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Favorite Mexican Restaurants in San Diego

Fiesta Flavors!

Given our proximity to the border, it's only natural that San Diego's the place for fantastic Mexican cooking. Find a list of local favorites here!

San Diego's Take on South of the Border Flavors

With Baja right next door, Mexican cuisine has long been a major part of our food culture. These days a fusion of contemporary San Diego and Tijuana cooking styles has led to a unique culinary concept known as Cali-Baja, a blend of California’s zeal for fresh, local ingredients with Mexico’s Baja Med cuisine. While you can still find plenty of places to get your fill of traditional Mexican cooking, you’ll also find an exciting profusion of restaurants devoted to this new food revolution. 

Whatever fare you fancy, taco stands throughout the county offer grab 'n' go dining at appealing prices. For memorable flavors and a fiesta atmosphere, try the following local favorites.

Old Town & Mission Valley

Café Coyote

Savor traditional Mexican food made from authentic fresh ingredients prepared from regional recipes. Relax and select from over 100 tequilas for your fresh frosty margaritas and watch chefs make homemade tortillas the traditional way "a mano" (by hand) to accompany your meal.

Casa Guadalajara

This imaginative menu features traditional and contemporary cuisine, reflecting dishes of the regional villages of Mexico. Signature offerings include award-winning seafood dishes, creative, chipotle chile-inspired entrees and sauces, and guacamole made fresh to order.

Cosmopolitan Hotel and Restaurant

This full-service restaurant and bar, open 7 days a week for lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch, offers a seasonal menu designed to please, attentive service and carefully prepared meals including American Grill, seafood and Mexican-inspired favorites.

Fiesta de Reyes

Here you will find two authentic Mexican restaurants, festive entertainment and a wide variety of shopping opportunities offered by 19 unique specialty shops. The restaurants at Fiesta de Reyes - Casa de Reyes and Barra Barra Saloon - are known for serving some of the best Mexican food and margaritas in San Diego.

Rockin' Baja Coastal Cantina

Enjoy Puerto Nuevo style lobsters that are split open and flash-fried then presented on big platters and served with piping hot flour tortillas, beans and Mexican rice.

Old Town Mexican Café y Cantina

This lively restaurant draws standing room only crowds for ample platters of tender pork carnitas, pitchers of margaritas, combo plates and a happy party-time vibe. While you wait, watch the hard-working "tortilla ladies" making hand-made tortillas at the front windows. Ideal for families and large groups.

Coronado

Beach & Taco Shack at the Hotel Del Coronado

Tacos by the beach are nice. But how about tacos on the beach? That's the big draw of the Hotel Del's Beach & Taco Shack -- besides, of course, the place's menu of something-for-everybody specialties, from the vegan mushroom poblano taco to the chicken tinga, carne asada, red chile pork and carne asada varieties. Nothing quite like tucking into a taco while sticking your toes in the sand.

La Jolla

Puesto

A Cali-Baja cuisine standout, Puesto got its start in La Jolla and now has sister locations in Mission Valley and Downtown (as well as two stands at the Padres' Petco Park). Puesto elevates the Mexican street taco with sustainable meats and seafood, full flavors and fresh organic produce. The menu is rounded out with a contemporary take on entrees and craft cocktails, all served in a prime location along La Jolla's bustling, beach-close Wall Street

The Taco Stand

The frequent lines at The Taco Stand in La Jolla (as well as the restaurant's popular North Park, Downtown and Encinitas locations) are a testament to taco lovers' passion for this place. And you might become a regular, too, once you try such specialties as the spicy camaron, the grilled pescado or the oozing-with-flavor nopal (cactus) taco.

Downtown San Diego and Hillcrest

Ortega's, A Mexican Bistro

A favorite in San Diego's happening Hillcrest neighborhood, Ortega's brings all the flavors of Puerto Nuevo — a Baja fishing village renowned for its lobster specialties — to delighted diners here. The restaurant, whose recipes draw on the legacy of one of Puerto Nuevo's original culinary families, has been talked up by celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay. And with such menu offerings as the signature grilled lobster as well as guacamole prepared right at your table, it's easy to see (and taste) why.

Tequila Bar & Grille - San Diego Marriott Marquis & Marina

An urban spin on the Baja cantina, this hip restaurant attracts hotel guests and locals alike with live music, one of the world's largest selections of tequila and the freshest menu of culinary creations from their highly talented executive chef.

The Blind Burro

Located in Downtown’s East Village neighborhood, The Blind Burro specializes in Cali-Baja takes on Mexican street food favorites, served in an urban-industrial setting with communal tables and a corner-spanning bar showcasing over 100 tequilas, mezcals and spirits.

Lola 55

This go-to spot in downtown's East Village, just a few blocks north of Petco Park, has its share of tried-and-true taco varieties, from carnitas to Baja-style fish. But the place's veggie specialties are something else. Make sure to check out the squash-blossom relleno taco with housemade beet soyrizo, almond "cream cheese," poblano salsa and potato chicharrones; or the cauliflower taco with eggplant “bacon” and avocado mousse.

Gaslamp Quarter

Rockin' Baja Coastal Cantina

Just blocks from the San Diego Convention Center, this cantina offers an array of Mexican specialities, and of course, ice cold Mexican beers and pitchers of frosty margaritas!

Point Loma Peninsula

Coasterra

With stunning views of downtown, this waterfront restaurant on Harbor Island serves Cali-Baja inspired takes on classic Mexican dishes and fresh seafood, along with over 70 labels of agave spirits.

East County San Diego

Casa de Pico

Consistently named one of San Diego's best Mexican dining venues, and one of the 50 Best Mexican Restaurants in the U.S. by Hispanic Magazine, this fabled restaurant brings the romance of Old Mexico to diners, along with award-winning authentic recipes, moderately priced cuisine and colorful surroundings.

North County Coastal

Haggo's Organic Taco

A relative newcomer to the Leucadia neighborhood of Encinitas, Haggo's got some national buzz after Guy Fieri featured the restaurant on the popular TV show "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives," calling its tacos "bordering on gourmet." Their fish and shrimp tacos are bound to be among the best you've tasted, but Haggo's also offers creative vegan and meat options, all centered on local ingredients.

Las Olas

Locals swear by this bustling favorite with the great prices, generous helpings and matchless views of the Cardiff shoreline. (Las Olas, Spanish for "the waves," also has a location in Carlsbad.) Try a grilled fish-taco combo or one of the place's inspired variations on chile rellenos, and match it with a house-made marg.

North County Inland

Ponce's

This spare but stylish place in the Del Sur/4S Ranch community serves everything from traditional combos to mini street tacos and such specialties as the spicy Camarones Ala Diabla. The beverage menu also offers an impressive 14 varieties of margarita.

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