Santa Barbara > Restaurants > Acapulco
Ca Dario

No longer in business
Opened: ? Closed: 2006

1114 State St, Santa Barbara
Phone: (805) 963-3469

  • Category: Mexican
  • Hours: Mon-Thu 11:30am-9pm, Fri-Sat 11:30am-10pm, Sun 11am-9pm
  • Price: $10 - $20
  • Serving: Lunch & Dinner
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Reviews by the General Public

ACAPULCO IS CLOSED!!!, 10/11/2006
Reviewer: B.C. from Carpinteria
Acapulco is closed. I always thought the food was decent - as good as any of the other Acapulco locations I guess. I went there mostly when my office had an event for 20-30 people, and the service was always slow on those occasions. We were always very late getting back to the office. Service was good when with a smaller party of 2-4 or so. The sign on the door refers people to their "sister" restaurant (and rival chain?) El Torito. A better choice would be one of the non-corporate Mexican restaurants in the area, such as Los Arroyos.

Reviewer: tj from Henderson, Nv
The local manager told me I needed to book my event thur the corporate office because it was a party larger than 25--I called, then I received a call that they had booked a larger party (by 5 people) after I had called...Then they started changing their stories--bottom line the local management did not follow there own rules yet they decided it was easier to leave me out in the cold for my gathering then it was to make their people follow there own policies!! I can only be glad the invitations had not yet been printed or mailed.

The Consistency in Bad Service is Almost Comical, 9/19/2006
Reviewer: Katie Sheffield from Santa Barbara, CA
My husband and I frequent this restaurant because the food is great and the atmosphere is truly beautiful. However we have been to this restaurant so many times that we are used to the fact that the service is absolutely horrendous. At first, we were upset when it took 10 minutes for someone to greet us and another 10 to get drinks. I got used to the fact that I needed to just get up and get my own soda refills at the bar. Also, it may add to the charm that the waiters mostly speak Spanish (and not much English) but when ordering becomes like a speech and debate tournament it diminishes the experience just a tad. Now we just joke about the service each time we go, and instead of being upset about waiting FOREVER for food, we just enjoy the cute turtles in the pond! When choosing this restaurant, go on a night that you aren't in a rush to get to a movie and you will be happy!

Good food, ok service, 7/14/2006
Reviewer: Florence from Goleta, CA
The food was good but my friend and I had to wait a long time for it to come. It took a while for someone to take our orders and we both received someone else's food TWICE before we got ours, which made our wait even longer because it took some time to get a waiter's attention once they left our table. After receiving the second incorrect order, I got up to report the mistake to one of the staff since I couldn't find the person who took our order or served us. I know mistakes happen and we were hoping that we would be offered a compensation for waiting patiently without any drinks, salsa or chips for almost an hour even though we made multiple requests. When they didn't offered one, I requested a discount and it was granted to my meal only. The food was good and the staff was super nice but I can't say I would be a returning customer.

Margarita Monday's, 6/19/2006
Reviewer: brian from akron, OH
I thought the food was great. I had a burito and my wife had a chimychunga and they were both excellent. The service was prompt and the best part on Monday's margarita's are only $2.50. The salsa and chips were good. we sat outside on the patio and i would eat there again!

Good Food and Atmosphere-Marginal Service, 6/6/2006
Reviewer: Slowolf from Atascadero, CA
I have eaten here about 3 times. This place is a feast for my senses. I enjoy the outdoor atmosphere sitting next to the turtle pond watching the turtles. A great place to people watch and the sights and sounds of the paseo are delightful. The food is very good. I particulary like the wet burritos. I would certainly give this place higher marks if only they would improve the service. The last time I went it took over 30 minutes to get our food.

To reviewer below, 5/9/2006
Reviewer: Dean from SB, CA
The reason for the slow service is contained in the first sentence of your review: "I dined at Acapulco for the festive Cinco de Mayo".

