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Nov 23, 2007 07:46 PM

La Super Rica/ Santa Barbara

La Super Rica:

There has been some dialog about La Super Rica recently and I wanted to through in my two cents. I love this place for the best mexican you can get and I will tell you why. I have been going there for years and a great representation of what they do is.....I walked in recently and they were removing a very larger sheet pan of roasted Pablano Peppers from the oven that obviously cought my attention. I said "those are looking real good, can I get one...? No was the answer because they weren't ready yet. I ordered a beautiful quisadilla instead and dug in. About ten minutes later a large plate with a perfectly presented (art) Pablano chili arrived. It was a large pepper, perfectly peeled and stuffed with dried fruit and queso fresco and topped with tomatoe-potatoe sauce. I challenged the young girl who presented it to me about the potatoes because I had not seen anything like this before. She said "when we were little, mom had to stretch the tomatoe-chili sauce with potatoe so we all could we do it that way now"....I damn near cried and loved EVERY bite of it. Original "street cred' food that I will never stop loving. Perfect.

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  1. Super Rica never ceases to amaze me. I have never been there without being astonished by something.

    It's the best Mexican restaurant food I have ever had north of the border, and damn near the best restaurant food I have had in California.

    And besides, Julia loved it and that's good enough for me:

    La Super Rica
    622 N Milpas St, Santa Barbara, CA 93103

    4 Replies
    1. re: maxzook

      Your right about that and I am glad you brought it up. It think she said that it served the best "carne asada tacos ever". and I think I read somewhere that it was her favorite restaurant in Santa Barbara....?

      1. re: thomtompkins

        Julia also liked the hotdogs at Costco in Santa Barbara. True story.

        1. re: glbtrtr

          Proving, once again, that Julia had good taste.

      2. re: maxzook

        Doesn't hurt that it is one of Mario Batali's favorite restaurants either. He discovered it while working at the Biltmore in Montecito. As a UCSB alum it is on my all time fav list.

      3. I will be driving through in a couple of weeks - what would you order as a first timer? So far I am guessing the pepper.

        13 Replies
        1. re: kare_raisu

          I tried to go there the last time I was in Santa Barbara, but they were closed for their post Christmas vacation for 2 weeks during the beginning of January. Let us know how it was.

          1. re: kare_raisu

            We all have our favorites but once I found mine, I have been stuck there and never order anything else and I find it addicting: the Number 15 Tocino Special

            Melted cheese with bacon in a little dish that you scoop on to one of your three very fresh tortillas and then slather with pico de gallo salsa that you get at the check out counter. Absolute heaven. Most people like the cheese based offerings the best and find the plain meat one too dull-- agree. The other big favorite is the Number 16, but my companion had it last time and agreed it did not come close to his prior enjoyment of Number 15 - The Tocino Special. To each their own, obviously.

            Another special treat are the marinated pork special nachos at SuperCuca's in another local part of town - the Westside, on West Micheltorena Street where it meets San Andres. They have great liquidos and burritos also. Another casual outdoor dining spot, along with a Mexican market. Around the corner from Paesano's Pizza - the two great mom and pop independent restaurants in this part of town.

            1. re: kare_raisu

              I always get the #16 La Super Rica Especial and something off of the daily specials menu - like sopes, or pozole, or a tamale, whatever they happen to have that day.

              1. re: kare_raisu

                They have a rajas taco that is a regular on the menu... I am not sure the chile relleno described is a regular item. They had other interesting sounding fillings.... but note the ones that mix cheese & something else... are almost all cheese.

                Also be forewarned... the founder was from Sonora... so don't expect Central or Southern Mexican... or you will be dissappointed.

                Please try the Salsa Verde... last time I was there... it was pretty bad with an overpowering amount of ground coriander.. and no cilantro leaves.

                1. re: kare_raisu

                  If you think its even remotely close to as good as the decent places in Tijuana... I will definitely give it another chance.

                  1. re: Eat_Nopal

                    Their tacos that comprise the first few items on the menu are mediocre at best. Most taco trucks serve better tacos. The best item that they make is the Posole, a 'special' served on Sundays only. Wonderfully complex flavors that punch through, served with a freshly fried corn tortilla and my favorite salsa, a hot, thin salsa roja that is vinegary (I ask for extra) as it is only served with the Posole. I wish I had that recipe! Also very good are the Chilaquiles which are another 'special' served only on 2 days of the week. The various 'specials' like tamales et al served with a cream sauce are good. On the regular menu the best item is as others have mentioned is #16 La Super Rica Especial which is marinated pork grilled to order with poblano chilis and cheese, served with warm corn tortillas hecho a mano. The melted cheese with chorizo or bacon is good if you eat it when served. It's gross if you let it congeal into a clump! My kids like the plain Quesadillas and their Horchata which is the best anywhere.

