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Viva Santa Barbara Modern Mexican

437 reviews
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$30 and under
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Top Tags:
  • Fit for Foodies (585)
  • Great for Outdoor Dining (510)
  • Special Occasion (390)

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Modern Mexican cuisine in the heart of Santa Barbara.
Large patio around the famous turtle fountain.
Dining Style
Casual Elegant
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Mexican, Seafood, Tapas / Small Plates
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Hours of operation
Saturday & Sunday 11:30am - 4:00pm

Happy Hour:
Tuesday - Friday 3:14pm-6:14pm

Tuesday - Thursday & Sunday 5:00pm - 9:00pm
Friday & Saturday 5:00pm - 10:00pm
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Phone number
(805) 965-4770
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Payment options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Casual Dress
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Executive chef
David Raigoza
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Private party facilities
From intimate to expansive, Cielito has the perfect space - and menu - for all your Corporate and Private Dining Events. Please see
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Private party contact
Angie Marks: (888) 982-5066
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Cross street
W. Anapamu St.
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Parking details
Public Parking Lot behind the restaurant on Anacapa Street and Figueroa Street
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Join us for live music every Friday evening and Sunday afternoon!
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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 for more information!
Banquet, Bar/Lounge, Beer, BYO Wine, Chef's Table, Corkage Fee, Farm to Table, Fireplace, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Late Night, Non-Smoking, Outdoor dining, Private Room, Takeout, View, Wheelchair Access, Wine
What 437 People Are SayingWrite a review
Overall ratings and reviews
4.2  based on all time ratings
Noise · Moderate
87% of people would recommend it to a friend
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OpenTable Diner (San Francisco)
5.0  Dined on May 18, 2017

Service was prompt and friendly. Pleasant decor inside, and the outside patio was great for people watching. Tasty food!!

OpenTable Diner (Los Angeles)
5.0  Dined on May 14, 2017

Mother's Day!

OpenTable Diner (Central Coast)
5.0  Dined on May 14, 2017

Fantastic food & service. I took my mom there for Mother's Day and everything was wonderful!

vipBradleyDenver (Denver)
1.0  Dined on May 6, 2017

Sadly they ruined our last night in Santa Barbara. Brought the wrong drink then took 15 minutes to replace. Forgot our apps all together. Then to fix the mishaps, the manager offered a special unique desert. 20 minutes later we were presented with greasy churos.

OpenTable Diner (Central Coast)
5.0  Dined on April 29, 2017

Greated by floor manager Ryan. Great server Andrew. All of the staff was very friendly and quick to accommodate

LaTraviata (San Francisco)
5.0  Dined on April 28, 2017

This is easily the best Mexican food in town, especially for vegetarians. This is fine dining, so more expensive than people are used to paying for Mexican food, but you get what you pay for. We love the fact that our meals had generous amounts of seasonal vegetables, perfectly cooked, and skillfully seasoned. The chef at this place is definitely talented - creative and imaginative - and understands how to assemble a top notch meal.

KeithF (New York Area)
2.0  Dined on April 11, 2017

They have a new ordering system and when it was all too apparent that our food was not coming the waiter told us that the order was in and would be coming soon. Roughly 20 minutes later it still hadn't come. The manager was very generous in comping us for the mixup so I may try this place again. What bothered me was that I knew something was going wrong, yet we were told everything was set.

vipOpenTable Diner (Los Angeles)
4.0  Dined on April 2, 2017

Good restaurant, food is very good, stay away from the guacamole.

OpenTable Diner (Chicago)
1.0  Dined on March 31, 2017

Food was good, but service was slow to the point that we almost walked out twice. A full 1/2 hour elapsed before any food of any kind showed up on the table (an appetizer), then after the appetizer was cleared off the table, another full 1/2 hour elapsed before our entrée arrived. Seemed weird to have a restaurant with lots of people with no food of any kind on the table. Folks just twiddling their thumbs, checking their watch, texting to kill time. We will not be back.

susiek (Las Vegas)
4.0  Dined on March 24, 2017

We sat outside in the well protected patio area. The only problem was that I was sitting and sweating right next to the heater. Our server was super friendly but constantly forgot things. I was super excited to try the cauliflower tortillas but there was something in them that really upset my stomach. Ask what's in them before ordering.

Gothica (Los Angeles)
1.0  Dined on March 11, 2017

The dining experience with the waiter was very poor. It took 15 minutes to get a drink order, we ordered tea and requested sweetener. He said he would return with the sweetener momentarily. He didn't bring sweetener for another 30 minutes after ice had completely melted.

The waiter was more interested in hitting on girls then actually taking care of his tables. We sat on the patio, with a few other people he was waiting on all dissatisfied with the service.

I would not recommend this place to anyone nor will be back to this restaurant. The price was absurd, the portions were overly small, and the food was not all that great.

I hope that you can take this as fair warning do not expect to receive a warm welcome and prompt service and a low customer demand timeframe.

vipMsSassy19 (Central Coast)
2.0  Dined on March 4, 2017

This was not our first trip to Viva Modern Mexican, but was a bit of a disappointment. We ordered the homemade guacamole with chips as a starter. The first batch of chips was bottom of the bowl crumbs mostly and the second batch when we ask for a replenishment was burnt tasting. One of the entrees ordered, the chicken fajitas was also overdone. The noise level was much louder than I remembered, almost impossible for a quiet conversation. It was not an enjoyable night out and I'm not sure I would return.

vipOpenTable Diner (Central Coast)
4.0  Dined on March 4, 2017

It was our second time here. The service is good and the location and interior is great, but the food is a C+/B- at best. You won't be disappointed by it but you won't be knocked out of your seat by it.

OpenTable Diner (Palm Springs)
5.0  Dined on March 3, 2017

Our new first choice in a Santa Barbara for Mexican food!

SantaBarbaraGuest (Central Coast)
3.0  Dined on March 3, 2017

I love the location and the outdoor seating but the food was a disappointment. I liked the restaurant that was there before , Cielito, so I hoped Viva would be the same or better. Unfortunately, I don't think I will be going back because of the food. Service was good.