If your Cinco de Mayo celebration includes making yet another quesadilla at home, you may want to spice things up this year by treating the family to a meal out at one of San Diego’s best Mexican restaurants. We found some great dining spots that are kid-friendly and delicious. So get your margarita order ready, order a side of guacamole and start celebrating!

IMG_9979Photo: Shannon Reed 

Fidel’s Little Mexico
This longstanding San Diego establishment started as a taco shop and has not stopped growing for more than 50 years. Kids will love the restaurant’s maze-like layout. Everywhere you look there is a different room or nook where seating is available. The energy is vibrant and the Mariachi bands offer great entertainment or noise cover if a bambino happens to have an outburst (not yours, of course). The service is fast and the endless chips and salsa will surely keep the kiddos entertained so you can kick back for a minute or two. And Fidel’s has a Reader’s Choice Award as “Best Family Restaurant.” If that isn’t an invitation to bring your clan in, we don’t know what is.

749 Genevieve St.
Solana Beach, Ca 92075
858-755-5292
Online: fidelslittlemexico.com

Tio Leo’s Mexican Restaurant
This locally-owned restaurant really caters to little ones and their parents. Immediately upon being seated, your kiddo is given their own coloring sheet and crayons right along with the chips and salsa. The kids menu has classic Mexican offerings like tacos and burritos. But there’s also burgers and chicken strips for the traditionalists. And each meal comes with a juice box. The standard menu has many options which also includes a “Lighter Fare” section, and for those of age, the margaritas are delicious. Be sure to check the website before you go for a list of special deals that are  offered each day.

5302 Napa St.
San Diego, Ca 92110
619-542-1462

3510 Valley Centre Dr.
San Diego, Ca 92130
858-350-1468

6333 Mission Gorge Rd.
San Diego, Ca 92120
619-280-9944

Online: tioleos.com

mex foodPhoto: Leah Singer

Ponce’s Mexican Restaurant
Upon walking into this funky little eatery, you and your niños will be taken with the colorful walls that are covered in beautiful paintings and decorations. The vibe is eclectic and the patrons are laid back, even the ones with kiddos in tow.  Everything on the kids meal is just $5.95 and ranges from tacos to cheeseburgers. Parents can enjoy your sangria and chips and guacamole, while your little ones color their menus and take in the lively, hip atmosphere.

Insider’s Tip: Ponce’s can get pretty busy, so plan to arrive on the early side to avoid the crowds and enjoy the happy hour drink and taco specials.

4050 Adams Ave.
San Diego, Ca 92116
619-282-4413
Online: poncesrestaurant.com

Casa Guadalajara
This quintessential Mexican restaurant has everything you would expect from a place located right in the heart of Old Town. From the colorful decor to the traditional costumes worn by the waitstaff to the Mariachi bands, your little ones will be enthralled from the get-go. The kids menu has all the usual suspects like quesadillas and tacos but also includes choices like fish and chicken strips. Each meal is about $5.95 and includes beans, rice and fresh fruit. If the weather is nice, be sure to sit in the beautiful courtyard or garden area. Here the breezy, relaxing atmosphere will make you feel as though you are on vacation, even for just a few moments.

4105 Taylor St.
San Diego, Ca 92110
619-295-5111
Online: casaguadalajara.com

IMG_9825Photo: Shannon Reed

Cenote Grill
Located in Escondido, this little gem of a restaurant may be a bit out of the way for some, but it’s well worth the drive. The food is outstanding and even though it’s not expansive, it’s a great spot to take the kiddos. Each little one is given their own coloring sheet, crayons and water cups with lids right when seated. The kitchen is open to the restaurant, which provides entertainment for curious kiddos (especially if you have to wait a few minutes for a table). All the items on the kids menu are $4.95 and come with a drink, black or pinto beans and brown Spanish rice. The service is fast and friendly, and the employees are very accommodating. This is a restaurant where you can enjoy high quality food at a reasonable price and feel comfortable bringing the little ones along!

1896 W El Norte Pkwy.
Escondido, Ca 92026
760-740-9911
Online: cenotegrill.com

What is your family’s favorite San Diego Mexican restaurant? Tell us in the Comments below!

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— Shannon Reed