Mex Food in San Diego

South of the Border

There are so many reasons to fall in love with our SoCal location, like where to get the best Mexican fare in SD. For me, the Mexican food available is right up there with living by the beach. A burrito on the beach at sunset, after a day of surfing, is by far the ultimate way to end the day. With the weather a little chilly, these restaurants provide tequila and recipes passed down for generations to warm the heart.


Must Have Item: Quinoa & Squash Cakes Best: Place to lose your friends

When your city is located 15 minutes north of Tijuana, Mexican food is on every corner, but what you don’t always have is a Mexican menu offering Baja coastal cuisine that transports you to Rosarito and Ensenada, while you’re sitting a block away from Petco Park. The menu uses fresh local seafood, an abundance of Mexican chilis (fresh and dried), and different salsas (cooked and raw) to bring you flavors and dishes that tie together the coast and the heart of Mexico.



Must Have Item: Mix & Match street-style tacos Best: Place to experience the upscale authentic

Puesto, which has not one but two successful locations in San Diego, offers Mexican street style cuisine in a comfortable, upscale environment. The newest location, at the old police headquarters on Harbor Drive, is the perfect place to go for a night out with the girls for some tacos and cocktails. The best part is that they allow you to mix and match whatever three tacos you’d like for your order because it would be impossible to choose just one. Just make sure one of them is their Lobster Taco, and you can’t go wrong.

INDIGO GRILL indigogrill

Must Have Item: Bibimbap Best: Kept secret in Little Italy

The Cohn Restaurant Group does it again— with Chef Deborah Scott’s explosive flavors found in innovative modern Latin cuisine, and other worldly finds. There are over 20 beers on tap, artsy- rustic décor with burnt orange walls, and huge black ironwork chandeliers. The outside patio has a wall of windows, perfect for people watching with friends. A great shared starter is the Grilled Romaine, topped with fried capers, roasted red bells, parmesan crisp, fig jam and finished with a perfectly balanced chipotle-anchovy crème dressing. For dinner try the Bibimbap, a signature Korean dish, which is prepared tableside, in a 500-degree bowl with all of the ingredients inside. Quickly stirred to mix and cook, the fixings include lap cheong, kimchi, ginger, garlic, egg, scallion, pea, jalapeños and chili paste.



Must Have Item: Undefeated Seafood Taco Best: Authentic, out of the box tacos

Lucha Libre is one of the best taco spots in San Diego because of their combination of authentic flavors and new, exciting ideas. It is run by three brothers who are dishing out some amazing Mexican cuisine, all inspired by their momma’s cooking. The theme of their small shop is Mexican wrestling, which is what Lucha Libre means, and what the décor is all about it. Even with two locations, this taco heaven is always packed, but as anyone in line will tell you— it’s well worth the wait.



Must Have Item: Chicken Diablo Best: Place to let the chef take care of you

Partner/Chef Todd Camburn takes his Mexican cuisine seriously and came by it quite honestly—as he traversed the Mexican countryside with his friends in the tequila-trade. Nice. He is a pro with the subtle spices, chili peppers, sauces, and techniques found south of the border. Truck on over to Barrio Star, in Bankers Hill area, or you can always visit his partner, Isabel Cruz, the chef and co-owner of Isabel’s Cantina in Pacific Beach!



Must Have Item: Anything that comes with their delicious handmade tortillas Best: Experimental tacos

Try the El Futbol taco made with smoked albacore, green chile pipian, jack cheese, and red onion. Delish! Afterward, you’ll feel super-charged to win the soccer game. You can add crickets for 75 cents!



Must Have Item: Surf & Turf Taco Best: Of both worlds

With a Surf & Turf Taco you get the best of both worlds. Land and sea unite on your taco vessel, and you couldn’t be any happier. Skirt steak and shrimp dance for attention amongst onion, cilantro, tomato and cabbage.



Must Have Item: Chicken Mole Best: Communal-style dining

When I know that I’ll be making a stop at Don Chido with my friends and family, I get very excited because I know that the mole is what’s in store for me. The half natural chicken, ancho chile mole sauce, frijoles refritos, arroz de la casa, and fresh corn tortillas make me a happy camper.



