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Jul 23, 2008 07:24 PM

San Diego Mexican help Please

I will be in San Diego (from Bay Area) the week of August 3rd - staying near the Convention Center/Gaslamp district. Can someone please recommend a few good Mexican restaurants. I will be without a car, relying on the Trolly and bus. How are the Mexican restaurants in Old Town? I have also heard that El Indio on India Street is quite good (was good???) Thanks for you help.

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  1. Candelas on 4th downtown does upscale Mexican in the style of D.F. (Mexico City), rather alta cocina. . Alambres is also located downtown.

    El Indio might have been quite good 40 years ago, but, in spite of the line out the door, it isn't that good anymore. However, about a block north of El Indio on Washington is Lucha Libre. It's decorated entirely in Lucha Libre gear and is a total hoot. The good is decent to good and you can even try an infamous TJ dog, a bacon-wrapped hot dog complete with trimings (otherwise known as heart attack on a plate, but who cares). LL is easily reached by walking east on Washington, from the Middletown trolley stop.

    Next door to El Indio is Blue Water Grill. Half fish market/half restaurant. Their fish tacos are excellent, fried or grilled with the fish of your choice from the fresh fish in the fish case. They also have an excellent ceviche that they serve with chips from El Indio. El Indio can't hold a candle to Blue Water Grill.

    If you're in Old Town, Casa Guadalajara is fun and El Agave does a respectable, though inconsistent, job with moles, though they do have a good selection of tequilas and mezcal.

    Super Cocina at 37th and Cherokee is probably the most loved Mexican place on this board (with good reason) and is reachable by bus from downtown. I think someone posted recently about getting there from Balboa Park using rapid transit, which isn't exactly rapid in SD. Here's the link to the MTD web page, where you can map out the route. Because SC is pretty popular, it's probably a little better to go for something like lunch so that you can get the full range of selections. Also, don't be put off by the fact most items come off a steam table. Almost every item there benefits from the moist heat.

    South County SD has seen an influx of branch restaurant from Tijuana based restaurants and taquerias. Getting to most of them without a car would be difficult, BUT...there is a Tacos El Gordo in Chula Vista not too far from the "H" St. trolley stop. Hop on the blue line trolley downtown headed for San Ysidro and get off at "H" St. Here's a link to a Google map page for Tacos el Gordo

    Enjoy your visit

    2 Replies
    1. re: DiningDiva

      DD has covered all bases beautifully.

      I heartily recommend and add Tacos El Paisa on National Ave for tacos which I consider better than El Gordo [which are amazing too].

      If you go here, I don't think you will ever be able to look at a taco the same.


      1. re: DiningDiva

        Thanks for the tips - it looks like I'll be trying Super Cocina and either Blue Water Grill (love those fish tacos) or one of the Old Town choices. Nice to see that the Bus (# 7) and Trolley make all fairly easy to get to.
        Those choices along with Phil's BBQ - I think I'm set for the week.

      2. DD has covered it well, however, without a car you're pretty limited in San Diego. With that said I would also recommend Los Quatro Milpas in the Barrio Logan for lunch. It's a short cab ride from downtown San Diego and makes great Mx-Am food with homemade tortillas. I especially recommend the pork burrito.

        1. Jimmy Carters is very good. They have fantastic pork and cheese stuffed jalapenos. They have everything from tacos and burritos to more formal dinner items. Great with family too.

          Jimmy Carters Mexican Cafe
          3172 5th Ave, San Diego, CA 92103

          1. Great new place opened up downtown on 4th Avenue called La Puerta...very tastey and inexpensive. Next door to Chive.

            1. Not in your range w/o a car, but I just got back to the Bay Area from SD and was LOVING Roberto's taqueria in Mission Beach. The signature carne asada burrito is truly a classic. I hadn't had one in years, and now I remember why they're famous. A perfect, slightly chewy, slightly charred tortilla, loads of tender chopped beef, guacomole and salsa fresca. That's it. No beans, no rice. Add a little of their tomatillo sauce and have some pickled carrots and jalapenos on the side. Wow! I ate one everyday I was there. Also went to Casa Guadalajara in Old Town. Jumpin place on the patio, fountains, mariachi band. I had some really good chicken mole enchiladas. Was dissapointed in the margarita pitchers though. Not bad, just tasted mass produced - had that fake, bright green color. I'd go there again though.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Hoss

                There are actually quite a few Roberto's around town and they're pretty consistent. They do a nice CAB.

                I was in SF this past weekend with a number of other people from SD. As we walked around we kept turning to each other saying "why can we have something like this in SD". We ended up at La Taqueria in the Mission Friday night, at which point we all turned to each other and said, "oh my god, SD does Mexican better than the Bay Area". La Taqueria was good, but we could name multiple taquerias in SD with better food. Certainly gave all of us a good chuckle.

                1. re: Hoss

                  I don't see why people think Mission Beach is out of reach without a car. It's very accessible by public transportation. Just take the trolley to Old Town and transfer to the 8/9 buses (I think 8 goes clockwise, 9 CCW, check the map at the station). Those buses come about every 15 mins during the day and often times, it's easier to ride that than dealing with trying to find a parking spot near the rollercoaster. I guess I should say something about food since it's a food board, so let me suggest trying a Calif burrito at Roberto's too, it's a burrito filled with meat and french fries and sour cream.