AAA Magazines

Restaurant review: Augie’s, Santa Barbara

Bartender Jasmine Cabigao in front of the large selection of tequilas and mescals at Augie’s in Santa Barbara.

Santa Barbara is riding a wave of Mexican restaurant openings, with concepts ranging from tried-and-true taco spots to comfort- and street-food eateries. The upscale Augie’s stands out for its unique, modern take on regional Mexican specialties, with Guadalajara-raised chef Eduardo Gonzalez combining cuisine from Yucatán, Oaxaca, and Campeche with his own family recipes.

A pair of duck carnitas tacos served with a side of habanero sauce

Duck carnitas tacos.

It’s fun to explore here, and a good strategy is to share a few appetizers and entrées. Duck tacos on house-made tortillas show off layers of flavor and texture, with rich duck carnitas, a crunch of radish, and a side of habanero sauce for extra kick. For something light and refreshing, try the king salmon and bluefin tartare, topped with slightly spicy, nutty salsa macha.

A trio of pork loin medallions topped with different mole sauces

Pork loin medllions topped with 3 moles (from left): mole rosa, mole poblano, and pipian verde. 

Of the main courses, 3 moles is a sampler of those traditional sauces on a trio of small pork loin medallions. One is a mild yet flavorful mole poblano, one a nuttier pipian verde, and the third is a mole rosa, which gets its distinctive pink hue from cranberries and chiles.

A pile of 4 churros served with chocolate and caramel dips

Churros served with chocolate and caramel sauces.

Pulpo a la diabla, made with tender Mayan octopus and served with carrot, sweet potato, romanesco, and chipotle aioli, is a stunner. Cap it all off with hot, crunchy churros with pasilla chocolate and caramel dipping sauces.

The bar spotlights a vast library of tequilas and mescals, a passion project of owner Berkeley “Augie” Johnson. There are also draft Mexican and domestic beers, along with an intriguing selection of wines from California, Mexico, and Europe.

The outdoor eating section of Augie's

The patio at Augie’s looks out onto State Street.

The kitchen’s artful presentation and attention to detail find echoes in the creative decor. The restaurant space, transformed by Santa Barbara–based architect Jeff Shelton, combines his signature handcrafted elements such as decorative wrought-iron work and custom-made glass pendulum lights with warm woods and agave paintings on the walls.

The spacious outdoor patio fronting State Street has become a favorite spot for locals and visiting foodies to kick back and enjoy weekend brunch, happy hour, and dinner.

Best dishes at Augie’s

Duck carnitas tacos, pulpo a la diabla, 3 moles, churros

Dinner prices

Starters, $15–$25; entrées, $31–$53; desserts, $12–$14


700 State Street. Closed Wednesdays.

You may also like:

Follow us on Instagram

Follow @AAAAutoClubEnterprises for the latest on what to see and do.

Read more articles

You'll find more of the articles you love to read at AAA Insider.

AAA discounts

Seared scallops arranged on a plate

Dining & food discounts

Save at restaurants and on meal-kit delivery services.

Woman pumping gas

All AAA discounts

AAA membership unlocks savings on everyday purchases.

back to top icon