Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Burrito equals boring, while taco ... aah!

It feels like ol’ TJ. Also, say, Cambodia.

Tacos El Rorro fish, grilled shrimp, and gobernador
Tacos El Rorro fish, grilled shrimp, and gobernador

Tacos El Rorro

The thing about Rolando, El Rorro’s owner, is he gets his shrimp from the ocean, not fish farms. These little guys have exercised, lived real lives of chase, chomp, and run. Not fat farm feeders. And you can tell. The camaron a la plancha — grilled shrimp taco — is juicy, vibrant, and cooked to an edge of sautéed crispiness. And then get doused in a to-die-for creamy garlicky sauce. You get two for $8. Also really good, the gobernador, with shrimp, cheese, and veggies (2 for $8). Regular meat tacos (carne asada, adobada) are 3 for $8.

Place

Oscar’s Mexican Seafood

703 Turquoise Street, San Diego

Oscar’s Mexican Seafood

There are lots of Oscar’s. This is the original. An actual hole in an actual wall. Hard to find? Around sunset, you just have to follow the crowd of North PBians and Baja Jollans. Every age, rich, poor, some guys pulling up in Porsches, others screeching in by skateboard. Why? For one taco, the taco especial. It’s stuffed with smoked fish, shrimp, scallops. Or octopus. Plus avo and tons of other fixin’s. Costs $4.90. Too much? For $1.99, your straight but filling battered-fish taco. And don’t even think of not eating it right here, seated shoulder-to-shoulder on stools at the narrow plank sidewalk tables. Lunge in. Feel the flavors. Drip shamelessly. Conversation opener? How about “Mmmm”?

Place

Birrias, Chivos & Cheves

2401 Highland Avenue #104, National City

Birria Chivos & Cheves

Your go-to goat fix. Birrias (stews) are famously good in Guadalajara, where the chef (and owner’s wife) learned the art. And they get their goat from New Zealand. It’s the purest goat meat because the goats are taken from the wild. Wild forest flavors in the meat. Not greasy. And tender. Especially after six hours’ slow cooking. And the killer thing: it tastes less gamey than farmed goat. You don’t get that goaty smell. Best add: the homemade sesame sauce (ajonjoli). Basic cost: $1.89, but Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, $1.50 small-taco specials. Always busy. And, because goat is considered the party meat, you often see quinceañeras, birthdays, weddings. Makes for great atmos.

Place

Paisano Victor's Market

3561 University Avenue, San Diego

El Paisano

Come here at night. It feels like ol’ TJ. Also, say, Cambodia. The huge, ghostly-lit ficus trees make it look like a jungle clearing. Even though University Avenue is just a parking lot away. Cross to the bright-lit yellow, green, maroon deck, tiny under the trees. Smells of meat sautéeing, but no menu. Just ask the ladies flipping tortillas on the hot plate with their fingers what they have. Probably adobada, carne asada, and maybe birria. Things to love: the double-wrapped, slightly crisp corn tortilla, fried with oil on the hot plate; the slightly crunchy, super tender carne asada and the tons of salsas (and hot? Pile in plenty of guac to temper it). Most tacos, $1.50 each. Shrimp tacos, $2.50.

Place

Chiquibaby's Bar

317 Dewey Street, San Diego

Chiquibaby’s Bar

It don’t get realer than here. Chiquibaby's is a little cantina, family-style. Lots of karaoke, pool, soccer on TV, laughs. Mostly Spanish conversation. List of botanas includes tacos. Carne asada, chicken, adobada, of course, and look for chicharron: interesting in a taco. They cost $1.99 each. For $3.99, you get their scrumptious tostadas de ceviche. More expensive, but how expansive! Generous piles of camarones, and crisp chopped veggies like jicama, cucumber, tomato, avo. But if you ask, you can get extras from Mexico’s deep south, flavorings like chamoy (pickled plum), deep-fried Japanese peanuts (actually Mexican), and chacachaca, spicy tamarind candy chunks. Try and come Monday or Thursday nights. Why? Karaoke. Time to practice your “Aye-yi-yi-yi!”

