When I decided to spend April and May living in La Jolla (a seaside neighborhood in San Diego), I had one primary mission in mind: To eat as many tacos as possible. To accomplish this feat, my friend and I planned numerous tacos crawls (or “taco treks” if you like alliteration as much as we do). Our hard work paid off. We not only had many delicious meals, but also came up with this list to share with you.
To get the most out of this article, read it first, and then check out my Taco Trek Map.
Please note that not every location listed here is recommended! In this article, I’ll share both my favorite taco spots and the locations I suggest you skip. Read carefully so you don’t accidentally visit one of the sub-par spots.
Bahia Don Bravo – Taco Rating: 3.5/5
Right next to my favorite San Diego yoga studio (Riffs), this is a great place to stop for a tasty post-class snack. Bravo’s is very casual (note the red plastic trays) and the tacos are cheap.
Promiscuous Fork – Taco rating: 4/5
Beneath all that cabbage you see in the picture below is some downright tasty Asian-braised short rib. The dish is served up with ginger slaw, wasabi cream, sriracha and cilantro. It’s got just enough kick to be exciting! You’ll pay $12.50 for two tacos.
Puesto – Taco rating: 5/5
Behold! The best tacos in San Diego! If you only eat at one place during your visit, make sure it is this one! I went back three times and was never disappointed. There are three tacos featured below:
- The Baja Fish Taco: Puesto beer battered line caught local fish, shredded cabbage, avocado, crema, Morita salsa
- Carnitas: crispy melted cheese, traditionally braised Salmon Creek Farms pork, avocado tomatillo salsa, avocado
- Quesabirria: crispy melted cheese, braised short rib, Jalisco salsa, pickled radish, avocado
These tasty treats have a higher price tag (think $7 – $15 per taco), but it’s well worth it.
The Taco Stand – Taco rating: 2/5
There is always a line out the door at this place, so I thought the food would be wonderful. When I went for lunch one day, I ordered three tacos: the pollo asado, spicy shrimp and the grilled mahi mahi. The meat’s flavoring was ok, but it didn’t pack a punch of flavor like the tacos from Puesto or the Promiscuous Fork. Tacos cost $3-$5 a pop.
Nautilus – Taco rating: 2/5
While the Tuesday trivia and taco night at Nautilus is a blast, the chicken tacos left a lot to be desired. While nautilus gets bonus points for having an actual taco stand on the patio the restaurant (you watch as someone cooks your tacos right in front of you!), the meat lacked flavor. The only upside? There was plenty of melted cheese to enjoy!
Jose’s Court Room – Taco rating: 4/5
The fried Mahi Mahi tacos here were very tasty. They’re served with shredded cabbage, radish slivers and creamy chipotle sauce. For $16, you get two tacos, rice and beans. I give the taco a 4/5, but the rice and beans receive a 1/5.
A tip on where to sit: When you go to Jose’s, you can grab a table outside and get a nice view of the Bay. The view will also come with a view of the busy street, though.
Potential Other Locations To Try
- George’s On the Cove: We tried to hit up George’s for dinner, but discovered that they only serve tacos at lunch! Boo! With one hell of a sea view, this place is absolutely lovely and I’ve heard the food is awesome. The tacos have local yellowtail, cabbage, cilantro, onion, jalapeño-lime crema and pico de gallo. They’re served on heirloom corn tortillas. If you try out George’s tacos, let me know what you think!
- Herringbone: Ironically, we stopped at Herringbone to take a breather from one particularly epic taco trek. When we got there, however, the Ahi Poke Tacos on the menu looked amazing! They come with a sweet soy glaze, cucumber, red onion, cilantro and chili mayo. This spot will be top on my list of places to eat when I come back to visit. Not only did the food sound great, but you can’t beat the ambiance of wood-burning fireplaces and live olive trees.
If you try any of these recommendations, come back and leave a comment about what you thought!
P.S. Have we met? If not, go here to learn more about who I am and what I do.