Tucked away on Pine Avenue in Old Town Goleta, there’s a familiar wood-shingled building that reopened earlier this year under new ownership. Jorge and Karina Rodriguez remodeled El Rincon Bohemio, which belonged to Karina’s parents for 15 years, and rechristened the restaurant La Hacienda.
Jorge and Karina took over in May 2014 when her father retired, and closed the location briefly in December 2014 for the renovations and menu changes. In January 2015, La Hacienda opened its doors to the public for the first time.
Though the interior space remains largely similar, the Rodriguezes added a brand-new bar and enclosed an outdoor patio that was previously only partially covered. The outside flooring, which used to be solid concrete, looks much sleeker with hardwood paneling, and the patio’s blinds give privacy for special occasions and parties.
To help introduce La Hacienda to the public, they are now hosting a weekly slew of special events, from an impressive culinary variety on Taco Tuesday and daily 4-6 p.m. happy hours to an elevated atmosphere on Friday’s Mariachi night. Once football season starts back up, Jorge plans to install a 60-inch television outside for fans and also launch new specials.
With a friendly atmosphere, an elegant layout, and authentic Mexican cuisine, La Hacienda should be next on your list of new restaurants to check out in Goleta.
What to Order
There’s lots to explore at La Hacienda, from carnitas tortas and tropical salmon to the Mayan steak, which used to be available only on special occasions and is now a regular menu option. Here are some highlights:
Mezcal Mule: This cocktail, created with the help of drink specialist Randy Brown, combines mezcal, passion fruit, cucumber, and ginger beer. Mezcal is similar to tequila in that it comes from the heart of the maguey plant, a form of agave native to Mexico. This tangy drink is one of the most popular cocktails on the menu alongside the Chingon (made from homemade horchata), Mamacita (a favorite among the ladies), and La Hacienda (a spicy tequila-based drink).
Molcajete: Served in a large steaming bowl, this entree for two is made by combining chicken, steak, shrimp, fish, chorizo, Mexican cheese, and a special house sauce. This popular dish in Mexico is traditionally served in a gigantic bowl big enough for four people. With a mild flavor, the molcajete bowl is about average in terms of the spiciest dishes on the menu.
Cochinita Pibil: Created by head chef Alberto Carachure, this pulled pork dish is typically served on a large banana leaf that covers an entire plate. The savory pork is marinated in a variety of spices and comes with beans, rice, habanero pico de gallo, and tortillas. This is one of Karina’s personal favorites.
Mole Poblano: Normally served as a quarter chicken topped with the house mole sauce — made from dark chocolate, California chiles, crackers, onion, and cinnamon — the enchilada variation was just as sweet as expected. This recipe was originally available only as a special but was added to the menu due to popular demand.
Open Monday-Thursday 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Friday 11 a.m.-10 p.m., and Saturday-Sunday 9 a.m.-9 p.m., La Hacienda is located at 298 Pine Avenue in Old Town Goleta. Call (805) 683-0456 or see lahaciendasb.com.