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Nov 18, 2008 04:30 PM

San Diego: Great Mexican near Westfield University Town Center

Looking for a good Mexican restaurant open until at least 10p on Mondays, within a 15-minute drive of University City.

Thanks for any help you can offer.


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  1. By stating "within a 15 minute drive", you may very well have limited yourself to zero choices. I guess there is the Roberto's on Miramar, and I think some people like one of the taco shops closer to the main gate of MCAS Miramar - but it sounds like you want something a level up from that. Sadly, your only choices for sitdown Mexican are Cozymel's (right at UTC) and El Toririto (La Jolla Village Drive at Villa La Jolla Drive) - two chains that aren't particularly popular on Chowhound.

    Increase your radius a bit (maybe 20-25 minutes), and there are some places in Solana Beach that might fit your bill.

    I'll let other Chowhounders chime in, but it might help if you could define if carry out / fast food is sufficient, or if you want table service.

    8 Replies
    1. re: RB Hound

      Thanks for the helpful guidance, RBH. What's at the top of the list for a 25-minute radius?

      1. re: not the bad Steve

        I'd hate to tell you this, but 10:00 PM on a Monday takes quite a few options off the table. Even my mediocre, suck it up suggestions close at 9 on Monday. One thing San Diego lacks, in most areas outside of the Gaslamp or Hillcrest, are late dining options.

        I do have one reasonable suggestion, though. If you drive into La Jolla, Alfonso's seems to be open to 11 PM. I've found them to be fairly decent, though many of the Chowhounders are a bit lukewarm on them. Still, for late Monday, they are not a bad "only option".

        Warning: their web site has sound that plays right away, so turn down the volume if you are in a common office at work :)

        You didn't specify - are you looking to have table service, or are fast food / takeout options sufficient? You can get a burrito at many of the Roberto's / Xxxberto's at any time of night. :)

        1. re: RB Hound

          Alfonso's may boast staying open till 11pm but I am here to tell you that is not the case on a Monday night, I live 1 block away.

          1. re: foodiechick

            I bow to your personal knowledge, foodiechick. I was simply looking at the hours given on Alfonso's web site. Seems to me that La Jolla pretty much goes to bed at 8 PM on weekdays and Sundays, save for a few isolated locales.

            I'd hate to say it, but unless "not the bad Steve" is making a burrito stand run (meaning a Xxbertos or an El Cotixan), Monday around 10 PM is not a good time to find dining options in Amercia's sleepiest city.

            1. re: RB Hound

              It's probably closer to 9pm, but you are right about LJ going to bed early. I agree that San Diego is America's sleepiest city!

        2. re: not the bad Steve

          Take the 805 S to University -make a left at the light - pass 3-4 blocks super cocina is on your right.

          I make this trek often for pre-work lunch.

            1. re: JRSD

              That and my wife absolutely refused to go here when it's dark because that section of town scares her too much.

      2. this may be stretching your 15 minute drive, but Hillcrest is not that far away. Mama Testa's and El Cuervo are both good. Not sure how late they're open but both worth the short trip south.

        1. Head north on I-5 and exit Carmel Valley Road. Head West toward the ocean into Del Mar, and about 3/4 of a mile on your right is a Roberto's taco shop. You can't miss it, as it's on the corner and well lit. Get a Carne Asada burrito and a drink and the sit out on the patio and enjoy the evening. It's cheap and easy and an true San Diego experience.

          7 Replies
          1. re: wanker

            Roberto's in Del Mar closes at 8-9 pm. It is a decent place for lunch.
            There is also El Cotixan on Genesee which is open 24 hours and on the same quality level as Roberto's

            1. re: honkman

              You're right. Roberto's closes at 9:00 p.m. during the week, and 10:00 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

              1. re: honkman

                We did El Cotixan and liked it. Thanks for all of the help!


                1. re: not the bad Steve

                  The is a great little joint called Elena's Mexican Food right under the 5/805 merge, pretty standard mexi fare, but done extremely well. CABB (Carne Asada Breakfast Burrito) is a good way to start the day. Extremely nice folks as well.

                  1. re: stevuchan

                    That's the place just west of the I-5 South on-ramp from Roselle St. / Sorrento Valley Blvd. / Vista Sorrento Parkway. I've grabbed a few lunches there in the past, and they've always been decent. They aren't open for dinner (unless one eats a very early dinner), but I suspect you were simply responding to the question in the thread title and didn't see the original poster's restrictions, stevuchan.

                    But it is good to mention it - I always seem to forget this place when I'm thinking "what is the best hole-in-the-wall Mexican near work?"

                    1. re: RB Hound

                      Busted. I noticed the last couple time I hopped the coaster it was open around 6, but that is nowhere close to 10pm. Can't speak highly enough about the breakfast burritos.

                  2. re: not the bad Steve

                    There's also an El Cotixan in Mira Mesa, at Mira Mesa & El Camino Santa Fe which is less than 15 minutes from UC via the 805, but I couldn't tell you how late they stay open since I've only ever been for Lunch.

                    El Cotixan
                    6785 Mira Mesa Blvd # 145, San Diego, CA

              2. On Genesee near El Cotixan there is a new 24-hour drive thru called Vallarta Express. I've only been there once but there carne asada burrito was good.

                1 Reply
                1. re: SD Native

                  Vallarta Express is actually fairly decent. I've only been there once, and it was actually this morning. They have an interesting variety. For instance, I just had 1/2 a teriyaki chicken burrito and 1/2 a buffalo chicken burrito. They had a website printed on their bag, but when following the link goes to nowhere at the moment.

                2. you could try Ortegas in Hillcrest.. not sure about the time though...