These 4 Neighborhoods Have the Best Tacos in San Diego

San Diego is more than beaches and beautiful weather year-round. It’s also a foodie’s dream, with a dining scene just as diverse as the people who live in the city’s dozens of neighborhoods.

Downtown San Diego hovers less than a half-hour from the America-Mexico border, which has supplied the city with its special mix of music, culture, and food. Among all of San Diego’s cuisine options, tacos reign supreme and have come to be this border city’s claim to fame. For the most diehard taco fans, here are the neighborhoods boasting the best tacos in San Diego.

Pacific Beach

Pacific Beach San Diego
Pacific Beach San Diego / Photo by SD Dirk / CC BY

Sandwiched between Mission Beach to the south and La Jolla to the north, Pacific Beach—or PB among locals—has a bit of a reputation. Notable for its fun-time attitude, there’s always something going on in PB. During the day, it’s swimming, surfing, and sunbathing along the Pacific; at sunset, it’s frequenting the shops and restaurants lining the boardwalk and alleyways. PB’s taco scene, with many spots staying open late, is impossible to ignore. 

Spots to check out:

  • Tacos Mimi: This shop is notable for its colorful murals and long list of meat and vegetarian tacos.
  • Pueblo: Pueblo puts a fine-dining twist on tacos with the restaurant’s hip rooftop seating—complete with ocean views and elevated Mexican cuisine.
  • La Playa Taco: This little hole in the wall is what we all think of when someone says taco shop. They’ve got all the classics, and they do them well.

City Heights

City Heights San Diego
City Heights San Diego 

City Heights is well known for being one of San Diego’s major melting pots. Along with the plentiful eating establishments dishing out authentic Vietnamese, Chinese, and Thai, you’ll also find legit Latin flavors. While City Heights is at times underrated, it’s full of life and gems hidden in its hilly terrain.

Spots to check out:

  • Tacos El Panson: Tacos El Panson is what you want in your neighborhood taco shop. It’s home of $2 tacos on homemade corn or flour tortillas.
  • Mariscos Alex: Don’t be dissuaded by the long line or its permanent spot in a gas station parking lot: This food truck is serving up hot and fresh seafood tacos and other seafood standards like ceviche.
  • La Barbacoa Autentica De Borrego: The seating at this taqueria consists of plastic tables set up inside of the Candy Land Minimart (only open on weekends), but their lamb tacos draw people from all over the city.

North Park

North Park San Diego
North Park San Diego / Photo by Visitor7 / CC BY-SA

If you split the difference between Downtown and La Mesa you’ll find yourself in North Park. With easy access to the 805 and 94 freeways, this centrally located and super walkable neighborhood has a strong but likable personality.

It’s a hipster haven brimming with music venues of all shapes and sizes, coffee shops proudly brewing fair trade coffee, and an eclectic bunch of boutiques and bookshops. Also woven into North Park’s distinct fabric are several taco shops favored by residents from all over the city. 

Spots to check out:

  • El Comal: OK, El Comal isn’t actually a taco shop; it’s more of a sit-down Mexican place. But they are a local staple that’s been serving up classics like barbacoa de chivo (barbecued goat) and menudo since 2001.
  • City Tacos: This small but lively taco joint is famous for serving up traditional street-style tacos with their own little twist. Start with the Mexicali taco.
  • The Taco Stand: If you’re looking for five-star dining, skip this humble taco shop that serves up food in red baskets lined with white paper. But their tacos are something to write home about, especially the al pastor pork tacos. 

Barrio Logan

Chicano Park San Diego
Chicano Park San Diego / Photo by paul.wasneski / CC0

Just outside of East Village to the south, Barrio Logan is highly concentrated with tacos spots ranging from the traditional to off-the-wall with plenty of other interpretations in between. Beyond just Mexican food, Barrio Logan is full of Latin culture with several art galleries highlighting artists from this neighborhood and places like the mural-laden Chicano Park.

Spots to check out:

  • Salud: Don’t be surprised if you find a line out the door here. This popular spot offers over a dozen tacos and is one of San Diego’s most vegetarian-friendly taco stops.
  • Las Cuatro Milpas: This is the OG taco shop that was opened in 1933. They serve up only the most authentic classics made with abuela-approved techniques.
  • El Carrito Cocina Mexican: Located just a block from Chicano Park, this kitschy restaurant is a new addition to the neighborhood that’s quickly become a favorite for their large huevos rancheros menu.
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