At Casa Don Diego Restaurant, it's not uncommon to overhear grandparents reminiscing about their favorite moments at the restaurant. Grandchildren lean in closer for a better listen to stories that, undoubtedly, find their way back to the food. Called an "old-school Mexican gathering spot" by the San Diego Reader, Casa Don Diego has been filling empty Chula Vista bellies since 1969. Today, the restaurant introduces new generations to its fresh chicken and beef fajitas, and arrachera steak served on a hot skillet with charro, or cowboy-style beans. When hints of spices begin to sneak up, of-age patrons can douse the flames by belly-flopping into 72-ounce margarita pitchers.
Los Antojos' professional salsa senseis artfully plate an extensive menu of authentic Mexican cuisine. Mouths can plummet into an appetizer of ceviche Los Antojos, which flaunts ahi tuna, octopus, and scallops accessorized with fresh avocado, mango, nectarine, and strawberries swiped from Carmen Miranda's hat ($11.95). Chefs bundle carne asada tacos with guacamole, salsa, onions, and cilantro ($3.95), and they marinate ox tails in dark beer before introducing the tender morsels to sides of rice and beans ($6.96). The seafood selection includes shrimp with tamarind sauce ($17.95) and pescado en salsa de frijol negro, a white fish filet topped with black beans and swirled in dark beer sauce (15.95). Beer and wine cool throats riled from contentious debates over flour versus corn tortillas, as barkeeps craft cocktails such as mango margaritas ($5.55).
Delighting patrons for more than 50 years, Jalisco's serves up a menu sporting savory selections of soups, burritos, tacos, tostadas, and more. Quiet wagging tongues with sips from a small bowl of pozole ($4.99) or red or white menudo ($4.99), made fresh daily and served with hominy and corn or flour tortillas. Next, move on to house specialties such as enchiladas suizas with chicken and tomatillo sauce ($8.99), or toothsome and tender pork tips ($9.49) with a posse of green peppers, onions, and tomatoes that tickle tongues with the feather-light flavors of a mild sauce.
As a New Yorker expose details, chef Javier Plascencia believes in the transformative power of food. The piece describes how in Tijuana, he strove to redefine the city's culinary paradigm with his gourmet food, made exclusively with, as he says, materia prima, or ingredients sourced strictly within 120 miles of the restaurant. He did it, too. In the process, he gained the respect and business of famed chef Anthony Bourdain. After moving to the U.S., he opened Romesco using the same cooking philosophies he prescribed to south of the border, and was recently hailed by Zagat for his skill and innovation and named Chef of the Year by San Diego Eater.
Named Best Mexican restaurant and one of the Top 10 best restaurants by San Diego Magazine Romesco's culinary slate is solidly grounded in Mexican cuisine, but Chef Plascencia has accented his dishes with Mediterranean flavors and cooking techniques. The cuisine is derived from all corners of the globe, from traditional tapas to fettuccini alfredo and baja California lobster ravioli. The carefully selected vintages on the wine list pair with the menu's diverse flavors, especially on Wednesdays when the restaurant also serves Italian dishes with half off wine bottles. On Friday and Saturday, the restaurant stays open late to accommodate night owls, serving tapas until 11:30 and, on every last Saturday of the month, hosting live flamenco music. From 3-7, there are also happy hours—named after what a round trip to the moon will be like in 2060.
Every pizza at zpizza is freshly prepared, hand thrown, gently coaxed into the oven using soft birdcalls and pheromone trails, and fire-baked to crispy perfection. The dough is prepared fresh daily from 100% certified-organic wheat, and z is also happy to offer certified organic and gluten-free crusts, sating the pizza desire of the allergic, dieters, and wheat sympathizers. Toppings include award-winning Wisconsin skim mozzarella, MSG-free pepperoni, certified-organic tomato sauce, additive-free sausage, and fresh produce. Try a large ZBQ pizza (with barbecue sauce, mozzarella, barbecue chicken, roasted pepper, red onion, tomato, cilantro, and sweet corn ($16.95); or a chicken curry and yam rustica (with mozzarella, curry chicken, yam, mango chutney, raisin, and cilantro; $8.95). Vegans can delight in a small Berkeley, a vegan cheese veggie pizza (with marinara, vegan cheese, veggie burger crumbles, zucchini, tomato, mushroom, red onion, and bell pepper; $11.50), and traveling tongues can sate their wanderlust with a mouthwatering Moroccan rustica (with pesto, mozzarella, basil, roasted eggplant, feta cheese, caramelized onion, and pine nut ($8.95).
Beginning as a plucky, family-run eatery in 1993, Los Reyes Mexican Food has blossomed into a multilocation Mexican-fare fiefdom, enticing appetites with an impressive spread of pillowy burritos, fresh seafood, and savory marinated meats. Within the casual family-style eatery, chefs forge authentic Latin-inspired meals, such as mole-soused lengua and crispy carnitas and buche. Guests pair feasts of flaky fish, seasoned carne asada, and hearty sopes with freshly squeezed juice, rich smoothies, or cold glasses of creamy horchata.