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?
Well, that’s where we come in. We’ve put together a comprehensive guide to the very best San Diego tacos—the 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 Modern Mexican
$$ Mexican, Vegan, Gluten-Free
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
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
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
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.
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.
6. Beach and Taco Shack
Beach & Taco Shack
$ Tacos, Beer Bar, Cocktail Bars
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
4. Oscar’s Mexican Seafood
Oscar’s Mexican Seafood
$ Mexican, Seafood, Breakfast & Brunch
3. Blue Water Seafood
Blue Water Seafood Ocean Beach
$$ Seafood, Seafood Markets
2. The Taco Stand
The Taco Stand
Puesto La Jolla
$$ Mexican, Bars, Desserts