Santa Barbara > Restaurants > Taqueria La Colmena
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Taqueria La Colmena
No longer in business
Opened: 2008-08 Closed: 2017-10

217 N. Milpas St, Santa Barbara

  • Category: Mexican
  • Hours: Sun-Thu 11am-9pm, Fri-Sat 11am-9:30pm
  • Price: < $10
  • Serving: Lunch
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Reviews by the General Public

The best salsas!, 9/18/2016
Reviewer: Tony from Santa Barbara, CA
The cheese and chile tacos blow my mind. They make their own salsas and they are all amazing! I love this place!

Never, ever again!, 10/7/2014
Reviewer: Marie from Santa Barbara, CA
I ordered food to go for lunch and opened it when I got back to work. My jaw hit the floor with disappointment. The rajas tacos were ugly; the cheese was melted to the point of crispness around the edges - they were flat and rubbery! $7.27 for three of these despicable things? No way. (I wish I would have looked at the pictures on Yelp first.) We also got a rajas burrito with no beans. It was 80% rice. A waste of $8.62. The tomatillo salsa was good. In regards to service: When I first walked in I had to stand at the register and wait for the woman and man behind the counter to finish their conversation. That's rude. At least acknowledge me! I guess you don't know until you try but I will not go back.

Taqueria La Colmena , 9/10/2013
Reviewer: Sally Spork from Santa Barbara, CA
Background: I came here years ago and just ordered beans which were awful: a a thin layer of lard or oil swam on top. I don't mind oil or lard but it was not tasty and must be mixed in the beans. (This is from a bean snob, I love them and you can poison me with beans! )But recently, I came here after seeing this written up in SB EDIBLE magazine to give it another chance. Atmosphere: Small cafe/bar style place. No outside seating, no decor inside to speak of. Not sure if I got a well-worn seat: but not the most comfortable. Service: Order from counter. Food served speedily, however I did just order one item. Food/drink: Ordered taco pastilla with cheese and an horchata. The taco was tasty (but isn't everything with melted cheese?). The horchata definately tasted made from a powdery mix; not freshly made. Poo! Summary: I'd probably have to review more items to have a fuller experience here. I don't think I would go back as there are more Mexican places I want to try out.

I'm glad the line was so long at Lily's, 1/8/2012
Reviewer: Mike from Santa Barbara, CA
...or else we wouldn't have come here instead. We had tacos and each one was delicious with flavorful ingredients cooked to order. The rajas were incredible, chicken and pork moist and flavorful. The choriqueso was better than the blue place up the street and the whole vibe was almost like we were in a little place in Mexico. Very friendly lady at the counter. Tacos are only $1.65 and come with hand made tortillas. My new favorite for very good, cheap tacos.

Update to My First Review: Vegetarians Beware, 5/17/2011
Reviewer: Hannah from Santa Barbara, CA
Unfortunately, the information I was given by the owner early on has changed... The Tuesday Chalupas I so enthusiastically endorsed earlier include potatoes cooked with chicken; I found out after a stomach ache, which prompted a re-questioning of the owner about ingredients used. In the same conversation, I discovered that the tamales, which I had previously been told were made with vegetable shortening (in the masa), are now made (off-site) with animal shortening. Big Bummer... other than the rajas tacos, not sure there is much to eat for us vegetarians after all.

Best Tacos in Town, 5/4/2011
Reviewer: foodie from Santa Barbara, CA
I've been eating here for years thanks to a friend's recommendation. Their adobada and rajas tacos are out of this world! Eaten with the orange salsa and their homemade tortillas... OH WOW! Service is always fast and friendly! Love this place!!!

Chalupa Tuesdays!, 4/12/2011
Reviewer: Hannah from Santa Barbara
My husband and I are vegetarians, always looking for good Mexican food. La Colmena (taqueria) has some day-specific foods we really love. When it's Tuesday, it's "Chalupa day!" in our book. They make these awesome potato and bean chalupas topped with guacamole on a specially made corn pancake-like tortilla. On the weekends, they have yummy tamales (chili and cheese). Their chips are made to order, good, greasy, and hot, best dipped in the tomatillo salsa from the bar. Bottled cokes seal the deal...

