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El Torito
29 E. Cabrillo Blvd, Santa Barbara
Phone: (805) 963-1968

  • Category: Mexican
  • Hours: Mon-Thu 11:30am-9pm, Fri-Sat 11:30am-10pm, Sun 9:30am-9pm
  • Price: $10 - $20
  • Serving: Lunch & Dinner
  • Reservations: No
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Reviews by the General Public

Excellent employees under outstanding leadership, 1/26/2015
Reviewer: Dr. Gary L. Smith from Chula Vista, CA
I give them an A+ rating. Under the very capable leadership of its General Manager (Taylor Ward), I found the staff at this particular El Torito to be sincerely dedicated to provide outstanding service to its customers (Gonzalo is a prime example). The food is great and the employees have their act together. Kudos to the General Manager.................he is an excellent role model. He has worked hard to maintain a team of employees who are striving to be the best. Congrats to all of them!

Visiting the girls at school
Reviewer: Walter from San Diego, CA
First time at this El Torito and what a mistake. Monday night, the place was slow, staff standing around, but the service was the slowest!!! Watch out for the bait and switch. The sign says $3 house Margaritas. However, you cannot get that in the dinner room. Only in the bar. As for the food, good and bad. Great fajita steak salad, but the wife hated the carnitas crunch street tacos. At least they took that off the bill.

I will never eat here again.
Reviewer: Katie C. from Santa Barbara, CA
I went there to eat today and both the food and service was less than adequate. Also, not only was there was no toilet paper in the bathroom, there was no soap. I'm not talking about it being 'empty' but that there was no soap dispenser for either sink, built in or bought in a store. This is the third time I've been there in the last six months and there was no soap. This upset me more than the food/service! I told the management and got a lackadaisical response. In my experience, if the entire experience is a direct reflection of the management. I will never eat here again.

Service on a Sunday and only half full.
Reviewer: enrique from Santa Barbara, CA
The food was typical Americanised Mex food which is fairly good, enough to satisy. It's a party of 10 and 2 of them waited for us. We are attended, 10 mins later, they give us the silverware along with the chips & salsa. 10 mins later, the waiter takes the order for drinks with a 'mentor.' 10 mins later, they give us more chips & salsa. 10 mins later, they bring the soft drinks. 10 mins later, the bring the margaritas. 10 mins later, they take the order for the food. 10 mins later, they give us more chips & salsa. 10 mins later, I call the manager on phone and complain. 10 mins later, he comes and apologises. 10 mins later, they bring 2 entrees for two ppl and offer refills. 10 mins later, more chips & salsa. 10 mins later, I tell my girl that we should go somewhere else. 10 mins later, the manager and the server bring food for 2/3 of us. 10 mins later, the newly employed waiter apologizes again. We get the rest of the food and we all eat after waiting for approx 2.5 hours of waiting. We get plenty of apologies and I appreciate them acknowledging that they are not wuite the best in response. We finally get some decent service after waiting for approx 150 mins. The humble newly hired waiter panicks about them being seperate checks and I don't blame him. We wait tennnnnnn more minutes and then decide to walk to the front counter, wait for a few minutes pay, wait for 10 more mins and leave. They only reason why we were able to tolerate this was because we were takling a lot. Overall, they were polite but unoroganized, extremely slow and just untrained. If you badly want to eat El Torito, literally order approx 2 hours in advance if you want to eat that day. You could also just politely ask to get a attendant that has been there for a while. Good Luck.

Reviewer: Volker from Germany
Restaurant was very busy in the evening with several birthday parties. However, the Margarita took 25 min from ordering to the table, fajitas came without sour cream, no salsa brought when asked for, limited amount of rice and fixings, vegetables were charred and burned to the pan and bill was inflated with a second entree not ordered. Waiter apologized several times and bill was corrected but I am sorry, I won't come back.

