Welcome to the ultimate guide to the Best Mexican restaurants in San Diego! With its vibrant culinary scene and rich Mexican heritage, San Diego is a haven for food enthusiasts seeking authentic and delectable Mexican cuisine. In this article, we will take you on a flavorful journey through the city’s top-notch eateries, where you can savor the finest tacos, enchiladas, and more. From traditional family-owned establishments to trendy modern spots, get ready to indulge your taste buds in the Best Mexican restaurants in San Diego. Let’s dive in!

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Address: 2414 San Diego Ave, San Diego, CA 92110
Phone: +1 (619) 255-2090
Website: tahonabar.com
Details: $$, Bar

Located in San Diego, Tahona is a Mexican restaurant that offers an unforgettable dining experience. Despite being less crowded, the restaurant boasts a dedicated staff, ensuring impeccable service. With only two waiters, they managed to overcome some delays and served delicious food. The menu might not have an extensive selection for picky eaters, but their off-menu quesadillas are a revelation. The guacamole with fried crickets, homemade chicharrones, and chips are simply delectable. Despite being short-staffed, the team at Tahona does an exceptional job.

What sets Tahona apart is its commitment to creativity and the use of locally sourced, fresh ingredients. They have embraced the new trend in Mexican cuisine, where trained chefs craft dishes with flair. Even if you lean towards more traditional Mexican fare, Tahona’s offerings will delight you. Dining here becomes an experience rather than just a meal. The comfortable atmosphere and excellent service contribute to a memorable visit.

From the moment you step into Tahona, you are welcomed with warmth and friendliness. The hostess, Emily, and waiter, Richard, go above and beyond to ensure a fantastic experience. Their recommendations for food and beverages, such as the empanadas and mole flight, are spot-on. The churro s’mores and cheesecake, paired with a shot of their remarkable Pescador de Sueños mezcal, provide a delightful finale. Beyond the exceptional dining experience, Tahona’s owners actively engage in humanitarian efforts, partnering with the non-profit organization Corazon de Vida to support Mexican orphans with shelter, food, and education.

Even if you only have a short window of time, Tahona is worth a visit. During a brief stop in Old Town, the bar staff, led by Carlos, showcased their expertise in mezcal and created extraordinary specialty cocktails. The octopus ceviche, tender and beautifully presented, stands out among their appetizing offerings. Tahona is a restaurant that deserves success, and returning to explore their dinner menu while enjoying Carlos’ company at the bar is highly anticipated.

La Puerta

Address: 560 4th Ave, San Diego, CA 92101-6905
Phone: +1 (619) 696-3466
Website: lapuertasd.com
Details: $$ – $$$, Mexican, Southwestern, Latin

La Puerta, a Mexican restaurant in San Diego, offers a delightful dining experience with its tasty beverages and delicious food. The guacamole is a standout, bursting with flavor, and the pozole is simply amazing. Whether you opt for veggie tacos with cheese or a vegan option, the flavors are outstanding. The menu offers a sampling of everything, including Carne Asada tacos, Pollo asado quesadillas, and a bean and cheese and rice burrito that will impress even the pickiest eater. The bustling atmosphere indicates its popularity, and it’s a place worth returning to.

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For a perfect lunch spot, La Puerta is a must-visit in downtown San Diego. From the moment you’re seated, the friendly and attentive service ensures a pleasant experience. Every dish, from salsas and margaritas to an array of tacos, is packed with delicious flavors. The high-quality ingredients used in their burritos, such as the surf and turf and the California, create a memorable dining experience. The portion sizes are generous, making it a great choice for those with a hearty appetite.

During a visit to San Diego, dining at La Puerta is highly recommended. The servers are friendly and attentive, catering to your needs with a smile. Vegetarian options are readily available, such as potato flautitas and veggie-topped french fries. The quality margaritas complement the delectable food perfectly. With its small and welcoming bar atmosphere, complete with a big TV, La Puerta strikes a balance between lively and comfortable. If you’re in the area, don’t miss the chance to enjoy the fantastic Mexican food, great service, and a unique atmosphere that La Puerta offers.

