San Diego has some of the best Mexican spots north of the border. When I first moved to San Diego and tried Mexican here for the first time, it was a revelation. Had I even really had Mexican cuisine before?
The best thing about the Mexican food out here is that you can find some of the best spots in unexpected places. There are great taco stands, sit-down restaurants, hole-in-the-wall dives, and fast-food style places all throughout San Diego with great food. That being said, we of course have our favorites. Here are our top 10 Mexican restaurants in San Diego.
For those looking for a sit-down restaurant experience in La Jolla or San Diego, Puesto is a great choice. This is one of our favorite spots not only because it’s so close to our shop, but because the food is awesome. I’d recommend grabbing some Puesto Perfect guac and a drink before getting the carnitas plate. But you really can’t go wrong here!
University Heights is pretty easy to access from any part of the city, and El Zarape is a great Mexican spot. It’s definitely more of a dive, but it is easily one of my favorites. The menu is huge here, so I’ll narrow it down for you. The best thing to get is hands down the Zarape burrito. The fried and grilled fish tacos are both great and cheap. After that, I’d go with a classic like the carne asada burrito or a chile relleno burrito.
Another La Jolla favorite, the taco stand has been serving up street tacos and burritos since 2013. This place does counter service, so it’s quick and delicious. Choose a bunch of different tacos, or go all in on a huge burrito. My favorites here are the grilled fish taco and the pollo asado.
Street Mexican food in a relaxed environment right next to the ballpark. Lolita’s is a very popular place to go before and after Padres games. They serve up mostly Baja style Mexican. Go here and get their carne asada fries. Yes they’re terrible for you, but it’s vacation!
This 24 hour grab and go style shop is one my favorites in all of San Diego. I used to live right down the street from it, and would’ve eaten it everyday if I had a faster metabolism. I’d recommend grabbing their burritos here, or, go with the carne asada fries again. Awesome, late night junk food.
Music, tequila, and tacos in the capital of San Diego’s nightlife. This Gaslamp spot has a really fun vibe and great food. I’d get a variety of street tacos here and grab a few margaritas. Afterward, go enjoy Gaslamp!
A bit off the beaten path, this is definitely a spot that locals in the know frequent. La Fachada is a converted taco truck that now is stationed in Logan Heights. They serve up super cheap and delicious Tijuana style Mexican. They also offer a great variety of breakfast burritos, so you can really go here any time of day. Morning, noon, or night, I’m always getting the the chorizo burrito here.
Another great sit down place in the Hillcrest neighborhood of San Diego. Of course, they serve up the usual fare of carne asada burritos, tacos, and other Mexican dishes you would expect. They also serve a TJ dog (TJ is the locals term for Tijuana) which is a beef hot dog wrapped in bacon topped with peppers and onions. It’s a Baja classic, don’t skip it!
If you find yourself in Old Town, Cafe Coyote is king. And, also, it’s really hard to miss because it’s the place with the ladies in the windows makeing fresh, light, and fluffy tortillas. I like coming here for happy hour if I’m in the area because they make a solid margarita for a great price.
Finally, for another beachside experience, check out Oscar’s. They have a huge variety of fish tacos that are served hot, fresh, and juicy. Plus, you’re right in the middle of Pacific Beach, so go on a digestive boardwalk stroll afterwards and enjoy the sunset.
So there you have it! Our favorite Mexican places over at San Diego Fly Rides! Let us know if you love some spots we missed! Cheers!
Author: Scott Nickley
Scott Nickley is a writer, actor, cyclist, runner, and cafe loiterer living in Los Angeles. You can find his work on the Fly Rides website and find him in the flesh following all cycling laws in your nearest bike lane.