Old Town: Birthplace of California Is Famous for Mexican Food

Old Town is one of San Diego's most popular attractions so between shopping and exploring the state park area, you might get hungry and need a place to eat. Truth be told, Old Town is full of Mexican restaurants that get a little bit of a bad rap for being touristy and not authentic enough but don't let that dissuade you.

If you ask a local what their favorite restaurant in Old Town is, you'll usually hear two answers. One is Cafe Coyote, where most dishes are made from scratch daily at the restaurant. The margarita/tequila selection is plentiful while the patio provides excellent people watching. The other is Old Town Mexican Cafe and Cantina for its delicious margaritas and carnitas. Both have tortilla ladies making delicious handmade tortillas while guests watch. Be prepared that both places can get busy during peak times.

There are a handful of restaurants offering other cuisine choices. One is Sushi Tadokoro, which is widely regarded as offering the very best sushi and sashimi in San Diego. Christopher's on Congress provides a classy wine bar option for those who would like to pass on the tequila.

Speaking of tequila, should you like to indulge in a fish bowl-sized margarita or the thousands of tequilas on offer, the trolley stops in Old Town.

Jack & Giulio's Italian Restaurant

Jack & Guilio's Italian Restaurant used to be located in Pacific Beach, but has been in business since 1961. In addition to a nice list of Italian wines, they are famous for their scampi in addition to homemade pastas, veal, poultry, beef,...  Read More

Casa Guadalajara

Old Town is among San Diego's top tourist stops, and all those visitors need to eat somewhere. Mexican restaurants are obviously popular, and Casa Guadalajara in Bazaar del Mundo ranks near the top of the list. Tortillas made in-house, fab...  Read More

Casa de Reyes feels like its own little village with plenty of seating a small entertainment area and shops lining the restaurant's courtyard--all part of Fiesta de Reyes. It's a great place to enjoy a margarita al fresco. Guests rave about the...  Read More

Miguel's is a popular Mexican restaurant chain in San Diego that's famous for cheese sauce. It has made a name for itself by serving reliable Mexican-American food in a fun, kid-friendly atmosphere. Chips and salsa arrive as soon as you're...  Read More

Welcome to the The Old Town Cosmopolitan Hotel and Restaurant. Our Full Service Restaurant and Bar is open 7 days a week for Lunch, Dinner and Sunday Brunch, serving American Grill, Seafood and Mexican inspired favorites. Happy Hour is...  Read More

Old Town Mexican Cafe and Cantina

Old Town is one of San Diego's top attractions, and all the restaurants in the area are nearly always packed. OTMC has a bit of an edge over the competition: the "tortilla ladies" who make over 7000 tortillas every day, strolling mariachis, and...  Read More

Not only is Harney Sushi a favorite of San Diego locals for sushi, they are pioneering the sustainable fish movement. They've recently introduced edible QR codes printed on rice paper with water-based ink that show where the fish came from to...  Read More

Cafe Coyote
Photo courtesy of Henri Louis Hirschfeld

From tortillas to tamales to salsa, Coyote Cafe; makes everything from scratch every day, on the premises. Start the day with a Breakfast Margarita, chilaquiles, menudo, or a chile relleno omelette. For lunch, try the chile verde, a quesadilla,...  Read More

Sushi Tadokoro serves up traditional Edo-mae style sushi in Old Town. The venue is small and intimate, quite like sushi restaurants in Japan, and guests may feel temporarily transported when dining here. Delivery of some seafood from Japan is...  Read More


Meet Katie Dillon

Katie Dillon originally moved to the seaside community of La Jolla to attend UC San Diego. When the opportunity presented itself, she and her husband set off for a 7 year stint overseas as...  More About Katie

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