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Cielito Restaurant
Cielito Restaurant

Cielito Restaurant Details

  • Dining Style: Fine Dining
  • Website: http://www.cielitorestaurant.com
  • Phone: (805) 965-4770
  • Hours of Operation: Lunch:
    Tuesday - Sunday 11:30am - 2:30pm

    Happy Hour:
    Tuesday -Thursday & Sunday 5:00pm-7:00pm
    Friday & Saturday, 4:00pm - 7:00pm

    Tuesday - Thursday & Sunday 5:00pm - 9:00pm
    Friday & Saturday 5:00pm - 10:00pm
  • Payment Options: AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
  • Cuisine: Mexican, Seafood, Tapas / Small Plates
  • Executive Chef: Damon Murphy
  • Dress Code: Casual Dress
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Banquet/Private Rooms, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Chef's Table, Farm to Table, Fireplace, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Late Night, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Personal wines welcome, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Private Room, Takeout, View, Wheelchair Access, Wine
  • Private Party Facilities: From intimate to expansive, Cielito has the perfect space - and menu - for all your Corporate and Private Dining Events. Please see http://cielitorestaurant.com/private-dining for more information!
  • Private Party Contact: Cynthia Beard (888) 982-5066
  • Entertainment: Join us for live music every Sunday and Tuesday night from 5-8pm!
  • Special Events & Promotions: From an outdoor lunch on a beautiful private patio, to intimate dining areas on the mezzanine level of the restaurant, Cielito offers many ways to create a beautiful and memorable private party or event. Please see http://cielitorestaurant.com/private-dining for more information!