                    The only regional Mexican chow that I've tried twice in the last month that blows LSR away is Fiesta Tepa-Sahuayo in Watsonville. Chili Nogada was better than Babita Mexicusine, La Casita or La Huasteca's versions, the dish with 3 different tamales wrapped in poblano chilis not corn husk or banana leaf so you get a tasty edible wrapper and regular and Strawberry Horchatas were all WONDERFUL!!! I gotta go back soon!!!

                    1. re: sel

                      ",,,,,better than Babita Mexicusine, La Casita or La Huasteca's"

                      Sel, are these located in the LA area, or elsewhere? TIA

                      1. re: PolarBear

                        Yes they are in the L.A. area and they are 3 of L.A.'s best and a must try for anyone who wants to go beyond the usual taco/burrito stuff that is so common here! I know that Babita is a board favorite and I do dine there on occasion but at least to me it is somewhat expensive although if you can afford it, it is worth the high price for high quality! For example, the Chili en Nogada at Babita was about $24 for a wonderful version that was one stuffed chile with sauce etc. and the slightly tastier version at Fiesta Tepa-Sahuayo was 2 chilis (or was it 3?) plus a very good quesadilla on the same oversized plate. The only problem with Fiesta T-S is the size of their portions, the food is so good but I have not yet been able to stop and save room for dessert!!!

                        Babita Mexicuisine
                        1823 South San Gabriel Blvd.
                        San Gabriel, CA
                        Lunch Tuesday-Friday;Dinner Tuesday-Sunday

                        CenadurĂ­a La Casita Mexicana
                        4030 E. Gage Ave., Bell
                        8 a.m.-11 p.m.

                        La Huasteca
                        3150 East Imperial Hwy, Suite 100
                        Lynwood, California 90262

                        1. re: sel

                          Thanks for the locations, Sel. My only experience in LA proper has been at Guelaguetzel (sp?) in downtown. We thought it was great.

                          IIRC, FTS serves up three chiles with their Chile en Nogada. The other dish I love there is the huitaloche shrimp with the fried cheese, out of this world.

                          1. re: sel

                            Hi Folks-

                            If you wish to continue this digression about L.A. area Mexican eats, please start a new thread on the L.A. board so that locals will find the thread and chime in.


                        2. re: sel

                          Hey, defending my favorite, even when the #15 Tocino Special cheese cools and congeals a bit it is still over the top yummy with the salsa and fresh tortillas. Yes, it is almost pure cheese, but what cheese - rich and creamy and the bacon flavoring is just perfect. For me, it is what always keeps me going back for more and more ....... don't be afraid to order this one at least once ... you may never go back to anything else on the menu either.

                          1. re: glbtrtr

                            Kare raisu, The La Superica Especial #16 is a must, as are the rajas and carne asada tacos. You'll be tempted to order a lot of different dishes (DEFINATELY order more than one!) but the last time I went the #16 was enough for me. So very good.
                            Definately get a guacamole taco too.

                            1. re: Jeters

                              I am glad to see that one small Latin family can have such an impact upon so many people. I appreciate the responses and I bet they do too. I want to go right now but it would take me an hour and a half from Pasadena......and the day is full. Too bad for me.

                    2. We just ate at La Super Rica tonight and it was ok but nothing more. I know it's an institution and very important for some people, but just passing through and eating there, I was underwhelmed. The asada taco has a nice flavor but was a bit dry. The raja and onion taco was mostly melted cheese which, though tasty, is nothing more than a cheap trick to lull weak minds. And that goes for any place that uses gobs of cheese as "hush money." Why not let the poblanos and onions stand on their own or at least use less cheese? The frijoles were pretty tasty, with the bits of bacon in there. My kid ate the tocino with cheese and even he, the bottomless pit, in his 8 year old way, rated it as way over the top on cheese. We also at at Lilly's on Chapala St. earlier in the day. Now that place smokes. Fast, furious and packed with Mexican families enjoying tacos and sodas. It's way more rootsy, as almost all the fillings come from the head of a steer. We had tongue, eye, lips, cheek and adovada and all were moist and delicious, though the adovada was a tad dry. I'm only here until the 26th or 27th and they close from the 24th until Jan 6th. :o( I would be back there tomorrow if they weren't on holiday.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: taco clandestino

                        Are they willing to give you their recipes?

                        1. re: kare_raisu

                          Hey kr, Lilly's was slammed. No way to talk with them. Now they're closed for two weeks. Like someone said on the LA thread, it will be difficult to work at this time of year, with people taking off for the holidays. I'll do what I can. It looks like we will be up through San Diego sometime around the 7th or 8th of January. It would be nice to meet up with you and go to 2 or 3 places. I'm interested in the rolled chicken tacos at Nico's that someone mentioned and probably Mama Testas. Please contact me with personal info at And, as per Chowhound forum etiquette, I would post our notes on this website.

                      2. You just made me want to drive to SB right now. I always get the #8.