Things People May Not Know About Mexican Restaurants in San Diego

mexican restaurant san diegoMost Americans think that when they order food from a fast-food restaurant that serves Mexican-style meals, they are getting the same exact type of food that people in Mexico eat. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. In Mexico, food is prepared in different ways and is not made using the same ingredients. For example, if one goes to Mexico and orders a taco, he or she will not be getting ground beef as the filler. Mexican people do not use beef to fill their tacos; they use vegetables and other mashed ingredients. In some cases, even ground insects like escamoles, jumiles, or cuchamas are used.

mexican restaurant san diegoThe tacos in Mexico are also nothing like what is served at most places in the United States. When Americans think of tacos, they are sure to think of sour cream, yellow cheese, and lettuce. These are not ingredients that any taco stand would put together in Mexico. Authentic Mexican tacos are going to use real Mexican cheeses like queso fresco or cojita, which are white cheeses. These are different styles of cheese that can sometimes be difficult to find in the United States. Someone who wants to prepare a truly authentic Mexican dish will need to visit a Hispanic supermarket to find these items; the regular chain supermarkets in the U.S. will probably not have them on the shelves.

mexican restaurant san diegoAnother thing that most people don’t know about authentic Mexican food is that it is made with lots of corn. When someone gets a burrito in America, there’s a very good chance it will be made using a flour tortilla. In Mexico, they use corn tortillas to prepare a burrito. Authentic Mexican dishes make use of corn in so many ways, including the husks. Husks can be used to hold steamed vegetables for a tasty appetizer.

While the American version of Mexican food can be tasty, it is not what’s really served in Mexico. What is served at most “Mexican” restaurants in America is known as Tex-Mex, an American twist on food that comes from Mexico. However, it is possible to find a mexican restaurant San Diego that serves authentic dishes.

Authentic Dishes to Try at a Mexican Restaurant in San Diego

mexican restaurant san diegoWhen visiting an authentic Mexican restaurant, one should consider trying some of the traditional dishes from Mexico. If it’s early in the day, order chilaquiles. These are fried tortillas with salsa that gets topped with an egg and makes for a delicious breakfast item.

If it’s dinner time, give cochinita pibil a try. This is slow-roasted pork that gets marinated in citrus juice and colored with annatto seed. It is roasted while wrapped in a banana leaf.

For dessert, try a paleta. This is a popsicle-style dessert that is made with fresh fruits and is actually very healthy. There are plenty of authentic alternatives to Tex-Mex dishes that many Americans end up liking even more than what they are used to.

Finding the Right Mexican Restaurant in San Diego

mexican restaurant san diegoWhile large cities offer plenty of options for dining, a quality restaurant offers much more than food. First-rate locations provide a diverse menu of delicious food and a vibrant atmosphere that gives each patron a unique and memorable experience. When looking for a Mexican restaurant San Diego, it’s important to look for locations that go the extra mile to offer traditional Mexican dishes and an environment that captures the spirit of Mexican culture. Great prices, professional staff members, and a reliable record of great customer service are all things that customers look for, and the best Mexican restaurants in San Diego deliver on all of these expectations.

mexican restaurant san diego

The Best-Looking Mexican Restaurants in San Diego

Even if a restaurant has a great menu and affordable prices, many can be turned off from eating there if the aesthetic appearance of the location does not make a good first impression. Not only are many of the Mexican restaurants in San Diego some of the cleanest and well-maintained dining locations around, but a good amount of them work hard to present an environment that matches the menu. Traditional Mexican artwork and features can make any location more appealing for those that want an authentic experience they won’t soon forget.

A Diverse and Unique Menu

mexican restaurant san diegoMexican food is very popular, and certain items are common on any menu offered at a Mexican restaurant in San Diego. While it is good to have crowd favorites on a menu, many restaurants offer custom dishes unique to the establishment. Not only does this give new patrons something to try, but it also helps turn visitors into regulars by providing an exclusive dish that isn’t available anywhere else. From appetizers to entrees to desserts to drinks, every location offers something different. Most restaurants list their menu and ingredients on their website. This can help someone decide whether he or she wants to try out the location based on the type of dishes offered and ingredients used.

