7 Mexican Restaurants in San Diego Locals Love

November 12, 2020
Food & Drink
jason wolfe

San Diego is known for its bustling restaurant scene, which includes a number of authentic Mexican eateries. In a city like San Diego, it’s easy to find a spot offering some of the best Mexican cuisine in the country. Tacos, burritos, enchiladas, and more await you at these popular restaurants! For your next lunch or dinner out, stop by one of these Mexican restaurants! 

Mexican Food

Looking for a fun and practical gift to give your close friend or family member? Surprise them with a virtual GiftYa card! GiftYa cards can be applied to a number of different Mexican restaurants in San Diego, including the ones we have featured below. Because GiftYa cards are completely virtual, your friend can take them wherever they go! The next time they go out for dinner, they can rest assured that their meal is on you.

1. Cocina 35

Popular Mexican restaurant considered to serve the best Chilaquiles in San Diego

Photo of Cocina 35 - San Diego, CA, United States
Treat yourself to a delicious Mexican feast. Image courtesy of Yelp

1435 6th Ave | Downtown San Diego | cocina35.com

Transport yourself to the top destination for delicious and authentic Mexican food at Cocina 35. For years, San Diego locals have flocked to the restaurant for its chilaquiles. Guests can build their own chilaquiles or choose a special, such as the Al Pastor or Los Rancheros. Burritos, salads, and tacos are also served up fresh at this popular restaurant! Breakfast specials, like the Omelette De La Casa and Huevos Rancheros are great for starting your day off on the right foot. As for drinks, Cocina 35 offers Mexican spiced coffee, aguas fresh-kas, juice, and soda! 

“All I have to say is AAAAAMAZING!! They have almost a full menu of just different types of Chilaquiles (my favorite) so I was excited. Since I was a first timer there I decided to try the Cochinita Pibil Chilaquiles and oh man let me tell you they were something else, the meat itself had such an authentic taste, it was definitely a WOW plate.” - Yelp Review

Purchase a GiftYa card for Cocina 35. 

2. El Agave Restaurant and Tequileria

Upscale Mexican restaurant that is famous for its extensive tequila selection

The Baked Salmon with mole and verde sauce is one of the restaurant’s most popular dishes. Image courtesy of Yelp

2304 San Diego Ave | Old Town | elagave.com

Looking for an upscale restaurant serving fresh and delicious Mexican meals? Head to El Agave! Both their lunch and dinner menu serve savory options such as the Queso Fundido and Taco De Carnitas. If you’re in the mood for seafood, you will love the Salmon Cholula, which features two pieces of jumbo shrimp served over homemade tortillas. Avocado and pico de gallo top off the unique dish. If the seafood isn’t calling to you, you can still choose delicious options such as the Burrito California and the Chile Relleno. 

While El Agave serves great Mexican dishes, it is probably most known for its large tequila museum. Inside, you will find over 2000 different tequila brands, including the restaurant’s own Tequila Agave Artesanal! 

“My family and I came here for an early Father's Day dinner and it was fantastic. The restaurant is up to par with their new covid routine and patrons are evenly spaced throughout the restaurant. All the food and desserts were excellent.” - Yelp Review

Purchase a GiftYa card for El Agave Restaurant and Tequileria. 

3. Karina’s Mexican Seafood

Casual Mexican eatery located in Chula Vista

Try the Surf n Turf Tacos the next time you stop in. Image courtesy of Yelp.

2015 Birch Rd | Chula Vista | karinasseafood.com

For three generations, the Contreras Curiel family has provided mouth-watering Mexican dishes to the city of Chula Vista. Each family member works diligently to ensure all of their guests have an unforgettable meal at Karina’s Mexican Seafood. On the menu, you will find savory and authentic dishes such as the Seared Ahi Tuna Tacos and the Pescado Ceviche. Some of the restaurant’s most popular dishes include the Fajitas and Enchiladas de Camaron & Cangrejo. 

“I am impressed! Margaritas are awesome. It was my first time coming here, and it's not like a regular Mexican cafe. It's a great restaurant with delicious meals and a gorgeous atmosphere. I really-really like it. Will come back again.” - Yelp Review

Purchase a GiftYa card for Karina’s Mexican Seafood. 

