I’ve spent FAR too much time in Mexico (mainland mostly) so for me, the Mexican food in San Diego isn’t particularly good, or particularly satisfying. However, I do like Super Cocina and Tuetano.
Super Cocina is in City Heights (University and 37th) and does very good comida casera, or homestyle cooking. The owner(s) hire only home cooks and they only cook their specialty. Each cook has to audition for the owner by cooking his/her specialty dishes. If they pass muster, the cook is hired to come in and do their specialty, or specialties as the case may be. The food is served from a steam table. Don’t let that put you off. Many of the dishes on offer are guisados, or dishes that can survive in steam heat for a long time. If you see something interesting, or new to you, they’ll give you a little taste, all you’ve got to do is ask. The most popular menu items are the 2 or 3 combo plates. You get your choice of 2 or 3 items from the steam table, rice and beans, or veg. It also comes with tortillas. Super Cocina is best for breakfast (nice chilaquiles) or lunch. Late afternoon or dinner are not ideal as when something runs out, it’s out. And, let’s face it, even if something is steam heat friendly, the last few servings in the pan aren’t going to be the best servings.
Tuetano is located in San Ysidro, a few blocks from the border. It is easily accessible via the 805 South. Take the San Ysidro Blvd exit and go West. Tuetano is a couple blocks down the street. It’s a small, semi hole-in-the-wall. They do birria, cochinita pibil and carne asada in taco, torta or quesadilla form. Order it dirty and you’ll get a split marrow bone on the side. Tuetano means marrow in Spanish The birria is very good, as is the carne asada. They may be the only place in San Diego doing Cochinita Pibil, which I have not yet tried so I can’t comment on whether it’s good, bad or indifferent. Tuetano is best for lunch as traffic southbound on the 805 is pretty awful after about 2:30 pm.
I don’t share Doc’s rec for El Agave. Their tequila selection is excellent, but the food is pretty inconsistent. If you’re after tequila, the Tequila Super Store underneath El Agave is exceptional. They have one of the widest selections of tequila in the United States including many brands not found outside of Mexico.
If mezcal is your thing, try Mayahuel at 30th & University. They have an excellent selection of both mezcal and tequila. Food options are a little limited, tacos and such, but it’s a friendly bar. Across the street is Polite Provisions, one of SDs best cocktail bars. They don’t serve food, but you can go next door to Swine & Soda, place an order and they’ll bring it to you in Polite Provisions.
Trust is wonderful, Fort Oak is better. I like Juniper & Ivy as well, but I’d choose Fort Oak over it.
If you are a carnivore, Cowboy Star, Rare Society or Born & Raised would be good, albeit pricey, choices.
Morning Glory in Little Italy is an over the top breakfast place. Expect long waits on the weekend. It’s easier to get in during the week I think. Little Lion in Ocean Beach at the end of Sunset Cliffs Blvd is also a great breakfast spot. The operative work here is “little” because it is a small restaurant. Blue Water Grill in Ocean Beach serves up some pristine seafood. There is indoor or outdoor seating and a good sound track. They do their fish as tacos, sandwiches, salads or plates. All the options are good, altho’ I do think the fish to bread ratio on the sandwich is off a little. Still tastes good tho’.