arrow-down arrow-left arrow-right arrow-up play-button plus tab-indicator dots close menu search facebook google-plus instagram pinterest rss twitter youtube rss-two heart Check FeaturedBadge linkedin minus apps placeholder linkedin

Cross-Border Cuisine

Cali-Baja dishes delight

San Diego sits at the intersection of California and Baja, Mexico and when these two regions known for exquisite cuisine collaborate, great things happen. 

Cali-Baja cuisine, unique to San Diego, combines the best of both worlds by infusing fresh seafood, local produce, cooking techniques and cultural influences to dishes drawing inspiration from both sides of the border. The region’s cuisine has evolved to a point where the influence of the border, its culture, ingredients, and traditions inform nearly all parts of the dining and drinking scene. From wine to mezcal, tacos to noodles, the international flair of San Diego’s dining scene reflects its unique position on la frontera. Here’s where you can sample it, from casual, walk-up eats to modern, sit-down patios.

Barrio Dogg

Billed as “Chicano comfort food,” this walk-up spot in Barrio Logan offers several international takes on the humble hotdog, each combined with “the comfort of Nana’s kitchen.” Take La Havana, a hot dog version of a Cubano sandwich with melted Manchego cheese, pulled pork, mustard and pickles. Or the Bombero, made with seven distinct chiles and a habanero carrot salsa. With local art and artifacts representative of the neighborhood’s thriving low-rider and classic car culture (the local beer taps are bookended by tires) Barrio Dogg’s expanding footprint in the area now includes a larger sit-down taproom, which has become central to the neighborhood’s food, nightlife and cultural scene.

Border X Brewing

San Diego’s sole 100 percent Latino-owned brewery, Border X quite literally brings the flavors of Mexico to the San Diego region, by way of Barrio Logan, the city’s hub of Chicano culture. Brothers David and Marcelino Favela left corporate jobs to follow dreams of opening a brewery, featuring classic Mexican flavors in brews like the Horchata Golden Stout, Abuelita’s Chocolate Stout and the Blood Saison which was inspired by the traditional drink Jamaica.

Galaxy Taco

After years at the helm of George’s California Modern, one of San Diego’s most cherished fine dining restaurants, chef Trey Foshee was inspired by one of the godfathers of Mexican cuisine in the U.S., John Sedlar, to open a taco spot. Foshee said, “My goal is to translate my appreciation of Mexican food through a San Diego lens. This is a culture we share a border with, and it has been the backbone of our restaurant and agricultural industries.” He uses nixtamalized heirloom blue corn to make the masa for the house tortillas and regularly hosts local chefs for “taco throwdown” competitions, where the evening’s patrons pick the winner.

Puesto

What started as a walk-up taco shop in La Jolla is now one of the city’s most colorful and surprising restaurant experiences. The owners’ Mexican and Italian heritage combine for dishes like guacamole with parmigiano reggiano as a garnish, and crostinis topped with Mexican ingredients. Their tacos come with a now-famous layer of fried cheese lining the tortilla. Among the most famous is a vegan option: soyrizo garnished with chilies and pineapple salsa. Street-art style murals by artist Chor Boogie cover the walls and the downtown location’s large patio spills out onto a twinkle-lit courtyard.

Tahona

Old Town’s new standout Tahona serves Mexican dishes in a modern way. Inspired by Oaxacan traditions and ingredients, the French-born, American-educated owners also added a Mezcal tasting room to the airy, high-design dining room. Their mission? “To educate and give reverence to the complexity and beauty of the Mexican culture through its most iconic beverage, mezcal and to become an epicenter of mezcal culture in San Diego.” With more than 100 mezcals available and a menu filled with moles, barbacoa and of course tacos, it’s a fresh, bright spot to get a taste the cross-border culture in San Diego’s Old Town.

Find a place to stay

Book online or call 1-800-350-6205 to speak with a local expert

Related Articles and Features

Deals just for you

Accommodation

Welcome Back To Island Palms Offer!

Best Western Plus Island Palms Hotel & Marina
Valid: Jun 30 - ongoing

Brighter days are just around the corner, and we are sure you are eagerly awaiting your next escape. Plan ahead now that we are re-opened, with this special offer for travel dates from now through...

Accommodation

Dreaming Of The Days Inn Offer

Days Inn By Wyndham San Diego Hotel Circle
Valid: Jun 30 - ongoing

Dreaming of a lazy summer getaway or a reason to get out of the house? We've got you covered. With our Dreaming Of The Days offer, we've got rates from $69 including free nightly parking. When you're...

Accommodation

Getaway To Holiday Inn Bayside Offer

Holiday Inn San Diego Bayside
Valid: Jun 30 - ongoing

Our Getaway Package is waiting for you when the time is right and you need a change of scenery! Book this package to include everything you need – a clean and comfortable room, daily breakfast,...

Events to check out

Event

Supergirl Surf Pro

Aug 14 - Aug 16, 2020

The world’s top professional female surfers are back in Oceanside, CA for the 13th Supergirl Surf Pro, a 3-day event August 14-16, 2020. The weekend will be jam-packed with world-class...

Event

Bike the Bay

Aug 23, 2020

Experience Bike the Bay, a scenic bayside ride, and also enjoy a rare opportunity to ride over the San Diego-Coronado Bay Bridge.

Event

USA Ultimate National Championships

Oct 22 - Oct 25, 2020

The USA Ultimate National Championships represent the pinnacle of elite ultimate in North America and crowns champions in three divisions: men’s, mixed and women’s. 

Stay in touch

Sign up to receive the latest news, events, and updates about San Diego. Our monthly and weekly newsletters will keep you informed about the latest and greatest happenings in the destination.

Sign Up

Visitor planning guide

For the ultimate guide to planning your San Diego vacation, view and download the San Diego Visitor Planning Guide, packed with useful information that will help you plan the perfect San Diego getaway.

Read More

Partners

Explore

Plan

Stay

Follow Us

Language:

English | Change Language

Select your country or region

China FlagChinaGermany FlagGermanyGreat Britain FlagGreat BritainJapan FlagJapanMexico FlagMexicoKorea FlagKoreaSwitzerland FlagSwitzerlandBrazil FlagBrazilFrance FlagFranceAustralia FlagAustraliaCanada FlagCanada USA

Or use Google Translate

Afrikaans Albanian Arabic Belarusian Bulgarian Catalan Croatian Czech Danish Deutsch Español Estonian Filipino Finnish Francais Galician Greek Haitian-Creole Hebrew Hindi Hungarian Icelandic Indonesian Irish Italian Japanese Korean Latvian Lithuanian Macedonian Malay Maltese Nederlands Norwegian Persian Polish Portuguese Romanian Russian Serbian Slovak Slovenian Swahili Swedish Telugu Thai Turkish Ukranian Vietnamese Welsh Yiddish