HOME > Chowhound > San Diego >
May 28, 2009 03:48 PM

Best sit down mexican restaurant in SD

My family is visiting San Diego from overseas soon. I want to take them to a sit down mexican restaurant which serves really good mole. I, myself, don't really know what is best yet.


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Cantina Mayahuel probably has my favorite mole. Not the cliché Mexican place, though.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Fake Name

      Cantina Mayahuel is a great recommendation. Their margaritas, made with fresh queezed lime juice, are dangerously delicious.

      1. re: Fake Name

        Doesn't Cantina Mayahuel only have the Mole on Tuesday and Friday?

        1. re: mikec

          Yes, here's the link to their web page where you can see the menu - http://www.cantinamayahuel.com/frontp...

          It's a very good mole, great floral undertones. It is served as it would traditionally be served in Mexico, meaning a piece of meat and lots of sauce because the star of the show is the sauce, not the meat.

          Love the Del Maguey and Los Danzantes mezcals that they offer. Both are premium brands and the prices Mayahuel charges for them is very fair. The Del Maguey Tobala is outstanding and if you want the edge taken off your mezcal try the Crema, which has no cream in it, but a higer sugar content.

      2. The many moles at El Tejate are very tasty, if you're going to be within driving distance of Escondido.

        1. There was an interview with the chef from the just opened "El Vitral" on the U-T website yesterday where he mentions their mole. I haven't dined there, but it looks like an interesting restaurant when I've walked by - it's right next to Petco Park.


          Also, I can't remember what people are saying about Chilango's in Hillcrest these days, but I'm pretty sure they've got mole.

          1 Reply
          1. re: srk

            The mole at El Vitral is the best I have ever had. Unbelievable layers of flavor. THeir pepita sauce served with pork tenderloin is really delicious, too. Also great is the Cochinita Pibil, which you rarely see in the US. I would highly recommend El Vitral. Really nice owners, excelllent service and beautiful attention to detail everywhere (ladies room is beautiful!).

          2. I really enjoy Hacienda de Vega in Escondido..wonderful outside patio with waterfall and music..
            Pollo con Mole is very good..


            1. Although it isn't the "best sit down" mexican restaurant in San Diego, for mole I think you'd be best to go to El Agave in Old Town. They have no less than six moles on their menu, in addition to the rest of the food. The restaurant is on the edge of Old Town, so you get that bit of tourist sightseeing experience too, since you mention that your family is from overseas. And the tequila bottles all over the place adds to that. It may not be everyone's agreed upon favorite for mexican food in San Diego, but that's because we all have different tastes and favorites and there are so many mexican places around. But for what you're looking for I think it would do the trick nicely. That being said, it is pricey, and if you read some reviews on yelp it seems that they have been having service issues lately. However, it seems that the food itself is still in good standing.

              I haven't been to Chilango's since it's re-opened, but I would suggest looking into going there as well. Also, you could check out Frida's in Otay. It's connected to that very nice mall (which has some shops out-of-towners would especially like, I think), and is a very beautifully built restaurant. Trouble is that it can be very pricey there as well.

              I wouldn't recommend Cantina Mayahuel, even though they make very good mole. For two reasons: it's very very small, and the menu is extremely limited. They only serve their mole on Tuesdays and Fridays, and the standard menu only has tacos, rice bowls, and salad. That's it. It's got a great tequila selection, and the food is very tasty. But it leans more towards style (bordering on gimmick) rather than functionality. For taking a family there of any larger than 5 people on a Friday, I think you'd be looking at a long wait, and a crowded restaurant. And you'd be telling your family that they'd all each be having to eat pretty much the same exact dish for the whole group (since the only difference between the tacos and the bowls is that the bowls have rice).

              Super Cocina makes good mole as well, and is fantastic for local mexican food, but it's not a place to go expecting a fine dining sit down dinner, since it's about as much an opposite as you can get, and is essentially a neighborhood cafeteria.