Santa Barbara, CA

Here's Why You Need To Eat Fresh Mexican Food at Los Arroyos in Santa Barbara, CA

Michelle Marie Warner

Support a local family business while enjoying a delicious, authentic meal
Meal displays at Los Arroyos Restaurant in Santa Barbara, CAPhoto courtesy of Los Arroyos website gallery

I grew up in Carpinteria, 12 miles south of Santa Barbara, CA, home to authentic cuisine from across the globe. The most prominent are Mexican restaurants due to our large Mexican community. We have several favorites, but one or two always stand out. Los Arroyos is one of them. 

Tony Arroyo and his then-fiancée opened Los Arroyos in 1999, renting a 600 square-foot space and hiring friends and family to operate it. They brought their authentic Mexican recipes, and it took off. Santa Barbara residents and tourists alike enjoyed everything from tacos al pastor to Maria’s enchiladas. 

Los Arroyos has some of the freshest, most scrumptious Mexican food in town, with a talented, friendly staff. I recognized one of the servers the last time I went there a few years ago when I visited. The dining room is as clean and beautiful as ever. They’ve tripled the space of their downtown location since opening, and it was still busy. Even with consistent business, they continue to provide fast and excellent service. 

I’ve eaten at Los Arroyos countless times over the last 22 years, and I always order Maria’s Enchiladas with chicken, covered in a delicious salsa verde. They come with refried black beans in a tostada shell and a side of Mexican rice. They have an extensive kids’ menu that’s reasonably priced at $8.25. 

Customers order at the front, then find a table. They offer chips and salsa to start, and you can head to the salsa bar for napkins, utensils, several salsa choices, and limes or lemons. You’ll find the beverage bar there as well. 

Although they set it up somewhat like a fast food joint, the meals at Los Arroyos are “sit-down” restaurant quality, and the servers available for anything you need. 

What’s most appealing about Los Arroyos, next to the great food, is that they’re family-owned and operated. Building relationships and community helps Santa Barbara residents stay connected. Sharing a meal lends itself to deepening connections with friends and family. I consider the chefs and waitstaff a part of my extended family. I watched Tony’s wife pregnant with their first child, then saw him grow up. 

Tony Arroyo and his family support community by giving to non-profit organizations in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. 

Los Arroyos believes in the value of community service, and we donate our time, food, and gift cards to many events throughout the year. Our donations help many local organizations serve the less fortunate in our community which we believe helps our communities grow stronger and healthier.  — Los Arroyos 

Los Arroyos currently has online ordering and pick-up or delivery through GrubHub and Door Dash. They have locations in downtown Santa Barbara, Goleta, and Montecito. They also opened in Solvang and Indianapolis, Indiana. They also offer event catering for groups of 50–300 people. 

They’re open for dining downtown from 11:00–8:00 PM Monday-Friday, and Saturday and Sunday from 10:00–8:00 PM. 

For more locations, menus, and more, visit

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Grateful single mama with a plethora of passions. Keen observer with an eye for editing. I write about relationships, parenting, mental health, addiction and recovery, creativity/productivity, gratitude, mindfulness, and personal growth. She/her. Let’s connect.

Eugene, OR

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