Great Prices and Special Deals

While everyone enjoys an evening out at a great restaurant, cost is always a factor in determining whether one should try a restaurant or even become a regular patron. While a charming atmosphere and a delicious menu are both great, affordable prices are always welcomed by customers. Most locations offer special deals and periodic specials to help reward savvy diners who are selective about where they eat. Online coupons are also common and can benefit those who want a great meal for a great price.

mexican restaurant san diego

Additional Factors to Consider

Given that there are a large number of Mexican restaurants in San Diego, many offer certain services that help them stand out from competitors. Happy hour is a popular deal that many restaurants provide to help those who want tasty drinks at a discounted price. In addition, some locations even allow certain sections to be reserved for parties. From catering service to in-house freebies for those celebrating birthdays, getting a great experience at a Mexican restaurant in San Diego is easier than ever with so many great options available.

Mexican Restaurant in San Diego

mexican restaurant san diegoA Mexican restaurant is more than just a place to sample a variety of delicious food. This San Diego location features a broad and diverse menu complemented by a rich cultural atmosphere that captures the true spirit of Mexican traditions. From art styles, to music, to imagery, this location has everything anyone needs to enjoy a fun evening out. Whether someone is a local looking for a fresh new restaurant to try or a tourist who wants to make a great memory at a unique location, this mexican restaurant san diego is at great choice!

What Makes Them Different Than Other Restaurants?

When people step through their doors, they immediately notice that the commitment to the full Mexican experience is proudly displayed! This restaurant is decorated and equipped to provide patrons with the full experience. The essence of Mexican culture can be enjoyed by all as they dine on their delicious menu choices in their decorative location.

mexican restaurant san diego

The Best Ingredients and Most Diverse Selections

The menu is designed to offer customers a new and delicious choice during each visit. Choose from a variety of appetizers and entrees made with the best ingredients. Don’t forget to ask about:

  • The Drink Menu
  • A Delicious Desert After Dinner
  • Special Deals and Offers

mexican restaurant san diego

The food is made fresh and every dish can be prepared to unique specifications. Even if someone isn’t familiar with traditional Mexican cuisine, their knowledgeable staff can help provide patrons with insight concerning what appetizer, entrée, and drink they might enjoy.

Enjoy a Meal and Make a Memory

Their unforgettable restaurant design will be sure to stand out in the minds of patrons. Even in a busy area like San Diego, they offer plenty of design choices to promote the warm, romantic, festive flavors of Mexican culture. From the festive décor to the traditional Mexican color scheme, this dining location provides one of the most authentic experiences anyone will find in San Diego.

An Affordable and Exciting Location for Regulars

mexican restaurant san diegoTheir prices are fair and the menu is constantly home to specials and deals intended to help frequent diners improve their experience each time. This San Diego restaurant is brimming with artwork and music that can give guests the fun and culturally-enriching experience every time they stop by.

A Great Choice for Tourists and Visitors!

If a person is passing through the area on a trip, they can make a memory by dining at this unique location. With an attractive setup that is great for photo opportunities and enough menu choices to satisfy even the largest groups, trying out this location is a sure way to have a great experience.

Stop by this restaurant to enjoy great food, courteous service, and an ambience dedicated to giving diners a full experience to go with their meal!

Mexican Food, What to Eat?

Although agriculture does not play a major role in the country’s gross national product, one quarter of all people in Mexico earn their living farming. As a result, the country produces enough rice, beans, fruit, vegetables, and sugar to support the population. But then the people of Mexico have always been proficient in producing food.

authentic mexican restaurant san diego

Perhaps this is why UNESCO, in 2010, considered the traditions of its food to be of such vital importance that it added Mexican cuisine to its list of intangible cultural heritage.

Mexican Food as Recorded in History

When the first Europeans found their way to the country, they discovered an indigenous population nourishing themselves with a diet consisting of corn, squash, beans, tomatoes, peppers, sweet potatoes, and herbs. The diet was mainly vegetarian but occasionally supplemented by deer, quail, wild turkey, and rabbit.

authentic mexican restaurant san diego

The Spanish remained a dominant force for three hundred years and over that period of time left their mark on the diet, introducing beef, pork, lamb, goat, rabbit, and sugar cane.

Food of Today’s Mexicans

As it has for thousands of year, corn continues to be the basis of the traditional Mexican diet. Rare is the meal that does not contain a tortilla. Corn can also be boiled for pozole, a hearty stew. Today’s families still rely on the vegetables of the indigenous people especially frijoles, or beans, but have added fruits such as papayas, mangos, and avocados. Mexican cooks originally relied on peppers and spices to preserve foods but learned to rely on them for the distinctive tastes that have come to define Mexican cuisine.

authentic mexican restaurant san diego

These of course are the jalapenos, poblanos, serranos, and chipotles that give Mexican dishes their heat, and the cumin, cinnamon, and cloves that give it zest, along with essential herbs like cilantro, oregano, and thyme. Chicken and beef are the most prevalent meats in the diet although seafood is popular in coastal areas.

