Best San Diego Tacos: 12 Local Favorites

Everyone knows that San Diego is basically synonymous with tacos. And not just any tacos, but arguably the most elite tacos in the nation. San Diego is filled to the brim with satisfying, bold, and authentic street tacos. But as all SD locals and visitors alike know, there are SO. MANY. TACO SHOPS here. How could you ever decide which one to visit?

Where to Find the Best San Diego Tacos

Well, that’s where we come in. We’ve put together a comprehensive guide to the very best San Diego tacosthe tacos that stand out in a meat-and-tortilla-obsessed city. You can thank us later, but for now, get scrolling to see where you’re headed when your next taco craving kicks in.

12. Tocaya Organica

Kicking off our guide to the best San Diego tacos is Tocaya Organica, known for their delicious street tacos with a modern twist. This one-of-a-kind treasure is nestled in One Paseo, a charming outdoor shopping and dining area just a few miles east of Del Mar beach. While Tocaya is very aesthetically pleasing on the outside, what’s awaiting you on the inside is even better. The tacos here are built with all organic, locally sourced ingredients and are fully customizable, allowing you to choose the protein, cheese, and either a corn tortilla or a butter lettuce shell. When you’re here you’re ordering the tasty baja taco, with fried mahi-mahi and cotija cheese. It is seriously drool-worthy!

Tocaya Organica

$$$$ Mexican, Vegan, Gluten-Free

3725 Paseo Pl #1070, San Diego, CA 92130 858-386-1030

11. Las Cuatro Milpas

An immensely popular spot for some of the best San Diego tacos is Las Cuatro Milpas. This old-school classic has been around since 1933, and their expertise really shines. Located only five minutes from Petco Park, this is the perfect stop before heading to watch a Padres baseball game. Don’t be scared off by the line (it’s almost a guarantee to find one out the door), and be sure to have cash on hand as they don’t accept cards. Their homemade tortillas are life-changing and the crunchy rolled tacos are an instant favorite. Order any taco from this simple menu, and you’re sure to fall in love.

Las Cuatro Milpas

$$$$ Mexican, Breakfast & Brunch

1857 Logan Ave, San Diego, CA 92113 619-234-4460

10. Roberto’s Mexican Food

Located between Del Mar and Torrey Pines beaches, Roberto’s makes for one of the most scenic restaurants on our guide. They pride themselves on their many years of experience and authentic Mexican cuisine here, and they definitely deliver. If you’re craving a carnitas taco, cooked and served to perfection, Roberto’s is the spot for you. They offer the most memorable carnitas taco we have found in San Diego, hands down. The grilled meat is incredibly juicy and has so much flavor, it could easily stand alone, but the guacamole and salsa fresca on top are a great addition.

Roberto’s Mexican Food

$$$$ Mexican, Breakfast & Brunch

2206 Carmel Valley Rd #3704, Del Mar, CA 92014 858-436-7189

SEE ALSO: The 20 Best San Diego Restaurants

9. Tacos El Gordo

Tacos El Gordo is a local favorite when it comes to textbook Tijuana-style tacos. It is a well-known classic Mexican eatery full of all the traditional foods and flavors you know and love. The ordering system here is quite unique; you stand in line based on what meat you select for your tacos. Be sure to wait in a few different lines because you simply can’t skip out on any of the delectable options such as al pastor, lengua, or asada. Another pro-tip: many of the Tacos El Gordo locations close early, making it an ideal lunch destination. The taco we recommend trying here is their immensely popular al pastor, with which you should always order pineapple on top.

Tacos El Gordo

$$$$ Mexican

556 Broadway, Chula Vista, CA 91910 619-691-8848

8. Los Tacos

When on the hunt for the best San Diego tacos, a stop at this low-key taqueria will definitely satisfy your cravings. Los Tacos delivers everything you want in a taco, all while being two quick miles from the beautiful Moonlight Beach in Encinitas. One noteworthy element about Los Tacos is that it’s the only taco shop on our guide that serves beans on top of their sirloin carne asada taco, which is a definite win in our book. A refreshing choice is their baja fish taco, offered with a creamy chipotle sauce drizzled on top, but if you’re wanting to spice things up a bit, their al pastor is sure to hit the spot.

Los Tacos

$$$$ Tacos

1450 Encinitas Blvd, Encinitas, CA 92024 760-452-6502

7. City Tacos

With seven locations and a monstrous menu to choose from, City Taco truly is for every taco enthusiast. They specialize in both delicious conventional tacos, as well as divine flavor combinations that will blow you away. This restaurant stands out and deserves a sure spot on our guide to the best San Diego tacos because they add bold elements you would never have guessed belong on a taco like mashed potatoes or golden raisins. The Pescado Taco’s unique combination of fried mahi-mahi, pickled onions, habanero, cilantro, chipotle aioli, and STRAWBERRIES will leave you speechless. You must order this striking taco and experience the fiesta of flavor.

