San Diego, California – Old Town Mexican Cafe

San Diego, California – Old Town Mexican Cafe

Did I really just drive 2.5 hours for Mexican food?

Let me preface this by saying I am serious about my Mexican food! Living in California so close to the Mexican border us Californian’s have a lot to choose from and this makes us picky. We know the difference between authentic and wanna be authentic and we avoid the latter.

Having lived in California for over 30 years, I have a list of favorite Mexican places depending on what I’m looking for (super fancy, hole in the wall, homemade tortillas etc), but Old Town Mexican Cafe is my go to spot whenever I am in San Diego…and heck even when I’m not in San Diego. Yes, I am that person who will drive 2+ hours for Mexican food…why, because I can and because it’s just that good.

Old Town Mexican Cafe as it’s name implies is located in Old Town San Diego. It’s a pretty large place and very well known so you can’t miss it. Because it’s a popular spot expect to wait, but trust me it’s worth it.  It can get very crowded on Saturday and Sundays and onsite parking can be kind of tight which is why I often come in by Amtrak. It’s a short train ride in from Los Angeles with no traffic, great views, cost less than a tank of gas round trip and drops you off less than a block away from the front door. Plus, I can snack on homemade tortillas and butter all the way home!

I have tried nearly everything on the menu from breakfast/ brunch to dinner and my favorite will always be the carnitas plate with homemade flour tortillas. Another favorite of mine is the deep fried ice cream. I can’t leave without having one. If you love homemade tortillas this is the spot. You can watch them from the window making them by hand which is really fun to do while you wait. They arrive at your table piping hot with a side of butter and will melt in your mouth.

Be warned, their tortillas are amazing and people from all over travel to buy them and they do sell out. Once I drove all the way from LA just for tortillas (told you I’m serious about my Mexican) and they were sold out. I cried all the way home. When supply gets low, they will still offer them for dine-in customers (free of charge with your meal) but after about noon and sometimes sooner, they stop offering them for sale.

Prices are pretty reasonable about $8-$15 per plate depending on what you orders. They are also very kid friendly and offer a pretty good kids menu with large portions. My daughter loves the kid’s cheese quesadilla.


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