What is Missing?

Americans visiting Mexico may be taken back by what they do not find in Mexico. They discover that chile con carne, chimichangas, burritos, and nachos, as well as fajitas are Tex-mex, and other than in chain restaurants catering to them, are not found on the menu. The same goes for margaritas. although tequila is never in short supply.

What is Different

Tacos and Enchiladas are readily found, although in a much simpler form. Tacos are of the soft variety, and enchiladas, rather than being smothered in gooey cheese, consist of a tortilla filled with chicken, covered in red salsa, green salsa, or perhaps mole, and dressed with creamy queso fresca and raw white onion rings. Other popular items include

authentic mexican restaurant san diego

  • the aforementioned pozole
  • birria, a simple broth-based soup with goat or sheep meat and served with tortillas, lime, cilantro, and onion
  • sopas and huaraches, made from the same dough as tamales, and covered with refried beans, lettuce, cheese, meat, and onions
  • Mole in Mexico is more of a dish than a sauce. Offered in a rainbow of colors, it can consist of as many as twenty ingredients, and is especially popular at birthday and wedding celebrations.
  • tortas, which could be considered a Mexican sandwich consisting of a oblong-shaped white roll and filled with chicken or pork, tomato, avocado, lettuce, and tomato.

Tamales are usually reserved for breakfast, and when it comes to morning foods, huevos rancheros can be found on the menu just as they can in any Mexican restaurant San Diego. Other egg choices include huevos a la Mexicana because it contains the colors of the Mexican flag, and huevos divorciados, two eggs separated by a wall-like portion of refried beans. Or as they say in Mexico – frijoles refritos!

Getting the Family Together

Family time is important for building ties and working through differences. Experts recommend that families take time out of their busy schedules to establish events solely dedicated to the family itself. The happy hour san diego family invited should be the immediate family, but can include extended family on occasion as well. There are a variety of ways families can spend time together.

Experts recommend that this time is uninterrupted by technology. This means parents and children alike should turn off their devices, including phones. Families that want to capture memories might stop to take a picture, but all posting and texting should be done at a later time.

Getting Dinner

One of the most common ways for families to spend time together, is over the dinner table. Some families struggle not to turn on the TV during dinner, so they move to a different room to eat, eat outside or go to a restaurant. A Mexican restaurant San Diego is a cost effective way to eat authentic food, so many families host their family nights there. Some families pack a picnic and ride bikes to a nearby park.

mexican dinner san diego

Attending Events

Families can often look for events in the city to entertain them on a weekend. There are many events that make it easy for a family to spend time together, despite the crowded atmosphere. Farmers markets, mexican lunch san diego parades and festivals are all great places for a family to spend quality time together.

Participatory Activities

There are plenty of activities that can involve the whole families. Some families visit painting studios and make artwork for the home by painting canvases with instruction or painting pottery that is later fired in a kiln. Every member of a family can join in on Frisbee golf, putt put or go-carting. Most families love to purchase a group set of coins and compete in the arcade; with some families trying to earn tickets for specific prizes and other families trying to best one another in games.

mexican dinner san diego

The real goal of a family night, according to experts, is to find a way the whole family can connect for a time without distraction. This same theory applies to parents and their dating habits. Planning out events that tie individuals together is important for keeping bonds strong and healthy. Every family will likely have a different way they like to spend quality time.

Tex-Mex, Cal-Tex, or Mexican Food: Where is Real Mexican Food?

mexican restaurant San Diego

Of all of the things that people might worry about, many folks have very strong opinions about the state or region that produces the best version of Mexican food. This argument is kind of ironic. After all, any of these versions of the cuisine of Mexico are usually only loosely based upon the original blend of Spanish and native American food.

mexican restaurant San Diego

The original native Mexican food did include familiar items like beans and peppers. However, the Spanish contributed meat and cheese to the menu. But still, the debate rages on about people’s preferences for enjoying their dinner at a mexican restaurant San Diego or in San Antonio or in Saltillo. Some folks are even offended when they see Cal-Tex or Tex-Mex dishes on the menu right beside original dishes from one of the regions of Mexico.

