Every weekend is a ripe opportunity to play tourist in my own town, with no shortage of new and mainstay cafes, coffee shops and of course, breweries to discover and return to. This post however, is inspired by the last several weeks of dining out. I noticed a trend; every restaurant I’ve been to recently served some version of Mexican food, and everything I’ve ordered have been tacos!

These San Diego taco picks include the following common denominators: a homemade tortilla, satisfying filling (for the carnivorous set) and a fun environment to enjoy your meal in. Enjoy!

Carne Asada Taco, Tacos Perla, North Park – This spot is great for admiring the tiled communal tables while deciding on which homemade salsa to top over their perfectly seasoned tacos. There are about five different salsas to chose from, and at the moment I prefer #4, made with cashews and hazelnuts. We heard that this one is everyone’s favorite. Unfortunately, they aren’t selling them yet.

If you’re around the corner at the new Modern Times tasting room, you can even order your goods online and they’ll deliver directly to your seat!

Carnitas Street Taco, Carnitas Snack Shack, North Park – Smoky, salty and juicy carnitas piled high, street taco style pairs well with the shack’s open-air setting. All of the seats are around back after ordering your food at the front window. I prefer to sit at the stools at the bar-like tables beneath the trees. While the carnitas grounds me in Southern California, the outdoor setting reminds me of a slower evening on Rainey Street in Austin. My friend mentioned that the backyard feel reminded her of a few places in Brooklyn. Either way, if you’re looking for cheap eats and neighborhood casual vibe, this place is it.

Also, I just learned that they recently opened a location in Del Mar so us North County folk won’t have to drive too far for pork heaven.

Filet Mignon Taco, Puesto, Downtown and La Jolla – Tender chunks of filet mignon drizzled in a spicy pistachio sauce (really wasn’t that spicy) and melted cheese topped with avocado is best enjoyed beneath one of Puesto’s large orange umbrellas on the wraparound patio area, or looking out and into The Headquarters plaza from a seat upstairs. The last time we went, our party had an upstairs table and a sweet view of the tortilla wheel downstairs, adjacent from the bar.

Puesto seems to be the hot spot at the moment so reservations are recommended, and so is the frozen horchata for dessert. Next time, I’m asking our waitress if they’ll make me a cocktail out of it.

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North County, have any additional recommendations? I’ve had my eye on the Bull Taco chainlet for a while but just haven’t made it in yet.