The deal: $3.25-$3.75 tacos all night long
Modern Mexican soul food melds with chic decor to create a beloved hangout spot in Banker’s Hill. The fare is slightly healthier than your standard place, but doesn’t skimp on taste.
The deal: Three tacos for $5 (including speciality tacos like shrimp, lengua, and cabeza)
The tacos served at ¡Salud! are created by The San Diego Taco Company, which has been voted the best caterer in San Diego, so you know it's good. Plus, it's located in the original Bank of Italy building, built in 1910, for a side of history with those cheap tacos.
The deal: $1 off a la carte tacos
Miguel’s Cocina has been perfecting its menu for more than 30 years, ensuring the most delicious Mexican is served fresh in a matching festive atmosphere.
The deal: $1.50 pastor and carnitas tacos, $3 Modelo and Dos Equis on draft
The name says it all: Señor Grubby’s is Mexican that's been heavily influenced by American food.
The deal: $1.25 mini fish, pollo asado, adovada, cabaza, buche, tripas, or carnitas tacos, $2 Dos Equis
It’s a simple yet delicious Mexican place in Clairemont with indoor and outdoor seating. The tacos come with double wrapped tortillas and the shrimp cocktail is a must-try.
The deal: $2 fresh calamari, fish, and chicken tacos, $3 carne asada and carnitas tacos
The Brigantine is a San Diego staple for its seafood and views overlooking Del Mar. It’s a great place for Taco Tuesday or for a stop after a day at the race track.
The deal: $3 fish tacos, $2 off margaritas, and draft beers
Las Olas’ Cardiff-by-the-Sea location is steps from the beach with sweeping views of the lagoon. The fresh margaritas are some of the best in San Diego.
The Deal: $5 for three street tacos of carnitas, carne asada, pollo asado, or al pastor
Añejo’s has dishes and a la carte samplings of authentic Mexican cuisine. It’s a great place to watch a game (go sports!) or have a night out with friends.
The deal: $2 TJ dawgs, $2 street tacos, and $3 Tecates
Sinaloa-style dishes are cooked up fresh at La Puerta. Don’t expect to see margarita mix at this spot: La Puerta is committed to quality ingredients without a hint of artificial flavoring.
The deal: Fourteen tacos, tequila shots, and beers ranging from $2 to $3
Baja Betty’s is both a gay bar and a standout Mexican restaurant. They’ve got tons of different cocktails, giant margaritas, and free-flowing sangria.
The Deal: $5 for two tacos and $4 house margaritas
Decorated in a Folklorico style, La Vecindad places an emphasis on the food more so than the dining experience. What they lack in silverware, they make up for in solid tacos.
The Deal: All-you-can-eat tacos for $6, including rice and beans
Owned by the same company as Cabo Cantina, Fiesta Cantina is the happy hour destination in Hillcrest, thanks to the two-for-one drink specials from 4-8pm every night.
The deal: $2.50 street tacos, $3.50 Dos Equis
Puesto has upped the ante in San Diego's Mexican food scene with its made-from-scratch approach. Don’t expect your run-of-the-mill street tacos here; they’ve got interesting meats, like lamb barbacoa, and filet mignon.
The Deal: $2 street tacos, including carne asada, carnitas, fish, and pollo asada
Lovingly known as “The Ranch,” the restaurant has been around since 1945. It’s blocks from the beach and serves up classic Mexican dishes, along with a renowned cheese crisp.
The deal: $4 tacos after 4pm
Sirena offers Latin American seafood and fresh oysters, ceviche, and a raw bar that takes the concept of raw bars to new places. The hip atmosphere makes a great date night place, and each plate is an experience of its own.
The deal: $2 street tacos or half off taco plates, all with a side of karaoke
If pop art met a Lucha Libre wrestler and had a baby that made delicious tacos and mixed drinks, the result would be El Camino. The restaurant is a guaranteed good time with strong cocktails and karaoke, in that order.
The Deal: $2.50 beer battered mahi-mahi and adobada (pork) tacos, $3 Tecates, and $4 Mango Micheladas
Tacos Perla is not your standard taco shop; it’s younger and fresher with a cool atmosphere. The tacos are made with quality ingredients and paired with something every decent Mexican place should have: an awesome salsa bar.