4. El Comal

Popular Mexican restaurant that has served hungry residents for over 18 years

Want to try something different? Order the Cucumber Margarita! Image courtesy of Yelp

3946 Illinois St | North Park | elcomalsd.com

For over 18 years, El Comal has served as a favorite among San Diego residents for innovative cocktails and hearty Mexican dishes. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are all served, making it easy to stop by whenever you need to get your fix. 

If you’re in the mood for something sweet, you can order the pancakes or Mollette de Canela y Azúcar. Vegetarian dishes are also available for people with specific dietary preferences. The Ensalada de Nopal is perfect for people who want a meal that is on the lighter side. As for the drinks, you will find interesting options such as the Jugo de Naranja and the Jugo de Papaya con Limón. 

“Amazing experience- the staff was incredibly friendly & followed COVID-19 protocol. Their drink menu featured fun specials with mexican twists to classic beverages. The drinks were affordable with large servings. 110% recommend.” - Yelp Review

Purchase a GiftYa card for El Comal. 

5. Puesto

Award-winning Mexican restaurant located in Downtown San Diego

Treat yourself to a plate of tacos! Image courtesy of Yelp

789 W Harbor Dr | Downtown San Diego | eatpueosto.com

Puesto is a family-owned restaurant located in Downtown San Diego. Their unique menu changes by season, making it perfect for locals who want to try something new whenever they come in. Currently, you can find delicious options like the grilled shrimp bowl and chicken al pastor tacos at Puesto. Delicious margaritas such as the spicy hot sauce margarita and pink cadillac are perfect for enjoying alongside your meal. 

“Still open during COVID, lots of outdoor space. Honestly it felt like this place normally operates only outside because the patio was so large and the ambiance was so cute. We started with the margarita to share and it was strong. I was feeling buzzed after 1.5 drinks!” - Yelp Review

Purchase a GiftYa card for Puesto. 

6. Lucha Libre Gourmet Taco Shop

The street-style Mexican dishes and a salsa bar attract dozens of San Diego locals every day

Try the Mole Taco! Image courtesy of Yelp

1810 W Washington St | Middletown, Mission Hills | luchalibretacoshop.com

Located in Mission Hills, Lucha Libre Gourmet Taco Shop has enjoyed a stellar reputation among locals for its ingenious dishes. Since 2008, this fast-casual Mexican restaurant has served as the go-to place for some of the best tacos in San Diego. On the menu, you will find exciting options like the Surf & Turf Taco and Queso Taco. But if you aren’t in the mood for tacos, don’t worry. Hearty burritos and protein bowls are also served!

“Surfn' California and the Ado-haba Pina California burritos were ordered. Of course I ordered two! Two things that I live by, wings and burritos. Everything was delicious about both of them. Perfect amount of ratio in the inside and the tortilla slightly flaking. Beautiful.” - Yelp Review

Purchase a GiftYa card for Lucha Libre Gourmet Taco Shop. 

7. Pokez Mexican Restaurant

Cozy Mexican restaurant serving all-day breakfast

Munching on the breakfast burrito is a great way to start your day! Image courtesy of Yelp

947 E St | East Village | pokezrestaurant.com

Located in the East Village, Pokez offers classic Mexican dishes for both meat-lovers and vegetarians. Enchiladas, quesadillas, burritos, salads, tacos, and more await you at this popular Mexican eatery! From the Mexican Steak to the Vegan Nachos, each dish is cooked to perfection to please your taste buds. As for the drinks, you can order a soft drink, iced tea, or orange juice alongside your meal. Sangrias and mimosas are also available. If you came with a group of people, consider sharing a pitcher of one of the aforementioned drinks. 

“Pokez is the spot for vegan/vegetarian friendly Mexican food in SD, hands down. There hasn't been one single plate that has let me down, the food is just so bomb AND generous portions. Been coming here for years. Boss man always says what's up and he even hooked it up with fresh habanera sauce he was cooking up in the kitchen once.” - Yelp Review

Purchase a GiftYa card for Pokez Mexican Restaurant. 

There are so many authentic and vibrant restaurants in San Diego to choose from. Whether you’re in the mood for some tacos de pollo or a plate of enchiladas, San Diego has all of these savory dishes and more. Which San Diego restaurant is on your bucket list? Tell us in the comments!

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