Puesto La Jolla

Address: 1026 Wall St, La Jolla, CA 92037
Phone: +1 (858) 454-1260
Website: eatpuesto.com
Details: $$$, Mexican restaurant

Puesto La Jolla, a Mexican restaurant in San Diego, offers a dining experience that exceeds expectations. The outstanding tacos are a must-try, and the outdoor seating, complete with heaters, provides a delightful ambiance. The food is simply terrific, and the service is top-notch. The restaurant itself exudes a cool and comfortable vibe, making it an enjoyable place to dine. Their happy hour specials are an added bonus, offering great prices from 3pm to 6pm, Monday to Friday.

Whether it’s your first visit or a repeat one, Puesto La Jolla never disappoints. The food is made with great attention to detail and fresh ingredients, resulting in a fresh and flavorful experience. The variety of tacos, including vegetarian, fish, pork, beef, and chicken options, are all excellent choices. The outdoor seating is perfect for enjoying the wonderful weather, while the indoor space is tastefully designed. The restaurant does get a bit loud, but strategically choosing a seat near the bar can provide a more enjoyable atmosphere.

Puesto La Jolla is a standout restaurant that offers upscale tacos with a mix-and-match concept. Each taco is a winner, and the mushroom taco is particularly memorable. The appetizers and drinks are equally spectacular, leaving nothing to be desired. The dedicated and hardworking staff ensures a pleasant dining experience, even during busy times. Reservations are easily made, and the outdoor patio is accommodating, allowing guests to bring their dogs. With delicious food, friendly service, and a wonderful atmosphere, Puesto La Jolla is a must-visit destination in San Diego.


Address: 880 Harbor Island Dr, San Diego, CA 92101
Phone: +1 (619) 814-1300
Website: cohnrestaurants.com/coasterra
Details: $$$, Mexican restaurant

Coasterra, a Mexican restaurant in San Diego, offers an exceptional dining experience with its stunning views, delicious food, and excellent service. The outdoor seating provides a picturesque setting overlooking the water, while heaters ensure comfort on chilly nights. The menu offers a wide range of options, with highlights including the flavorful salmon and the delectable mussels as a starter. The drinks are well-crafted, and the churros make for a satisfying dessert. The attentive staff creates a welcoming and home-like atmosphere, going above and beyond to cater to guests’ needs.

Visiting Coasterra is a memorable experience that exceeds expectations. The restaurant’s location offers breathtaking city skyline views, and the customer service is top-notch. The food is a true delight, with dishes made with great attention to detail and unique presentation. The fish and rice with beans, as well as the tacos, are particularly exceptional. The cozy outdoor fireplace adds to the ambiance, providing a warm and inviting atmosphere. Whether you’re seeking a casual dining experience or a special occasion celebration, Coasterra is the perfect choice.

Coasterra stands out for its amazing food, friendly staff, and unbeatable views. The flavors are robust, with each dish showcasing a harmonious combination of ingredients. The restaurant offers a great selection of drinks, including refreshing margaritas. The atmosphere is lively and enjoyable, making it a great spot to dine with friends or family. The ample parking is a bonus, making the overall experience even more convenient. From the patio seating with panoramic views to the attentive and efficient service, Coasterra ensures a memorable and satisfying dining experience in San Diego.

Cafe Coyote

Address: 2461 San Diego Ave, San Diego, CA 92110
Phone: +1 (619) 291-4695
Website: cafecoyoteoldtown.com
Details: $$, Restaurant

Cafe Coyote, a Mexican restaurant located in San Diego’s Old Town, offers a memorable dining experience with its delicious food, friendly staff, and authentic atmosphere. The restaurant’s highlight is the tortilla stations, where guests can witness the preparation of freshly made tortillas. The flavorful dishes are cooked to perfection, and the menu offers a unique twist that sets it apart from other Mexican restaurants. The outdoor seating area adds to the enjoyable atmosphere, creating an authentic Mexican ambiance. Cafe Coyote is highly recommended for those seeking a memorable dining experience in San Diego.