City Tacos

$$$$ Tacos

4516 Mission Blvd, San Diego, CA 92109 858-284-4239

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6. Beach and Taco Shack

Coronado is known as one of the most picturesque beaches in San Diego. Add an incredible taco shack steps away from the soft, white sand and you’ve got yourself a dream come true. Beach and Taco Shack is part of the stunning Hotel Del Coronado (luckily you don’t have to be a guest to eat here) and is located just outside the hotel, facing the ocean. This adored shack features great classic tacos but takes them a step further with mouthwatering additions such as avocado salsa and lime crema on the fish taco, mango habanero salsa overtop the chicken tinga taco, and smoky chipotle on the vegan mushroom poblano taco. We highly recommend both the fish taco and red chile pork taco, but we promise you won’t be disappointed with anything you order here.

Beach and Taco Shack

$$$$ Tacos, Beer Bar, Cocktail Bars

1500 Orange Ave, Coronado, CA 92118 619-522-8100

5. Crack Taco Shop

It would be a complete shame to discuss the best tacos in San Diego without praising the exceptional tacos from Crack Taco Shop.  Although their entire menu is incredible, their claim to fame is their use of the iconic “Cardiff Crack,” arguably the best tri-tip steak from the local Seaside Market in Cardiff. The steak is soaked in a burgundy pepper marinade and makes for phenomenal tacos (and burritos, nachos, bowls, AND quesadillas for that matter). They are seasoned to perfection and packed with jaw-dropping flavor that is hard to forget. The homemade, thick corn tortillas and guac on top just add to the marvelous flavor explosion. Do yourself a favor and run (don’t walk!) to order the Crack Taco, one of the best San Diego tacos.

Crack Taco Shop

$$$$ Tacos

4242 Camino Del Rio N ste 28, San Diego 619-269-2828

4. Oscar’s Mexican Seafood

Another esteemed taco location is Oscar’s. Locals won’t be surprised to see this ever-popular eatery on our guide to the best San Diego tacos. The seafood-inspired menu ranges from traditional tacos, such as battered fish and steak, to wildly unique combinations, namely their shrimp and bacon taco. If you are a fish fanatic, we definitely recommend the Taco Especial full of smoked fish, tasty shrimp, and scallops. And although Oscar’s specializes in seafood, their steak taco is one of the best in the city, thanks to its insanely juicy and flavorful meat. So, whether you’re in the mood for surf or turf (or even vegetarian tacos), Oscar’s has you covered.

Oscar’s Mexican Seafood

$$$$ Mexican, Seafood, Breakfast & Brunch

746 Emerald St, San Diego, CA 92109 858-412-4009

3. Blue Water Seafood

Attempting to rank the fish tacos in San Diego is like trying to pick your favorite child: impossible. But Blue Water Seafood takes fish tacos to a whole new level. The fish selection here ranges from local to exotic catches to satisfy every preference in your party. These tacos are unbelievably fresh and will leave you wanting to try every single option on the menu. The wide selection of marinades is exciting, but you won’t regret sticking with the recommended chipotle marinade. It adds the most impeccable kick to any taco you order. Not only is the food divine here, but the delightful outdoor dining patio overlooking Ocean Beach creates the perfect ambiance for your meal.

Blue Water Seafood

$$$$ Seafood, Seafood Markets

5083 Santa Monica Ave #1b, San Diego, CA 92107 619-255-8497

2. The Taco Stand

The Taco Stand is a very beloved local spot, and for good reason! With a charming restaurant in La Jolla and a lovely outdoor patio in Encinitas, these tacos are served up in the heart of two of the most beautiful beach towns in Southern California. The homemade chips and corn tortillas, amazing salsas from scratch (go for the chipotle cream sauce) and high-quality meats make for some of the most delicious tacos on our guide. If you’re visiting the Taco Stand, you’re definitely ordering the al pastor taco. The flawless combo of spiced pork paired with sweet pineapple pieces is absolutely to die for. Don’t forget to finish your meal with their made-to-order churros and dipping sauce!

The Taco Stand

$$$$ Tacos

642 S Coast Hwy 101, Encinitas, CA 92024 760-230-2061

1. Puesto

Last but certainly not least, Puesto. If you’re looking for the best San Diego tacos, this is an absolute must-visit. Steps away from La Jolla Cove with a cozy outdoor dining patio, Puesto is as inviting as it is incredibly delicious. Be sure to order Puesto’s filet mignon taco (yes, you read that right) along with the chicken al pastor taco to have your mind blown. The tender, perfectly seasoned meat, combined with melted crispy cheese and made-from-scratch blue corn tortillas make it obvious that Puesto deserves the number one spot on our San Diego taco guide. Not to mention the complimentary chips and salsa! The menu also includes vegetarian options, and delicious note-worthy sides, such as their Nogada Guacamole with mango pico de gallo, pomegranates, and walnuts. We know you’re going to love it here just as much as we do.

Puesto La Jolla

$$$$ Mexican, Bars

1026 Wall St, La Jolla, CA 92037 858-454-1260

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