Must Have Item: Shrimp Curry Taco Best: Exotic tacos

Come for the tacos, stay for the decor. Each Bull Taco location has fun, playful interior designs. The decor matches the tacos! Each taco on the menu brings something new to the table. How often do you see a Shrimp Curry Taco on the menu? Come in and reevaluate everything you thought you knew about a taco.



Must Have Item: Shrimp Curry Taco Best: Vibe

PB Fish Shop first opened their doors in 2010, and initially, worried they wouldn’t be able to fill the parking lot. Now, they’ve got lines out the doors and people buying up their fish faster than they can catch it! The adorable spot has fabulous outdoor seating and a blue and white exterior that reminds us of an old school bait shop down by the water. They are indeed a fish market selling incredible cuts for you to take home. Two thumbs up.



Must Have Item: Mahi Mahi fish Best: Lunch Date During the Week

Norte has been open for over thirty years, and they told us the secret to their success: consistency. They consistently deliver exactly what their customers want – high quality, fresh food at affordable prices in a killer location with a great vibe. What more could you ask for? They are open seven days a week with happy hour daily in their Cantina. They are located right near the water, and the dining room has a gorgeous ocean view. This spot also has the best outdoor seating, a huge patio near the water with fountains and fire pits and sunshine to keep you happy and full all day or all night long. We devoured fried and grilled Mahi Mahi fish tacos served on a corn tortilla with cabbage and special sauce and a touch of fresh Pico de Gallo.



Must Have Item: Ensenada Fish Taco Best: Place to feel like a local

Casa Guadalajara is as authentic as it gets around here. Located in old town San Diego and built around a 250-year-old tree, this restaurant is a classic staple to the area. They have an incredibly extensive menu that offers something for everyone. The staff is wonderfully helpful and colorfully dressed and the whole atmosphere makes for a really great time. We recommend ordering up one of their “bird bath” margaritas (you can thank us later). We chowed down on an order of their grilled fish tacos served on a corn tortilla with cabbage, white sauce and Pico de Gallo. We also tried the “Ensenada Fish Taco,” which was served in a similar fashion but with a fried white fish. The breading was light and didn’t overpower the wonderfully flaky fish, and it really stole the show. Even the salsa they bring to the table when you sit down is top notch. They cut no corners here and are dedicated to bringing you only the tastiest and healthiest Mexican food around.


Must Have Item: Fresh Cod Taco Best: Place to wear a mustache

The first thing we noticed about Fat Fish was their awesome wrap-around bar with a high wall of tequila that seemed to call our name as soon as we entered. This place has a great vibe, super laid back in the ever-busy Pacific Beach. However, in comparison to some of the other cohorts in the neighborhood of bar-meets-restaurant spots, the food here is leagues above everyone else. They have great outdoor seating, which we feel is crucial in the lovely city of San Diego, and the staff is incredibly helpful and sweet.


Must Have Item: Taco Best: Place to wear a mustache

This spot screams summer time. Located right near the water in Ocean Beach you can smell summer in the air every step of the way. This spot is insanely popular for their fish tacos, and we had heard people raving about it for weeks before we arrived. “You have to try this,” or, “You have to try that.” They’ve got a great bar, killer Taco Tuesday specials, the best view ever, happy hour Monday through Friday and a late night happy hour from 10 pm to close. Their tacos are all made fresh to order, and this place fills up quick, so you best grab yourself a beer and hang out with the best of them while waiting for that fresh fish.


Must Have Item: Taco Best: Place to wear a mustache

La Puerta is the best fish taco downtown. Not only do we love their tacos, but we also love just hanging out in this spot, because it’s that damn cool. Located on 4th avenue in the heart of downtown, La Puerta reminds us of the kind of place Don Quixote would hang out at if he ever came to San Diego. The dark leather booths, natural wood and exposed brick make it feel secretive and special while the long and lovely bar asks you to come in and stay awhile, worship at the altar of tequila.


Must Have Item: Taco Best: Place to wear a mustache

Rudy’s uses Alaskan Pollock in their tacos because of the high quality, texture, flavor and sustainability. He cooks his tacos the same way they do down in Mexico with a light hand batter and hand cook. He keeps it as traditional as he can, and then tops his fish with shredded cabbage, diced tomato and salsa Blanco. The flavors all ring perfectly true to one another and make you feel as if your sitting somewhere on the beaches of Mexico.


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