What’s the Difference Between Tex-Mex and Cal-Mex?

mexican restaurant San Diego

It might surprise some American fans of this cuisine that many of their favorites were invented in the United States and not Mexico. Some popular examples are fajitas and nachos. Actually, these dishes might be found in Mexican restaurants that are actually in Mexico, but that is because they migrated south and not north. This is mostly important because some Californians, for example, claim that their version of Mexican food is more authentic than the Texas version.

mexican restaurant San Diego

Of course, Mexicans should be able to claim that their own local food is the most authentic. However, even different regions of this country have their own local cuisine. In fact, some authoritative cookbooks on regional variations of Mexican food include the Southwestern United States as a region. Some break that up even further into Texas, California, and other southwestern states.

So, even many experts on different regional cuisines in Mexico will say that the lines are beginning to blur. Many popular inventions, including chimichangas and fajitas, were invented in Texas. Technically, these are Tex-Mex and not Mexican dishes. However, most of them were invented by chefs and cooks of Mexican descent who were well schooled in the cuisine of their parent’s or grandparent’s country. Food has also evolved inside of Mexico over time, so it does not seem like the debate should be about authenticity but just about what tastes good.

Pointers for Finding Authentic International Cuisine

Looking for a new restaurant is easier when one seeks the cuisine of a country other than the United States. This narrows down the selection so that one can focus on the details right from the start.

happy hour san diego

Many of these details are the same for any type of food. It’s a good idea to pay attention to the atmosphere offered, how busy the restaurant is, and which meals it serves. In general, restaurant atmosphere can be divided into categories like cozy, relaxing, exciting, loud, busy, upscale, and down to earth. In some cases, there is some overlap. For example, a busy restaurant is often loud as well, and it may even augment this with a live band or DJ. An upscale establishment, on the other hand, tends to be quiet and reserved.

It may seem basic, but it’s very important to find out which meals the restaurant serves. Many eateries serve all three of the main ones, but some only serve dinner or lunch. A few may cover two, for example breakfast and lunch, but close before dinner. Lunch and dinner service is also a common variant.

dining san diego

Other factors that should be checked include dress codes, age requirements, and whether alcohol is served. All of these things can make or break the experience for people who are counting on specific conditions.

Concerns Specific to International Cuisine

mexican restaurant san diego

Even though many people simply refer to the nation of origin when talking about getting international cuisine, the reality is that most countries are big enough to have important regional differences in cooking. This is why one Mexican restaurant San Diego may have food that tastes completely different from that of another. Making sure that the overall flavor matches expectations is easy: find out which region’s cuisine is on the menu. This will give a good idea of just what to expect.

Another important thing to remember is that anyone can make food according to a Mexican recipe, but their efforts may miss the nuances that make the dish taste authentic. Look for restaurants run by actual Mexicans for a true taste of the country.

dining san diego

These are just a few pointers for finding a good source of authentic international cuisine in San Diego. They should work with any type of cuisine, so feel free to apply them whenever it’s time for a restaurant meal.

Plan a Great First Date at a Mexican Restaurant in San Diego

A first date is a big deal. After all, this could be one’s introduction to the person that they’re going to marry and spend the rest of their lives with. While in the end, two people’s chemistry will shine through regardless of what activity they choose, everyone wants to plan a first date that’s interesting and fun. While most of the time men will take care of this job, women can also pick out the place where she could meet a potential boyfriend. If singles live in the San Diego area, there’s practically no shortage of places to go and see for a fantastic outing that may even earn a kiss at the end.

mexican restaurant san diego

For example, there’s endless beaches around the city. While suggesting a day in the sand and surf may be too much for the first meeting, there’s something sweet and romantic about taking a stroll along the shoreline. There’s plenty of boardwalks to enjoy, and one can even try winning a prize for their sweetie. If it’s affordable, rent out a boat for the night to get cozy. This may be best for a second date activity though.

mexican restaurant san diego

There’s also baseball batting cages, mini golf courses (and regular golf), aquariums, and museums. Those that want to go a little more traditional can find a variety of bars and cafes for a quick drink. Movie theaters are always available. Those that just want a simple night where two people can talk and get to know one another without strenuous activity should consider dining at a Mexican restaurant San Diego. The ethnic beauty and charm of this establishment provides the perfect ambiance for an exciting and friendly evening. It’s great for first dates that aren’t trying to look too sappy and love-struck.

mexican restaurant san diego

With large margaritas being prepared every night as well as spirits and beers ready on tap, the potential couple can share a beverage while they browse through a range of delicious appetizers and bar food. There’s also a happy hour each and every week night, making the restaurant an even more thrilling place to be. Menu items are healthy and full of flavor from fresh vegetables and Mexican seasonings and tastes.

mexican restaurant san diego

If there’s a lull in conversation, which sometimes happens on a first date, some of these restaurants even have mariachi players that venture from table to table to bring smiles to everyone’s faces. These talented musicians are a great icebreaker and conversation piece.

