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Jul 28, 2007 07:06 PM

Best Taco Shops In San Diego...

As the title suggests, I'm looking for the best taco shops in San Diego. By taco shop I mean a mexican food place that isn't a full-scale sit-down restaurant, but rather a grab-n-go mexican food place, not to say that there also can't be seating and service, but the emphasis is on the food, not the atmosphere, service, or other aspects that are often considered when evaluating restaurants. In particular, I'm looking for the taco shops that have the best Carnitas, Carne Asada, and California burritos. Also Carne Asada Fries. Thanks in advance for your input.

EDIT: As requested, and to further narrow down the scope of recommendations, I'm looking for taco shops anywhere within the area from La Jolla to Santee (West to East) and as far south as Downtown. Use this map for reference:

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  1. Any particular part of town? There are so many, it would be helpful to know if you're talking about S. Bay, Downtown/Midtown, East County or North County.

    1. I can tell you now everyone has a favorite dive taco shop in their own neighborhood or in the neighborhood where they work. Help us narrow it down for you or this thread will go on forever. Seriously. It will diverge into taco trucks and then get detailed into whether the California Burrito is made with fries or hash browns. It would be easier to take out the phone book, go to mapquest and start driving.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Cathy

        SENOR EL TAQUERO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        Ive been down to mexico and visited alot of taco shops and its like these tacos came straight from mexico....
        for once i don't have to go to mexico to enjoy a authentic taco!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
        its on broadway between 4Th and 5TH ave.
        and the best thing about this taco shop is that they are open till 3am from thurs-sat. so after im done hanging out with my friends we can go thier to eat!!!!!!!!!!!

      2. Google "mmm-yoso". It is a blog. Left column has divisions of Taco Shops, Taco Trucks, Mexican Food. It blogs about food and not at all about atmosphere. Lots of East County including Santee (and actually as far east as Yuma).

        1. Okay, here's what Cathy was talking about. It's not a taco shop per se, and it's slightly out of your target area, but for excellent carnitas check out Carnitas Uruapan in Lemon Grove. Or the Sunday farmers market on Imperial Ave just off the I-5

          6 Replies
          1. re: DiningDiva

            I went to Carnitas Uruapan for takeout a week or so ago, and I hate to say it but I was really disappointed. The meat was kind of dried out and extremely salty. The guacamole didn't have much flavor, and the beans, salsa and tortillas were fine, but nothing to write home about. I really wanted to like this place - it's very affordable, the people are nice and it's close to my house (and I love the pig collection) - but I would have a hard time going back after this experience. Do you think it's a fluke?

            1. re: Alice Q

              Major fluke. Did you get the meal for 2? We have done take out once and I do remember saying it wasn't the same, but I thought it is because they bring it all out to you on a turkey platter and that is part of it.

              1. re: Cathy

                We did - it was so disappointing b/c I really was excited to try it. It was kind of late (about 8 PM) so maybe that had something to do with it.

                1. re: Alice Q

                  Maybe. But still it should not have been so dry (or were those the crispy burned pieces? The meat is fried in lard..) or overly salty. It is a good kind of salty. Both Uruapan and El Porvenir, those are my standards of perfect carnitas and beans.

                  I think I will stop by for a taco or something this week, just to see if something has changed. Thanks for a reason...

                  1. re: Alice Q

                    Proably also depended on what cut of meat they gave you

                2. re: Alice Q

                  I completely agree with your observations. The one time I took the time to drive out to Lemon Grove for this place, my carnitas were extremely dry and salty. The tortillas etc. were mediocre.

                  If I could make a suggestion, I would suggest Carnitas Las Michoacanas.

                  Their carnitas is the juiciest and tastiest that I have come across in San Diego. This isn't a fancy place at all-- paper plates, plastic silverware-- although they do sell the carnitas by the pound if you just want to grab and go. Usually while I'm there, I'll see at least one person buying 5 - 10 lbs of carnitas for a get together.

                  Carnitas Las Michoacanas
                  6187 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92115

              2. The best fish tacos in san diego can be found at the South Beach bar and Grill in Ocean Beach. It's all the way at the end of Newport St. nearest the pier. Absolutely the best I've ever tasted.

                5 Replies
                1. re: BionicPimp

                  I loved their fish tacos as well, the variety of choices is great

                  Although I have to say that the fish tacos at Bety's in Encinitas are outstanding

                  1. re: BionicPimp

                    The best fish tacos in the greater san diego area are -no question- at the El Taco Nazo outpost in Temecula. Next time you are there eat a taco and have a revelation that there is indeed something 'chow-worthy' in this town

                    1. re: BionicPimp

                      South Beach tacos are crazy good. Great bar atmosphere. Several kinds of fish tacos, cheap.

                        1. re: BionicPimp

                          I can not agree with you more. I live over the hill from this place and I try to go there as much as possible. The Mahi Taco is OUT OF THIS WORLD. Actually, the carne is not bad either, but if you were to go there and try one taco, it has to be the Mahi.