Santa Barbara > Restaurants > Lilly's Taqueria - Downtown
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Lilly's Taqueria - Downtown
310 Chapala St, Santa Barbara

Reviews by the General Public

I totally agree with Lance
Reviewer: Dominic from Santa Barbara, CA
I totally agree with Lance. You people just haven't had AUTHENTIC tacos and don't know how juicy, flavorful, and distinguishable the flavors are in a proper taco shop. That being said, it was definitely decent, but not worth raving about. Sadly, Santa Barbara doesn't have good Mexican food like they do in San Diego/Baja California, so you guys just don't know what you're missing. I miss home already... Then again, ya'll are the ones who don't mind spending $12 on microwaved nachos at Freebirds, so I see where all the aggression and rave revues is coming from. My fair opinion, B- at best. Meats should be flavorful and juicy, not charred.

Reviewer: Hadley Tomicki from Santa Barbara, CA
The line at Lily's is unjustified until these guys start making their own tortillas. The meats are strong, and the restaurant should be praised for its wide selection of options, but really, this crucial misstep of buying tortillas makes them below average tacos for me. Lily's tacos, to me, are like good L.A. taco trucks, whereas La Colmena is a much better, much truer taqueria in the real sense of the word.

Reviewer: MrsM from Santa Barbara, CA
That Lance guy down there is a lunatic - Lilly's Tacos are the best tacos in town!! (how on earth can you compare something authentic to a chain like Taco Bell?!) I'm a tiny chic and I can down 4 of these suckers easily and still want more. If you want ligit, authentic, seriously delicious tacos, go to Lilly's!

About the meat
Reviewer: Tony from Santa Barbara, CA
Correct me if I'm mistaken, but I think they take a cow head and steam the whole thing and get the meat from different sections, and that makes up most of the menu (excluding carne asada, maciza and adobado). There are many places in Mexico that use this method. From that they get the head, cheek, tongue, lip, eye meat, some have different textures so it can be unusual and different for a first timer. Some like it, some don't, or at least, need a few tries to get used to it. I wonder why they don't serve cesos. This is a 5 star classic and authentic Mexican taco stand.

Just Ok Tacos
Reviewer: Glenn from Buellton
I'll say just Ok as in terms of the meat I'll have to agree with the ganged up on reviewer that it could be better and that there are a lot of other places that you can find better tacos. In terms of the speed it is quick but if that is ALL they make(i.e. soft tacos with pork and beef products) then they've already got the meat on the grill and just have to scoop it into a taco for you so it better be quick! I only tasted the grease in the meat and two different meats tasted exactly the same. Try some of the Milpas places and get back to me whether the meat is better. Positives about this place though are the expansive eating area and an order taker who is fluent in English. They could use a soda fountain bar too. But they must be doing something right if been in business for 5+ years, just don't think I'll be back. Its at the end of Chapala right next to the freeway. Maybe Tepayec has some business hope if they are just selling taquitos w/o anything else. I am leaning with Lance!

Lilys is bomb
Reviewer: TJ from Santa Barbara, CA
From the moment I walked in it was great. 1.40 for a taco and a fresh salsa bar. Cashier was nice. As soon as I had to slip m change in my pocket and take a a glance aroundmy tacos were up. I wish I can go here everday. Forsure once a week. Keep it up

good food, good vibes there
Reviewer: lemonjelly from santa barbara, ca
Lilly's embodies the positive aspects that Mexican street food has to offer. Delicious variety, speedy, inexpensive. The man at the counter has always been friendly and efficient. He's proud of the stuff he sells. He doesn't care who you are, he's glad you're here to eat some yummy tacos. And just as you're starting to contemplate what sort of salsa and condiments to add...*bam* your order is on the counter, ready for pick up. Most of the times I've eaten here, I find the other patrons are families. It's a good feeling to be eating amongst people sharing like that. Think about those fast food "dollar menu" style places and who eats at those. Miserable people, alone and staring at the wall. Lilly's is incomparable. It's bustling, fun and dynamic. After one lunch, I'd already walked a block away when a little girl from another family's table ran up to me to return the keys I'd accidentally left behind. Too cool.

Agreed, Lance is crazy!
Reviewer: Aaron from Santa Barbara, CA
I second Jims post, what are you thinking Lance? I've previously reviewed Lilly's, so I'm not going into detail here, but if you think about it Lance, you're the only person here that gave anything less than a great review, enough said!

Lance is crazy
Reviewer: Jim from Santa Barbara, CA
Lance; Are you crazy!? These are the best tacos in town. Not to mention they have them in your hot little hand before you can get your wallet back into your pocket. I can't believe you would even think to compare Lilly's to Taco Bell. You're obviously the carne asada, extra sour cream type. Lilly's cult members will be happy to NOT have you in line ahead of us the next time we go.

lacking flavor
Reviewer: Lance from Santa Barbara, CA
So so. If you are a tightwad and want quantity over quality. I found the flavors lackluster and the meat flavors were easily overwhelmed by the salsas. Do they really marinate the meats there? Also, all the meats are served granulated to the point of being indistinguishable. When I want mincemeat tacos I go to Taco Bell. The price being no object, I have never really left there satisfied like I have eaten something cooked with love only that I have eaten something cheap and filled the gap.

Great, Fast, Cheap
Reviewer: Aaron from Santa Barbara, CA
Owning a business in Santa Barbara is expensive. When that business sells only one product at $1.40 each - and they thrive, then they must have a great product. I love their adobado tacos. Their Lengua and cachet are worth a try, good, but a bit mild for my taste. should give them an award for best tacos if they havenít already! I go there at least 1-2 times a week! There is one thing I hate about this place tho, their closed on Tuesdays (lol).

Amazing & authentic!
Reviewer: Leona from Santa Barbara, CA
The food is delicious here. I've been searching for a long time for a good Mexican restaurant in Santa Barbara and I finally found one. Unlike other Mexican restaurants in SB, Lilly's is inexpensive, has fast service, and great tasting food. I always value food being true to it's roots, and Lilly's definitely takes me back to the little taco stands in the streets of Mexico. The atmosphere is not all that great but the food makes up for it! For first timers, I definitely encourage gathering your courage for trying some of their unique meat parts like lengua (tongue) or cachete (cheek)!

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