A Few Ways to Tell Whether or Not Mexican Food is Authentic

 mexican restaurant san diego

Many people enjoy eating Mexican food on a regular basis; many even have a favorite Mexican restaurant San Diego or another major city that’s their go-to anytime they get a craving for Mexican food. What so many people fail to realize, however, is that many so-called “Mexican” restaurants in the United States aren’t really serving up authentic Mexican food; instead, they serve Tex-Mex, or an Americanized version of the cuisine. Fortunately, for people who want to real deal, there are a few ways to go about determining whether or not food is authentic.


 mexican restaurant san diego

The first sign that one is eating at a Mexican restaurant that’s not authentic is that the menu has “fajitas” on it as an option. Unfortunately, fajitas aren’t a Mexican food at all, but an adaptation that was first popularized in the United States back in the 1960s. Therefore, a Mexican restaurant that offers fajitas is probably more of a Tex-Mex place and not a place that serves up authentic Mexican cuisine.

Flour Tortillas

In Mexican dishes, most food (such as tacos) is served up on a corn tortilla—not a flour one. Therefore, upon ordering tacos, if the food is brought out on a flour tortilla, there’s a good chance the restaurant is not an authentic Mexican one. In fact, some Mexican restaurants won’t even keep flour tortillas on-hand.


 mexican restaurant san diego

When the food is delivered, is it sizzling? Is it covered with globs of cheese? If the answer to either of these questions is “yes,” then one is probably not eating authentic Mexican food. This is not to say that Mexican cuisine doesn’t incorporate cheese, because it does. However, most real Mexican restaurants would never serve up a dish of beans or burritos covered with a huge blob of cheese because they care about the presentation of their food. It’s the same reason why an authentic Mexican restaurant will never serve up a taco topped with wilted lettuce and a few chopped tomatoes. Instead, authentic Mexican tacos are more likely to be covered with a small amount of fresh lettuce and some lime.

 mexican restaurant san diego

For those who care about eating truly authentic food, these tips are sure to be helpful when it comes to weeding out Americanized versions of one’s favorite Mexican places. This isn’t a comprehensive list, but it will surely help one get started.

The Delicious Flavors of Mexico are Found in San Diego

Getting a feeling for Mexican culture means to enjoy the best Mexican restaurant San Diego has to offer. There are plenty of great Mexican restaurants in San Diego so it is not mexican restaurant san diego so easy to pick the best. It is more fun to go around and try them all.

There are many different taste sensations that come from south of the border. This is a handy guide to the different flavors and regional dishes that is helpful to know when being served. Of course all Mexicans like tacos, and burritos, but also tortas (toasted sandwiches), tamales (especially when made by hand and boiled while wrapped in a banana plant leaf), and enchiladas.

restaurant san diego

These foods, along with a generous helping of rice and beans, are the staples in the country of Mexico. That is where Mexican cuisine begins and it expands from these basics to some of the tastiest dishes ever made on the planet Earth by anyone.

Regional Differences in Mexican Cuisine

  • Yucatan Peninsula Recipes – Dishes with the flavor of the Yucatan Peninsula, which is on the eastern coast of Mexico, have a Mayan influence. The meats are frequently happy hour san diego sweetened with natural organic honey while cooking. There is an abundance of fresh fish. Shrimp ceviche (cooked jumbo shrimp with tomatoes, chopped onions, drenched with limejuice) is a favorite dish.
  • Baja California – This area created the Caesar salad and fish tacos.
  • Northern Mexico – In the north, the favorite dishes are made from meat, like Carne Asado (strips of beef mixed with onions and potatoes).
  • Southern Mexico – In the south, the Mexican people eat more chicken. The tasty dishes are chicken fajitas and Caldo de Pollo (chicken soup).

The fun thing about eating food in San Diego is that all the Mexican styles are represented. The ingredients are available, just like in the towns south of the border, so all it takes is a restaurant with a staff that knows how to make the best recipes.

restaurant san diego

Expand horizons and think of Mexican food in more enjoyable ways. Many of the good Mexican restaurants are in the downtown area of San Diego near the Mexican Cultural Center, which is a good place to start on the adventure to find the best Mexican food in San Diego. Learn the names of favorite dishes in Spanish and then have the best dining experiences of a lifetime.

Mexican Restaurant San Diego Videos