Santa Barbara has no shortage of good Mexican food and for quick, savory street-style tacos, Taqueria Cuernavaca is a good option. The murals on the dining room walls will try to remind you that you’re eating authentic Mexican fare and the hustle and bustle of the restaurant will reassure you that the food is good.
The main patrons seemed to be families on this particular evening, and many people seemed to be enjoying the plates that included tacos or enchiladas with rice and beans. Things move fast--listen out for your number initially in Spanish (which will then be repeated in English if you miss it) and stay in the smaller room in the front to make sure you get your food while it’s still hot. Get a few salsas from the salsa bar but beware, they are spicy.
As far as the tacos go: they are classic, double corn tortilla-ed, and without frills. The chicken and carne asada tacos went for $1.90 each, while a fancier shrimp and queso taco was $2.50. The shrimp was succulent and seasoned nicely, making that taco my favorite out of the three. For tacos that are as delicious as they are affordable, Taqueria Cuernavaca did not disappoint. Santa Barbara locals love this place for the vegetarian options and quick service. Tip: the parking lot out front is small and crowded. Park on De la Vina Street, the cross street, for ample street parking. The restaurant is also closed on Tuesdays.
201 W Carrillo St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101, (805) 564-1414