There may not be a more ubiquitous food in San Diego than the taco! From taco trucks and beachside stands to high-end taquerias, the options to find authentic, delicious tacos around town are plentiful. So, please don’t wait for Taco Tuesday; get out today and stop by one of our top picks for places to grab one (or three) of these handheld culinary treats.
Built from the idea that food should be a celebration and fresh Mex should be “con sazón!”. City Tacos delivers a fun atmosphere and flavorful tacos consistently. They have six house favorites, including an Ahueva Breakfast Taco, a Mexicali, and a Surf and Turf. In addition to their staples, they offer a Cocito Californiano, which is a cheese-crusted spinach wrap with your choice of protein and is a dish that exemplifies their philosophy to blend the best of both Mexican and American flavors. Having just opened their seventh location (across from Petco Park) in Southern California, we'd say they nailed it.
Insider Tip: Come for the tacos, stay for the Churros! And, stop by on a Tuesday and enjoy 10% off all food.
When your little niño inhales his taco or quesadilla from Galaxy Taco and asks for another, know that the tortilla was made from scratch that very day and indulge him. Chef de Cuisine Christine Rivera feels it's her responsibility to make the tortillas served at Galaxy Taco shine, and she knows that means using non-GMO heirloom corn and serving them fresh every day. The restaurant, a spin-off concept of George's at the Cove in La Jolla, has elevated the taco by taking it back to its roots. Life doesn't get much better than spending the day at the beach and capping it off with a margarita and taco from this La Jolla gem.
2259 Avenida De La Playa
La Jolla, CA 92037
We're not sure how they do it, but we're glad they do—Lola 55 and their top-notch chef Andrew Bent use the highest-quality ingredients and carefully craft their insanely delicious tacos, yet they only charge $3-$4 a pop for each hand-held delight. In addition, the kids' menu offers a healthy dinner of rice, beans, choice of protein or veggie and will leave any tiny-taco lover happy and satisfied. The pork belly Al Pastor is a standout and worth trying.
1290 F Street
San Diego, Ca 92101
This North County resto serves up huge burritos and yummy tacos in a casual, beachside setting. Open all day; you can pop in for a breakfast burrito or huevos rancheros or stop by after a day at the beach and order from their extensive taco menu. Pork belly, garlic shrimp, Bubba's BBQ, carnitas — they've got it all. In addition, their kids' menu features everything from burritos and quesadillas to grilled cheese and bacon dogs.
377 Carlsbad Village Dr.
Carlsbad, Ca 92008
This SoCal chain has multiple locations in southern California, with its flagship in San Diego, featuring bright and colorful decor and a laid-back, hip vibe. Get a plate of chicharrones to start if your kids are adventurous or the Puesto Perfect Guacamole made with Parmigiano Reggiano. The kids' meal is a home run with a quesadilla, avocado, and taco of choice plus specialty drinks like a Puesto Frozen Horchata or Piña-Melón. It's a great spot to go with friends, and their filet mignon taco is magic.
Insider Tip: Add a frozen dessert taco for a few bucks more
789 West Harbor Dr.
San Diego, Ca 92101
1026 Wall St.
La Jolla, Ca 92037
It's the mouth-watering, authentic birria that makes Ed Fernandez a spot that San Diego locals know and love. The restaurant has a simple menu and is only open Wed.-Sun, but If you're in the neighborhood and want to treat your family to an authentic taco experience, stop by for a visit.
2265 Flower Ave
San Diego, Ca
This Old Town staple serves up tacos and more in a vibrant Mexican atmosphere, complete with a courtyard, folk art and even mariachi music, sure to keep your gang entertained until the food arrives. Their extensive menu can satisfy any craving and features everything from chimichangas to ceviche. They also have traditional grilled fish tacos and carne asada tacos. The kids' menu features rolled tacos or grilled chicken tacos. For dessert, try the churros or flan.
4105 Taylor St.
San Diego, Ca 92110
Lucha Libre is a perfect venue for family date night, and it's got killer tacos. The kids will love the wrestling decor and matches play on TV while photos and gear adorn the walls. But it's what's on the inside that counts, and Lucha Libre has got you covered. Their menu includes fresh ingredients and homemade salsas. Popular tacos include the Queso, Surf & Turf, and Classic — all priced under $5.00. Kids menu and "TJ" hot dogs wrapped in bacon are also available.
1810 W. Washington St.
San Diego, Ca 92103
3016 University Ave.
San Diego, Ca 92104
The Taco Stand
You know you're at the right place when the line is consistently out the door and down the street. That's what you'll find at any of The Taco Stand's locations. The popular spot has three locations in San Diego: the original a few blocks from the La Jolla beaches, the second in downtown San Diego, and the newest in the heart of Encinitas. Inspired by the taco stands south of the border, the owners, both originally from Tijuana, created this authentic taco stand to satisfy their cravings and share the goodness of authentic tacos. They've managed to satisfy plenty of San Diegans along the way. The menu boasts a variety of tacos from the Al Pastor to the Mushroom Taco. They also have burritos, quesadillas, and carne asada fries, as well as the kiddos' favorites all-natural paletas (Mexican popsicles).
Insider Tip: The Taco Stand caters and is a great option for a backyard birthday party.
—Aimee Della Bitta & Michelle Franklin