Horrible!!!!, 5/9/2006
Reviewer: Vanessa from Santa Barbara, CA
I dined at Acapulco for the festive Cinco de Mayo with a group of 15. We were seated outside and ignored for the first half hour we were there. We all took turns ordering at the bar because our server was nowhere to be found. Finally I went to the hostess stand requesting our server and still she couldn't be located. Finally I found her, stopped her, and asked if we could order and she said she would be right back. Finally after an hour we got our order taken. Everyone in my party was very disappointed. The drinks were extremely weak, the service was HORRIBLE, and the food was okay. I will never return.

more veg options please, 4/30/2006
Reviewer: ucsb vegan from Santa Barbara, CA
Acapulco would benefit greatly from adding more vegetarian and vegan friendly options to their menu. My friend celebrated her birthday here, so I kind of had to go. In looking at the menu, the only vegetarian item was the veggie fajita plate. I wasn't quite in the mood for that, so I decided to modify the tostada compuesta to suit my needs as a vegan. By the way, the beans are vegan at Acapulco. Anyhow, I ordered the tostada compuesta without meat or dairy of any kind. My food arrived and it looked like a massive plate of shredded lettuce smothered in what must have been half a bottle of salad dressing. Deep beneath this overwhelming bed of dripping greens could be found a measly tostada layered in beans. But let me tell you, I had to DIG. The food would have been much more enjoyable without the dressing. Basically, the vast amount of dressing did me in. In the future, the dressing should either be omitted or put on the side and the salad could have used a greater variety of veggies.

Bad Service, 3/29/2006
Reviewer: Yalen from Santa Maria, CA
I went with my mom to the restaurnt hoping to have a great lunch. However, as soon as we were seated we were forgotten for a long period of time. No one ever bother to offer us drinks, not to be exagerating in any way but our 1 hour lunch turn into 2.5 hours. The food was ok but the service doesn't make up for the long wait. I would suggest to the manager/ownwer for better customer service.

ola everybody!!!, 3/12/2006
Reviewer: Roisin, your former cocktail waitress! from SB, CA
the food rocks, it tastes amazing, and has huge portions.i worked here so have tasted everything, and theres nothing i wouldn't recommend.i would travel all the way across the atlantic ocean, from Ireland, just to have some more of Alcapulco's beef nachos !

Worst Mexican Food Ever, 2/25/2006
Reviewer: Kelsey from Goleta
Really thought I couldn't go wrong. The food was horrible. Everyone thought their food was incredibly blan. The service wasn't anything special just doing what they had to do.

GREAT PLACE, 2/18/2006

excellent, 1/23/2006
Reviewer: Denise from Santa barbara CA
I worked in this restaurant.. the food was lovely and the service was unreal.. Hi to everybody..Denise(Crazy Irish Girl) Summer 2005

FANTASTIC SERVICE, GIVEN BY KARLA!!!!!!!!!!!!!, 12/4/2005
Reviewer: Giovany from Santa Barbara

The best, 11/1/2005
Reviewer: Edgar from California
The best place on Earth

They don't do free Birthday Meals anymore, 8/16/2005
Reviewer: Zeph from Santa Barbara
After many years of putting a little spice into birthdays by offering free meals, Acapulco discontinued has discontinued this practice ): . I was brought there for my Birthday this past Sunday and was very disappointed to find this out but grateful that I had stuffed a coupon in my purse the night before so I wasn't too expensive to take out. I ordered the Shrimp Fajitas and they were really quite good with their sizzling hot plumpness and handmade tortillas. I have noticed some slight improvements, quality-wise, in the last year which is good since I have almost given up on this restaurant several times.

Disappointing-won't go back., 7/26/2005
Reviewer: Andrea from Santa Barbara, CA
The atmosphere in the restaurant is a bit like a train station, especially when there are several big parties and people walk around using cell phones. Although the restaurant was not full when I went there, the staff didn't make an effort to clean it up. One waiter didn't seem to know what the other waiter was doing and it felt like service happened accidentally and on the run. The food didn't make up for anything and is not a reason for me to go back.

Decent Food, Bad Serivce, 7/3/2005

I went to acaplulco in serch of good mexcian food and was truly upset. When to the front to be sitted, they only had room out side. I asked to be sat in the shade or under an unbellrea but not. After i went back inside and told the hostess I really would perfer a table in the shade, i was told the was nothing she could do. I then asked the waiter to bring an unbrella that wasnt being used, he said he would move us to the shade and did. Five mintutes later the hostess came out and accused us of moving our selves, and told us to get out of the table and when we told her the waited had moved us, she didnt care and told us to move beaucse "these" people wanted this table, she didnt even assits us moving our plates or drinks back to the other table. I would neer go back.

