Sandbar Mexican Restaurant

4.7
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136 Reviews
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$30 and under
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Mexican
We are a traditional Sonora style Mexican Restaurant and Tequila Bar. Guests will experience the authentic tastes and warm outdoor dining of Mexico. We use homemade sweet and sour with organic agave nectar in our world class margaritas. We also feature handmade tortilla chips and salsas, fresh Ceviche, homemade guacamole and the best fajitas around.

We feature a vibrant bar scene and a social atmosphere. We also serve our full menu nightly until midnight. Stick around after dinner as we transform into one of Santa Barbara's best late night hot spots.
What 136 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.7based on recent ratings
4.5
food
4.5
service
4.5
ambience
4.6
value
Noise · Moderate
80% of people would recommend it to a friend
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e
Central Coast
64 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience4

After living here six years, Sandbar remains our favorite Mexican restaurant. Cara waited on us yesterday and she was GREAT!

OT
Denver
7 reviews
Dined on November 3, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We are on our second vacation to Santa Barbara. The first time here, we ate at Sandbar twice and couldn’t wait to return during this second visit. It did not disappoint. Good drinks, good food, good service, fun setting.

D
Central Coast
39 reviews
Dined on September 18, 2019
Overall5food5service4ambience5

It was a birthday celebration. Love this place. We are locals and the food is always consistent, great value and good! We highly recommend this place. However, at night, meaning late night, I think it has a completely different younger party vibe! See you again soon! xoxox

OT
Denver
7 reviews
Dined on September 5, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We went twice in four nights!

VM
Hawaii
1 review
Dined on August 28, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Sharon was a fabulous server

SW
Los Angeles
8 reviews
Dined on August 24, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great location. Great atmosphere and wonderful drinks & food!

D
Central Coast
39 reviews
Dined on August 8, 2019
Overall5food5service3ambience5

Great food for the price. Really good beef tacos and chile relleno...we are local love this place.

ML
1 review
Dined on August 6, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Wonderful waitress. Great tasty food. Relaxing atmosphere. Always eat at Sandbar when in Santa Barbara.

BV
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on August 4, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Nice atmosphere. Good food and service. Well staffed.

s
Chicago
2 reviews
Dined on July 25, 2019
Overall3food3service3ambience4

Food was ok not great

R
Los Angeles
22 reviews
Dined on June 19, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

The sand bar is a fun place to go and the food is good as well

OT
Bristol
7 reviews
Dined on June 10, 2019
Overall5food5service4ambience5

Large portions, very tasty, good menu. We went for lunch one day and enjoyed it so much we went back again another day for dinner. Highly recommend this to anyone wanting some good Mexican food.

JF
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on June 9, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great food and fun. Beautiful patio! Reservations important as there was a line but it worked for us.

2
Central Coast
6 reviews
Dined on May 27, 2019
Overall2food1service3ambience3

We actually had to get up and leave as there was NOTHING on the menu that two of our guests could eat, besides a salad and that's not why we went out for Mexican food. In this day and age and in this town I was shocked to learn that all of their beans were made with lard and all of their rice is made with chicken stock. To not offer these two basic core Mexican staples as a vegetarian option is outrageous. Beans don't need to be cooked with animal by-products and nor does rice. I hope to return once they realize they're missing out on a huge demographic of potential diners. Just skip these practices, no one will miss it and you'll appeal to an even wider audience.

CL
Brighton
1 review
Dined on May 16, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Liked the relaxed feel of the place. Food was delicious however portions were very large (non American) 😀

TT
Los Angeles
5 reviews
Dined on March 23, 2019
Overall4food4service2ambience4

Our waiter never brought us chips to our table he brought salsa but never brought us chips while every other table had chips. Also it took forever to get our mimosas I think they forgot about them until my friend asked him where our drinks were.

AD
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on January 15, 2019
Overall1food3service3ambience1

The place looked like it was bombed out. Your listing did not mention this essential fact along with fact that two sides are open to the elements! It was raining and rather cold. Fortunately the waiter, Matt was kind and understanding. The food was moderately good if cold. You should warn customers of the condition of a place like this👎!

E
Central Coast
1 review
Dined on December 31, 2018
Overall3food5service3ambience4

Good food but couldn’t get past the fact that they made us pay a cover charge at the hostess desk!!! It was only 8:00 pm, too early for a cover charge and it would have been nice to know they required one!! We would have gone somewhere else.

OT
1 review
Dined on December 25, 2018
Overall2food5service4ambience2

Seemed crowded and noisy but waitstaff were pleasant and helpful

TG
Los Angeles
105 reviews
Dined on December 25, 2018
Overall5food5service4ambience5

What a fabulous Mexican restaurant that we’ve never been to
All three of us had the fajitas, which were amazing. The chips
And salsa was delish
And we will for sure go back.

EW
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on December 24, 2018
Overall3food3service3ambience3

Christmas Eve and seemingly short staffed. I see the potential to be a fun party place. They got our order wrong, brought out one entree more than halfway through the meal, overcharged us, and didn’t replace the van heaters that went out around us. Might give them another try.

