The Taco Stand
This straight-out-of-TJ mini-chain turns out traditional Mexican handhelds from its various SoCal outposts. Inspired by Tijuana street food but rooted in La Jolla, The Taco Stand boasts burritos, quesadillas, elotes, and churros from its scrap metal menu that's posted outside its doors. Step up to the counter and pick your poison, but know that you'd be remiss not to try the flame-grilled cactus tacos.
You can always tell a good restaurant by how they treat their side dishes and condiments. The Taco Stand makes their tortillas, guacamole, and salsas fresh daily, and every dish is made to order. Hand-carved al pastor has the right hit of tangy/sweet pineapple; savory Angus carne asada is meltingly tender; and seafood choices like grilled mahi mahi, spicy shrimp, and batter-fried white fish are fresh and light. Fillings can also be rolled into burritos or grilled as a quesadilla, and local paletas provide a cool cap to your meal.
How to book: Indoor and patio seating is on a first-come basis and varies by location. For takeout, call your location or order online via Toast for takeout.