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El Paseo Restaurant Review: Guacamole is prepared tableside and the tequila selection numbers well above 100 at this popular downtown restaurant. Housed in one of Santa Barbara’s oldest buildings, El Paseo is more famous for its architecture and décor than for its food, though chef Alex Castillo brings a refined cooking style that had long been absent from the kitchen. Start with fire-roasted pasilla chiles and caramelized onions atop fresh house-made tortillas. In addition to Mexican standards like sizzling fajitas, entrées include a rib-eye steak with baby mushrooms and pan-seared salmon with an orange beurre blanc cucumber relish. The restaurant hosts many banquets and large private events, but it's more highly recommended for small parties, especially if they partake of the Sunday brunch buffet, which includes all-you-can-drink margaritas.