El Paseo History

Welcome to El Paseo Restaurant, which embodies a proud and historic Santa Barbara tradition of service, style and hospitality. The restaurant was first built in 1922 as part of an 1826 adobe complex which housed the Commandante of the Presidio Royale de Santa Barbara. La Casa de la Guerra was home of the civilian governor of the area from San Luis Obispo to Los Angeles. It was a natural setting for galas, including the three-day wedding fiesta immortalized by Richard Henry Dana in Two Years Before the Mast.

Architect James Osborne Craig designed and restored many of the existing buildings and added the Spanish village and “Street in Spain” surrounding the restaurant. After Craig’s death in 1922, his plans were continued by Carleton Winslow. The El Paseo complex was an inspiration for the revival of Spanish Colonial architecture in Southern California and by law is a model for any new building in Santa Barbara’s historic El Pueblo Viejo district. The El Paseo is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The original restaurant dining patio was shaded by huge swaths of Venetian sailing cloth and featured a brightly-tiled pool where roses were floated daily. Mexican bowls with trailing plants and long strands of cherry-red chili peppers hung in the courtyard arches.

Over the years, the restaurant has been the site of many fiesta celebrations and host to numerous luminaries, including Clark Gable, Carol Lombard, Jean Harlow, William Powell, Ginger Rogers, Shirley Temple, Rita Hayworth, Edward G. Robinson, Fred Astaire, Katharine Hepburn, Salvador Dali, Stravinsky, Will Rogers, Howard Hughes, Charles Lindbergh, Herbert Hoover, Quentin Tarantino and Jennifer Lopez.

Many celebrities returned to El Paseo Restaurant time after time because of its tradition of hospitality…

”Mi casa es su casa.”


La Fiesta de Santa Barbara is a 1935 short comedy film directed by Louis Lewyn. It was nominated for an Academy Award at the 9th Academy Awards in 1936 for Best Short Subject (Color).

It features a young, pre-stardom 13-year-old Judy Garland singing “La Cucaracha” with her two sisters (billed as “The Garland Sisters”).

La Fiesta de Santa Barbara
Directed by: Louis Lewyn
Produced by: Pete Smith
Cinematography: Ray Rennahan
Distributed by: MGM
Release date(s): December 7, 1935
Running time: 19 minutes
Country: United States
Language: English