Getting there

  • Cross Street: W. Anapamu St.
  • Parking: Public Lot
  • Parking Details: Public Parking Lot behind the restaurant on Anacapa Street and Figueroa Street
A word from Cielito Restaurant
The core of Cielito’s vision is to bring the rich flavors of authentic, regional Mexican and Latin American cuisine to our Santa Barbara community. Drawing inspiration from decades of culinary vision and customs, chef Damon Murphy and his team awaken tradition while utilizing the freshest of seasonal ingredients that our area has to offer. Cielito features a mouthwatering Tequila bar with enticing libations and innovative cocktails as well as a wide selection of Tequilas and Mezcals. The elegant décor and sophisticated style of Cielito reflect our mission to provide both Santa Barbara locals and visitors with an unparalleled and memorable dining experience.Continued
Foodspotting photos
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerMost Booked
Diner Reviews
  • "Great place! Fun and funky, fantastic food. A place to go with friends for sure"
    Dined on 8/15/2014
  • "Cielito offers really scrumptious, interesting and thoughtful food offerings. I miss the takeaway taco bar they initially opened at lunchtime and later closed, but the same fabulous tacos are available at their sit-down dining on either the outdoor patio or inside the restaurant in a more formal setting. Too costly for every workday eating, unfortunately but very worthy of an occasional celebratory treat. Their lunch margaritas are exceptional and every detail is carefully attended to. I highly recommend when you're in the area to visit the Museum of Art, to shop La Arcada or just in need of a special afternoon off!"
    Dined on 8/15/2014
  • "Wonderful taste combinations taken as small plates to share. Strong robust flavours leaving your tastebuds tingling with excitement. Lively atmosphere accompanied by knowledgable service."
    Dined on 8/10/2014
  • "The wait staff were either under staffed or just plain bad. The hostess and manager were great. We were comped an appetizer because we waited so long to be acknowledged when we first sat down. The waiter and busboy seemed bugged whenever we asked for something."
    Dined on 8/10/2014
  • "Whenever we head into Santa Barbara, we always make sure to stop at this restaurant. It has been about two years now, and each time we go, service and food are still consistent. Our waiter was very friendly and took great care of us. This is also one of the few restaurants where the hostess actually acknowledged my open table preferences. Nice touch. Will certainly return. PS>The Filet Mignon is exceptional!"
    Dined on 8/9/2014
  • "The small plates are varied and outstanding. Do not miss the Ceviche Trio. Each was so different from the other and all were amazing. This is a friendly and fun place."
    Dined on 8/8/2014
  • "We always have a nice experience here and their service coverage is excellent. This visit coincided with Fiesta so it was understandably crazy. That said, I am puzzled as to why we nearly ALWAYS are given the same table adjacent to the bar which leaves me feeling we are neither in or out of the restaurant. Made reservations 6 weeks ago so it was hardly last minute & we often get this table! The wait staff and management take every opportunity to touch tables which we always appreciate. Ordered the salsas which are the best, Little Gem salad, seafood enchiladas & Enchiladas Verduras, special Margarita & Cielito Margarita. Big difference in taste between the margaritas, the Cielito well worth the price."
    Dined on 8/1/2014
  • "We had great appetizers and drinks, unfortunately it was the first night of fiesta and the mariachis were too loud and didn't leave soon enough, we couldn't hear ourselves speak. Otherwise great spot. Just avoid downtown during fiesta if you want to hear your conversation"
    Dined on 7/30/2014
  • "Had 8 friends come after not coming for 2 months and the food was bad, Service needed work. Ask waiter help help with the order and she looked lost. Will not come back and bill with tip was over $600"
    Dined on 7/18/2014
  • "Nothing was quite as good as it sounded -- the chef doesn't have it right. Plus the service was pretty bad -- either overly solicitous or nowhere to be found. And the interior space is cold and forbidding."
    Dined on 7/17/2014
  • "This restaurant has great food, fresh and very flavorful, good quality. The service is always slow and often unresponsive. I work nearby and go there often hoping it gets better, the servers are not very knowledgeable, they do not refill unless you ask, if you are drinking we all order two drinks at a time because it takes a long time for them to check on the table and bring your order. I call to make resrevations and often the machine answers, not a live person even during business hours. They do not provide take out meals for dinner, I can't imagine why the would decline selling food to customers like this. Often many professionals I work with say we are not going back...we wait a while and then go back because the food is so good."
    Dined on 7/17/2014
  • "Had never been to this hidden gem down the side street in SB. Great mexican food with even better atmosphere and service. Will be back!"
    Dined on 7/13/2014
  • "Love this place. Whenever our kids are home to visit this is the place they want to eat at first! Great spicy Margaritas. The Ceviche is perfection and the chorizo and cheese with corn tortillas is the best thing EVER! May be a little on the pricey side, but well worth it. I would rather get perfection for a little more money! Servers are attentive. Never had a bad experience here and will eat here on a regular basis! They take reservations, would definately recommend doing so if you don't want to wait."
    Dined on 7/5/2014
  • "Food is wonderful, innovative, complex. Architecturally stimulating place. Solid wine list even though it's not big. Great drink menu. Outdoor tables like eating in Europe. Service can vary depending on where your table is located relative to both the bar and the kitchen."
    Dined on 7/5/2014
  • "My daughter and I love ceviche, and this restaurant offered quite a few choices (we ordered 2 different styles and both were fantastic.) Located in outdoor shopping plaza, lots of good people-watching from the outdoor tables. Not cheap, but you get what you pay for in quality and flavor."
    Dined on 7/4/2014
  • "We loved the innovative and tasty food at this nouvelle mexican place. Bills itself as Mexican but I don't think this is the kind of food you'd find in Mexico. Some highlights: octopus perfectly cooked and delicious, chicken with mole sauce divine. Outdoor seating with turtles swimming nearby a special treat for the kids. Would definitely go back when we're in town next."
    Dined on 7/4/2014
  • "We were early, but no problem they were happy to fit us in. Beautiful patio setting in Spanish style arcade. Delicious food and efficient service."
    Dined on 7/4/2014
  • "We made a reservation for the 4th of July and although there were a lot of people, we were served very quickly. We ate the chicken mole, the tacos al pastor, tacos de costilla and the Ensenada fish tacos. They accommodated my husband wanting his fish tacos with the fish grilled. Lovely time and great food. We liked the beans that came with the tacos; very fresh. The fountain with the turtles was especially pleasing to our daughters who remember this feature from their childhood. Good selection of beer. Chips (totopos) were close to my homemade ones, good job. And no, the guacamole was not overpriced."
