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Cielito
1114 State St, Santa Barbara
Phone: (805) 965-4770

  • Category: Mexican
  • Hours: Open Tue-Sun, Lunch 11:30-2:30, Dinner Tue, Wed, Thu, Sun 5-9, Fri-Sat 5-10
  • Price: $10 - $20
  • Serving: Lunch & Dinner
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Reviews by the General Public

Wow, please make Pork Nacho's Permanent, 8/18/2014
Reviewer: Rose from Santa Barbara, CA
We had this during Fiesta here. Wow, best Nacho's of our whole lives. Went back later for more, and told they almost never do Pork Nacho's. Whaaaa? Please show this to the managers, and make sure THEY for sure taste this! Then just try it on the menu for a while and see what people say. Then it will be available to us weekly, forever, also! Heavenly, memorable, will make loads of new customers for you! Please put this on the menu permanent, it was so heavenly to everyone in our party. Balanced with the wonderful margaritas!!-But realize,once people have this,and return for it, there may be riots if it is not available! Love what you are doing. Just input from the faithful. A local.


Ceviche, Not!, 6/2/2014
Reviewer: Steven from Santa Barbara, CA
We went back to Cielito yesterday just for the ceviche. They were serving only one of their trio of signature ceviches, and we ordered this, along with tacos al pastor and guacamole. While the tacos were excellent, if a little overpriced for 2 small tacoitos, I must report that the guac was salty, and the ceviche was an almost inedible slurry of - in descending order - salt, lime, macerated avocados, and little chucks of white seafood. What a disappointment. Indeed, we both comments that THIS is not ceviche! Until further notice, the shift manager should taste this concoction every day before the restaurant opens to ensure a proper blend of citrus and spice enhancements to large chunks of fresh seafood.


Cielito , 1/22/2014
Reviewer: Sally Spork from Santa Barbara, CA
Atmosphere: I'm from here and remember wayyyy back when this restaurant was a Mexican one. Boy have they did an AMAZING job transforming it to what it is now. It is a gorgeous in architecture complete with areas that are both comfortable and elegant.5 stars for atmosphere. Service: Servers were present and accommodating, we were a large group from meetup but we did call and make a RSVP. We sat outside, and it did get chilly. There are heaters near the smaller tables. Food/drink: Our group ordered a mix of appetizers and dinner. Everyone seemed satisfied. I had the pastor pork tacos. Tasty. As of this writing they do not accept the AXXESS card... BOO. Summary: Cielito is a GORGEOUS restaurant and yes I'd go back. There are different entrees I want to try as well as their unique desserts.


Chaotic Service Ruins Good Food
Reviewer: Steven from Santa Barbara, CA
On several lunchtime visits, we have enjoyed fresh salads, warm chips and a chicken torta. On each trip, however, we have found the service to be lacking in a number of ways. The "waiter" who takes the order rarely makes another appearance at the table. Instead, they send food out with an "expeditor" who must ask each person what they are having before serving the plates. On the last visit, the requested appetizer did not come out before the main course, and when it did, it came with aioli, which we had asked to be held. Getting the check, and getting the checked paid, can add another 20 minutes or so to your visit, so plan accordingly.


Amazing evening
Reviewer: Meridith from Santa Barbara, CA
Went to Cielito with 2 new friends and had one of the best meals I've had in Santa Barbara. We shared 3 courses and dessert, each one visually beautiful and delicious. The raw bar offering was as good as it gets. I highly recommend having dinner there!


Fabulous!
Reviewer: Michel from Santa Barbara, CA
We just attended a 6-course Foxen wine-maker dinner at Cielito. It was fabulous: perhaps the best dinner we have ever eaten in Santa Barbara in any category, perfect down to the last detail! Every course was delicate, delicious and surprising, cuisine and service of the highest order. What a jewel! We plan to return soon to sample the standard menu.