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Nicholas Wiseman: a great influence on John Henry Newman

Also known as author of Fabiola, a novel
Next Article

No longer a David, Stone Brewing recast as a Goliath

The foe of big beer tangles with small breweries over trademarks, including a local IPA
Tacos El Rorro fish, grilled shrimp, and gobernador
Tacos El Rorro fish, grilled shrimp, and gobernador

Tacos El Rorro

The thing about Rolando, El Rorro’s owner, is he gets his shrimp from the ocean, not fish farms. These little guys have exercised, lived real lives of chase, chomp, and run. Not fat farm feeders. And you can tell. The camaron a la plancha — grilled shrimp taco — is juicy, vibrant, and cooked to an edge of sautéed crispiness. And then get doused in a to-die-for creamy garlicky sauce. You get two for $8. Also really good, the gobernador, with shrimp, cheese, and veggies (2 for $8). Regular meat tacos (carne asada, adobada) are 3 for $8.

Place

Oscar’s Mexican Seafood

703 Turquoise Street, San Diego

Oscar’s Mexican Seafood

There are lots of Oscar’s. This is the original. An actual hole in an actual wall. Hard to find? Around sunset, you just have to follow the crowd of North PBians and Baja Jollans. Every age, rich, poor, some guys pulling up in Porsches, others screeching in by skateboard. Why? For one taco, the taco especial. It’s stuffed with smoked fish, shrimp, scallops. Or octopus. Plus avo and tons of other fixin’s. Costs $4.90. Too much? For $1.99, your straight but filling battered-fish taco. And don’t even think of not eating it right here, seated shoulder-to-shoulder on stools at the narrow plank sidewalk tables. Lunge in. Feel the flavors. Drip shamelessly. Conversation opener? How about “Mmmm”?

Place

Birrias, Chivos & Cheves

2401 Highland Avenue #104, National City

Birria Chivos & Cheves

Your go-to goat fix. Birrias (stews) are famously good in Guadalajara, where the chef (and owner’s wife) learned the art. And they get their goat from New Zealand. It’s the purest goat meat because the goats are taken from the wild. Wild forest flavors in the meat. Not greasy. And tender. Especially after six hours’ slow cooking. And the killer thing: it tastes less gamey than farmed goat. You don’t get that goaty smell. Best add: the homemade sesame sauce (ajonjoli). Basic cost: $1.89, but Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, $1.50 small-taco specials. Always busy. And, because goat is considered the party meat, you often see quinceañeras, birthdays, weddings. Makes for great atmos.

Place

Paisano Victor's Market

3561 University Avenue, San Diego

El Paisano

Come here at night. It feels like ol’ TJ. Also, say, Cambodia. The huge, ghostly-lit ficus trees make it look like a jungle clearing. Even though University Avenue is just a parking lot away. Cross to the bright-lit yellow, green, maroon deck, tiny under the trees. Smells of meat sautéeing, but no menu. Just ask the ladies flipping tortillas on the hot plate with their fingers what they have. Probably adobada, carne asada, and maybe birria. Things to love: the double-wrapped, slightly crisp corn tortilla, fried with oil on the hot plate; the slightly crunchy, super tender carne asada and the tons of salsas (and hot? Pile in plenty of guac to temper it). Most tacos, $1.50 each. Shrimp tacos, $2.50.

Place

Chiquibaby's Bar

317 Dewey Street, San Diego

Chiquibaby’s Bar

It don’t get realer than here. Chiquibaby's is a little cantina, family-style. Lots of karaoke, pool, soccer on TV, laughs. Mostly Spanish conversation. List of botanas includes tacos. Carne asada, chicken, adobada, of course, and look for chicharron: interesting in a taco. They cost $1.99 each. For $3.99, you get their scrumptious tostadas de ceviche. More expensive, but how expansive! Generous piles of camarones, and crisp chopped veggies like jicama, cucumber, tomato, avo. But if you ask, you can get extras from Mexico’s deep south, flavorings like chamoy (pickled plum), deep-fried Japanese peanuts (actually Mexican), and chacachaca, spicy tamarind candy chunks. Try and come Monday or Thursday nights. Why? Karaoke. Time to practice your “Aye-yi-yi-yi!”

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Tennis with François Truffaut and Donal Logue

The film is helped immensely by casting four leads to play their own tennis
Next Article

No longer a David, Stone Brewing recast as a Goliath

The foe of big beer tangles with small breweries over trademarks, including a local IPA
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer News — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close