE best tamale in town! The price for the food & drinks are just right.

Carnitas est buena , 6/7/2007
Reviewer: Andy from Santa Barbara, CA
The best dish is the Carnitas. The flour tortillas are excellent, much better than the corn. Large portions for a fair price. The service was slow when I went there last. Make sure you aren't in a rush.

Mexican Food.., 6/7/2007
Reviewer: Anita Pinto from Visitor to Santa Barbara
I went to El Caballo for the first time the other day, and I must say I was very disappointed. The food was very bland, not much spices went into the offerings, although the portions were large. Chips were good, but the main dish was not worth the high prices they charge.

Carnitas, 4/30/2007
Reviewer: Alison from Santa Barbara, CA
We have been here twice & have been very happy with the food and service. The Carnitas are excellent and their chips are nice and fresh. It is definitely worth a try.

On it's way out?, 1/2/2007
Reviewer: Dianne from Santa Barbara
Things have changed. The other times I ate here I was quite pleased. This last weekend we went and I had a tostada and my husband had the combo. The enchilada did not taste "right". My tostada had almost no chicken and what there was, was watery and had no flavor. In fact the whole tostada had no flavor. The guacamole had brown edges and was also flavorless. The chips were the best part of the whole meal. Also has a margarita. Sickeningly sweet with very little booze. We were the only ones there - because they don't advertise or because the food has gone downhill?

Best In Town, 11/12/2006
Reviewer: Paul from Goleta
This is by far the best mexican food in town. Food quality is superb; meats are tender and lean. Atmosphere is very nice and the prices are reasonable. Disregard the review from Dave of Santa Barbara (Taco Bell Dave). He lost all credibility in rating Mexican food when admitting he dines at Rudys.

Love the food and the simple atmosphere, 11/5/2006
Reviewer: Carl Zudenbaker from Goleta, CA
I was lucky enough to stumble on this restaurant and I ordered their specialty, carnitas. The meat was perfectly tendered and the portions were huge. The food has a real San Deigo or northern Baja taste to it. Definitely worth checking out.

Good service, very mediocre food--and expensive!, 8/27/2006
Reviewer: Dave from Santa Barbara
We tried this restaurant for the first time last night. The service was very good, as was the salsa. Atmosphere was also pleasant. However, the food was greatly disappointing. Nothing special in the way of sauces or spicing. The prices were also a negative. The "Burrito that Ate Santa Barbara" was filling but bland--at a price of nearly $18. You can go to any Rudy's or half a dozen holes in the wall on Milpas and enjoy much better Mexican food at half the cost.

Good new choice for Mexican, 6/21/2006
Reviewer: Krista and Tony from Santa Barbara
Wow, its a tough call to open yet another Mexican restaurant in a town with so many but El Caballo does a pretty good job of distinguishing itself. Its got a funky Mex/West decor thats comfortable and not too flashy. As usual for my first time at any place I tried something basic. A burrito. El Caballo claims Carnitas as a specialty so naturally I had a carnitas burrito. I have to say that it was very good and very big. I was starving when we got there and I could only eat about 2/3 of the burrito. This may be a bit skewed because we quickly mowed through the first big basket of free (and saltless) chips and salsa. The chips were home-made and fresh and our waiter quickly brought another basket once we'd polished off the first. Another one of my favorite Mex places, Los Arroyos, makes smaller (but good) burritos and charges for chips so these things make tangible comparison points. My girlfriend ordered al la carte and had a carnitas taco and a fish taco. Well the big theme continued as the carnitas taco was piled with carnits and easily made two tacos with the extra tortilla provided. Just as in the burrito the carnitas was quite tasty and fresh. The fish taco was the low-light of the whole experience though. While substantial in size it was a battered deep-fried fish fillet. While not a bad specimin of deep-fried fish, we really expected more Cabo-style fish tacos. It may be worthwhile for them to note on the menu that the fish is fried just to avoid disappointment for those looking for something extra healthy by ordering fish. On the service side our waiter was great, very attentive, funny and knew the menu well. Overall it was a pretty good experience. We'll definitely be back at El Caballo, one, because the majority of what we got was great and I'd like to try some of the specials and two because our entire bill for dinner, which included 2 beers was $21.

Awesome Mole Tamales!, 6/3/2006
Reviewer: joedone from Santa Barbara, CA
Been going here for lunch lately and the food is amazing! Great chips and salsa. Last time had their special of mole tamales for around $8...was outstanding. Highly recommend!

A great neighborhood addition!, 5/14/2006
Reviewer: Homebody from Santa Barbara
Very generous portions on the combination plate. The wine glass was large too. They have all the standards and it was quite fresh and well prepared. Exactly what we needed in the neighborhood. Can't wait to go again and try something else.

Best in Santa Barbara, 5/3/2006
Reviewer: Brenna from Santa Barbara, CA
I have lived in Santa Barbara for 6 years now and this is the best Mexican food I have ever had here! The carnitas are awesome and the wet burritos are the best I have ever had. Plus, the prices are very reasonable, especially for this area! If you are looking for a good meal, give this place a try!

Chips too salty, 5/2/2006
Reviewer: Lulu from Santa Barbara
We were thrilled to see a new Mexican place; the people were kind and attentive and the decor was great. Sadly, the food was a real letdown. Maybe we ordered the wrong things, but the tostada and veggie burrito were mediocre at best. Perhaps the meat dishes are their strong suit.

Wow! better than expected, 5/1/2006
Reviewer: Dan G from Santa Barbara
We tried this new place over the weekend and we were quite surprised! My rellano was very good, the beans were creamy and good. My wifes tostada was quite good as well with plenty of chunks of meat(very good beef). The chicken in the taco was a little bland but passed well. The salsa at the table was far superior to the typical restaurant salsa. The service was good and they included a slip with which to give them feedback.They truly want to succeed

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