The restaurant’s commitment to authenticity shines through in the quality of its food and service. The portions are generous, and the flavors are outstanding. The refried beans are particularly noteworthy, leaving a lasting impression. Despite being a popular spot, the service remains friendly and accommodating. The waitstaff, reminiscent of the warm hospitality found in Mexico, ensures a pleasant dining experience. While the service may not be lightning-fast, it is worth the slight wait, as the delicious food and overall experience are well worth it.

Cafe Coyote is a great choice for both tourists and locals alike. Despite its touristy appearance, the food at Cafe Coyote is genuinely delicious and authentic. From the delightful queso fundido with chorizo to the mouthwatering albondigas soup, every dish is a testament to the restaurant’s commitment to flavor and quality. The friendly server, Maria, adds to the overall positive experience. While the service may not be as fast-paced as some may be accustomed to, the genuine friendliness and helpfulness of the staff make up for it. Cafe Coyote is a must-visit destination for those in search of authentic Mexican cuisine and a true taste of Mexico in San Diego’s Old Town.

Rockin’ Baja Coastal Cantina

Address: 310 Fifth Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
Phone: +1 (619) 234-6333
Website: rockinbaja.com/p-5465-gaslamp-quarter-san-diego.html
Details: $$, Mexican restaurant

Rockin’ Baja Coastal Cantina, located in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter, offers a delightful dining experience with its tasty food, attentive staff, and inviting atmosphere. The menu boasts a variety of dishes that are sure to please every palate. The flavorful rice and beans complement the delectable TJ style street tacos, and the avocado sauce adds a delightful touch. The blood orange rita is a well-balanced and refreshing drink option. Despite being busy during events like Comic-Con, the service remains attentive and efficient, ensuring a quick and enjoyable dining experience.

The restaurant’s prime location on 5th Ave near the San Diego Convention Center makes it a convenient choice for both locals and visitors. The seating options, both indoors and outdoors, provide flexibility and the opportunity to soak up the California sun. The service is impressively fast, with friendly waitstaff promptly taking orders and serving drinks and food within minutes. The extensive menu offers a wide range of options, with the Taco Tres Amigos being a favorite among patrons. Each taco, whether beef, shrimp, or lobster, is expertly seasoned and accompanied by complementary sauces. The reasonable prices make Rockin’ Baja a pocket-friendly choice for a satisfying meal.

The restaurant’s commitment to quality and customer satisfaction is evident in the attention to detail and flavorful offerings. The chips and salsa bar adds a fun element, allowing guests to explore various salsas. The sizzling steak fajitas and burrito tres amigos are standout dishes, delivering amazing flavors. The attentive and friendly waitstaff ensures a pleasant dining experience, making guests feel welcomed and well taken care of. With its inviting decor and excellent service, Rockin’ Baja Coastal Cantina is a must-visit restaurant in San Diego, offering a memorable culinary adventure that keeps guests coming back for more.

Barra Barra Saloon

Address: 4016 Wallace St, San Diego, CA 92110
Phone: +1 (619) 291-3200
Website: barrabarrasaloon.com
Details: $$, Mexican restaurant

Barra Barra Saloon, located in the charming Old Town of San Diego, offers a delightful dining experience with its delicious Mexican cuisine, friendly staff, and inviting atmosphere. The combination plate, featuring a taco, enchilada, and tamale, is a must-try and showcases the restaurant’s commitment to authentic flavors. The meal is accompanied by flavorful rice and beans, and guests are treated to a basket of homemade tortilla chips and two salsas upon being seated. The option to request a table or booth by the fireplace adds a cozy touch, especially on colder days.

The restaurant prides itself on serving authentic Mexican cuisine, and the attentive service provided by the staff enhances the overall dining experience. The knowledgeable waitstaff, like Gillian, are happy to explain the various drink and meal options, ensuring that guests feel welcomed and well-informed. The patio seating offers a lovely setting to enjoy the delicious food, such as the nachos with melt-in-your-mouth carnitas or the oven-roasted relleno with a magical sauce. The margaritas are highly recommended and add a tangy and refreshing touch to the meal.