Our Traditional Visit!, 6/20/2005
Reviewer: M.K. Family from Monterey, CA
Everytime we visit Santa Barbara we´ve never had a disappointment at Acapulco´s. The service and food was excellent. We always look forward to our visit at Acapulco´s.

Great Place, 6/9/2005

The service was the best I´ve ever had there.I would recommend this place for every Santa Barbara visitor!!!

Banquet Food Is TERRIBLE!!!, 6/5/2005

Recently, with much anticipation of a good meal,I attended a banquet at this restaurant. I ordered the chicken fajitas which I have enjoyed here on regular dining experiences. I was shocked to receive one plate (no sizzling fajitas on a cast iron plate) with cold chicken strips already laid out on the cold grilled vegetables. I would rate this entree on the level of prison cafeteria food. I didn´t ask anyone else how their meal was but just given my experience I have the feeling that Acapulco just can´t handle preparing for 50+ crowds. The prices were not reduced so they can´t use that as an excuse for lesser quality than items ordered on the regular menu. I first wanted to send an email to the headquarters or at least the manager of this location but no emails are provided on the website, just phone numbers so I decided to go here with my opinion instead.


I went to Acapulco last week for their quick lunches w/ my b/f and the quick lunch states 10 min. it took at least 25 min to get our food I was so mad not only that it took them at least 20 min to get us water and chips after asking TWICE! I only have an hour of lunch and they completly wasted my time I also wanted a coke and they did´int bring it till the end of the meal when I was getting ready to leave I was really upset they did´int charge me for the coke but I still drank it I was late by the time I got back from lunch and my boss was mad!

ruined my birthday dinner, 5/5/2005
Reviewer: Dee from Santa Barbara
I invited a large group of friends on my 21st birthday, expecting fun times. What we got was a waitress who never even offered us drinks (so we had to go downstairs to the bar...), I ordered a drink which tasted like glue (i´m not being sarcastic - i have witnesses). We waited a super long time for our orders to be taken, only to find that the waitress wouldn´t take certain people´s orders and it took them so long to get the food... the place was practically empty that night. My boyfriend ordered a drink and the coke was very watered down, and he still had to pay full price for them. The manager on duty that night was rude to my friends, which ended up causing much tension and, although we tried to fight it, inevitably ended in a scene being made due to the poor service. And to top it off, the waitress spilled an entire glass of water over of my guests. Needless to say, I was VERY disappointed and sad, and although I used to enjoy going there, because of their poor treatment of their customers, I will not be visiting or recommending this location again. In summary, my recommendations are: Listening to the customer´s requests. Offering appropriate services for an accomodated group. With a group that large, I would assume the waitress would be more attentive, considering the potential large tip... Assuring the customers are taken care of. (i.e. waitress at least asking if they´re doing okay every once in a while, not neglecting the table entirely). Waitress asking each and every person at the table what they want to order. Basically, attention, attention, attention.

Service was appalling!, 3/27/2005

I was in a large group upstairs with about 15 people and not only did we all feel very alone and forgotten but when we did get service, the waitress acted like she´d never taken an order before; oh and a couple things were dropped on friends of mine as well. The drinks were pretty bad, very little alcohol, and the alcohol used was cheap, while the nice expensive stuff sat in a full bottle on display behind the bar.

Bad Food, 2/14/2005
Reviewer: Authentic Mexicana from Santa Barbara, CA
This place is terrible. The atmosphere is cool if you eat outside, but it is definitely not "authentic." The is cold and they take forever.

Margarita out of a soda gun!, 2/3/2005
Reviewer: El Gringo
How can this place have the best margarita when you watch the bartender press a soda gun out comes a margarita. Food if you like canned food this is the place. I think the same fozen Mexican dishes in the super market are served here!

Nice Outside Seating, 1/6/2005
Reviewer: D Goldate from NJ
I like sitting outside...sharing sometime with friends. Food was what is expected from a chain establishment, service was ok. First time dining here but would go back and spend time outside enjoying an afternoon or evening.

Sorry..., 12/13/2004
Reviewer: Laura from Santa Barbara
...but this ain´ Mexican food. Hardly better than Taco Bell, to be brutally honest. The atmosphere is fun, though, and I like their peach margarita.

This is coming from a Mexican..., 11/6/2004
Reviewer: Rene from Santa Barbara
The food here is not authentic Mexican. Go to Super Cucas or Rudy´s for the real grub. It´ll be cheaper and way tastier than this place.

great food and service, 10/14/2004

my friends and I have never had a bad experience here. Food has always been good and service friendly.

