The Top 10 Taco Spots in San Diego
If there’s any statement that’s objectively true, it may just be, “Everybody loves tacos.” They’re crispy, savory, juicy, utterly satisfying, and come in a dizzying number of varieties. San Diego’s most famous dish might be one of the most perfect foods ever devised.
Thanks in part to this universal adoration (as well as San Diego’s close proximity to the border), it’s hard to imagine the city’s culinary scene without tacos. So we’ve spent some time staking out our absolute favorites to share with you.
Read on for what we feel are some of the best tacos in San Diego.
SANDBAR SPORTS BAR & GRILL (1 mile from the hotel)
Just over the bridge from us, to the northwest, Sandbar’s casual sports-bar environment provides an easygoing setting for sampling a menu full of 10-time “San Diego’s Best” award-winning tacos, featuring local white fish, baja-style shrimp, carnitas, and more. You can get them served Tijuana street-style (with cilantro and onions on a fresh corn tortilla), beach style (flour tortilla with shredded cheese, lettuce, and salsa) or Sandbar’s own award-winning “TKO” style — on a cotija-crusted tortilla with beer-brined slaw, lime crema, onion strings, and fried cilantro. There’s simply nothing else like it anywhere.
BLUE WATER SEAFOOD MARKET & GRILL (5.1 miles)
For an alternative to some of the other meat-heavy options on this list, check out Blue Water. We’re not hesitant to credit them with the best fish tacos in the city. Blue Water starts with a fresh corn tortilla, then accentuates with veggies, cheese, and a secret, house-made sauce before piling in a generous portion of beer-battered cod, shrimp, or lobster. The end result is nothing short of absolutely addictive. Warning — if you’re visiting “America’s Finest City” for the first time, and eat at Blue Water, you may find yourself planning a return trip just for these tacos before you even head to the airport.
OSCARS MEXICAN SEAFOOD (5.9 miles)
A standby for residents of Point Loma and Ocean Beach, the closest Oscar’s location is just over the bridge from our hotel. The Surf & Turf taco — served with a skirt steak and shrimp combo — is a favorite. Their unique smoked-fish taco is also a unique offering we haven’t found anywhere else in the city. If you really want to go for some mixed grill magic, try the Taco Especial, which is brimming with the aforementioned smoked fish, as well as shrimp and scallops.
LA PUERTA (6.9 miles)
La Puerta is an enticing option for lunch, brunch, and dinner, thanks to its cozy interior, robust menu, and delicious cocktails. Try the Cochinita with achiote pork and pickled onion, the grilled veggie with poblano, the carne asada with arranchera steak, or a mouthwatering combination of three with the Mix ‘n’ Match option. If you want to kick it up a notch, opt for their gourmet options, like the Taqueso Pollo (chicken, fried cheese, and chipotle crema), Ranchero Shrimp (with tomato, poblano, cheese, and lettuce) or the Viva Mexico (steak, chese, grilled onion, and poblano).
PUESTO (7.1 miles)
One of the most beautiful things about tacos? The endless variety. Nobody really asks, “Do you like tacos?” “What KIND of tacos do you like?” is a much more frequently asked question. And that’s what makes Puesto so unique. Locals love this place, and the raves are all well-earned: The zucchini-blossom, mushroom, and squash tacos may be unorthodox, but they’re all completely delicious. Especially with their combination of melted cheese, fresh veggies, and soft tortillas. You’ll also find a full menu of enchiladas, bowls, burritos, and other Mexican favorites on the menu at Puesto.
LAS CUATRO MILPAS (8.3 miles)
Las Cuatro Milpas is another star of the Barrio Logan taco scene. Their cafeteria-style restaurant has been serving up delicious specialty tacos since 1933. And in that time, they’ve amassed more glowing press reviews than any other local eatery we can think of (including a spot on the famed Michelin guide). Be prepared to wait in line for a mouthwatering reward in the form of their rolled tacos. But trust us, they’re worth the wait. Still, once you get to the counter, be sure to have your order ready — the service moves at lightning speed. Insider tip: Do NOT skip the hot sauce at the end of the line.
SALUD (8.7 miles)
A can’t-miss stop located in Mexican cultural nexus Barrio Logan, Salud’s award-winning tacos are a mandatory stop. Their no-nonsense setup made it onto the map courtesy of the Azteca Tlhaco, a standout featuring seared steak, grilled cactus, jalapeño, and fresh veggies. The al pastor is also particularly good at Salud, and the Baja Shrimp includes cotija pico de gallo and fresh cabbage nestled next to the large beer-battered shrimp that are the star. Don’t forget to get a bright and citrusy ceviche on the side, and wash it all down with an Agua Fresca!
CITY TACOS (9 miles)
City Tacos combines traditional Mexican recipes with a distinctly SoCal twist that has made them a standout favorite among San Diegans. The star of this North Park restaurant is the Chorizo Asado, a spicy-sweet concoction of crispy sausage combined with caramelized pineapple and creamy melted Oaxaca cheese. But City Tacos doesn’t stop there. Their menu offers traditional meat tacos, but has also expanded to include fish, vegetarian, and even paleo tacos for those with unique dietary needs. You can’t really go wrong here.
THE TACO STAND (9.1 miles)
This North Park favorite is notable for its modern surroundings and daily scratch-made salsas. Here you’ll find classic favorites like carne asada and al pastor sharing space with spicy shrimp, mahi mahi, and cactus. Don’t miss out on diving into the rest of the menu during your visit, as the quesadillas, burritos, and even breakfast offerings are all top-notch. And while they may not exactly be traditional, the Mar y Tierra fries (loaded with grilled shrimp, steak, and guacamole) are an experience you shouldn’t pass up.
TACOS EL GORDO (19.4 miles)
The closest thing you’ll find in town to Tijuana-style street tacos, Tacos El Gordo’s popular San Diego location is just a quick 25-minute trek south. This favorite local taqueria’s menu features always-fresh handmade corn tortillas, organic ingredients, and savory meats. Favorites include the suadero (beef brisket), adobada (tender spiced pork), and classic carne asada (grilled steak). You also have the option to build your own. Their consistent quality and reasonable pricing have put them at the top of just about every list in the city.
Here at The Dana, we’ve all got our own takes on the best tacos in town, and we’ve collected them all in one handy guide. Check out what’s going on around these flavorful destinations and plan your journey today.