Followers of the San Diego food scene may remember when Mama Testa Taqueria owner Cesar Gonzalez famously beat Bobby Flay in a Food Network taco throwdown; the eatery, which opened in Hillcrest in 2004, built an ardent following for its menu that surveyed authentic regional Mexican cuisine and conveyed it in taco form.
Last October, Gonzalez closed up his original University Avenue restaurant to relocate into new Mira Mesa digs. What was meant to be a quick transition took much longer than expected, but the larger space is finally open, currently from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, with seating for nearly 70 inside and on a new outdoor patio. Design details are still being added, but will eventually include a Sistine Chapel-inspired taco mural and other custom artwork.
Longtime diners will be glad to know that nearly all of the original menu made the move, including the popular hard shell mashed potato tacos from the 'crunchy tacos' section and the stewed shredded pork and housemade chorizo tacos served in soft corn tortillas. New items include tripe tacos and section of tacos smothered in homemade sauces, from mole to spinach and zucchini salsa or a white sauce made with jocoque, a Mexican yogurt. And the famous salsa bar is back with even more varieties, including cactus, prickly pear and pineapple with chile de arbol. Gonzalez says he plans to also offer monthly specials, with a portion of sales going to local charities. An array of Mexican and San Diego craft beer is coming, as well as a happy hour and Taco Tuesday deal.
Gonzalez told Eater that he chose Mira Mesa for its blossoming food scene and proximity to local breweries; more Mama Testas are in the works, the second should open by early 2016.