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I won't claim that Los Panchos is the best taco shop in town, not by a long shot. The most accurate assessment I have is that the food there is totally hit or miss. I've been both delighted and disgusted by my meals there. But one thing is for certain, their fish rolled taco plate is incredible.

The restaurant displays a sign that says their food "isn't fast food, [they] just make it fast." Fair enough, though with the drive-thru service and the general appearance of the place, it's hard to not think of Panchos as a fast-food place. The generally low prices don't dispel that image, either, but they also don't hurt at all.

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But, hey, give them the benefit of the doubt and stop by for a fish rolled taco plate ($4.25), it's a splendid dish. The preparation mirrors the conventional "five rolled tacos" special that's so commonplace, but the little differences put this plate into a class of its own. Instead of guacamole, there's an unusual but thoroughly delicious tartar sauce smothering the tacos. Lettuce gets replaced with shredded cabbage, and there's still plenty of cheese and salsa. The net effect is phenomenal and something I haven't seen replicated elsewhere (though if it has been, I long to try another take on this delight). It has everything that's to love about fish n chips, plus the incredible edibility of taquitos. It is one of those rare, perfect dishes where everything comes together as a sublime synthesis of flavor, texture, and novelty.

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Now, before I stand accused of layering endless praise on Panchos, I will say that I've been let down there numerous times. I recently ate a surf n turf burrito there that completely underwhelmed me, and I had a "creamy chipotle burrito" at one point that I couldn't finish for the richness. The seven seas soup at Panchos, however, is both generous with the seafood and enormous. Costing nearly $10, it's not an insane deal by any stretch of the imagination, but it's really quite good and ultimately worth it.

At the end of the day, I can't recommend the entire menu at Los Panchos, though I can encourage others to approach it with an open mind and a willingness to experiment. The fish rolled tacos, on the other hand, are a sure win. Also, the salsa bar is exceptionally well stocked with veggies and sauces in which to dip them.

Los Panchos
409 Washington Street
619-295-5828

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Comments
2

I've had the same experience when I eat here. I guess it simply depends on who is in the kitchen at the time. Have you tried the new Mexican seafood truck at 30th and Meade ave. My new obsession is their garlic fish tacos. No seating though, take it go or eat in your car. They don't serve beverages, because of the deal that they have with the liquor store for use of the parking lot.

Feb. 5, 2012

I've seen this truck and been meaning to pay it a visit since it's right in the neighborhood.

Feb. 6, 2012

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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
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