Mar 2011

La Super Rica Taqueria – Santa Barbara

La Super Rica - Santa Barbara

The Astronomer and I haven’t been spending very much time at home these past couple of weeks. Following our jaunt to The Bay Area, we jetted to the Central Coast to spend the weekend with our friend Lang—a professional cyclist from Seattle who is training in the area during the off season. Even though I was a bit exhausted from our earlier travels, I was super stoked to see my old friend and to visit a new part of my beloved state.

Before arriving in Buellton, The Astronomer and I made a quick stop in the beautiful coastal town of Santa Barbara for lunch. Los Angeles residents really have no business traveling to Santa Barbara for Mexican food, but we couldn’t help but line up for a taste of the famous La Super Rica Taqueria. Hype is a powerful force, one stronger than rationality and logic combined.

La Super Rica - Santa Barbara

This unassuming taco shop on the corner of Alphonse and Milpas is best known as Julia Child’s favorite Mexican restaurant. The family-owned restaurant has built a loyal following throughout the years, as evidenced by the heaps of positive press it has garnered and the lines snaking out its doors.

La Super Rica - Santa Barbara

Nearly everything is prepared to order, which meant a twenty minute lull between placing and receiving our order. The smells emanating from the grill teased us as we waited.

La Super Rica - Santa Barbara

There are three types of house-made salsas available—a standard pico de gallo, salsa verde, and a basic red salsa. All three were fairly tame in terms of tang and heat.

La Super Rica - Santa Barbara

A Mexican meal isn’t complete without an agua fresca to wash everything down. Seeing as though my darling Astronomer is a cinnamon fiend, we chose the horchata over the jamaica.

La Super Rica - Santa Barbara

The Astronomer and I shared three dishes this afternoon. The one I enjoyed the most was the quesadilla con chorizo ($3.50), which was made with two delightfully crisp handmade corn tortillas, melted Monterey Jack cheese, and well-spiced sausages. It was an unfussy and wholly satisfying affair.

La Super Rica - Santa Barbara

The second plate we shared was the Super-Rica Especial ($6.80), also known as #16. The restaurant’s signature dish consisted of grilled pasilla chile layered with pieces of marinated pork and cheese, atop two handmade corn tortillas. It was not much to look at and slightly unwieldy to eat, but the smoky flavors were unique and appealing.

La Super Rica - Santa Barbara

The final dish was the tamal norteno de puerco ($4). What made this shredded pork, vegetable, and herb-stuffed tamal special was the creamy fresh tomato sauce that topped it. The Astronomer liked this one best.

All three dishes sampled this afternoon were quite tasty, but not leaps and bounds better than Mexican food I’ve eaten in the past. While I wouldn’t hesitate to dine here again were I to find myself in Santa Barbara, I wouldn’t go out of my way for a second helping of La Super Rica.

La Super-Rica Taqueria
622 North Milpas Street
Santa Barbara, CA 93103
Phone: 805-963-4940

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9 thoughts on “La Super Rica Taqueria – Santa Barbara

  1. You echo my thoughts exactly: Very good, but its popularity is far greater than its quality. The quesadilla was my favorite thing there, too.

  2. Twenty minutes after ordering plus waiting in line. That place must be pretty good for people to wait that long! tengo k visitarlo la proxima vez k estoy alli!

  3. That quesadilla sounds kind of amazing right now. Give me some MEAT!

    I kind of want to go even if it isn’t leaps and bounds better than the competition. Clearly the long line and wait time make it tastier, doncha think? 😉

  4. nice review. Isn’t it so hard trying not to say you don’t like a place or not in general. Sometimes I hate a place but don’t want to completely bash them, I’m not saying that you did here btw. Its just ppl like us that review places while paying for the food can give honest opinions while some others I know, I tend to question when the tab is being picked up by the place.

  5. My friend and I planned to hit this last weekend on a girl’s outing. We asked the delightful Hispanic “concierge” at the motel and he said “eh” just go around the corner to Rudy’s. We were near the beach on Castillo. Rudy’s had a salsa bar with at least 6 very good salsas plus chopped onion, pickled japapenos and radish. The food was as good as the great local Mexican places in Los Angeles and the prices were reasonable, service excellent, wait time minimal (huge very huge flat top)generous portions, and tasty food.

  6. Your photos are making me drool, while the words don’t exactly, but it looks worlds better than the last place I had a taco (chipotle)…

  7. It is by far my favorite spot in SB. You didn’t order any of my favorites – sopes, pasilla w/cheese, tamal de verdura, and of course the gordita. My wife and I share this exact order at least once a month – keep in mind the sopes are generally only served on Tuesdays.

  8. Hi Gastronomer,

    I’ve been curious about La Super Rica for a long time (hearing so many glowing reports on it). Thanks for the review from a non-local (SB) perspective. 🙂

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