San Diego is well known for hosting the perfect combination of people, parks, weather, sports and spectacular sunset views. The city – which happens to be located just a hop, skip and a jump from Tijuana, Mexico – is also well known for its food! Unfortunately, unless you have SENTRI or super sneaky stealth tactics for coming and going undetected, heading to the motherland to grab a bite of Mexican food is no longer as quick and easy as in the past. Luckily the thriving Latin community has imported the most magnificent Mexican cuisine to the San Diego side of San Ysidro. So when you happen to be out and about with a hankering for succulent sabor, the following is a list where locals lam for the finest Mexican in San Diego outside of Old Town.
Where: 3946 Illinois St. (North Park)
Description: The folks at El Comal invite you to come and take a taste of Mexican just like moms used to make. With a menu boasting regional specialties and highly recommended margaritas, locals frequent El Comal for that Mexican “mom and pop” family feel.
Where: 3910 30th St. (North Park)
Description: For those that adhere to organic, vegetarian, vegan or even raw diets yet still experience the occasional craving for the mainstream Mexican food of the past need wait no more! Ranchos Cocina takes you back to a time and place where people grew their own food by offering nutritious food made from scratch. Most of the menu can be veganized upon request and it is for this reason that health nuts and foodies flock to Ranchos Cocina.
8: Lucha Libre Gourmet Taco Shop
Where: 1810 W. Washington St. (Mission Hills)
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Founded by three brothers with Mother “B” in the kitchen, this taco shop combines the freshest flavors of food with the vibrant flair of the “freestyle” wrestling tradition from Mexico. Featured on Travel Channel’s “Man vs. Food”, the only thing wimpy about Lucha Libre Gourmet Taco Shop is the prices!
7: El Indio
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Description: As one of the oldest taco shops in town, El Indio has shared a lot of history with San Diego, having been around to feed soldiers and San Diegans since WWII. They even caught the attention of Guy Fieri and the folks of Food Network, furthering their fame on “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” for their taquitos (little tacos) and morditas (little taco bites).
Where: 10th Ave. & Park Blvd. (Downtown)
Description: With eateries all around town, Lolita’s Mexican is has become a staple in San Diego due to their large charitable support of local community and culture. With baseball season and springtime lurking, be sure to mix your Padres wins with Mexican favorites at mouth-watering prices by visiting the lastest location of Lolita’s At The Park.
Where: 947 E. St. (Downtown)
Description: Health fans literally go nuts over the fantastic fresh food fare offered by Pokez. This Mexican themed vegetarian/vegan restaurant is a favorite for the health-conscious folks that need a fresh and friendly alternative to most food found downtown.
4: JV’s Mexican Food
Where: 1112 Morena Blvd. (Linda Vista)
Description: Those looking to stretch their bucks and belts in the same sitting head over to JV’s Mexican Food. The food here is known for being solid and economically appealing to folks looking for a cheap feast.
Where: 639 J St. (Gaslamp, East Village)
Description: This upscale locale caters to fine diners downtown looking for traditional Mexican fare with a touch of flair. Be sure to try one of the 100+ tequilas offered for a true taste of the blue agave based beverage.
Where: 3627 University Ave. (Normal Heights)
Description: With a daily fluctuating menu full of free samples, Super Cocina prides themselves in offering the most unique and varied selection of Mexican food straight from the heartland. True aficionados come to Super Cocina for a treat from the place where Mexicans eat.
Where: 1875 Logan Ave. (Barrio Logan)
Description: The best spot to be in Barrio Logan is Las Cuatro Milpas. This gem has been around for decades providing the most authentic Mexican food in town. Although anxious lunch-goers typically line at least a block, the (presumably lime) juice is definitely worth the squeeze!