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Mesa Verde

  • Vegetarian Vegetarian
    ( 27 reviews )
Contact 805-963-4474

1919 Cliff Dr, Santa Barbara, California, USA, 93109

Opened Jul 2014 a modern vegetarian cuisine restaurant. Its menu of Mediterranean-inspired dishes includes items such as mushroom tacos, grilled polenta with braised garbanzo and baby okra, and pickled radish and summer squash. Makes a rose petal kombucha. Uses some dairy. Interior has an industrial and natural wood feel. The landscape is tropical. Prices moderate to slightly higher. Open Mon-Sun 11:00am-3:00pm, Mon-Sun 5:00pm-9:00pm.

Category: Vegan-friendly, Lacto, American, Mediterranean, Juice bar, Take-out, Fusion

Reviews (27)

First Review by Veganite

Amazing Food and Beautiful Presentation - Edit

I used to live about 3 minutes away from Mesa Verde and loved going there every few weeks. The food is always super fresh (and I believed sourced locally), presented beautifully, and is very, very tasty. The menu changes often which is nice for us locals. The only downside is that the food and drinks are pretty expensive. I believe just a smoothie is $10. Though they are super delicious! The atmosphere is really nice, too, especially at night when the outdoor heaters/torches are on. Definitely a great place for a mellow date. :)

Pros: Amazing Food, Nice Ambiance, Fresh and local produce

Cons: Portions are a little small

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"Happy cow knows nothing!" weird situation with the owner - Edit

I felt very uncomfortable because the owner started yelling "happy cow knows nothing!". He came to our table as he does with all the customers, asked us how we had found about the place. We told him it was through Happy Cow, then I suggested he should mark the vegan items on the menu to be easier to spot. He said the food is all vegan, I told him I tought it was Vegetarian, he said he did have some non vegan items and he started yelling "Happy Cow knows nothing" several times so that everyone could hear him.. It was so embarrassing and auckward. He just left.
About the food: We ordered hummus, strada tacos and polenta fries. Food was really nicely presented and the tacos were my favorite. The polenta fries were tasty but the hummus was a disappointment, watery and not at all creamy.

Updated from previous review on 2016-12-27

Pros: mostly vegan

Cons: small portions, you need to get appetizer to feel , expensive, owner dislikes Happy Cow

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Beauty on your plate - Edit

I have nothing but good things to say about this place. The presentation made the food look like works of art and it didn't stop there. The flavors were intelligently designed and each bite was delicious. The staff was also very sweet. I look forward to returning here the next time and every time I pass through.

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Wow! Delicious!!! - Edit

We had the jack fruit street tacos, empanadas, hummus and flat bread and the baklava. We loved all of these dishes. The flavors are so refined and unique. You won't taste anything like this anywhere else. Well worth a trip to Mesa Verde. This place is awesome. I'm dreaming about the baklava right now. It was the best baklava I've ever had, served with vegan ice cream. I couldn't believe this was a vegan dish. Incredible place. We highly recommended this place to anyone that loves quality plant based food with incredibly unique flavors.

Pros: Baklava, Great Atomsphere , Awesome staff

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Reviewer Avatar

  Contributions +20

Fresh and bold flavors! - Edit

I didn't have much expectations nor did I know much about this spot, but when I arrived and saw the dishes that were coming out of the kitchen I quickly got excited. To summarize, the food was creative, flavorful and the presentation was really nice! All the dishes I ordered were really solid but the Jackfruit tacos and vegan bahklava were the highlight! The presentation on the Taco plate was splendid and the flavor combinations were so good! The best thing that really put it all to test was their handmade corn tortillas that held up all weight of the fixings!
To me a real taco takes into consideration the tortilla as important component to the taco experience fresh hand made tortillas is where its at! You'll know the Chef at Mesa Verde is thoughtful about his ingredients and takes into consideration the experience of the diner. Bravo!

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Delicious! - Edit

Everything on the brunch menu was vegan, though you have the option of adding eggs to some items. We ordered the flatbread and hummus, BLTA, grilled peach salad, and baklava. Everything was great and I would order all of the items again. The flatbread/hummus and baklava really stood out as the best items. We liked lunch so much that we're considering going back for dinner. It's a little pricey ($51 for the items listed above), but we thought the quality and service made it an acceptable splurge.

Pros: Lots of vegan options, Great flavor, Nice atmosphere and service

Cons: Lack of parking, Bit pricey

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Loved it! - Edit

Came here for dinner with my partner. We ordered the street tacos and empanadas for apps and the pulled mushroom picadillo for main course to share. Everything tasted fresh and delicious. Although, in retrospect, the empanadas and the mushroom dish were quite similar; I wouldn't recommend ordering these two together. On to dessert, after a bit of struggle as to what to choose, we decided on the baklava as our waiter said it's their signature—and it didn't disappoint! The serving size was very generous as well.

