4 Mexican Restaurants You Need to Try in San Diego

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Ortega’s A Mexican Bistro – Hillcrest

There’s one reason San Diegans travel down to Puerto Nuevo, Mexico… that reason being, lobster! There’s something about sitting seaside enjoying a fresh, flavorful lobster with good friends (and of course some margs). But what if we told you there was a way to get that same experience without the hassle of travel? Ortega’s, A Mexican Bistro, is the place to go for that same clean, fresh flavor and the best part? It’s located right in the heart of Hillcrest! Nestled between the plethora of neighborhood cafes, bars and shops is this homestyle Mexican restaurant. From the food presentation to the decor, Ortega’s offers a little slice of Puerto Nuevo in our own backyard! Join them for daily happy hour from 3pm-6pm to enjoy half priced margs, tacos and other small plates or indulge in their half lobster and flat iron steak for $26.95.

Hacienda de Vega – Rancho Santa Fe / Carlsbad

Deeply rooted in Mexican traditions, Hacienda de Vega opens the door to an authentic experience centered around family and food. Since opening 16 years ago, The Vega Family has mastered their craft and expanded their business from Encinitas to Rancho Santa Fe and Carlsbad. The warm toned, cozy yet elegant decor and welcoming patio makes you feel right at home while the food brings back childhood memories of your own with recipes passed down through generations. We recommend the Ceviche, Enchiladas de Mole or Fajitas and ending your meal with their churros. Of course we can’t forget about drinks, they offer an extensive local beer list, incredible margaritas and a tequila old fashioned that could turn any tequila naysayer into a believer. (@haciendadevega)

King & Queen Cantina – Little Italy

Little Italy has evolved over the past few years and has become a melting pot for incredible cuisine. Who would’ve thought you could find a Mexican meal fit for a King or Queen within the pasta lined streets of Little Italy. King and Queen Cantina is a modern Mexican with a twist restaurant with a secret ingredient… customer service. Their team always goes the extra mile for their diners to ensure the experience is one of a kind. Their menu features unique dishes with a “JapaMex” fusion; traditional Mexican cuisine incorporated with traditional Japanese flavors to make for an extraordinary dining experience. Try one of their Urban Grill items, tacos or their Mr. Tempo sushi roll and your trip can’t be completed without a margarita fight. Cheers! (@kingandqueencantina)

Ponce’s – Kensington

Nothing beats going to your favorite neighborhood spot. That one where you walk through the door and you’re greeted by your regular host and your favorite server knows to bring out the first round of margs. That place? It’s Ponce’s Mexican Restaurant! They’ve been serving up 50 years of traditions at their Kensington and North County locations. The first Ponce’s Kensington opened in 1969 by Ponce Sr. and now, the legacy continues with Ponce Jr. They’ve since opened their second location in North County, which is open 7 days a week, while their original location holds the tradition of closing on Sundays. When you eat at Ponce’s you’re getting homestyle, comfort Mexican food and for a family-friendly price. Some Ponce’s favorites include the street tacos, enchiladas suizas and they’re known for hefty drink! (@poncesmxrestaurant)

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