Wonderful space, very good food
Reviewer: Bob from Santa Barbara, CA
Eaten here three times now, wanted to get some meals in before I wrote a review. Cielito is certainly a fabulous looking place, no doubt. Having spent so much money on the décor I was concerned that they’re all show and no substance. They’re definitely very top-heavy on the “show”. Examples: the signature margarita is advertised on the menu as being made with the tequila “made famous on the show Entourage”. Are you kidding me? What kind of a wanking comment is that? Management: show a little class and delete that from the menu, it's embarrassing. Plus, they’ve trained the waitstaff to administer the ‘full court press’, which is fairly annoying. But the food is consistently quite good, nicely presented, and while a tad on the expensive side, I’d say worth it. The Tacos de Pescado Pibil, made with local seabass is really outstanding. I could've eaten plate after plate. Kobe beef skewers were excellent as well. We also had the crab/shrimp enchiladas, which was ok, unfortunately the crab got lost through the strength of the cheese, but the rice (creamy and delicious almost like a risotto) and salad that accompanied it were delicious. Really makes me want to try one of the salads next time. I wouldn’t call Cielito a ‘rare gem’ by any stretch. Los Agaves is better, has generally a more interesting specials menu, and is a lot cheaper, but at Cielito you’re getting a lot more ambiance. It is really a very pleasant space to sit and dine.


A rare gem
Reviewer: Heather from Santa Barbara, CA
This restaurant is absolutely amazing! The food is reminiscent of Rick Bayless style Mexican, with thoughfully sourced ingredients. The farms where they source their meat are listed on the menu...all free-range organic. They incorporate delicious and creative vegetarian options, as well as layers of flavor in their meat sauces (i.e. tinga-style, adobo, etc.). The waiter was also very attentive. We will be back again soon!


Nice outside seating/kind of pricey
Reviewer: Leana from Santa Barbara, CA
Been to Cielito a few times to order from their taqueria area during lunch or enjoy their happy hour in the early evening. The outdoor seating is the best part of the restaurant. It's beautiful to sit around the fountain and the atmosphere is nice. The food is also good, but it is pricey. For example, three very small tacos for happy hour is going to run you about $10. Chips and a small thing of guacamole is $6.


Excellent
Reviewer: Eryn from Santa Barbara, CA
The food was superb, the ambience wonderful. Very attentive waitstaff. All in all, an excellent restaurant which I highly recommend. Know that this is upscale South American-Mexican food, and it doesn't come cheap. All things considered, it is absolutely worth it.


Wonderful food/service
Reviewer: Marna from Toluca Lake
What a beautiful restaurant ... love the small plates & the service was always attentive. Great night out.


Confusing Seating Arrangements
Reviewer: Liz from Santa Barbara, CA
A group of us ended up here for the sole purpose of happy hour at 5:30 in the evening and 1) they had no "happy hour" and 2) their seating requirements were confusing. The staff said that we would not receive any "waitstaff service where we were sitting." Wha? We were sitting in the best seats in the house: alfresco next to the tres-expensive-looking heat lamps and iconic La Arcada fountain.

So let me stop right here: the "fancy" seating where you could get "wait staff" service was in a claustrophobic tent -- huh? It's Santa Barbara -- you can sit outside all day long and all night long with the proper heat lamp. This tent thing looked like something out of the Revolutionary War. I was expecting Florence Nightingale to emerge any minute.

Okay, so we were an easy-going bunch, and continued to hand-carry our own drinks out to the BEST SEAT IN THE HOUSE that wasn't in a claustrophobic tent, and for TWO HOURS, yes, I do not exaggerate -- TWO HOURS -- the waitstaff refused to clear our empty drink glasses as we continued to purchase drink after drink. (I know what you're thinking, we were a group of drunk banshees that the waitstaff was trying to avoid -- yes, drunkards, but no, not banshees, and not uncivil in any way. In fact we were all local career-ladies willing to pay out the $$$ for drinks.)

At hour three we couldn't take it anymore. (Note: We stayed because it was a glorious S.B. night and loved the fact that we had a great outdoor table.) We asked a passing wait staff member if we could get service at our table. She replied, "Oh, we thought you were wrapping it up."

Wrapping it up for two hours as we continued to order our own drinks at the bar and bring them back to a table amidst a bunch of refuse that the wait staff refused to clear? Tee hee -- um, no.

At that point we became *very special* and everything was cleared and taken care of. Too little, too late. (Side note: All wait staff were very accommodating and friendly within their context of the bar and hostess area. No offense to them BUT...)

C'mon Cielito -- you claim to be bringing back an S.B. tradition, but the only S.B. tradition I want to come back is friendly service, uncomplicated seating under the stars, and a good time. Oh, and maybe let someone ride in on a horse during Fiesta.

That is all.


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