The Deal: $1.25 tacos (bar only), $4 drinks
Anita’s has been in business since 1973, and it’s a solid Mexican option in North County. Decorated in traditionally bright colors, the ambiance is festive and the Taco Tuesday deal, which runs from 2:30-7pm, will leave your wallet happy.
The Deal: 99-cent fried fish tacos
Miramar Fish Tacos and Beer specializes in seafood, offering dishes like Sea Soup, and seafood paella. They’ve also got off-kilter drinks like the Tamarindo Michelada.
The Deal: $1.25 chicken, carnitas, pastor, and carne asada tacos starting at 5pm
Variety is the staple at Los Tacos. Get a Hawaiian-style taco with pork and pineapple or go for a hard-shell taco, which are harder to find in San Diego.
The Deal: $2 tacos with nine options to choose from and a rotating special that changes every Tuesday.
Cafe Coyote is in the heart of Old Town’s historic walking strip. It’s got outdoor and indoor seating all with a classic atmosphere accompanied by big portions of Mexican food.
The Deal: $2 chicken carnitas and cheeseburger tacos, $3 crispy chicken, calamari, carne asada, fish, and veggie tacos, and drink specials, including $5 20oz margaritas.
Fred’s is high-energy with funky decor, making it a fun night out. The Taco Tuesday is extra special with its $6 Patron shots and beer deals.
The Deal: $3 tacos and $3 drinks
Large homemade tortillas served up at Old Town Mexican Cafe make for a full belly and a happy customer.
The Deal: $6 all-you-can-eat tacos, includes rice and beans
The Cantina can get really packed on Taco Tuesday, and it’s easy to see why. Not only are the all-you-can-eat tacos great, but all drinks are two-for-one during happy hour from 4-8pm.
The Deal: $1.50 street tacos
Just to be clear, The Taco Surf Taco Shop has tacos. They also have surfboards hanging overhead, making this taco shop exactly what it claims to be.
The Deal: $2.25 fried fish tacos, $3 grilled fish tacos
If you want to see where your food comes from, head to Mitch’s Seafood. The casual waterfront restaurant is located on the bay, so you can watch the boats as they come and go. Mitch’s specializes in fresh fish and the fish tacos are divine.
The Deal: $1.99 beef or chicken hard shell tacos, and fish soft shell tacos
Cotija’s is in the heart of Point Loma and offers straight-forward, counter-style service.
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Ellen Wright is a freelancer at Thrillist who likes her fish tacos beer battered and on a Tuesday. Follow her on Twitter: @PacificPolished.
1. Barrio Star2706 5th Ave, San Diego
2. El Camino2400 India St, San Diego
3. La Puerta560 4th Ave, San Diego
4. Salud San Diego2196 Logan Ave, San Diego
5. Miguel's Cocina5980 Avenida Encinas, Carlsbad, CA 92008, Carlsbad
6. Señor Grubby's377 Carlsbad Village Dr, Carlsbad
7. Los Palmitos5145 Clairemont Mesa Blvd, San Diego
8. Brigantine3263 Camino del Mar, Del Mar
9. Sirena Latin Seafood1901 Columbia St, San Diego
10. Las Olas3924 W Point Loma Blvd, Point Loma
11. Añejo Bar & Grill329 W Felicita Ave, Escondido
12. Baja Betty's1421 University Ave, San Diego
13. La Vecindad3827 5th Avenue, San Diego, CA 92103, San Diego
14. Fiesta Cantina142 University Ave, San Diego
15. Puesto789 W Harbor Dr, San Diego
16. Verdes El Ranchero7404 La Jolla Blvd, La Jolla
17. Tacos Perla3000 Upas St, San Diego
18. Anita's Restaurant & Cantina2250 S El Camino Real, Oceanside
19. Miramar Fish Tacos & Beer41 Douglas Dr, Ste 100 Oceanside, Oceanside
20. Los Tacos2183 Vista Way, Oceanside
21. Cafe Coyote2461 San Diego Ave, San Diego
22. Fred's Mexican Cafe2470 San Diego Ave, San Diego
23. Old Town Mexican Cafe2489 San Diego Ave, San Diego
24. Cabo Cantina1050 Garnet Ave, San Diego
25. Taco Surf4657 Mission Blvd, San Diego
26. Mitch's Seafood1403 Scott St, San Diego
27. Cotija's Cocina Mexicana3720 Voltaire St, San Diego
Bright jewel tone walls and Dia de los Muertos-style decor make dining here a casual event, as does the reasonably priced menu of delicious eats. The tortas (carnitas, carne asada, chicken, or veggie) are a can’t-miss, and come with a side of chips, but other items like shoestring plantains and chorizo tacos, also make apt complements for their margaritas, beer, and curated tequila selection.
