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Wahoo's Fish Taco
[closed, no longer in business]

511 State St, Santa Barbara
Phone: (805) 966-1586


Reviews by the General Public

Happy in Santa Barbara
Reviewer: Steve Wright from Santa Barbara, CA
I love Wahoo's food! It's also the best deal in Santa Barbara!


Fabulous hole-in-the-wall
Reviewer: Sonja and George from Tucson, AZ
The food at Wahoo's is delicious and the atmosphere is wonderfully laid back and perfect for hanging out. I strongly recommend the wet fish Burrito with mixed sauce - the green sauce had a delightful cilantro flavor. The portions are very generous. One reason we choose Wahoo's was because it did not have TV - refreshing after the previous 3 spots we peered into. The video-loop of surfing is kinda fun and unobtrusive and the music mix is great background. The doors were open allowing a nice invigorating breeze. We will only be in Santa Barbara 3 days and are likely to return to Wahoo's!


Surprisingly good food but strange ambience
Reviewer: Glenn from Buellton
I thought this would be like any other taqueria in town but definitely different! The owner's have Mexican, Chinese and Brazilian roots and some of the food reflects that with bowls of things along with standard tacos burritos. I did not realize this was a widely dispersed chain of stores. The brown rice and beans are really good. The fish taco was really good, Ono which is also called "Wahoo" hence the name. The order taker did not know that though I read it on their website! Order taker hard to understand too though nice. The ambience is like a skateborder sticker hell. Stale air, I would not want to eat in there. Why do some places feel the need to have music on that does not match the tv. Oh well. The kalua bowl had a hawaiian pork taste to it, and was tasty. Tempted to try more things on the menu but I think it will be to go. The onion rings are recommended(though I have been snobbish ever since I tried The Burger Bus ones). The soda machine was like you were at McD or Burger King, hardly anything left in them and a ripoff there. I would not consider the place as a "cheap" meal but they had the 2 for 1 local deal there and the food warranted higher prices plus on lower state bar/tourist area.


Great Late Night Burritto
Reviewer: Andi ^..^ ~ from Santa Barbara, CA
Hard working owner at the helm late night was most impressive ! Didn't order anything fancy standard BRC ( Beans Rice Cheese ) Burrito was outstanding . Almost too big to eat in one meal ! Fresh , Delish .. great food ! I also like when I see their commitment to the community at many of the events.


Wahoos food is one of dakine!!! Good on the pocket too!!
Reviewer: Jimmy J from Santa Barbara, CA
I am Jimmy J, and I have enjoyed eating at Wahoos over the past couple of years. I have had many dining experiences there, and I gotta say that the owners Nate and Jeff, who are almost always there, really take pride in delivering a meal to your liking in a very timely fashion. Over and over again, they impress me with their professionalism with the customers;they bring the aloha. The surfing vibe and ambiance almost make ya long for the ocean as you bite into the tastiness that came from it. The Banzai Bowl is my favorite and comes with a bunch of veggies!!! YUM!!!I reccomend sitting at the table adjacent to the window. It is different from the rest as you shall see....and ask them for a cool sticker...They love giving them away!!!!


Pure awesomeness
Reviewer: Silvia from Santa Barbara, CA
I'm proud to say I eat at wahoos a good 5 days a week, fast, fresh, tasty, and great prices. Fish and shrimp tacos are the best full of flavor and the fish is grilled which is healthy! The staff members there are very friendly and provide good service! Wahoo's for the win!


try the brown rice option
Reviewer: chris from Santa Barbara, CA
Wahoo's has added brown rice (as well as tofu). Cooked perfectly, the rice is a great complement to their well-prepared black beans. Given their generous portions, that combo alone is almost a meal in itself. Service, as ever, is first rate and friendly, and more attentive than in many more upmarket eateries in town.


Amazing every time
Reviewer: Jordan from Santa Barbara, CA
From the tacos to the salads to the banzai burrito(my new favorite) wahoos is always the best. Enjoy it every time, never a disappointment!


Chicken Bowl
Reviewer: Todd from Santa Barbara, CA
Food & service are good but I think it is very odd that they serve their "Chicken Bowl" on a plate.


Friendly and Laid Back
Reviewer: Sweet D from Santa Barbara, CA
1st time I had Wahoo's was in Boulder CO and was excited to hear that one had open in my hometown Santa Barbara. Very friendly staff (I like that they say goodbye when you leave)! Generous portions. My favorite thing about it is the atmosphere. Not the most amazing Mexican food in SB (I think it wouldn't hurt to add more kick to the rice) but a good fall-back place to go when you can't decide.


great food, great people
Reviewer: bryan from Santa Barbara, CA
their chicken taquitos are amazing. also love their white beans. the people working there are always friendly and helpful.