Barra Barra Saloon stands out as a favorite in Old Town, drawing repeat visitors with its great service, delectable food, and wide selection of drinks. The friendly and efficient staff make guests feel at ease, creating a memorable dining experience. Whether sitting under the shade of a tree on the patio or enjoying the cozy ambience inside, guests can savor the generous portions and flavorsome dishes. From the appetizing sampler platter to the mouthwatering Milanesa de Arrachera, each dish is prepared with care and attention to detail. Barra Barra Saloon is a must-visit destination for those seeking a satisfying and enjoyable Mexican dining experience in San Diego’s Old Town.

Rockin Baja Lobster

Address: 3890 Twiggs St, San Diego, CA 92110
Phone: +1 (619) 260-0305
Website: facebook.com/RockinBajaLobsterOldTown
Details: $$, Californian restaurant

Rockin Baja Lobster, located in Old Town, is a must-visit restaurant known for its great service, flavorful food, and lively atmosphere. The salsa bar is a fun addition to the dining experience and complements the appetizers perfectly. The Thursday seafood/chicken/steak special is a highlight, offering a delectable and satisfying meal. The restaurant’s vibrant ambiance creates a lively atmosphere, although it can be a bit noisy due to the patrons’ enjoyment.

The attentive and friendly staff, like Stina (Chrisrina), go above and beyond to ensure a memorable dining experience. From recommending delicious margaritas to providing excellent service, Stina’s service stands out and adds an extra touch to the visit. The carne asada fries are a standout appetizer, while the tacos and seafood dishes, such as the Warm Lobster Roll, impress with their flavors and generous portions. The staff’s attentiveness and the restaurant’s colorful decor create a welcoming and enjoyable atmosphere for socializing or relaxing.

Rockin Baja Lobster offers an excellent seafood selection, with standout dishes like the seafood platter and blackened fish taco. The attentive waitstaff, like Brendan, contribute to the overall pleasant experience. The fresh chips and salsa, flavorful guacamole, and well-prepared meals highlight the restaurant’s commitment to serving authentic Mexican cuisine. The combination of generous portions, prompt service, and delicious flavors make Rockin Baja Lobster a favorite among locals and visitors alike. It is the perfect spot to enjoy a leisurely meal while taking in the scenic harbor view or to grab a bite after a Padres game.

Casa de Freds Tacos y Tequila

Address: 2470 San Diego Ave, San Diego, CA 92110
Phone: +1 (619) 858-8226
Website: fredsoldtown.com
Details: Mexican restaurant

Casa de Freds Tacos y Tequila, located in Old Town San Diego, offers a great lunch experience with delicious food and flavorful drinks. The chips and salsa are a standout, and the attentive staff, like D and Brandon, provide excellent service. The chicken mole dish is flavorful, although the portion size may be a bit small. The Churro tower is a must-try and the festive decor and large outdoor patio create a fun atmosphere.

The Mexican cuisine at Fred’s is top-notch, with a variety of tacos that hit the spot. The avocado tacos are a favorite, perfectly seasoned with a hint of saltiness, while the carnitas meat offers a satisfying crunch. The margaritas are unique and flavorful, with one featuring Tajin around the rim for an amazing twist. The service is fast and friendly, making the dining experience enjoyable. The restaurant’s cleanliness and reasonable prices add to the overall positive experience.

Casa de Freds is a dog-friendly establishment, providing a welcoming environment for guests. The cocktails and food maintain their high quality over the years, and the restaurant continues to be a go-to spot in Old Town San Diego. Whether enjoying a burrito on the patio or sharing a plate of rolled tacos, the tasty food, friendly staff, and great atmosphere make Casa de Freds a must-visit destination.