A Mexican resto right in the middle of Little Italy might be culturally confusing, but hey, they have a Michelada in a glass shaped like a boot -- that’s sort of Italian? You can chill in the dimly lit Dia De Los Muertos-themed interior or watch the commercial airliners coming in for a landing over the patio bar.
Street food-style tacos might be the meal du jour in San Diego, but this sleek place on Fourth Avenue also delivers heartier family recipes in quesadillas, sopas, and specialty burritos, like "The California" made with Arranchera Steak, French fries, and grilled onion. La Puerta offers more than 100 tequilas, plus mezcals, raicillas, sotols, and bacanoras. Just ask the bar staff for guidance -- they'll be happy to school you.
This compact taco shop in Barrio Logan serves a small but diverse selection of tacos topped with tangy dips from the lauded salsa bar and paired with craft beer. The move here is to order at least three tacos, ensuring that one is the Taco de Barrio, which features stewed beef, black beans, and cactus in a handmade flour tortilla. Sides like fire-roasted corn with lime, queso fresca, crema, and chile complete Salud's Mexican street food-inspired menu.
Go family style at this lively Mexican spot that serves up big portions and colorful fare. This San Diego mini-chain has been cooking traditional style Mexican dishes, like carne asada tortas, tostada grande and rellenos, since first opening in 1982. For brunch, specials change weekly. Their margaritas and cocktails are also worth a try.
Mexican-inspired fast food mixes with some American favorites at this beachside joint. Get the shrimp diabla burrito which comes with two sides, chipotle cream sauce and pico de gallo. Then head to the beach, because nothing pairs better with shrimp than sand and surf.
If you consider yourself a fan of Mexican food and you live in San Diego, you've gotta check out Los Palmitos Taco Shop's Taco Tuesday. Every week, the folks at Los Palmitos serve up $1.25 tacos (whoa!) and $2 Dos Equis (double whoa!). To not indulge in a deal this good would be foolish; taco lovers rejoice!
Oysters on the half shell, King crab legs, and ahi poke tacos are what's on offer at this oceanside, seafood-centric spot in Del Mar. This Cali mini-chain serves some of the freshest catches in the SD; come for their Tuesday taco deal and enjoy $2 calamari, fish (or chicken) tacos. If seafood's not your thing, Brigantine also offers plenty of carnivorous fare.
Sirena Cocina Latina is led by Executive Chef Jaime Chavez who hails from Chile. His mostly seafood creations are inspired by his journeys through South America, as well as his technical training in Spain and Mexico. Extensive Latin American flavors are reflected in dishes like the red aguachile, the Peruano -- a white fish with glazed sweet potato -- and even beer-battered fish tacos for those who just can’t let go.
Las Olas's third spot in Point Loma serves up what they claim to be the original Baja fish taco, plus specials like bacon-wrapped scallops & shrimp on a “float” of salsa verde.
This lively Mexican spot in Escondido is great for groups, offering great daily happy hour deals (you can get 3 tacos on Tuesday for $5 or 3 sliders on Mondays for $5, plus house margaritas are only $6 everyday and house drafts go for $3 seven days a week). Anejo's also a solid choice when you're looking for a place to watch the game; they broadcast all local SD sports games on multiple flat screens inside the restaurant.
With more than 100 tequilas on their shelves, a tempting customizable-nachos mini-menu (with nearly 20 toppings to choose from), and the self-proclaimed best margarita north of the border, what else can you ask of Betty's? Oh, well, every Tuesday they have various $2 specials, from tostadas and stubbies to shots and bean dip. Looks like that paper with Jefferson's face on it is more than just a collectors' item.
This breezy, casual Hillcrest spot is a great for eating a quick meal on the go or knocking back a few house margs with your crew. Gather around the communal picnic tables for two for $5 taco deals, $4 cocktails and plenty of shareable sides.