Great Addition to the Milpas St Dining Scene, 8/13/2010
Reviewer: Don from Santa Barbara, CA
We've been to La Colmena 8-10 times now and have never been disappointed with the food or service. We on the Eastside are blessed with many excellent restaurants, and IMO, La Colmena stands very near the top of the list.

Fabulous food, 6/5/2009
Reviewer: Jim from SB
La Colmena's tacos are simply wonderful. I had the barbacoa and the adobado and both were good, but the barbacoa was sublime. They come on fresh, homemade tortillas that are delicious. And at $1.30 per taco, it's the best deal in town. It's not a fancy place; you go in, order your food at the register and wait. The service is pleasant and efficient. I went for the first time yesterday and I'll be back as often as I can. For fans of real Mexican food, La Colmena can't be beat.

Great food, nice people, no agua???, 1/11/2009
Reviewer: Eric from Montecito
I've eaten lunch here twice now. The food was delicious and very inexpensive. It would be nice if they would add burritos to their menu but I can live without those. The thing that really got me is both times I asked for a cup of water with my meal and they told me they didn't have any. Perhaps they are experiencing a plumbing problem or perhaps that is their way of encouraging the purchase of beverages. bottom line is I will continue to eat here but until they provide me with a free cup of water I will spend my tip money on a drink instead of dropping it in their tip jar. EMI

Can't home made tortillas, 10/18/2008
Reviewer: juan from Santa Barbara, CA
I was recommended to this restaurant. The people there where really friendly and the restaurant had a great atmosphere and clean. I had the pork tacos and they were delicious the salsa was some what spicy or at least the one i had that made the food even better. Price is is excellent at only 1.30 per taco!!!

Friendly place, decent prices, limited menu, food so-so, 9/16/2008
Reviewer: Dave from Santa Barbara, CA
My wife and I tried this place the other day for lunch. They offer basically tacos and alambres. The alambres are on the smallish side, tasty but deceptively filling. The tacos leave considerable room for improvement. We ordered carnitas tacos, which were nothing more than small soft tortillas with a few small, over-cooked hunks of meat in them. No spicing. No sauce. Nada. Nothing to write home about, that's for sure. Oh, they do have a good salsa bar. Beware of the peppers. They are mucho callente!

Reviewer: SAMANTHA from Santa Barbara, CA
good really good'I LOVE IT!!

Simply excellent Tacos, 9/8/2008
Reviewer: Jon from Santa Barbara, CA
Dined here on a friends comments and glad I did. I may not have stopped as many small places like this open up and the food is so standard. Not the case here. First off the Tortillas are hand Made, when you order is placed, Not factory tortillas or made earlier in the day. This makes a huge difference.I have had every kind of taco as well as the choroqueso and alambres. The ingredients are excellent fresh and very tasty. The salsas and Spicy guacamole are not to be missed. The Decor is sparse but Im sure that this will change after a while. Owner is usually always there and is a very friendly guy.

Great New Taco Place, 8/29/2008
Reviewer: Lora from Santa Barbara, CA
When a new Mexican restaurant opens in Santa Barbara, it is up against some pretty serious competition. Taqueria La Colmena has hit the ground running. My husband and I tried the asada, pork and barbacoa tacos (tortillas made on-site)with a side of fresh guacamole and were very happy with our choices. Seasonings are distinct and spicy without being hot and the salsa and other accompaniments create perfect balance. My favorite was the pork taco, it was flavorful and tender, as opposed to pork often being overcooked. The menu didn't list pollo tacos, but they are available. The menu is limited, but chef/owner Alvaro Abrego knows his strength and serves it with justified pride.

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