Locals’ Favorite San Diego Taco Shops
Tacos. Even saying the word “tacos” out loud brings on the hunger pangs. There’s nothing quite like biting into a delicious taco when those cravings hit. Good thing “America’s Finest City” enjoys a location right next to the border. Because of this, the Mexican food scene in the metro is easily the best in the nation. And once you hit a few of the taquerias on this list, we think you’ll be hard-pressed to disagree. Looking for some local flavor? You’ve come to the right place — San Diego locals all have a favorite taco shop for different moods and times of day (one for California burritos, a different spot for tacos, a favorite shop for breakfast burritos, etc.). So here are our picks for some locals’ favorite San Diego taco shops you’ll want to check out.
Lola 55 (4.3 miles away)
We’re firm believers that all tacos are good tacos. But some are simply a cut above. Lola 55 doesn’t just make an amazing taco, they make a taco good enough to show up on the Michelin Guide. In addition to serving stellar examples of classics like smoked carnitas and al-pastor pork, Lola 55 adds in some non-traditional (but no less delicious) choices such as squash blossom, mushroom, and cauliflower. This is one spot not to be missed.
1290 F St. San Diego, CA 92101
Tacos El Gordo (4.4 miles)
The closest thing you’ll find in town to Tijuana-style street tacos, Tacos El Gordo’s popular San Diego stops are must-visits on your local taco tour. This locals’ favorite 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 if you like. Tacos El Gordo has three locations across the city to satisfy your cravings, but the closest to us is at the address below.
511 F St, San Diego, CA 92101
City Tacos (4.8 miles)
City Tacos combines traditional Mexican recipes with a distinctly SoCal twist that has made them a standout favorite among San Diegans. That’s a big part of why they’ve established six locations across the city! The North Park stop is the closest to us at Days, and the star there 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.
3028 University Ave, San Diego, CA, 92104
Las Cuatro Milpas (5.3 miles)
Las Cuatro Milpas is a 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.
1857 Logan Ave, San Diego, CA 92113
Mitch’s Seafood (5.4 miles)
Don’t let the casual atmosphere at Mitch’s suggest that they don’t take their food very seriously. They do — and so do we San Diegans. Despite embodying the laid-back SoCal vibe, their pier-to-plate menu features fiercely fresh, locally sourced seafood, all caught sustainably and prepared deliciously. And while there’s not a single thing on the menu that’s anything less than outstanding, you’re here for the tacos. Whether you go for the cod, calamari or shrimp, you’ll get a work of art, complete with a house-made lime crema.
1403 Scott St, San Diego, CA 92106
Taco Surf (7.8 miles)
Everyone loves to celebrate Taco Tuesday. And while it may be an apocryphal tale, this most delicious of days is said to have originated right here in San Diego, at Pacific Beach’s favorite stop since ‘89: Taco Surf. So be sure to stop in and pay homage to this illustrious history during your visit! We recommend, well — everything. There’s not a single lackluster choice on their entire extensive menu. Plus, as the name suggests, this is also a great place to celebrate San Diego’s legendary surf culture. The restaurant maintains and displays an impressive collection of vintage surfboards. So grab some souvenir photos.
4657 Mission Blvd, San Diego, CA 92109
The Taco Stand (11.3 miles away)
This area favorite’s five locations are notable for 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 even 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. Hit up the La Jolla location, and you can take your tacos right out to the beach while they’re still hot.
621 Pearl St, La Jolla, CA 92037
Ed Fernandez Restaurant Birrieria (15.5 miles)
Ed Fernandez specializes in Birria tacos. These specialty versions are filled with extremely tender, slow-braised meats that have been heavily seasoned, then loaded into a corn tortilla with onions, cilantro and Oaxacan cheese. But that’s not all. Before being served, birria tacos are flash-fried in hot fat to seal everything in, and served with a rich broth for dipping. The result is a crispy, crunchy, impossibly savory taco that has to be eaten to be believed. And how good are the tacos at Ed Fernandez? Yelp readers recently voted this San Diego staple the best taco shop in America. So you know you’re in for an experience.
2265 Flower Ave, San Diego, CA 92154
Make Days Your Taco Tour Home Base
Clearly, there’s no way to go wrong when it comes to the city’s incredible array of tasty tacos. But the best way to go right? Plan your stay at Days! Our centrally-located San Diego hotel is the perfect base camp for your taco travels. We’re close to all the great taquerias we’ve mentioned here, plus we also offer competitive rates, lots of on-site amenities, and fantastic service. When you’re ready to start planning, make sure to check out our Special Offers page, and start getting your order ready!