Where: 10 El Paseo (813 Anacapa St.), 962-6050.
What: One of Santa Barbara’s oldest and largest restaurants, known for its house margaritas, freshly prepared guacamole, local historic significance, and colorfully energetic vibe.
How Much: Appetizers $7.95-$12.95; combination plates: one to four items $13.95-$22.95; El Paseo Margarita: Glass/32 oz./64 oz. for $7.95/$19.95/$32.95.
The Dish: The historic El Paseo shopping center is housed in an adobe plaza originally built in 1826. The restaurant’s grand courtyard and dramatic setting has an open roof, attractive balconies, running fountains, and romantic twinkling lights. Host to decades’ worth of Santa Barbara celebrations, including Fiesta, all-you-can-eat-and-drink Sunday Brunch, and Saturday-night Latin music, the restaurant can hold parties for as many as 250 people. The famous margarita bar has more than 70 tequilas and serves by the glass or pitcher (up to 64 ounces). Guacamole is prepared tableside to your preference in a traditional molcajete (ancient Aztec and Mayan mortar-like cooking tool). Sizzling fajitas, tequila lime-zested shrimp, and combination plates of one to four items are popular on the traditional Mexican menu. The ever-popular happy hour is served from 4-6 p.m. and includes access to an enchilada-filled mini buffet with drink purchase.
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