Get your fiesta on at this hopping University Ave locale. Offering great everyday happy hour deals (2 for 1 on all drinks and shots between 4-8pm and bottomless weekend mimosas and bloody marys) and affordable apps and mains, Fiesta Cantina is a solid choice for starting or ending your night (they're open til 2am everyday!)
The vibrantly decorated Puesto pays homage to all kinds of Mexican street food, with a heavy emphasis on tacos. You'll find a mix of familiar fillings (chicken al pastor and filet mignon) alongside refreshing combinations like lobster with black beans and crispy onions, and zucchini with sweet corn and cactus. The house-made corn tortillas here prove to be so much more than a vessel for the meat and cheese fillings, and you'll find yourself savoring their earthy taste -- or spreading them with guacamole when the chips run low. Speaking of guac, you can stick with cilantro and onion classic or have yours loaded with Brussels sprouts and crispy bacon.
Originally opened in 1945, this cheery La Jolla spot offers authentic and traditional Mexican specialties drawn from family recipes. On offer are chile rellenos, carnitas, enchiladas, burritos, and tamales, whose bright and spicy flavors are matched by the restaurant’s vibrant color scheme and energetic atmosphere. The Ranch -- as it’s referred to colloquially -- has a can’t-miss selection of margaritas, like the Horni-Rita with Sauza Hornitos Reposado, Patron Citronage, and lime juice and the Cadillac Margarita with Patron Silver, lime juice, and Grand Marnier.
You need to go out and grab an Ocho taco right now.
This lively eatery in Oceanside offers traditional Mexican and Latin American fare alongside great drink specials. Open since 1973, Anita's is fresh, authentic, and affordable. Come by on Tuesdays for $1.25 tacos and $4 drinks.
This Miramar eatery has great fish tacos and beer (duh). The rest of the menu is equally flavorful; check out of their tasty fried calamari, super fresh ceviche, chicharron, and rock shrimp, all of which are available for a steal during their Wednesday appetizer happy hour from 3-6pm.
This uber authentic taco spot in Oceanside serves 'em up SoCal style. They've got all the classics (al pastor tacos, beer battered fish tacos, and carnitas) rolled up in toasty flour tortillas with fresh made salsa verde and pico de gallo. If you're feeling something for experimental, the Hawaiian taco with pork and pineapple is also a good choice.
Cafe Coyote in San Diego's Old Town is a top notch choice for tequila lovers and Mexican food aficionados. They offer more than 100 kinds of the good stuff, make all of their flour tortillas in house (you can watch!), and are housed in a authentic, Mexican style hacienda, complete with large scale murals adorning the walls. s
This authentic and lively spot in San Diego's Old Town offers tasty Mexican fare in a charming, down to earth locale. A solid choice for lunch or dinner, Fred's happy hour deals are also worth mentioning: you can get $2 or $3 tacos every Tuesday, plus $5 20oz margaritas.
This majorly authentic spot in San Diego's Old Town has been serving Mexican food aficionados for more than 30 years. Offering hand pressed tortillas, classic savory sides, and super satisfying tacos, the Old Town Mexican Cafe is always a solid choice for dependable, flavorful fare.
This beachside spots draws lively crowds who flock for Cabo Cantina's authentic Mexican fare. On Tuesday, for only $6, get all you can eat tacos, which is challenge we'd gladly accept. We're also into their jumbo, super strong margs.
This beachside, surf-inspired resto offers super fresh seafood tacos and other Mexican eats. Stop by 7 days a week for build your own burritos, $1.50 street tacos, and tasty, affordable combination plates.
From its post on the dock, Mitch's Seafood is a Point Loma destination for California-centric fish dinners and Bay views. Mitch's has a laid-back atmosphere with prices to match, a menu chock full of simply prepared dishes, and a craft beer and wine selection based entirely in California. Tacos are top billing, and depending on the day, you can expect fillings like octopus, fried oysters, or scallops. If you don’t want to chance it, the grilled shrimp and battered cod tacos are offered daily. In true seafood shack style, service is casual.
Cotija's Cocina Mexicana, a no frills, hacienda style redto in Point Loma is tasty and affordable. Offering traditional Mexican fare, they're known for their authentic tacos, enchiladas, and burritos. Established in 1974, Cotija's is a longstanding San Diego fave.