    Dined on 7/4/2014
  • "Menu was obscure, and went on and on with strange terms. So we just gave up and ordered oddly named tacos and enchiladas, The tacos were bad-tasting and the seafood enchiladas were over-expensive. Then, when the place suggested tips-levels, those reached 30%."
    Dined on 7/3/2014
  • "The size of the tapas was just right as there was enough to share and the flavor combinations worked great. The Huarches de Hongo were my faves. The Cielito Margaraitas are simple but tasty. Just what we were looking for in straightforward margaritas."
    Dined on 7/2/2014
  • "Excellent! Had a multitude of the small plates ( tapas) and all very good to outstanding."
    Dined on 6/25/2014
  • "Location is great in the middle of a courtyard. They have outdoor seating right near a fountain with turtles. The ceviche special was OK. The tuna was great but the flavor was a bit off and there were some pieces that were way too crunchy to match the consistency of the remainder of the dish. They never softened either being in a sauce. I had the pineapple cucumber non alcoholic beverage that sounded like a weird combination but was absolutely delicious."
    Dined on 6/24/2014
  • "Food was hit or miss. The ceviche was wonderful but the empanadas were soggy. The big downfall was the service, though. We had two adults and two teenage boys in our group. As soon as another party got seated next to us, which consisted of six young women, our waiter totally ignored us. Even though I ordered it much earlier, I only got my second drink as I was taking the last bites of my meal. Both my son and I ordered two small plates instead of one entrée; the second plate for both of us got delivered much later than the first, when the other two in our party were nearly finished with their meals. I would NOT dine at Cielito again."
    Dined on 6/21/2014
  • "It had been a while since we visited and the experience was better than ever. We will be back soon."
    Dined on 6/21/2014
  • "We have been to this restaurant several times before, but I think this will be our last time. The service is a little too snootie for my tastes and the food is too expensive for what they are serving. The atmosphere is nice and tasteful but overall there are better restaurants in town."
    Dined on 6/15/2014
  • "Located at end of an alley off State Street is this wonderful gem serving Mexican food tapa style as well as some dinner entrees. Our group of 8 were celebrating a UCSB graduation and between us we tried many of the dishes on the Tapas part of the menu. All dishes were interesting and very tasty washed down with excellent cocktails. Strongly recommended but remember this is not your local taqueria!!! Be adventurous and be rewarded."
    Dined on 6/15/2014
  • "Overall we thought our dining experience was outstanding. Food was delicious and drinks were superb! Can't wait to go back."
    Dined on 6/14/2014
  • "The chili sauces were wonderful. The guacamole was very good. The chicken mole was dry and lacking mole. The tacos were un-inspired."
    Dined on 6/11/2014
  • "Service was excellent but I wish I could say the same thing about the food. It was overpriced and had no unique flavor or any for that matter. I was scared to get dessert."
    Dined on 6/10/2014
  • "Every dish was superb. Service was attentive and cheerful. By far, the best Mexican food in Santa Barbara."
    Dined on 6/1/2014
  • "Went there in the beginning and thought we paid way too much for our food and left super hungry. This is not the place to get a few appetizers to share and call it good. Their appetizers are very small. That being said this time when we went we had 2 appetizers and shared a plate and we left satisfied but not over stuffed, and the food was AMAZING - highly recommend the ceviche trio ad eating it with their plantain chips"
    Dined on 5/30/2014
  • "Cielito's Mexican inspired cuisine is very creative, with an excellent mix of ingredients that are unexpected, but work well together. Asparagus in a quesadilla? Yep, and it was fabulous. How about short rib sopes? Another winner. We've been here several times with a group, and ordered lots of small plates for the table -- definitely the way to go. The service could be better -- we had to ask twice for beer refills, as well as for additional chips -- but the servers were all friendly, and we'll definitely be back. "
    Dined on 5/25/2014
  • "Food is delicious. We went there for dinner. It is a very very fancy place, very clean. The price is a bit high, for two five meal core we spend 130. I recommend this place for a date. "
    Dined on 5/23/2014
  • "While the food is creative and interesting, found the overall feeling to be pretentious rather than joyful. Food snobs will enjoy."
    Dined on 5/20/2014
  • "I dined at Cielito when it first opened and thought the food was very good but not exceptional. But, this time it was exceptional. The flavors and textures were spot on. Each dish arrived at the correct temperature and artfully plated. We loved the yellowfin tuna ceviche, the octopus salad, the shrimp empanadas and the short rib sopas. My husband and I also ordered smoky mexcal margaritas, which were delicious, and a rich chocolate semifreddo for dessert. Our server was attentive and pleasant. The only hiccup was when someone else asked if we wanted another round of drinks. The drinks took a long time to arrive, and my drink was served on the rocks instead of up. We dined outside, which isn't as lovely, but the evening was nice. "
    Dined on 5/18/2014
  • "We had a great, relaxed meal at Cielito during a short stay in Santa Barbara. As we were there during a heat wave (close to 100 degrees that day) we didn't want anything heavy a had some small plates as our dinner. Just the right amount of food for the heat. The staff was great, and Nuri was very helpful with suggestions for other restaurants for later in our trip up the coast. "
    Dined on 5/15/2014
  • "This location has changed hands over the last 20 years. It is blessed with a beautiful outside seating area, quiet with a large fountain area in the middle. We went there ready to be impressed after hearing good things about the new chef, however work still needs to be done. The food was good not great, my Catch of the Day was well prepared, Chicken Mole was dull, as were the Shrimp Enchiladas. Don't think I'll return. "
    Dined on 5/15/2014
  • "Went there with 2 non-meat eaters who heard of the Margaritas and excellent food. i.e. super high expectations. Though it is probably my fifth or sixth time there, I, and them were blown away. The ceviches and empanadas were their usual 5 star selves but it was the scallop special with tangerine oil (I think) and candied lime which was the star. We also had the mushrooms (brilliant), Salmon with quinoa and the succulent Pulpo. I know the head chef has moved on in favor of his number 2, who I can only guess is trying to impress. He did."
    Dined on 4/25/2014
  • "Great food and service. Excellent Filet and reduction sauce, better than Holdren's. Looking forward to going back sometime!!"
    Dined on 4/22/2014
  • "Cielito never disappoints! Hip decor, hip food, hip staff! Great for all ages! The peruano( Thai red snapper ) ceviche is amazing! The shrimp and crab enchiladas are in a league of their own! The filet is to die for! Margarita served up martini style is the best in town!"
    Dined on 4/19/2014