Cielito Mexican Restaurant Santa Barbara (Review)

Michael and I have been wanting to try out Cielito since it opened and finally made our way over there.  This restaurant was previously an Acapulco which is a chain mexican restaurant in California. I have to say it was one of our FAVORITE places to go for lunch because the outside patio was so picturesque with a lovely fountain and turtles swimming around. When Acapulco closed we were very sad even though the food was fairly standard mexican. Every time we’d walk past the empty shell that used to be Acapulco it would remind us of joyous times gone by.  And then….Cielito opened and we were chomping at the bit try it out. The branding is great. They are marketing themselves as a more upscale mexican dining experience. Here’s what we had…

Outdoor Patio

Our favorite fountain with turtles basking in the sun. They didn’t put tables and chairs around the entire perimeter of the fountain as Acapulco had it. Still beautiful. 😉

Refreshing beverage.

Chips and guacamole. Good but nothing I haven’t had before. Salsa at Playa Azul and Rose Cafe are still my reigning favorites in town. Here they charge for chips and salsa which always irritates me to pay for at a mexican restaurant. Its like paying for a fortune cookie at a chinese restaurant….

Michael ordered the Tacos de Costilla which is braised short ribs, salsa, cojia cheese and cilantro. It was an “over promised under delivered” sort of moment. They tasted like shredded beef tacos. They were good but nothing we felt would entice us for a second trip. The rice and beans also seemed standard. Although, to be fair maybe there aren’t that many exotic ways to do rice and beans.

I got the Mexican Chopped Salad with Shrimp which had chickpeas, olives, avocado, corn and jicama. Again, it was okay. I didn’t really like the dressing that much and the combination of ingredients didn’t sing.

Overall, it was good not great. I’d go again for the atmosphere and to try something else since their menu does have a flare to it.  I really like how they have interesting offerings like pork belly quesadillas and mashed potato tacos. I would go again just to make sure we didn’t miss the stars of the show. Cielito is right next to the CaliBressan Chocolate store so we were able to  eat some out-of-this-world chocolate which quickly made us forget that our lunch didn’t quite deliver what we were hoping for.

One thought on “Cielito Mexican Restaurant Santa Barbara (Review)

  1. Oh you must try the dinner menu. Sooooo much better. My husband and I went for an evening. The menu is set-up like a tapas bar- small plates. So we got to try lots of things. Here’s what we ordered: oyster shooters -different because they added sangrita and cucmber salsa, ceviche- served with plantain chips. Then we tried the potabella mushroom with a balsamic vinaigrette. Thenthe seared albacore with pickled green papaya and pear. You must try it again… even the cocktails are made with fresh squeezed juice.

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