One minor issue was the parking. Their lot is tiny. There was no parking space when we got there and the restaurant wasn't even half full. They said we could park at the commercial plaza next door since it was after hours, but we'd rather not risk getting towed and just went a little further down the road to find parking.

Pros: great food, friendly staff

Cons: limited parking

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AMAZING!! - Edit

Incredible food, amazing staff! Super diverse tasty menu.. Cannot recommend this gem of a restaurant enough. If you're in Santa Barbara you must go here to wine and dine! Special compliment to the friendly and super tentative staff and to Jamal the owner. All round incredible place, so happy I know about this gem now :-)

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Best vegan cheese ever tasted! - Edit

Had the cheese brick for starters and it was so so good! We stayed in Santa Barbara for only two nights and went here both nights :) All of the food we had was awesome but the cheese was the best!

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Return to Vegan Paradise - Edit

The flavors, the colors, the taste -- it's all amazing. The ingredients are all spelled out: Rajas Tacos. Grilled Poblano and Spanish Onion, Black Beans, Smoked Vegetables, Butternut Nacho Cheese, Pickled Carrot, Cilantro, Radish, Avocado. Same thing with the soup, a broth with a variety of notes worthy of fine wine. It's all beautifully presented, served humbly and efficiently. When I win the lottery, I'll eat at Mesa Verde every day.

Pros: Flavors, Freshness, Clearly labeled ingredients on menu

Cons: Too far to drive from my home, A little pricey, Parking is very limited

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delicious - Edit

During our trip to Santa Barbara, we ate here twice. Once for dinner and again for brunch. Both times were lovely. The food is beautifully presented and flavorful. The atmosphere is a chic rustic and there's seating both outside and inside. The owner is friendly and accommodating (one person in our party has several allergies). It gets busy, so a reservation is recommended.

We came with another couple for dinner and we shared many of the plates. We started off with polenta fries, street tacos and macadamia nut butter crostini. The tacos were made with jackfruit which I adore and the crostini was crisp, but not so hard that it fell apart upon biting. For entrees, we got the mushroom risotto, smoked mushrooms, polenta and macro bowl. All delicious! For dessert, we got them all. Chocolate cake, baklava and pumpkin pecan cheesecake. The cheesecake in particular was amazing.

For brunch, the four of us were joined by another friend, so we split two plates of the empanadas while all of us got the potato latkes for the entrée except Dirk who got the couscous bowl with veggie sausages. All of it was wonderful and the presentation of the latkes was like a sandwich with tempeh and avocado. The only thing lacking were some sweet options for brunch as it was all savory.

We would all come back for sure. We just wish it was all vegan as they are so close to being so already. No need for dairy. The food is amazing and would please anyone.

Pros: amazing vegan cuisine, friendly owner and staff, nice atmosphere

Cons: not all vegan

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Original vegan fare - Edit

I went to Mesa Verde today and had PICADILLO EMPANADAS. It was a good black bean and tortilla dish done with creative twists. It was very tastee and satisfying. They are a kind bunch, and one person gave me a small vegi drink on the house. Many of the dishes I cannot eat though because I don't do mushrooms (they taint my dreams) and I try not too eat nightshades. Mushrooms and nightshades are in most of their dishes so it will not be a regular dinning place for me.

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Good food - Edit

I am grateful to Mesa Verde to provide an all vegeterian option in Santa Barabara(as I dont eat at places which cook meat) We ordered Vegan falafel and Empanadas, food was tasty but if you are Indian ask for spicy. Good service and owner was very passionate about making it all vegan restaurant which cheered me up. Even the utensils used ro make fried egg are separate.

Nitin Jain

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delicious food - Edit

Yummy veg and vegan food. Lunch was a pleasant surprise. Creative but not too sprouty.
Fabulous dinner and amazing desserts. Cheesecake. O M G. So delicious.
Baklava a taste of heaven
This is a destination worth the drive.
All servers take time to explain the ins and outs of what's good.
A lot of attention to detail. Lovely presentation of all foods.

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Delicious food, great service, terrific ambiance - Edit

My husband and I had the pleasure of dining at Mesa Verde last night. The food was delicious (street tacos, kale burger, avocado bowl). Outstanding service, great ambiance and a must for any veg or non veg when in Santa Barbara. We are going back tonight. Two thumbs up! Delish!

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Over-ambitious food - Edit

I've been three times to Mesa Verde. I find the food to be heavy-handed on the spices (esp. cumin, paprika, and/or salt), too complex for its own good (too many ingredients, mismatched flavors), and frankly just not as delicious as it looks and sounds like it will be from the menu. At times, I had to wonder, did anyone even taste this before serving it? Kombucha is hit or miss.

Presentation and atmosphere are very nice, though.