Harbor Breakfast

Address: 1502 India St, San Diego, CA 92101
Phone: +1 (619) 450-7926
Website: harborbreakfastsandiego.com
Details: $$, Breakfast restaurant

Harbor Breakfast, located in the heart of Little Italy, is a cozy and welcoming spot for a delicious breakfast. The staff is friendly and attentive, providing excellent service. The menu offers a variety of options, including omelettes, eggs benedict, and specialties like beet and sweet potato hash. The portions are generous, satisfying even the heartiest of appetites.

Whether you choose to sit indoors or enjoy the outdoor seating, Harbor Breakfast creates a warm and inviting atmosphere. Regulars frequent the restaurant, a testament to its quality and popularity. The coffee flows constantly, providing a comforting start to the day. The food is prepared with care, cooked to perfection, and seasoned just right. Dishes like chilaquiles, torizo omelettes, and lobster benedict are highlights on the menu.

The overall experience at Harbor Breakfast is top-notch. With its central location, friendly service, and delectable food, it’s a must-visit destination in San Diego. The cozy ambiance, attention to detail, and consistently great breakfast offerings make it a favorite among locals and visitors alike.

The Amigo Spot

Address: 1333 Hotel Cir S, San Diego, CA 92108
Phone: +1 (619) 297-2231
Website: amigospotsandiego.com
Details: $$, Mexican restaurant

The Amigo Spot, located inside the Kings Inn Hotel, is a delightful Mexican restaurant that offers a warm and friendly dining experience. The staff is attentive, providing excellent service with a smile. The atmosphere is inviting, whether you choose to dine in person or enjoy a takeout meal in your room. The menu boasts a variety of delicious options, including deep-fried ice cream, dessert chimichangas, and mouthwatering dishes like the macho burrito and carne asada plate.

The food at The Amigo Spot is flavorful and made with care, giving a homemade feel to each dish. The portions are generous, ensuring you leave satisfied. The restaurant offers good value for your money, with reasonable prices and great portion sizes. The salsa is fresh and pairs perfectly with the homemade chips, and the handmade margaritas are a must-try.

Located conveniently near the interstate, The Amigo Spot welcomes guests with a friendly smile and prompt service. Families and adults alike can enjoy the lively atmosphere, which often includes live music. If you’re staying at the Kings Inn, be sure to take advantage of the special discount available to hotel guests. Whether you’re seeking a delicious meal or a refreshing drink, The Amigo Spot is the perfect spot to indulge in authentic Mexican cuisine.

Baja Beach Cafe

Address: 701 Thomas Ave, San Diego, CA 92109
Phone: +1 (858) 230-6315
Website: bajabeachcafe.com
Details: Mexican restaurant

Baja Beach Cafe, located on the Pacific Beach boardwalk, offers a fantastic dining experience with its great location and lively outdoor area. It’s the perfect spot to enjoy a breathtaking sunset and soak in the lively atmosphere while indulging in delicious food. The menu features standout items such as the mouthwatering fish tacos and the boardwalk brie, which has been hailed as the best hamburger by a satisfied customer. The food is flavorful and satisfying, leaving guests craving for more.

The staff at Baja Beach Cafe is friendly and attentive, providing excellent service that enhances the overall dining experience. Visitors appreciate the positive and helpful attitude of the waitstaff, making them feel welcomed and valued. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, the restaurant exudes a fun and relaxed vibe, and the two-for-one drink specials add to the enjoyment. You can choose to sit inside or outside, allowing you to take in the beautiful views of the beach and enjoy people-watching.

The Baja Beach Cafe is not just known for its food and atmosphere, but also for its extensive drink menu, particularly the margaritas. With numerous options to choose from, including refreshing chilled margaritas, guests are in for a delightful treat. The restaurant is highly recommended for its excellent food, chilled margaritas, live music, and stunning beach views. It’s a must-visit spot for anyone looking to have a memorable dining experience in Pacific Beach.

