For tourists and locals alike, tacos are often a quintessential San Diego experience. From fresh-off the water fish tacos to traditional Tijuana street faire, San Diego has something to offer for everyone. Here is a list of my personal favorite tacos in the area during my time as a student at UCSD. If I’m missing your favorite, be sure to let us know!
- FOR a big group: The taco Stand
The Taco Stand is a result of the restaurant group’s love for Tijuana style street tacos. With a wide range of traditional meats, vegetarian fillings, and handmade tortillas and salsas, this La Jolla based chain has something for your whole group. My personal favorites are the Al Pastor with bright pineapple, and the carne asada with a whopping scoop of guacamole.
- For Just off the beach: oscar’s Mexican Seafood
My first trip to Oscar’s Mexican Seafood felt straight out of a movie: 15 feet from the sands of Pacific Beach, many guests were sans footwear, with sandy feet and a nice tan from time in the sun. Oscar’s is the perfect choice for when you’re just off the water and craving a good meal, or take it to go for a beach picnic! I can’t leave without a classic baja fish taco, and don’t forget the shrimp ceviche!
- For something a little Upscale: Puesto
Although San Diego is filled with humble stands and hole-in-the-wall taco joints, sometimes you crave something with a little more finesse. Casually elegant but not stuffy, Puesto’s many locations across San Diego are a great place for a celebratory dinner or date night. My favorites are the filet mignon taco and the chicken al pastor taco, with an order of guacamole to start.
- FOR THE FRESHEST CATCH: MITCH’S SEAFOOD
With its location directly on the water, overlooking the fishing boats of Shelter Island, it’s no question that Mitch’s Seafood is as fresh as can be. Run by local fishermen, Mitch’s serves up sustainable catch from the San Diego waters in their tacos, among other amazing dishes. My advice is to pick whatever is fresh on the blackboard that day, and get it grilled up in some tacos.
- FOR THE CLASSIC RECIPE: 664 TJ BIRRIERIA
A Tijuana tradition, 664 TJ Birrieria specializes in one dish: birria de res, a beef dish stewed for hours in a rich blend of red chiles. You can get their classic birria in a variety of forms: tacos, quesadillas, madrazos, or the stew on its own. My go-to order is the quesabirria, a corn flour taco oozing with melted cheese. Oh, and don’t forget a side of consommé, the rich chile broth, for dipping!