Pros: Only veggie place in SB, Edible flowers, Nice outdoor seating

Cons: Unfortunately, the food :-/

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Tasty food - Edit

We had a nice dinner at Mesa Verde. A portion of the Street Tacos was a good appetizer for two, a combination of salty, spicy and sweet. For main courses we had Pulled smoked mushroom dish and Peruvian purple potato burger. They were full of new flavors and very creative combinations of ingredients. The burger dish was a bit too much bread to my taste and too little other stuff, otherwise great. The baklava made a satisfying dessert. The interior design is rugged but fun. The staff is friendly.

Pros: Imaginative dishes, Tasty food

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Yummy Food - Edit

My husband (non-veg) and I (vegan) both loved the food here. We are from AZ and were on our way to Santa Maria. We stopped by for lunch and enjoyed the food so much that we decided to try their brunch on our drive back down from Santa Maria. Neither of us were disappointed. Our lunch consisted of the polenta fries which were yummy, the pulled mushroom sandwich and the portabello tacos. Everythng was so tasty. We were so full but then the owner brought us the Baklava on the house. We both thought it was delish. Not dry at all as they serve it with vanilla ice cream. On our next visit (brunch) we, again, had great food. My husband ordered the grilled potato, cauliflower, garbanzo, asparagus dish and added a soft fried egg on top (I mentioned that he is not a veg. so he was being creative in his own way) I enjoyed the BLTA. The staff is very knowledgeable about the menu, the presentation of the food was inspiring, the patio is lovely, and the food was great. It definitely is a place to visit if you are anywhere near Santa Barbara.

Pros: excellent food, friendly staff, lovely patio

Cons: limited parking during busy time

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Interesting experience - Edit

They have a diverse menu, which was fun to try, but the food wasn't as amazing as it looked on paper. The wild mushroom tacos were great, but the street taco was a bit plain, and the dessert (there is only one choice: baklava) was dry. My friends rave about the polenta fries, but I wasn't impressed. The service was great, the atmosphere trendy, it was fun.

Pros: Diverse menu, Trendy atmosphere

Cons: Food is mediocre

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Awesome spot! - Edit

Vegan pizza, polenta fries, polenta bowl, California salad + hummus and flatbread, all delicious! Wasn't crazy abt the taste of the ginger tea or the green juice (which was pulled from the fridge instead of juiced on the spot), but the food was delicious. The bill was $63 and some change.

Pros: Quaint and cozy atmosphere. Excellent service. Exc

Cons: Green juice was pre-juiced and in a sealed bottle

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Pleasant & vegan friendly - Edit

We had lunch at this pleasnat restaurant. The menu clearly shows what is vegan and gluten free. There is a lot of variety to chooose from. We had the street tacos and the black bean, walnut and kale burger. Both were good. Service was friendly. The website omits some key information, such as hours of operation.

Pros: vegan options clearly marked

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Beautiful food! - Edit

My boyfriend and I went to check out Mesa Verde the first night they opened and we were very pleased. We expected the timing of the food and service to be a bit awkward being that it was their first night of service, and it was just that. We got some tacos and an eggplant dish on the first round. The eggplant was awesome, however I didn't try the tacos since our server didn't tell us it had a dairy product in it after we explained that we were vegan. When the tacos came to our table with some weird opaque white stuff drizzled on it we had to ask what was in it. (I think that it would behoove the staff to get to know the difference between a vegan and a vegetarian, and which of their menu items have non-vegan ingredients in them. Just saying.) So we sent the tacos away and ordered a falafel bowl which was absolutely wonderful. It came with purple Israeli couscous, greens and hummus. Super yummy dish. We were very happy with all the food we ordered that we could eat. The kombucha tea we ordered seemed like a batch that didn't go though a secondary fermentation, since it was completely flat, but maybe they just didn't have time for the secondary.

We are looking forward to returning next month. This could become a regular favorite!

Pros: Vegan options, YUM, Visually appealing

1 Response

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Veganopoly 02 Oct 2014 - Mesa Verde is a vegetarian restaurant. That being said, there are products on their menu that are not vegan. Next time you and your boyfriend eat out, look the server in their eyes and clearly convey to them that you are vegan and for the server to clearly point out vegan items on the menu. Doing this clears up a lot of confusion.

Creative, gourmet, delicious Mediterranean food. - Edit

My husband and I went to try this new veg/vegan restaurant during it's opening week and we enjoyed it so much we went back again the next night. Food is amazingly creative, with influences from the Middle East. Staff is friendly and the newly remodeled restaurant is beautiful with a nice outdoor patio. As any restaurant during opening week, there were a few mishaps, but the staff and the owner more then made up for it. We met the owner, Jamal, and have to say he sincerely wants to provide the community with an enjoyable experience eating real food, nothing artificial here. Love that we have a new veg/vegan gourmet option in town. Many amazing options on the menu to try, but I highly recommend the grilled polenta, the quinoa vegetable tagine and caramelized onion and fig flatbread. This is not a place for a quick meal, but more of a nice place to go for a night out with friends, or on a date.

Pros: Creative veg food, Nice patio, Friendly staff

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