Taco Tuesdays
Reviewer: Lil from Santa Barbara, CA
I am a SB local and have been to this restaurant on several occasions at which times I have been satisfied with the food and service. On the afternoon of Tues Sep 27 I visited El Torito with two friends for drinks and their Tuesday taco bar. After we stood at the host stand for 5 minutes and were not acknowledged we seated ourselves outside on the small patio where other guests were being served. After playing Sudoku and reading the paper for 10-15 minutes our drink orders were taken by one of the two waiters there. Our drinks were brought out (a lengthy time later) by a different waiter who handed them to us willy nilly because he didn't know who they belonged to. Our order was taken and the waiter returned quickly with our tickets to the taco bar inside and again mixed up our tickets/orders. Inside the restaurant we found the taco bar unattended. There was one family dining at a table in side and three other tables on the patio beside us(they were not busy). The staff was no where to be seen. My friends and I stood at the taco bar admiring the salsa and feeling embarrassed for 5 or so minutes until I caught the attention of a cook in the kitchen who sent out a woman to make tacos. The woman was very sweet and kind while making us tacos and grilling us jalapeņos. Back at our seats with our tacos we waited for the guacamole and rice and beans we had ordered to accompany them. We were also in need of silverware, napkins and refills on our drinks. As it became apparent after 10 minutes of waiting that no further help was to arrive we grabbed a stack of cocktail napkins from the bar and ate our tacos hungrily. As we were finishing up our meal the rice beans and guacamole arrived with napkins and silverware. Approximately 30 minutes after this we were given our check when I waved down a server as he was walking past. Needless to say I was personally offended by the unfriendly staff who made absolutely no effort to accommodate us in their restaurant. Having worked in the service industry in the past I can understand that when things are busy service can slow down, yet they were not busy in the slightest bit and there is never an excuse to be rude and dismissive when it is your specific job to be a wait person. It is my recommendation that adjustments be made to the staff in order to not completely offend and repel their patrons.

Reviewer: Travis from Santa Barbara, CA
To make a long story really short, I was talking to the manager today and he was telling me that service is the number one priority in this store, Also that they have 3 new managers and a new chef, The other ones are not with the company anymore, thank god,, service was awsome and the food came out fast and hot, really nice managers and WHAT A VIEW, I recomend to everyone to try this place, oh yeah and sunday bruch what a deal....

Pretty Good Food, Amazing Service
Reviewer: Glenn from Buellton
I think this is a place you want to go for a nicely served fairly good Mexican meal. For more authentic Mexican you'll try something on Milpas but you are going here for the view of the ocean(only Mexican place with an ocean view I can think of) and for the exceptional service. The food was a little hit and miss, the Green sauce on the Mazatlan burrito was not well spiced and the tortillas fell apart a little but everything else was really good including their chips and at the table made guacamole. The service was amazing, everyone you met greeted you warmly(I'm sure they are told to do that!) and the waitress was really nice. The high point was when they discounted my meal seeing I had a credit card with a discount w/o me even telling them about it.

so good
Reviewer: Jessie from Santa Barbara, CA
This place was so good. It's to bad people only right a review when somthing goes wrong for them. The food although not the most authentic mex ive ever had was great. i loved the shrimp tacos and the chips and salsa are addictive! Everyone that worked there was extreamly nice and attentive even though they were clearly very busy. Even the manager made time to come see how our food was.

two thumbs down
Reviewer: elle from goleta, ca
We've been to a number of El Torito's between SoCal and NorCal and by far this location lands at the bottom of our list. The food never looks like the pictures in the menu. Also, the food was not flavorable and in some cases, overcooked. So unfortunate as the location is beautiful. I rather go to a location w/ good food and service.

We waited for a long time to b seated..
Reviewer: Rebecca from Santa Barbara, CA
i went here with my son, waited for a long time to be seated. the person that seat it us was the bartender, I think. I had to ask to be seated.. terrible service..

Good food & service, but slighted on coupon.
Reviewer: mike from Santa Barbara, CA
In the past, coupons were used to lure potential new customers in and it would have worked for me, if the management didn't treat me like a 2nd class citizen after I used one. I was very(!) pleased with the hostess and our waitress, and the food portion looked small at first (I ordered the carne asada burrito, my companion did say that his fajitas left him hungry), but was not only quite adequate, but was very tasty! However, when I tried to use the coupon, the waitress had to call over the manager (should I describe him? Tall, well-dressed, African American man wearing glasses), who looked at me sideways and in a very patronizing manner begrudgingly processed the coupon. If they don't want people using their coupons, then they shouldn't print them or act that way when people do use them. Final note: I'm not cheap, and tipped our great waitress 30%.

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