EVEN OLD LADIES CAN LOVE THIS PLACE!!!
Reviewer: Lucy from Santa Barbara, CA
We stumbled into Wahoo's a couple of months ago after wandering around the Santa Barbara Farmer's Market one evening. We have been back at least once a week ever since--and have brought friends whenever possible. WE LOVE THIS PLACE!! We are medicare mavens and always order the kids plate with an enchilada--usually the shredded pork one or the shrimp one--along with rice and black beans. The whole deal is less than $4 per person. What a bargain!! And, we LOVE THE GREEN SAUCE!! It has lots of cilantro in it, is a little spicy and absolutely delicious on the enchilada. The counter and service helpers are polite and friendly. There is an occasional visitor from the lower State Street permanent collection which can be a bit off putting, depending on behavior. But, all in all, Wahoo's is a real treat for us and we visit for lunch or dinner whenever we can. Highly recommended!!


the best and cheapest shrimp tacos
Reviewer: Nancy from Santa Barbara, CA
The shrimp and fish tacos are consistantly excellent, delicious, fresh, and affordable, (as are there wonderful onion rings), the beer of the month price ($1.52!) cannot be beat (and we've tried some interesting beers as a result), the service is ALWAYS pleasant, helpful, fast ---and they make you feel like they really give a damn that you just spent $6 in their establishment - something many other SB restaurants should take a lesson from... The restaurant is clean and a nice State St location for people watching. Hope this place will raise the standards of other restaurants. It is the only place we go weekly - often more. My only suggestion: Wish they would add some flavor to the bland white rice - or at least serve more healthy brown rice.


Fun, casual place
Reviewer: Kristy from santa barbara, ca
We like going here with our young kids because it is casual. It is a fun atmosphere and everyone who works there is very nice. The owners are always around working hard and really care that things are right. The food is a big step up from fast food. They have some interesting and healthy options. Good kids menu too.


Food and service, both outstanding!
Reviewer: Joanna from Santa Barbara
First off, we had Wahoo's right after they opened (tried to review before), and now we go all the time. The staff know us by name, and they even know our order (unless we throw them a curve ball!). From day 1, the food and staff have been so great! We spend $15 on two meals, with beers, and with the quality, portions and service you'd think we just spent $35. The owners are always there, and totally helpful (they work their butts off!), and their crew is always so positive. The food is extremely consistent and it is delicious... I had the Wahoo's salad with shrimp for the first time, AMAZING! It was huge, had a ton of shrimp, and was like $9... We love this place! Wahoo's is so great! Thank you for coming to our town!


Excellent!
Reviewer: Vanessa from Santa Barbara
I have been here on a few occasions and I'm impressed every time. The staff is very friendly, service is prompt and the food is delicious. Every time I visit, I try something new and last week I had the Wahoo salad with spicy chicken, it was fabulous, perfect flavoring and dressing wasn’t even needed. This place is doing an outstanding job!


WAHOO'S IS THE BOMB!
Reviewer: Christina from Santa Barbara, CA
What do I like best about Wahoo's Fish Tacos...well, they have a staff of the most wonderful people in Santa Barbara. They made me feel like part of the Wahoo's family and that is one of the main reasons I enjoy going back, over and over again! The food is wonderfully delicious (love the banzai vegetables)and the presentation makes me want to order everything on the menu. Get the Banzai Burrito with the blackened fish, yummy!!!! The management is very attentive and are wonderful in making suggestions on what to order. (Jeff and Nate are AWESOME!) If you want a delicious meal with a fun and friendly atmosphere go to Wahoo's! WAHOO'S ROCKS!


Yahoo for Wahoo's
Reviewer: Chad from Santa Barbara, CA
What did I like best? How was the food? The service? Atmosphere? Do I dine here often or was this my first time? I feel like all of the above can be summed up with one simple word --- brotastical. Well, maybe that doesn't answer the last question, but still....

If you're a fan of clever marketing, Birkenstock sandals, Dave Matthews Band, and Volcom, then Wahoo's Fish Taco is your new home.

Always, Chadbrochill17

Seriously, though. This is a delicious eatery. I'd suggest the number two combo with spicy fish tacos and black beans. Get stoked.


Good and great atmosphere.
Reviewer: Jennifer from Santa Barbara
Loved the shrimp tacos al la carte. My husband had the carne tacos and said they were bland. The service is fast and the gals at the counter are super nice. The prices are good and the atmosphere is very crisp and clean.


Great service! Wahoo!
Reviewer: Alycia from Santa Barbara, CA
I've heard many good things about Wahoo and was very pleased after my first visit. The food is good but I can see where some may say it's bland. I had the Wahoo bowl with teriyaki fish and it was great! A lot of food too! I have leftovers for lunch the next day. The service was outstanding! Very friendly and quick service! The diet coke syrup was out so I informed the manager who was very appreciative and replaced the syrup within minutes. He personally thanked me and brought me a soda as well. On my way out, he thanked me again and hoped that I have a nice day. Very clean restaurant and nice ambiance. Clean restrooms as well.


