La Especial Norte
664 North Highway 101, Leucadia
Though it boasts neither a gorgeous interior nor superior service, people line up outside on Friday nights to sample the chicken soup. You can dine in or take out one of a dozen soups whose recipes come from every region in Mexico. There's Tlapeño soup with chipotle chiles, available in profusion in Tijuana but difficult to find in San Diego. Sopa de pescados, fish soup, is filling and hearty. Pancho Villa bean soup purports to make you a better lover. Portions are vast, but pensive and flavorful. Arrive early so that the soup of your choice is available. Ask about the degree of spiciness -- "medium" to them may be very hot to you.