When we return to Santa Barbara, there are certain things that we always have to do: reminisce about our first date at the Starbucks on Coast Village Road, walk down State Street, drive by the zoo and try to spot the famous giraffe with the crooked neck, and eat at a number of restaurants that hold significance to us; Pacific Crepes (the best french onion soup), Your Place (best Thai), The Habit (best tri-tip sandwich with onion rings), and El Sitio (best Mexican). El Sitio is tucked away in a neighborhood that you probably wouldn’t find if you were just visiting Santa Barbara. Luckily, our apartments during our Junior and Senior years of college were just down the street, so we spotted El Sitio right away and ate there almost every weekend on their little patio with plastic green chairs.
$6.75 will get you the best adobado plate on the planet – “Adobado Mixto.” Tender, bite-sized pieces of pork, sliced mushrooms, and green chilis are cooked together with a spicy red adobo sauce and topped with melted white cheese. Hot corn tortillas wrapped in foil are served on the side. I’ve never ordered anything different because it is just that good, and tastes so authentic. The serving size is huge, so it’s perfect for two meals (which was a bonus as a college student).
Dustin swears by the carnitas burrito, packed with tender, flavorful meat, beans, and rice, and served on a bed of fresh tortilla chips. He always goes to the salsa bar and fills up a small cup of all three offerings – red, green, and salsa fresca. And even though they’re painful, he can’t resist the whole grilled Serrano chilies, which he eats in between bites of his burrito. Some cold horchata is the perfect match. Find El Sitio the next time you’re lunching in Santa Barbara. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it.
138 S. Salinas St.
Santa Barbara, CA