OT
Central Coast
21 reviews
Dined on December 5, 2018
Overall2food3service1ambience2

It was a rainy, cold and wet Wednesday evening. There were two couples at the bar and we sat by the bar more for warmth than anything. We received our warm chips and dip, order our cat beers (Figueroa) and a questioner fundido. So far so good. Then our waiter simply disappeared up and down state street! Eventually, he came back to take our entree order and a second round of beers. The entree arrived and the waiter disappeared for the rest of our dinner save for giving us the bill. It was the bar tender that saved the day by tending to our drinks and other needs. The food was passable, but the service was non-existent...save for the bar tender.

CB
1 review
Dined on November 22, 2018
Overall5food4service4ambience4

Always a great meal! We had a great time for a friends birthday.

C
Central Coast
3 reviews
Dined on October 15, 2018
Overall5food5service5ambience5

we were celebrating the last of my breast cancer treatments TEN YEARS AGO to the day! our server, ryan , was fantastic and the food was dee-lish! would recommend to our friends ... in fact, already have.

D
San Francisco
8 reviews
Dined on September 23, 2018
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Was so sad when it was closed due to fire! Was so excited to go back. Did not disappoint!!! Food super fresh and delicious. Would eat there every day if I lived there!!!

PW
London
2 reviews
Dined on September 15, 2018
Overall3food2service3ambience3

Very average quality of food. More like a canteen than expected restaurant quality

FD
Los Angeles
36 reviews
Dined on August 28, 2018
Overall4food4service4ambience4

We just stopped here for lunch after a road trip to Santa Barbara. I didn't want to let the reviews deter us from giving it a shot. It is decorated well and the atmosphere makes you feel like a little vacation. The music was cool. They played reggae, 80s and 90s pop, Ska and even some Marvin Gaye. It was in the early afternoon so I was enjoying the vibe. I think this would be even better during a happy hour, evening, and weekend. To sum it all up, if this afternoon is indicative of those aforementioned times then you'll be in for a good time.

The service was fast and the staff was cool. I'm not really a drinker but I ordered a Horchata Piña Colada (since they didn't have a plain Horchata) , my girl ordered a Mango Margarita and we both enjoyed the presentation and flavor of our drinks. We ordered Queso Fundito as our appetizer and it was delicious. For our actual mains I ordered a chicken tostada and my girl ordered chicken taquitos. Our food and drinks were delicious! Everything was really good and the service was great.

Considering what we ordered I thought that it would have been a lot more. The value of the experience makes me feel good suggesting this place or returning next time we're in Santa Barbara.

SR
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on August 16, 2018
Overall2food1service3ambience2

The service e was good, but the food was mediocre at best.

BP
Portland
1 review
Dined on August 3, 2018
Overall3food4service4ambience2

It was Fiesta weekend and restaurant was set up like bar for the evening. Music was overpowering - Staff said the music was loud due to "Fiesta" and you could not even talk over it. There were people crowded around our table as well. We had make a reservation without any idea the Fiesta was going on as we just wanted to have dinner with friends before concert at S.B. Bowl. Maybe our fault for not being up on S.B. events!

NG
Los Angeles
14 reviews
Dined on May 29, 2018
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Delicious!!!!!

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t
Los Angeles
81 reviews
Dined on May 22, 2018
Overall5food5service5ambience5

My husband and I had been here before with friends, for an early dinner. Today, we had an early lunch. The ambiance, casual, was very nice. The food selection, even for this vegetarian, was amazing, and I loved my tacos. The strawberry margarita was superb. Great service, too.

JD
Baltimore
1 review
Dined on May 7, 2018
Overall5food3service5ambience5

My wife and I sat at the bar. We enjoyed our drinks and tacos. Sandbar’s bartenders are the best.

m
Vancouver
1 review
Dined on May 1, 2018
Overall5food4service5ambience4

Good ambience, great tacos! Our server was awesome as well.

DW
San Diego
9 reviews
Dined on April 18, 2018
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Wonderful food. Great atmosphere. Friendly servers.

OT
Denver
8 reviews
Dined on March 29, 2018
Overall2food1service2ambience1

We arrived, only table available was a shared one in the bar, although we reserved for the patio. Chicken mole was dry and under seasoned. No options for children. Not recommended.

OT
Palm Springs
2 reviews
Dined on January 5, 2018
Overall4food3service4ambience5

Good food. Fun atmosphere. Nice outdoor heated seating.

OT
Orange County
1 review
Dined on December 27, 2017
Overall5food5service4ambience5

Great spot on State with a killer outdoor dining room. Food was great and very reasonably priced. Definitely on the list for a return trip

e
Central Coast
64 reviews
Dined on November 16, 2017
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Sandbar has been our go-to Mexican restaurant for the past 5 years we've lived here. We were devastated when they had a fire and ended up being closed for several months. Thrilled to have them back open! Dustin is our favorite waiter! Great guy.

OT
Orange County
2 reviews
Dined on August 14, 2017
Overall1food2service5ambience2

Ate their for dinner. Sick the next day.

OT
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on August 8, 2017
Overall5food5service5ambience5

After 6 years spent in Mexico, I am usually disappointed by the Mexican restaurants whose food is nothing like what you eat in Mexico. But this restaurant is different and makes tasty real Mexican food!