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Jun 17, 2011 09:46 PM

Tijuana taco recommendations for KilgoreTrout

This is a continuation of an LA-area post at in which KilgoreTrout said he and his boss are coming west to prove to the boss that East Coast tacos can't hold a candle. They're planning a day in TJ solely to eat... so if you're reading this, please chime in!

Now then... descriptions rather than addresses are included here (don't forget to make sure you can take your car into Tijuana, or your taxi bills will pile up pretty quickly) because it's a pain in the arse to try and figure out where things are by the address. Google Maps is getting better, but...

1. Tacos Salceados, Ermita Norte 30A, La Mesa, Tijuana. On "Ermita Norte" between Diaz Ordaz and Benitez López / Paseo de los Héroes. Taxi drivers know it as "Tacos La Ermita".

The best tacos in Tijuana. Quesatacos—mozzarella cheese laid directly on the flat-top and toasted brown, then stuffed with ingredients (the default is steak and shrimp, but you can get any filling as a quesataco), rolled, and put into a tortilla and sauced. The guy is a former saucier in a fancy restaurant and makes the most amazing array of sauces—hibiscus flower salsa, anyone?

2. Tacos el Poblano, Diaz Ordaz 7813, La Mesa (5 y 10), Tijuana. On the main road past the Hippodrome a few km.

Carne asada. REAL carne asada. Not the crap they steam to death this side of the border.

3. Tacos Fitos, Guadalupe Victoria, Zona Río, Tijuana. Behind Mercado Hidalgo (worth the stop on its own) between Sánchez Taboada and Paseo de los Héroes

The fastest taqueros in Tijuana—seriously. Beef birria or tripe, those are your two choices. I don't like tripe, so I always get birria—and damn, they're good.

4. Tacos Franc, Sanchez Taboada and 6th/Flores Magon, Zona Este, Tijuana. Near-ish downtown, east of the club district, three blocks east of Revolución on 6th and behind the Zona Río Costco. Walkable from "downtown".

Another specialist, this time in late-night al pastor. Blows even Tacos Leo away.

5. Tacos el Mazateño, Del Tecnológico and Popotla, Tomás Aquino, Tijuana. On Del Tecnológico (the road that goes out to UABC, the Universidad Autónoma de Baja California), at the five-points intersection of Popotla and Rodolfo Gaona.

There is but one thing to get here: camarón enchilado (chile-spiked shrimp). It's amazing.

6. Mariscos Ruben, Quintana Roo and 8th/Miguel Hidalgo. Two blocks south and half a block east of Tacos Franc. Walkable from "downtown". Five blocks east of Revolución.

Seafood. Oh my God, the seafood. Mexico's seafood is tenfold better than San Diego's, and barely any of it makes it across the border. Yes, it's a truck, but they are the best seafood tacos in all Tijuana. My mouth waters just thinking about it.

There's a lot more—a LOT more—but this should get you started. I hope others will contribute.

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  1. Okay, as they say, 3rd times a charm. I've tried posting all the links to tacos in Tijuana that I know and so far all I've managed to do is delete them twice. So, one last time...if they don't make it this time, I give up

    Previous posts about tacos in Tijuana on the CH Mexico board

    I'm surprised no one mentioned Street Gourmet LA's blog over on the LA board. He's got great taste (i.e. spot on) for Mexican food and it's equaled only by the photos of it that he posts. Here are a few of his relevant posts

    From the fora of the Baja Nomad web site: - this is a very long thread and you'll have to kind of weed through it to find the Tijuana stuff - the abridged version where you can search by city Tijuana to Cabo

    For San Diego: - not necessarily tacos, but very, very good "comida casera" or homestyle cooking. And it's the real deal, all the cooks are home cooks and they cook only their personal specialties, and they have to prepare those for the owner before he'll hire them. Chilaquiles are wonderful, great way to start the morning. Don't be put off by the steamtable, guisados usually benefit from the warm, moist heat. They'll give you a sample of almost anything or everythign. On University Ave between Cherokee & 37th.

    Mariscos German - or . Skip the fish taco and go for either the Gobernador or Marlyn. Gobernador is usually a shrimp taco with cheese and veggies and is quite good. Marlyn is smoke marlin, the flavor and texture are so meaty you'll think you're eating carnitas. 35th University in a dirt lot on the corner.

    El Pescador is another taco truck and is right on your way to Tijuana. or . The fish taco here is why you skip the fish taco at Mariscos German. Widely considered to be the best fish taco in San Diego. It's in a Toys 'R Us shopping center (along with a torta ahogada truck, but don't eat a torta too or you won't have room for anything after that

    ) - not particularly taco centric but pretty decent mariscos can be had at Mariscos Godoy, just up the street from El Pescador. Try the Almejas Culichi, clams in a poblano cream sauce.

    Aqui es Texcoco - does lamb barbacoa and they do it exceptionally well. If you want to stay strictly tacos then it's the rolled tacos, which come in lamb or potato. Both are fantastic and it would be hard to pick a favorite. Try a side of ensalada de nopal (cactus salad) and be sure to try what they call salsa negra, I could drink that stuff by the quart. The owner (Paco) brings huitlacoche over the border and often has quesadillas des huitlacoche. If you haven't experienced that you should, just be sure to ask if they're using fresh or canned that day.

    Looks like I've managed to come to the end without deleting the post first, so now I can hit the post button

    1. Cool. Thanks for the help. Will be posting my itinerary soon

      4 Replies
      1. re: KilgoreTrout

        I agree that Tacos Salceados is hard to beat. Go there and see how the others compare.

        I have been going to Café La Especial since I was 10 years old, (over 40 years). It is in the formerly busy tourist zone on the east side of Av Revolución between Calles 3a & 4a. It has been there since the late 1950s. They make one kind of taco only, a steamed meat taco (I don’t know what kind of meat), served with radish, green onion, marinated carrots and salsa. Get a few extra napkins. About $1.00 each. They also have a full restaurant at another location but for a pure taco experience, stick with this tiny stand.

        1. re: KilgoreTrout

          KG, the local PBS station in San Diego (KPBS) started running a new series called Crossing South that will focus on showing the non-touristy side of Tijuana. I'm posting the You Tube link as the first 7 or 8 mintues feature tacos stands - - none of which are named . There is also a piece on the TJ Brewery if that's of interest.

          Good luck on your quest

          1. re: DiningDiva

            Very nice. Thank you. I'm having a heck of a time trying to create even the bare backbone of an itinerary. The taco trucks have hours of operations that are all over the place.

            1. re: KilgoreTrout

              Tijuana is a very large metropolis, with a lot of ground to cover. I have read rave reviews of taco stands up on Otay Mesa near the maquilas: several bloggers have mentioned them.