It was a fun mess and about as close to Mexican food as we got. But, like tacos, we evolved.
Just last weekend we were ordering al pastor tacos in the busiest, noisiest, and probably, best taco spot in Tijuana. Tacos El Franc is a must-visit for any fan of the authentic street taco – the ambiance, the smells, and the flavors can’t be beat.
But up here in the beach communities of San Diego, National Taco Day (officially Oct. 4, but we decided to extend those 24 hours and make it a full taco month) is celebrated a little differently as local restaurants think outside the box. In Ocean Beach and Point Loma, taco-lovers can try tofu tacos, breakfast tacos, and even la Diablo tacos.
Of course, for those who like the traditional route, plenty of high-quality carne asada, al pastor, and fish taco choices abound. Check out our suggestions below and find your favorite taco spot.
Mike’s Taco Club
5060 Newport Ave.
Mike’s Taco Club serves a wide variety of tacos including a scallop tacos, octopus tacos, and tacos especiales, which include fish, shrimp, and scallops. Tacos come with cheese, cabbage, onion, tomato, cilantro, and avocado
4888 Newport Ave.
Ortega’s Cocina is a cute restaurant with a family feel located in the heart of Ocean Beach. They offer a wide variety of tacos, and they are most well-known for their grilled fish tacos, carne asada tacos, and chicken tacos. Aside from tacos, Ortega’s has an extensive menu of Mexican food favorites.
Nico’s Mexican Food
4918 Newport Ave.
Nico’s Mexican Food is a hole-in-the-wall taco shop with a small dining area. For great prices, choose from a variety of crispy tacos including carne asada tacos, fish tacos, carnitas tacos, beef tacos, and chicken tacos.
Bravo’s Mexican Bistro and Cantina
5001 Newport Ave.
Bravo’s celebrates Taco Tuesday twice a week. On Tuesday, come to Bravo’s for $2.50 select tacos, beers, and tequila. Taco Tuesday is also observed on Thursdays. Come to Bravo’s for the tacos, and stay for their large selection of margaritas.
Blue Water Seafood Market & Grill
5083 Santa Monica Ave.
Blue Water Seafood Market & Grill serves fresh and local seafood. Order their seafood in the best way – as part of a taco. Blue Water’s fish tacos served on fresh corn tortillas with cabbage, tomatoes, onions, cheddar cheese, homemade white sauce and your choice of fish marinated in a spicy chipotle sauce
1830 Sunset Cliffs Blvd.
Hugo’s does Mexican food with a vegan/vegetarian-centric spin. Meat-eating guests may choose from beef, chicken, or seafood tacos. Many options, such as veggie, tempeh, and tofu tacos, are available for non-meat eating guests.
4723 Point Loma Ave.
Sunnie's serves up authentic Mexican cuisine and OB Beans coffee along with breakfast all day. Try their three homemade salsas with a breakfast taco deluxe stuffed with eggs, cheese with bacon. Of check out their specials throughout the week that include TJ-style tacos, tofu tacos, and carne asada, plus grilled fish and shrimp tacos.
Cotija's Cocina Mexicana
3720 Voltaire St.
The first Cotija’s opened in 1974 in Point Loma. Named after the town of Cotija, Michoacán in Mexico, where the owner David Ruiz was from, the restaurant eventually became a success after years of hard work and perseverance. Cotija's is known for authentic Mexican flavors and their pork carnitas, pollo asada, and beef tacos.
Alamilla’s Mexican Food
3742 Midway Drive
This small taco stand on Midway Drive stands out for its Mexican flavors and bright yellow building. Taco Tuesdays specials means carnitas, adobada, and chicken tacos for $1.50. The eatery offers no-frills but does serve high-quality carne asada, shrimp, and fish tacos. For something different, try the rolled taquitos with guacamole.
1403 Scott St.
Mitch’s Seafood serves some of the best fish tacos in San Diego. Its fish is fresh from the waters off San Diego and Northern Baja. Mitch’s taco menu offers a range of seafood tacos including grilled fish, beer-battered Alaskan cod, and fried calamari.
El Jardín Cantina
2885 Perry Road
The new cantina in Liberty Station has a menu that features classics such as camarones a la Diabla and a tacos a la carte selection that includes birria tacos with short rib beef, Oaxaca cheese, and olla beans; pastor octopus and shrimp tacos with grill pineapple, habanero crema on a blue corn tortilla, or portobella mushroom tacos with avocado purée, grilled jalapeños, Molcajete salsa and cilantro.
Ortiz’s Taco Shop
3704 Voltaire St.
Ortiz’s Taco Shop is a small taco shop located near Point Loma High School. The shop serves everything from soft-shell street tacos to crispy tacos to rolled tacos all made with meats such as carne asada, carnitas, and chicken. For more adventurous eaters, Ortiz’s also offers authentic Mexican flavors like tacos al pastor, cabeza, and buche.
2912 Shelter Island Drive
Miguel’s Cocina has a family feel that offers authentic Mexican flavors. The restaurant has a large menu and a great taco selection. Order a taco plate and choose from tacos like chicken mole, adobada, longaniza, pork belly tacos, or seafood tacos like the crispy ahi tuna, grilled swordfish tacos, and the Ensenada-style shrimp tacos. Don’t forget to order an extra side of Miguel’s white queso.
Point Loma Fish Shop
1110 Rosecrans St.
The open-air eatery provides the freshest fish and highest quality ingredients. Among their specialties is the award-winning TKO Taco. The mahi-mahi is marinated in Fish Shop seasoning and topped with homemade mango salsa – it’s a must-try. The spicy dorado taco with Sriracha aioli slaw and avocado lime drizzle is a tasty second choice.
Tony’s Fresh Mexican Food
1578 Rosecrans St.
At Tony’s Fresh Mexican Food, fresh is better. And it’s better 24 hours a day seven days a week. Tony’s even offers drive-thru service. This small taco shop offers a variety of tacos and Taco Tuesday specials. Choose from seafood tacos and specials like A la Diablo Tacos or Achiote chicken tacos.
2725 Shelter Island Drive
In honor of National Taco Day, choose from a selection of The Brigantine’s tacos including the Brig’s famous fish tacos, the grilled Sonoran spiced swordfish tacos, or the surf and turf taco plate.
Samantha Webster contributed to this story.