Mexican food in San Diego is readily available everywhere. And with California having been part of Mexico up until less than 200 years ago, you know you can’t go wrong when looking for a place to enjoy Mexico’s scrumptious dishes! So if you’ve already had your fill of Italian restaurants or French bistros, and you’re looking for a fix of tacos, barbacoa, and more, make sure to check out these 11 incredible Mexican restaurants around San Diego.
1. Aqui es Texcoco
This Mexican restaurant specializes in lamb “barbacoa” as an homage to Texcoco, the Mexican region considered to be the birthplace of barbacoa–lamb covered in maguey leaves and slow-roasted for hours. Make sure to wear your stretchy pants when you visit Texcoco. This spot serves family-style dishes featuring loin, rib meat, as well as Cabeza, sesos, and pancita (tripe), with a complimentary cup of seasoned lamb broth to dip into!
📍 520 Broadway, Chula Vista
2. El Indio
This Mission Hills landmark has been serving some of the best Mexican food in San Diego for over 80 years now. El Indio is known for its taquitos, which many say they invented. These crispy rolled tacos come in several flavors, including beef, chicken, and potato topped with guacamole and cheese. They have plenty of other delicious dishes to try, like burritos, chimichangas, enchiladas, tamales, and quesadillas!
📍 3695 India S, San Diego
3. Café Coyote
If you’re looking for some excellent margaritas to pair with your food, then your best bet is to head over to Café Coyote in Old Town. This popular San Diego spot serves giant, freshly-made margaritas alongside overflowing plates of burritos, tacos, and other incredible Mexican antojitos. Café Coyote offers more than 20 different margaritas, including spicy watermelon, pineapple-chipotle, and a Chamoy sauce one in a Tajin Rim Glass topped with a Tamarind Chile Treat.
📍 2461 San Diego Ave.
4. Puesto Mexican Bar & Kitchen
Puesto Mexican Bar & Kitchen serves up some of the best Mexican food in the city. We love their delectable mango shrimp ceviche, which we recommend you eat on their beautiful outdoor patio. Their artisanal blue corn tortillas are fantastic and really elevate their tacos. You also have to have one of their refreshing Agua Frescas.
📍 Multiple locations
5. Tacos El Gordo
This Tijuana-inspired taquería is best known for its wide variety of street tacos and meats. At Tacos El Gordo you’ll find plenty of tempting taco options all the way from adobada (spiced pork) to cabeza (head) and buche (stomach). At this popular eatery, you’ll also find other Mexican traditional dishes including tostadas, mulas, and decadent fries loaded with your favorite choice of meat, cheese, and other fresh toppings. Yum!
📍 689 H St, Chula Vista
6. Fernandez Restaurant
At Fernandez restaurant, you’ll find some of the best birria or Mexican beef stew this side of the border. Their famous dish is cooked overnight to let the beef, chiles, and spices create a flavorful and hearty stew that pairs perfectly with warm corn tortillas. The staff provides excellent customer service, and they’ll answer any questions you might have about the menu.
📍 2265 Flower Ave # D, San Diego
7. The Taco Stand
This incredible spot has multiple spots across the city, and all its tortillas, guacamole, and salsas are freshly made daily. Plus, it opens at 9 am, so if you wake up craving something extra tasty, make sure to check out TacoStand’s killer breakfast burritos!
📍 Multiple locations
8. Lola 55
This spot serves some modern yet traditional-inspired dishes. Tacos steal the show at Lola 55 with their juicy filet mignon tacos with avocado mousse, smoky pasilla salsa, crispy leeks, and jalapeño tornado. Other tasty filling options include achiote pork belly, local fish–stuffed jalapeño, and housemade vegetarian beet soyrizo.
📍 1290 F St, San Diego 📍 7720 El Camino Real Carlsbad
Located in the heart of Old Town, Tahona is San Diego’s best mezcalería. The more than 120 mezcal kinds and dozens of cocktail options steal the show. Still, this incredible restaurant offers tasty Oaxacan-inspired dishes like quesabirria tacos (beef barbacoa, Oaxacan cheese, cilantro, onion, and tomatillo salsa) and decadent churros’ moress made with sugar-coated cinnamon churros, chocolate ganache, marshmallow fluff!
📍 2414 San Diego Ave.
10. TJ Oyster Bar, Bonita
TJ Oyster Bar’s name might be a bit confusing, but it offers some seafood options in the best style of Baja. At TJ’s, you’ll find tostadas piled high with mouthwatering ceviche and agua chiles, and tacos loaded up with fried fish, smoked tuna, garlic shrimp, octopus, and stingray. Wash it all down with a michelada, margarita, or a Mexican beer for a totally awesome meal.
📍 4246 Bonita Rd, Bonita
11. Las Cuatro Milpas
The no-frills taquería has a small but mighty menu of traditional Mexican dishes so popular that you can always find a huge line outside. The cash-only Barrio Logan spot is famous for its carnitas and is open Monday through Saturday until 3 pm.
📍 1857 Logan Ave, San Diego
12. La Doña
Located in Pacific Beach is owned by Tijuana-native Chef Gabby Lopez who cooks an abundance of Tijuana-style Mexican dishes like their Tacos de Camarones, spicy agauchile, and more. One of their specialty dishes like Molcajete el Patron with carne asada, pollo asado, shrimp, chorizo, and salchicha picosa in a chipotle sauce topped with queso panella, nopales, chile guerro, and green onion. It’s served sizzling in a traditional Mexican molcajete with tortillas, rice, and beans.
📍1852 Bacon St, San Diego