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Who's got the best mexican food in Ca? LA, SF or SD?

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I had a friend bring me a burrito from San Diego. OMG. Best Burrito ever! Way better than anything I have had in LA.

What city has the best mexican food? Los Angeles, San Francisco or San Diego? I may need to move. :)

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  1. > I had a friend bring me a burrito from San Diego.

    From where in San Diego? That would probably help this discussion.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Peripatetic

      And what kind of burrito. I think San Diego and San Francisco have some specialties (fish tacos in San Diego and Mission burritos in San Francisco), but for sheer variety, I think LA stands out. I know I've failed to find good basic meat tacos in San Diego and was very let down by the recommended places on the Chowhound boards.

      1. re: Jwsel

        > for sheer variety, I think LA stands out

        Having spent considerable time in all three areas, I'd agree. There are some outstanding individual Mexican places in SF and SD but in neither of them will you find the range of first-rate regional specialists (Oaxaca, Sinaloa, DF, Jalisco, etc.) that you can in LA.

        I'd even hazard to say that there are better fish tacos to be found in LA than in SD. The three chow advantages that SD has over LA would be, in my opinion: 1) Italian 2) craft-beer gastropubs, and 3) proximity to Tijuana, fast becoming one of the world's great food cities.

    2. As a near native San Diegan, I have to agree that LA wins for diversity. We have those rare finds in strange places that make you wish the meal would never end. Recently, my friend told me about her friends who flew burritos from a small shop in El Cajon all the way to Chicago. I went out to Gillespie Field one Friday night to the cafe at the base of the airstrip tower to be served the very best fish tacos I have ever had while a country band on Taylor guitars strummed and microbrew was tapped from an ice chest. Beyond delicious and cheap. Blue Water, a fish restaurant on India street also has amazing fish tacos, having a fin above everyone else for sheer freshness of fish. We have a standard for tamales, yummy rice and beans, which is Cuatro Milpas. It's down in the barrio and found by the line going down the sidewalk. It's like dining in a Mexican bus terminal and the rice will make you weep. Some of the best Albondigas soup can be found in a small eatery just east of I-15 off the 52. I can't get past the clear broth of the Albondigas so can't speak to the rest of the menu. An amazing takeout is the Pancho Villa grocery store, where almost every meat known to man is sold in small or large soft taco format. They roast their own pollo there and the pollo asado is delicioso in tacos or enchiladas. The chile rellenos are big pasillas in the fluffy batter with a traditional clear tomato salsa. The bakery there is decent too, try the panque in chocolate with fresh strawberries for dessert. The Mexican delights in San Diego are many so happy hunting Lulu.

      1. If you are limiting it to the city (or even county) limits, than SF clearly looses on this one. Most of the great Mexican places now flourish well outside of SF City and County limits.

        1. The answer is..... d) None of the above

          If you want the real deal you need to travel the Hwy 99 route from Bakersfield to Fresno, or to the west Hwy 101 from Santa Barbara to Salinas.

          Cheers,

          Dave

          8 Replies
          1. re: PolarBear

            Intriguing. Is there a post on the California board with details?

            1. re: Peripatetic

              Here's a couple for the Fresno area, also see suggestion below, sorry it was attached to the wrong message.

              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/460434

              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/838127

            2. re: PolarBear

              Would really appreciate it if you could elaborate on the best places on "Hwy 101 from Santa Barbara to Salinas"......

              Thanks,
              Debbie

              1. re: cometraveler

                Do a google search for the major places using "chowhound Mexican" then the name, e.g. Santa Barbara, Santa Maria, San Luis Obispo (or SLO), Paso Robles, Salinas, or even the smaller ones such as Arroyo Grande, Templeton, King City, Soledad, Greenfield, Gonzales.

