Tahona Bar in Old Town is one of those places that is going to get a lot of jokes, just because of its location: next to the Old Town cemetery.
2414 San Diego Avenue, Old Town
“Tahona? I’m dying to go there!” “You won’t be the first!”
To be honest: The cemetery is a favorite spot of mine. My wife and I walked around there on our first Valentine’s Day.
Knowing there is a place that serves flavorful tacos and tangy mezcal and tequila next door adds to the appeal. Come for the tacos and cocktails! Stay for the cemetery!
Tahona seems to be carving out a space next to innovative taco hot spots like Puesto in Seaport Village and La Jolla, and Lola 55 in East Village.
We went on a rainy night, which added to the atmosphere.
“I think I’ll get a pina colada since I was just caught in the rain,” I said, referring the line in Rupert Holmes’ “Pina Colada” song. My fellow diner laughed, but the waitress didn’t get it. That made my fellow diner laugh harder.
That Pina Colada was blended smooth so the ice chunks didn’t clog up the straw and so just the bare smokiness of mezcal mixed with the pineapple and coconut.
My first starter, Aquachile shrimp ($14) with chipotle and citrus juice, had a bit of heat.
I wasn’t as happy with the guacamole ($9), served with pork rinds, chapulines (fried crickets — yum!), and red onion and tomato. The guac was tasty, but it was unclear if I was supposed to mix the tomato and onion and fried crickets with the avocado.
For tacos, I ordered the $16 three mix-and-match.
The Pork Belly with mole negro was flavorful, the slightly sweet pork working with the heat from the habanero pickled onions.
I enjoyed the spicy Camarones a la Diabla: They were tangy, but the Oaxaca cheese added a cooling element.
The Carne Asada was made from a New York steak and had a bit of char on some parts and while being moist on others. If it didn’t blow me away like the others is because carne asada is ubiquitous in San Diego.