Posted by paulrivas on:
In Santa Barbara and Goleta, there are Mexican restaurants that last less than six months that no one bothers to keep track of, and there are Mexican restaurants that have been around for years that everyone knows. And then there's El Rincón Bohemio, which has been around since 1989, seemingly without customers.
Have you ever even heard of anyone going to El Rincón Bohemio? Do you have the slightest idea where either of its two locations is? Can you believe there's a Mexican restaurant in Santa Barbara called "The Bohemian Corner" that isn't overrun with ladies of leisure lunching in $2000 wannabe Frida Kahlo skirts?
Of course not! It's inconceivable! Why, the Santa Barbara Man About Goleta himself just discovered the downtown Goleta location last week! It's on Pine Avenue, one block off Hollister, hiding in plain sight in a building I don't have the architectural vocabulary to describe properly, but that resembles a hobbit house built into a hill. The other one is rumored to be buried somewhere in the El Mercado center on upper State Street.
In the heart of Mexican Goleta, a deserted-looking building in an empty parking lot, El Rincón Bohemio is a summarily Mexican joint. The food is delicious, the portions are enormous and many of the beverages listed are unavailable. Before I could ask if the management was concerned that a restaurant that was impeccably decorated yet starkly devoid of customers might be considered suspicious, in a front-for-Mexican-drug-trafficking-money sort of way, the young woman behind the counter blurted out that I shouldn't be alarmed at being the only customer because the nice old lady who owns the restaurant makes good money renting out the back patio for events (no music) and catering fine Mexican dining for 500 people (she's done this twice (in almost 20 years!)).