                These should get you started

                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/776844

                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/671968
                King City update
                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/834473

                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/370120
                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/536255
                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/836844
                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/361843
                also check the bottom of this one
                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/766899

                1. re: PolarBear

                  PB, if you had to pick a top three or specific recs in the Salinas area, what would they be? We drive through the Salinas area while heading to Santa Cruz. Thanks

                  1. re: bulavinaka

                    We usually just hit a couple of the trucks while we're passing through. One sit down we really liked was:

                    El Kora – Nayarit seafood, shrimp, crawfish
                    153 Griffin St

                    Have heard good things about Don Pepe also. Here's a few really good trucks, Especially like Mr. Taco for his al pastor quesadilla on corn tortillas

                    Tacos El Grullense - taco de pescado. Grilled ala plancha
                    235 Kern St against the freeway frontage parked across from the Aloha Motel, south of East Market Street on Kern Street's motel row.

                    Mr. Taco Truck - al pastor quesadilla de maiz (add al pastor), lengua, cabeza, tripas tacos, flour quesadilla made with al pastor and extra red salsa.
                    Sun Street at East Market, next to the Community Center (WEST of Market Street exit from Hwy 101)
                    831-794-2015 10am-6pm

                    Tacos Acámbaro - al pastor on spit, tripas, campechana, bacon wrapped hot dogs
                    Now on Grandhaven St at the intersection with Willliams Road (E of Laurel Dr.) parked in front of the Quick Stop after 6 pm
                    Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday: 6pm on
                    Friday and Saturday: 6pm to 11pm

                    1. re: PolarBear

                      Thank you - I will keep this post handy when we head through again...

                2. re: cometraveler

                  Many posts, do a google search using "chowhound Mexican" followed by a city such as Bakersfield, Visalia, Selma, Fresno, Madera, etc or even Hwy 99

                  ETA: Sorry, reply meant for Peripatetic above

              2. We fell in love with this special place
                Saw it on DDD and wanted to try it
                The El Indio Cafe in SD

                 
                1 Reply
                1. re: Thom E

                  Please share what you loved, as this place has its sentimental fans and harsh critics all over Chowhound. I occasionally recommend it to those seeking a blast from the past since the taste screams 1960s with their salsas and sauces.

                2. Guadalupe (near Santa Maria) used to be legendary and hope La Simpatia will re-open for their superb chile rellenos. Give me La Superica in Santa Barbara for some winning combos (# 15 Special) because Mexican means fresh and simple preparationsusing flavorful ingredients, more than anything else.

                  1. LA has the best Mexican food, even better than what you would find in Mexico at times.
                    SF has gotten better with some newer upscale places opening that do not focus on the 'SF burrito', which is not even a traditional Mexican dish.
                    'Tacolicious' and 'Nopalito' SF are all the rage right now, although their flavors taste somewhat bland and seem to be missing a certain soulfulness.
                    Supposedly Chicago has excellent Mexican food as well.
                    Growing up Mexican in Cali I have yet been to a restaurant that makes anything as good as grandma's cooking, or the food one encounters at family gatherings or impromptu parties.

                    1. L.A. has the best Mexican not in restaurants but in the trucks - you just gotta know which ones.

                      1. I have never had the best Mexican food from restaurants in any of these cities. Except in Inglewood when Sergio is cooking. The best Mexican food comes from the families who invite you to dinner. You can get tacos or burritos at these restaurants. BFD. I ask my Hispanic coworkers what they think of these places. They say,"We don't eat that shit."

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: emglow101

                          Maybe we can eat at your Mexican friends homes then? Honestly that's like saying you can't get good Thai food at a Thai restaurant.

                        2. I forgot I posted this. I don't know where that burrito came from. It was fresh and good though.

                          1. The LA area has the best Mex food. Burritos are more Mex/American, and do not reflect what is considered good Mexican food.
                            San Diego is a close second with SF lagging far behind.
                            And please don't mention Tacolicious.

                            1. Baja has the best Mexican food in California.

                              1. I'd say LA, for the variety, and also because my long walk through Inglewood, Vermont Harbour and South Central introduced me to only the tip of the iceberg.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: BuildingMyBento

                                  Name the top 5 places in LA please.