Wahoo's is stalking me!
Reviewer: Tom Judd from Santa Barbara
I am a Huntington Beach, Ca. native and was thrilled to see a Wahoo's right around the corner from work. These guys kept me alive through college and after hard days surfin' in Orange County :) I moved to Santa Barbara for work last year and left my favorite Sunday afternoon hangout behind. So when I saw the sign go up right by my new job, I was stoked! I brought 4 co-workers the week they opened and we all enjoyed our food as well as the service. The Manager came around to our table to make sure everything was tasty. He brought some complimentary chips and guacamole (Did someone say this guac isn't delicious?!?!What?). Reminded me of home... I have been back 4 or 5 times already and each time brought a friend or two. Always nice folks serving and yummy food Wahoo style. If you don't dig this, you don't like fish tacos!


great folks, weak flavor
Reviewer: chris from Santa Barbara CA
We tried Wahoo's and wanted to like it. It was obvious that the staff wanted their guests to like it, too. Unfortunately, the meal just didn't stack up. We had an order of chips, 'salsa,' and guacamole plus a carnitas taco and the fish taco plate with white beans and rice. The portions were generous, but the flavors weren't. The pico (not salsa) was benign cubed tomato chunks; the guacamole was OK, though it lacked courage. On the platter, the beans were like a mildly cajunized Sexton-from-the-can. The huge mound of white rice had a little spice visible but was essentially tasteless. And the Wahoo tacos (dry grilled fish with Cajun rub, shredded cabbage, melted cheddar/jack cheese(!?), and chopped tomato salsa on dried out tortillas) lacked gumption. Maybe a nice creamy sauce would help pull it together better? When an attentive server asked how things were, we told her it wasn't great, overall. The manager followed her and bent over backwards to make things better, including the offer of a refund and samples of other items which he hoped would work better. We have only compliments for the staff and their genuine concern with quality. Indeed, since this is yet another chain operation, the problems might be standardized recipes and procedures that have nothing to do with this particular store, but with the concept. De gustibus and all that. Still, there are so many nice fish tacos in town, we really hope someone with the ability to provide some useful culinary feedback will give a word to Wahoo's kitchen and that they're open to it. They seem like they deserve it, and they need it because price, hospitality, and decor can only stretch so far.


Where has the quality gone???
Reviewer: Jacob from Santa Barbara, CA
Hands down these are the worst fish taco's I have ever had. Friends from LA who have eaten at different locations all agree with me. The fish was so dry I could not even eat them. For a place specializing in fish tacos may we suggest doing a little research on how to make a fish taco. Fresh fish that is flaky and oily would be a good start. Secondly if your not going to fry the fish please give it some flavor and don't overcook it white fish is delicate and needs to be handled with care. "Bland city". A giant plate of overcooked unseasoned sticky white rice and cheap small beans that are gassy are not going to make up for the lack of fish taco cookery. With all that being said the service is friendly and cool and the atmosphere is vibrant. But please fix those taco's they need 911.


Consistent Food; Inconsistent Service
Reviewer: Jean from Santa Barbara
I was wary about a large-company-type taco place opening on state street since Santa Barbara's quaint State Street is becoming another Rodeo Drive-meets-food-court. However, I was impressed when I first went in and got a fish taco. It was simple but had flavor. Fish was a little dry but they serve it with plenty of chunky tomato salsa. I went in again and got chips and Guac with my fish taco, and the Guacamole is deffinately a thumbs up. The food is not "fine" by any means but you can expect typical gringo taco house food. I work at a local bussiness nearby, so when I came in to work the next week my co-workers were talking about how they all got free meals. I never expect anything for free but I am the only one in my workplace who has gotten fully charged every visit (gave them 3 shots). Also, I have called in an order and was told it would be TWENTY minutes. This is a very long time for a call-in during the lunch hour on state street unless it is a high-end restaurant or the restaurant is actually busy. I have never endured more than a 3-person line there. The inconsistency of their service and the lack of consistency toward their neighbors (who are a large portion of potential clientele) doesn't sit well with me. I may go back if I need a quick sit down meal (get your food faster if you stay)or guacamole fix, but I will not become a regular.


Yahoo for Wahoo
Reviewer: Merkat from sb
The only reason service didn't get 5 stars is they are still training their staff, but all employees were upbeat and positive. The prices are low, there is plenty of food and it's delicious. We tried the fish taco and the chicken enchilada with green sauce, the rice is excellent as are the black beans. It will become our new place to meet for lunch.


Great New Place
Reviewer: Pep Johnson from SB
We decided to try the new kid in town, for lunch. It was the busiest place on the block. The service was a bit slow, but very friendly and helpful. Great, considering they just opened. The prices are really reasonable for the quality and amount of food. The food itself was excellent, and a huge amount, served on a sturdy plate. Welcome to town, Wahoo. Good to have you here.


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