Jimmy Carter’s Mexican Cafe

Address: 3172 Fifth Ave, San Diego, CA 92103
Phone: +1 (619) 295-2070
Website: Jimmycartersmexicancafe.com
Details: $$, Mexican restaurant

Jimmy Carter’s Mexican Cafe, situated near Balboa Park, offers a delightful dining experience with its friendly staff and authentic Mexican cuisine. Whether you visit for breakfast or dinner, you can expect delicious food and quick, friendly service. The menu features a variety of mouthwatering dishes, such as scramble, omelet, taco salad, and Chile Relleno, all prepared with care and served at reasonable prices. The flavors are authentic, and the portions are generous, leaving guests satisfied and eager to return.

The atmosphere at Jimmy Carter’s is warm and inviting, with colorful decor that reflects the Mexican heritage. The restaurant has a laid-back and quaint ambiance, making it an ideal spot for a relaxing meal. The staff, while nonchalant, is pleasant and attentive, ensuring that guests have a positive dining experience. The complimentary chips and flavorful salsa add to the overall enjoyment of the meal. Whether you’re sitting inside or outside, you’ll be treated to friendly service and a taste of Mexico.

Jimmy Carter’s Mexican Cafe has become a beloved local spot over its 25-year history. It’s a hidden gem away from the busy streets of San Diego, offering genuine Mexican cuisine that stands out from TexMex options. The dishes, such as the pork Tlaquepaque and shrimp tacos, are flavorful and satisfying. The restaurant’s commitment to customer satisfaction is evident through their accommodating approach, allowing guests to bring their dogs and ensuring that all requests are met. With its authentic flavors, friendly service, and affordable prices, Jimmy Carter’s Mexican Cafe is a must-visit destination for those seeking a memorable dining experience in San Diego.

Mariscos El Pulpo

Address: 415 Market St, San Diego, CA 92101
Phone: +1 (619) 795-8570
Website: elpulposd.com
Details: $$, Mexican restaurant

Mariscos El Pulpo, located in downtown San Diego, offers an excellent dining experience with its friendly staff, vibrant atmosphere, and delicious seafood menu. Whether you’re in the mood for tacos or ceviche, this restaurant has it all. The Chipotle shrimp taco and fried fish taco are particularly noteworthy, delivering exceptional flavors that will leave you craving more. The variety of seafood tacos available, each with their own unique toppings, ensures a delightful culinary adventure.

The atmosphere at Mariscos El Pulpo is fun and inviting, making it a perfect spot for a late dinner in the Gaslamp district. The restaurant offers both indoor and outdoor seating, with a lively bar area where you can enjoy drinks while watching the talented chefs prepare your meal. The prices are reasonable, and the portions are generous, offering great value for money. The friendly staff adds to the overall experience, providing fast and attentive service with a welcoming attitude.

The food at Mariscos El Pulpo is exceptional, with fresh and tasty Mexican seafood dishes that are sure to impress. From the outstanding oysters to the flavorful fish tacos and lobster bites, every bite is a culinary delight. The menu is moderately sized, focusing on their specialties and ensuring high-quality preparations. The knowledgeable and friendly waitstaff, including a spectacularly beautiful waitress, enhance the dining experience and make great recommendations.

Mariscos El Pulpo is a hidden gem that exceeds expectations with its mouthwatering seafood, prompt service, and family-friendly atmosphere. The restaurant’s dedication to serving delicious dishes at reasonable prices makes it a must-visit spot for seafood lovers in San Diego. Whether you’re craving fish tacos, ceviche, or cheladas, this place will satisfy your appetite and leave you wanting to return for more.

San Diego is a city known for its vibrant culinary scene, and when it comes to Mexican cuisine, it truly shines. From the delicious street tacos to the flavorful seafood dishes, the city offers a plethora of options for Mexican food enthusiasts. Whether you’re in the mood for traditional favorites or innovative twists on classic dishes, the best Mexican restaurants in San Diego deliver outstanding flavors and memorable dining experiences. So, next time you find yourself in America’s Finest City, be sure to explore these culinary gems and indulge in the rich and diverse flavors of Mexican cuisine.