I liked it the first time I went, 9/19/2004
Reviewer: Karen Wiginton from Chillicothe, Ohio
I didn´t enjoy the food as much on my 2nd visit-it seems like a nice touristy place though, very nice atmosphere.

You couldn´t pay me to eat at this crapy gringo place., 9/9/2004

Nor could you pay me to consume one of their awfull margaritas or their anemic chips. The patio is the best thing about the place.

awesome, 8/20/2004

We have had nothing but good experiences at Acapulco. We eat there at least 4 times a month, we are locals, and the service is always good. I would say the margaritas are a tad overpriced, but the food is good, the staff is friendly, and I would recommend them any day. They are NOT like other Acapulcos.

I concur..., 8/20/2004
Reviewer: ln from Goleta, CA
...with what others have to negatively say about Acapulco´s. With that, I have to share my experience a few years back: One of my friends had a sizzling fajita platter, and typically they include a potholder so that you don´t touch the platter, and they also remind you NOT to touch the handle. My friend ended up touching it by accident and burned himself. In asking the staff for a first aid kit to treat the burn, they told him to go across the street to Long´s Drugs! Horrible! We have never stepped foot since then... And I agree, there are PLENTY of authentic Mexican food places out there--check out Milpas street.

I want authentic, 8/5/2004
Reviewer: Eric
Why this place is rated so high I will never know. This place is a chain, like sizzler or El Torito. I am very picky about Mexican food and I don´t go for the Americanized b.s.. If this is the best Santa Barbara has to offer in Mexican food, I think it is time for me to move. C´mon people negative reviews will knock this place out of the #1 spot

weak, it´s just a bar, 4/24/2004
Reviewer: rjp from santa barbara
come on people, this is a crappy chain restaurant. the majority of their revenue comes from liquor

Bad food Bad service, 4/16/2004
Reviewer: BJ from Santa Barbara
This place is the last on my list. Strange how this got voted 1st place?? We live in SB, home of the best Mexican restaurants in the CA. Maybe it is crowded there, but that doesn’t make it good.

Pleasant Experience, 3/11/2004

The pricing was pretty good for the amount of food that was brought out. The atmosphere was nice and quiet, but the service was a little lacking. More effort could be given to filling up drinks and just checking to make sure you don´t need anything. The person who said the margaritas werem´t good enough is not correct in his statement. Its not their fault if the man has a high alchohol tolerance from getting completely trashed every night.

oh really, 3/6/2004

how does a chain resturaunt get voted the #1 mexican resturant in S.B? wow, people really have no taste.

A Nice Place to Eat, 1/31/2004

I enjoy myself everytime I eat at Acapulco´s. While it isn´t what I would call "authentic" Mexican food, I think it is fresh and good. The servers are very nice, patient, and tolerant of drunkeness. I also like the way the restaurant looks. It has a dramatic interior with an antique flair to it.

Horrible service, okay food, 1/31/2004

I went there with 9 of my friends, and we were placed outside in a wind storm under no protection other than some heaters. It was freezing and we received lousy service-- in order to get a drink we practically had to go pour it ourselves. The food was decent, but took forever.

Reviewer: Jeff from Santa Barbara, CA USA
I have eaten at Acapulco 15-20 times during the past 10 years or so. The atmosphere is great - good decor, great patio with a turtle pond out front. The food is good but bland - definitely for the tourists. Your average 5th grader wouldn´t have any trouble drinking the margaritas either. I wonder if they put any tequila in these at all.

Incredible Sea of Cortez combination, 3/30/2003

I have gone to this restaurant several times but I just recently ordered the "Sea of Cortez" fish combo for the first time. Every single bite was so delicious it made my whole body shudder. I will especially remember the halibut-I just wish I knew what was the marinade/seasoning they used so I could at least attempt to reproduce it at home. The whole atmosphere at this restaurant is enchanting. I highly recommend this culinary experience in the heart of downtown Santa Barbara.

best tacos in Santa Barbara, 4/11/2002

great atmosphere, great drinks, decent prices ... with the exception of a few "mom and pop" taco stands (like Tito´s Tacos near Westwood, CA), this place as some of the best tacos I´ve ever tasted ... kind of hard to find though as it´s a little off the main drag (State Street)

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