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Al Pastor San Diego

Is there anywhere in or near San Diego to get good Al Pastor tacos? (Either on the spit or "fake-made")...are there any clandestine spit pastor taco makers in a certain area? Taco trucks with good sauce?

I like Mama Testas just ok. I had some good ones at El Callejon in Encinitas but that was about 6 years ago and they stopped making them good.

I ate some in Tijuana near the border that were too bland and chewy.

I had some good ones once at a taco truck in a gas station parking lot near Bakersfield.

Thank you.

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  1. Tacos Mi Pueblo in Santee. Same parking lot as the Home Depot. Can see front door from the Home Town Buffet.

    It has been there at least ten years now. El Pastor on a spit. Always excellent.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Cathy

      In order of preference

      Tacos El Paisa - Truck with spit and Indoor Spit
      3069 National Ave
      (between 30th St & 31st St)
      San Diego,

      La Fachada truck with spit
      20 25th St
      San Diego

      Tacos El Gordo Indoor Spit
      1940 Highland Avenue
      (between 19th St & 20th St)
      National City

      All have been reviewed here

      Some Eye Candy

      Some Taquero with skills in Oceanside

        1. re: Josh

          I also really like Tacos El Paisa when they're on their game but it is best to go when they are busy because if you go on the off hours sometimes the condiments and stuff has been sitting around a bit to long. I'd also like it if they'd wipe down their outdoor tables a bit more but when they're on their game though it is wonderful.

          Tacos El Gordo in the US doesn't seem to taste the same as down in TJ but maybe that's just all in my head. Still they have a very consistent product which is good. It's not as good as the best from El Paisa but I've never had a bad taco at Gordo's either.

          1. re: oerdin

            Tacos El Gordo in Tj is the wrong place to go for tacos in TJ.

        2. re: Masa Assassin

          I've eaten at Los Tacos in Oside and loved it. We all need to keep this place in business.
          That al pastor was spicy and moist. Yum. Thanks for the video Masa

      1. Tacos El Panson in City Heights.
        Tacos El Gordo on Highland.
        Porkyland in Logan or La Jolla (although I had some there last month and they might of changed the recipe because they were different and not as good).

        1. Okay, this sounds a bit odd, but some of the best al pastor can be had at Mexican Fiesta, a cement shack located at India St. and Beech St.. Its not spit cooked, but damn is it good. Here's Kirk's post on it:


          1 Reply
          1. re: jmtreg

            This place was my introduction to pastor tacos soon after I moved to SD years ago and I still think they are some of the best.

          2. In North County, I like Juanita's on the Coast Highway near Leucadia. I really like the vibe of the place, though the menu is hit and miss. Their al pastor was excellent a couple of weeks ago, a big soft taco with a lot of nicely-textured meat. The hot green salsa was a surprise -- I usually prefer the red versions. I also really enjoyed my crispy beef taco -- almost puffy but crisp and nicely stuffed with lots of shredded beef, lettuce, cool cheese. A perfect foil for lots of salsa, great dish. I also ordered a carnitas taco, and then realized that I didn't remember (and they didn't advertise) that it included a big scoop of guacamole -- a bonus for most but an unwelcome addition that I needed to scrape off. Anyway, three tacos and a soda cost about eight bucks and was more than I could finish.

            Unfortunately, pressed my luck and went back on a Saturday morning. Had stopped into Karina's further up the coast, but they were barely open and my gringo enthusiasm seemed lost on the two young women opening the place, and it just didn't seem right to try to order the ceviche I had read about. So I headed back to Juanita's and tried a breakfast burrito with chorizo and egg -- bland, boring, insipid, thick, tasteless, yucky -- no salsa could salvage it. None of the friendly staff that had sold and served me my lunch seemed to be around. Well, like their school cafeteria fish-stick-like fish taco and their unsuccessful quesadilla, I now know what not to order there too.

            1. Los Tacos in OCeanside makes some great al pastor. Stay away from the carne asada unless you want to really get your chew on.

              1. I think that Tacos Mi Pueblo in Santee has closed. I tried to go there last Sunday at around 4pm and it wasnt open and it was all dark inside. I drove by again after work on Wendesday at around 530 and it was closed this time too and all dark. Do you know if this place closed?

                1 Reply
                1. re: timbigworm11

                  Second the possible closure of Tacos Mi Pueblo. Hubby was at the Supercuts last week and noticed the place was dark and locked up. Not such a big loss now as the last couple of times we were there the original owner was no longer behind the counter and the food was nasty. But shoot, when they were at the top of their game, they were the BEST!

                2. Any new intel on this 4 years later? Where do YOU go for the best tacos al pastor in San Diego?

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: koreansoup

                    Tacos El Gordo in Chula Vista and Mexican Fiesta Downtown San Diego.

                    1. re: koreansoup

                      Haven't been in quite some time, but El Cuervo on Washington St. has (or at least used to have) good tacos al pastor.

                      1. re: koreansoup

                        Carnitas urupuan in La Mesa has a spit outside on weekends with good al pastor.

                        1. re: JRSD

                          Wow, when did they start this. The times I've driven by on a weekend I didn't see anything.

                          Must investigate...

                          1. re: DiningDiva

                            They had it over the summer, but perhaps they stopped when the weather turned?

                        2. re: koreansoup

                          Mi Rancho Market in Escondido has some pretty awesome al pastor. It's become so popular that they've gotten rid of most of their grocery shelves and put in more tables. Their tamales during the holidays are pretty great, also (I hate raisins, but their pineapple raisin is worth waiting all year for).

                        3. Tacos al Paisa - brick and mortar location on 25th and Commercial(?). On the spit.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: zmirzlina

                            There is also a Tacos al Paisa in Rosarito that has been there for years and the patrons of the nearby discos and bars (Senor Frog's, etc.) keep it busy throughout the night.

                            It is a large bricks-and-mortar, red and white building located east side on a corner of the main boulevard (Benito Juarez), about three-quarters of a mile north of the Rosarito Beach Hotel.

                            Additionally, here is a link to Bill Esparza's Street Gourmet LA blog which thoroughly covers with detailed descriptions and photos the great tacos of TJ and Playas de TJ.


                          2. Wow thanks for resurrecting.

                            The best I've had in the universe were on Las Ahumadoras St. in Tijuana last summer. Some joint right in the middle, on a busy smoke filled night. Amazing. Got to get them when the crowd is there otherwise it can be disappointing.

                            The street has like 6 taquerias all in a row. Try them all if you can.

                            Also a big fan of El Gordo in national city.

                            Will check out the other options you list here but man, with TJ looking more crime free I would definitely check out the taco street.

                            Taxi Driver in TJ said El Franc is the best but longtime friend and TJ resident swears by Ahumadoras. I have to say I am salivating as I type they were so effing good.