38 West Victoria St.
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Mon. – Fri.
10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sat. – Sun
Worth the wait
If you’ve ever entered the Santa Barbara Public Market through the Chapala Street entrance, you have to navigate around what seems to be an endless line.
And now The Fork knows why — Corazon Cocina is a restaurant that lives up to its name, as there is plenty of heart put into the food.
Yes, there will always be a bit of a wait, but there’s a reason why the restaurant has survived what seemingly seems like an endless cycle of new tenants at the Public Market. The food is special, unique and heartfelt.
Here are a few items The Fork tried on the first visit, already thinking about what will be ordered for Round 2:
Fish tacos are not all created equal, as many restaurants utilize frozen fish and try to overdo it with spices and toppings to mask the lack of freshness. Not the case at Corazon, as the lingcod fell apart and was lightly fried to help keep the warmth. Be careful of the salsa cruda, as it has a kick to it — make sure to have a couple of cups of water on hand, as it’ll definitely clear out the sinuses. The homemade corn tortilla is incredibly tasty, a definite standout when compared to other Mexican restaurants in town.
It’s always nice to have a flat-faced taco that simply can be curled up because there is so much meat that you do have to use a fork to keep from dribbling on your work clothes. The skirt steak is cooked medium-well, and it contains all of its juices, which is great as it soaks a bit into the homemade flour tortilla. The beans are a good compliment, as is the salsa mugrosa. This is a must-have if you like beef, and The Fork even suggests getting a couple of them.
Rice & beans
Traditional Mexican rice and beans, but it definitely helps to have it on hand as you make your way through a few spices that need to be counterbalanced by rice and beans. Make sure to hit up the salsa bar, as it features exotic combinations that will surprise you.
There is a lot of passion put into the cooking, as you can tell that there is thought and love put into every dish. The food is the definite star at Corazon Cocina, with an array of options that The Fork looks forward to trying over time, including Spanish octopus in a taco they call Tia Juana.
While being busy is a good thing for business, it can definitely stretch the lunch hour, as the line is usually at least 8-10 people deep, so your tummy will continue to talk to you as you wait in line looking at the unique menu. Also, seating is limited immediately around the restaurant, so you’ll be fighting for space.