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Apr 1, 2012 02:08 PM

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

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.



          9 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.



            2. re: PolarBear

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


              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


                King City update

                also check the bottom of this one

                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: bulavinaka

                      Two years later dunno if you still are looking but Gutierrez has been a family favorite for decades. Super casual and cheap, we are always the only non mexicans there. Carnitas by the pound are the must order, comes with sides and tortillas to make your own soft tacos. The ceviches are great (and spicy!), and their seafood cocktails. Go hungry.

                  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

                  2 Replies
                  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.

                    1. re: juliensami

                      Some locals like to come here, but for most this is more of a tourist trap. You may want to try Lucha Libre Taco Shop around the corner. Fun kitschy Mexican wrestling memorabilia and the food is great... More of what San Diego is known for: Taco shop style food with great flavors.