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San Diego: Great Mexican near Westfield University Town Center

not the bad Steve Nov 18, 2008 04:30 PM

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. r
    RB Hound RE: not the bad Steve Nov 18, 2008 07:56 PM

    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
      not the bad Steve RE: RB Hound Nov 19, 2008 12:41 PM

      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
        RB Hound RE: not the bad Steve Nov 19, 2008 12:58 PM

        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
          foodiechick RE: RB Hound Nov 19, 2008 04:37 PM

          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
            RB Hound RE: foodiechick Nov 20, 2008 10:35 AM

            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
              foodiechick RE: RB Hound Nov 20, 2008 10:44 AM

              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
          kare_raisu RE: not the bad Steve Nov 19, 2008 05:11 PM

          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: kare_raisu
            JRSD RE: kare_raisu Nov 19, 2008 07:53 PM

            Doesn't SC close before 10 pm?

            1. re: JRSD
              Wino RE: JRSD Dec 7, 2008 04:16 PM

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

      2. d
        daantaat RE: not the bad Steve Nov 18, 2008 08:35 PM

        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. w
          wanker RE: not the bad Steve Nov 19, 2008 01:24 PM

          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
            honkman RE: wanker Nov 19, 2008 03:11 PM

            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
              wanker RE: honkman Nov 26, 2008 06:38 AM

              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
                not the bad Steve RE: honkman Dec 19, 2008 07:36 AM

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


                1. re: not the bad Steve
                  stevuchan RE: not the bad Steve Dec 19, 2008 11:29 AM

                  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
                    RB Hound RE: stevuchan Dec 19, 2008 02:38 PM

                    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
                      stevuchan RE: RB Hound Dec 20, 2008 08:25 AM

                      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
                    Freddie Freelance RE: not the bad Steve Dec 19, 2008 03:26 PM

                    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. s
                SD Native RE: not the bad Steve Nov 25, 2008 08:52 AM

                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
                  miceli RE: SD Native Dec 7, 2008 09:02 AM

                  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. b
                  butterbutt RE: not the bad Steve Dec 7, 2008 11:42 AM

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

                  1. w
                    Wino RE: not the bad Steve Dec 7, 2008 04:28 PM

                    There used to be a Nico's in Del Mar, at the Plaza Carmel.

                    Can't find any info about it online, they might have closed for all I know, haven't been there for a few months but last time I was, it was still there.

                    They have pretty darned good carnitas!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Wino
                      daantaat RE: Wino Dec 7, 2008 05:56 PM

                      Nico's is still open.

                    2. l
                      LisaSD RE: not the bad Steve Dec 26, 2008 12:55 PM

                      Isn't there a little Mexican place on Governor Drive next to Lorna's, 31 Flavors, WAMU, Vons (I think?) etc.? I used to work down the street but I don't know if it's open now. It was good food and open late at that time...

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: LisaSD
                        RB Hound RE: LisaSD Dec 26, 2008 01:54 PM

                        Papa Chito's is the place in UC South in the Von's plaza at Governor and Genesee. I've grabbed a few lunches there when in the area, and have never left unsatisfied. I do not know how late they are open, though I'd check before assuming they are still open late.

                        Baskin-Robins moved out; it is still an ice cream store called "UC's Sweet Spot." It probably is better than it was when they were corporate.

                        Golden Donuts is a decent place to stop in that plaza, too. Tacos, fritters, and shakes - oh my!!!

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