Santa Barbara > Restaurants > Cava Restaurant & Bar
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Cava Restaurant & Bar
1212 Coast Village Rd, Montecito
Phone: (805) 969-8500

Reviews by the General Public

Nice Atmosphere, Large Portions but weak drinks.
Reviewer: Nick from Santa Barbara, CA
Seated promptly, but waited about 10 minutes for waiter. Ordered margaritas, ceviche and guacamole w/ chips. The margaritas were weak and watered down, so we switched to beer. However the apps were HUGE and very fresh and tasty. Ordered the Tacos Al Carbon (steak) and those were also very good and prepared with excellent presentation. Service was above average but don't order any cocktails there as they are waaaay too weak.

Cava Restaurant & Bar
Reviewer: Sally Spork from Santa Barbara, CA
We requested an outdoor table for an afternoon cocktail. It was offered tactfully by the hostess to sit at the bar and appetizers were offered free during happy hour. We chose this option. 1. We were not greeted by the bartender. After ordering our drinks there was no mention of the free appetizers. We had to request them and the bartender did not seem knowledgeable or forthcoming with a menu or options. Frankly, he seemed bothered that we asked. I wondered if he was a new employee, later on we realized this was not the case. 2. Our drinks were served with no cocktail napkins (this may seem petty, but keep reading.)Our appetizers were thrown on the table by a server, not offered napkins or silverware (we had to ask) After we had finished our appetizers and drinks the empty glassware/dishes/silverware sat for a good fifteen minutes in front of us. He never came back to check once on our drinks, or appetizers or if we wanted any thing else. 3. We will say he was talkative to a couple on the corner. There was very few people at the bar and several servers hanging about. We waited to be asked if we wanted anything additional, it never came. 4. Ready to leave, we put money on the bar to which he never acknowledged. When we did request a bill he pulled the tab from a shot glass in front of us and said, "It's here." and tossed in front of us and walked away. The restaurant is beautiful, the hostess courteous and kind and the paella smelled and looked delicious. With all that being said, we would be willing to give it another try as we are locals. But we will not come in for happy hour or sit at the bar again.

Decent food, decent service, dishonest drinks.
Reviewer: Jim from Fullerton, Ca.
Hostess was friendly. Server and service staff were attentive, friendly and professional. However, we ordered expensive top shelf drinks and yet we were given cheap booze and watered down at that. Needless to say, we feel like we have been ripped off. Decent food and service but watch out for the bar.

Perfect for good reasons
Reviewer: steve from Santa Barbara, CA
Been a little while since we have been here. Remembered how exceptional the crisp tacos are. Went, tried them again,-if possible-they are even better. They are HUGE. Don't think like the little ones some people pan off as tacos. They do cost a bit more...but here's why I think they are worth it. There is LOTS of very high quality beef inside, along with extremely flavorful mexican cheese. The tortilla itself is scrumptious home made, and very folk/natural tasting. When the final frying/or dipping in hot oil is done, -it is obviously done VERY quickly and in HOT oil, because there is no residual oil left-only a beautiful natural aroma of roasted meat and corn meal. It is quite exceptional, only ever experienced it a couple of decades ago at Por Favor in Denver, and Los Angeles(sorry they are gone now). Actually we prefer their brown beans over the black...they are Yum and aromatic(bacon?). The rice is distinctly tasty, not paste like most places. Be sure and ask for the special roasted salsa(sorry don't know it's name)...of the hundreds we've tasted in our lifetime...this one stands out as clearly the most complex and superb(often go through 2 bowls) If you want a REAL original Mexican margarita with superb deep Agave flavors...they have one where they give you a little 2oz bottle of Don Julio Reposado....along with a glass of real Conintreau, fresh lime, etc...if you are snobs like sip just a bit of the high quality mixer out first, then dump in the whole bottle of Don Julio..stir..sip....and go to heaven with the strong intense flavors. Please don't ever take this drink off the menu!!!!!!! It's 12 bucks but so is a superb drink..had 2 each. The whole meal was superb...Going back soon this time.

A++ for Cava!!
Reviewer: Paco from Santa Barbara, CA
Dined at Cava tonight and I have to say that EVERYTHING was above excellent. The bartender(Esteban) was prompt and courteous and our servers were excellent as well. There was a great Flamenco guitarist playing LIVE in the back by the bar, and it was just the perfect evening with great food and ambiance. I would dine at Cava anytime - and will return soon!!

I would not go back
Reviewer: Cynthia from Santa Barbara, CA
Our appetizer "Guacamole in a Molcajete" the chips were not served warm as advertised; The "Pasilla Chile Relleno en caldo" lacked flavor and was served in a sauce that was more like a bowl of tomato soup with a Chile Relleno thrown in it; The "Spiced Baby Back Ribs with Guava" lacked flavor, were dry, and we did not see the Guava Chile Sauce. Regardless, we left the waiter a generous tip that appeared to go unappreciated. I do not recommend this place and will not go back.

How to turn off a customer looking for a party venue
Reviewer: Floyd Patten from Santa Barbara, CA- home Charlotte, NC
We were looking for a places to host dinners and lunches for 25-30 people, for our anniversary weekend this summer. We have been trying out restaurants in Santa Barbara. I ordered the fajitas and asked for one or two more tortillas to finish my meal. I was informed by our waitress that this would be considered a side order and I would be charged extra. My wife and I were really taken back by this attitude. This is really the definition of being penny wise and pound foolish. I wonder if they charge extra for the request of another olive for a martini?

nice food
Reviewer: sebastian from Dublin,Ireland
I had eat here twice. The food was great. service was very helpful, my mum have a cold, we want inside table. they help us find a table. It was busy inside, but they was quick find a table, we got good time. I will eat here again.

Excellent Lamb Shank & Empanadas
Reviewer: Brendon from Santa Barbara, CA
I went to Cava for the first time & was very impressed with the food. Service was average but the Shrimp Empanadas were perfectly crisp on the outside & molten on the inside. The lamb shank was tender delicious. Very generous portions & solid cocktails...Well worth a visit.

Great Restaurant
Reviewer: Donna from Santa Barbara, CA
My friends and I were there for 5 de Maio and again last night, we were lucky to get the same waitress and everything was great, as usual. I don't think I have ever had such a delicious Spicy Ribs anywhere. I recommend Cava to everyone looking for a great place to eat amazing food.

The best Mexican Restaurant in Montecito!!!!
Reviewer: Don Wilson from Ontario, Canada
I have to say that before my wife and I went to Cava I went online to read reviews about the place and almost all of them say nice things about the food and bad things about the service. The food was just amazing but so was the service! Our waitress (with a beautiful accent) had just the right recommendations for food and had extended knowledge about the wine and cocktails they served. It was a friday night and the place was very busy, but our waitress took her time to explain everything throughly, her attitude was really great and it felt like she owned the restaurant. We loved it!

Excellent Bartenders!!
Reviewer: Laura Williams from Santa Barbara, CA
I dine at Cava Restaurant quite often with my husbund. We love to seat at the bar, to watch the games and exchange good laughs with the bar staff and clientale. Esteban is my favorite. He is always with a big smile when he sees us coming in. The food is great, the ambience is excellent. We love Cava!!

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