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Where to Eat Tacos in Tijuana

From classic carne asada to signature chef tacos

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There is nary a person in San Diego who doesn’t think of tacos after hearing the word Tijuana, and with good reason. The tortilla-bound meal is ubiquitous south of the border and is eaten around the clock, from breakfast until after your favorite bar closes.

As a city with a traditional street food culture, caught in the middle of one of the world’s most exciting culinary movements in modern Baja cuisine, Tijuana offers taco lovers something exciting around every corner.

NOTE: Entries listed geographically

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Taconazo

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This relative newcomer to Tijuana’s street taco scene has become the favorite of many across the city. With a quick service and a straightforward menu, Taconazo is both a safe start for anyone looking to dip their toes into the world of Tijuana tacos and the choice of many a seasoned epicurean. 

Cafe La Especial

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Operating since 1952, this downtown Tijuana institution slings steamed tacos al vapor on historic Avenida Revolucion. A popular stop for nearby workers and tourists looking to get a taste of Old Tijuana, a dollar buys you a taco filled with pork rind, beef, or beans, garnished with pickled carrots and a fresh leek, just like the old days. 

Edward Sanchez

Brasa Taquería

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You won’t find paper-thin carne asada at this downtown taqueria. Located inside the bustling Colectivo Nueve food hall, arrachera, short ribs, and Spanish chorizo pile hand-pressed tortillas made to order. Quesadillas, tortas, and mulitas round out the menu.

Courtesy photo

Tacos Varios de La Sexta 

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While there are many stands and restaurants dedicated to tacos varios, the colloquially named los Tacos Varios de la Sexta — literally Tacos Varios on Sixth Street — is a Zona Centro landmark, serving commuters throughout the day and bar hoppers at night. Without a set menu, options at this streetside taco cart may include chile relleno, spicy shrimp, egg in tomato sauce, chicken mole, and milanesa steak, to name a few. 

Chilango

La Carmelita

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With its home-cooked charm, La Carmelita is among the founding members at Telefonica Gastro Park’s original location and remains a favorite at Telefonica’s new outpost. This food truck’s three mainline tacos — cactus salad with panela cheese, roasted cauliflower in mole sauce, and braised pork — capture the traditional flavors being honored, while displaying a flair of irreverence. 

Taqueria Franc

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Considered the current taco monarchs of the Sanchez Taboada drag just outside downtown,  Tacos el Franc doesn’t mess with success. Tacos here are made with the tried and true combination of flame-grilled meats, salsa, onion, cilantro, and guacamole, all atop of a tortilla. Despite its no frills attitude, El Franc’s excellent tacos have made crowds a common sight all week long.

Tras/Horizonte

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As the second incarnation of chef Oso Campo’s acclaimed Tacos Kokopelli, Tras/Horizonte continues to showcase its founder’s passion for fusing Mexican influences with anything that tickles his fancy. While you can still find tacos like the Gringo en Vacaciones — with chile relleno, cheese, and grilled shrimp — or the Kraken — grilled octopus in a Mexican pesto — the smoked tuna birria Sunday special or the duck mixiote, which comes with fresh tortillas for making tacos, are reasons to schedule a visit. 

Los Compas

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Founded by chefs Mario Peralta and Juan Cabrera, this joint venture pays homage to the legacy of Mexico’s indigenous corn varieties by introducing this grain to contemporary techniques. Come in on taco Tuesday for surprise special tacos, or get the signature Taco Chino, made with grilled chicken thigh, roasted cauliflower, and sweet sausage, from the everyday menu. 

Oryx Capital

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Chef Ruffo Ibarra’s marquee project is a must for anyone looking to dive into the rich, complex  flavors of modern Baja cuisine. While the menu skews toward dishes, Oryx Capital’s lamb tacos — topped with pickled onion, garbanzos and greens — are among Tijuana’s must try tacos. The stunning Taco Negro, a house homage to the Baja fish taco, uses squid ink in the batter and a blue corn tortilla to execute its deep, dark colorway.

Tacos Salseados

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While many might know this taco mecca from a Gael Garcia Bernal adlib in a Mexican romcom, neighbors and long-time visitors to Los Salceados know some of the best tacos in Tijuana are made on site. The house quesataco packs your choice of proteins into a grilled cheese shell, which takes the place of the traditional tortilla. 

Cathy Chaplin

Tacos El Gallito

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Arriving in 2008, this taqueria originally made waves in the border-adjacent Otay district with its use of thick New York steak in lieu of the paper-thin cuts preferred for tacos. Today, El Gallito and its original outpost, El Gallo — just steps down the street — continue to slap uncut New York on tortillas and overstuffing tacos to the delight of all. Other maximalist entrees include a “double” California burrito and the taco campechano — with chorizo, cheese, cactus and the trademark slab of New York. 

Tacos A Vapor Gil

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This low key taco stand serves the traditional “vapor” tacos of Mexico City, which are stacked in a tight pot or basket to keep them warm with their own steam. Despite their simple nature and filling — shredded beef, mashed potato, or beans — these tacos punch above their weight in the taste department. Get here early, as this corner stand closes when they sell out. 

Chewin's

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This popular hub for Sinaloa-style mariscos and cold Pacificos delivers on all things seafood. While the beer-battered fish and shrimp tacos are good, the grilled marlin quesadillas are a cut above. Generously packed with melted cheese and smoked marlin, the folded tortilla is placed over coals to crisp up and then plated with greens. Order one as an appetizer or a six-piece platter for your table. 

Javier Guerra

Tacos El Compita

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While birria is just starting to catch on in food culture north of the border — as seen in the success of Tuetano Taqueria in San Ysidro — it has been an all-day, go-to meal in Tijuana for generations. El Compita executes perfectly on its spicy beef broth, which is put into crispy tacos, quesadillas, and generous bowl servings.

Courtesy Photo

Taconazo

This relative newcomer to Tijuana’s street taco scene has become the favorite of many across the city. With a quick service and a straightforward menu, Taconazo is both a safe start for anyone looking to dip their toes into the world of Tijuana tacos and the choice of many a seasoned epicurean. 

Cafe La Especial

Edward Sanchez

Operating since 1952, this downtown Tijuana institution slings steamed tacos al vapor on historic Avenida Revolucion. A popular stop for nearby workers and tourists looking to get a taste of Old Tijuana, a dollar buys you a taco filled with pork rind, beef, or beans, garnished with pickled carrots and a fresh leek, just like the old days. 

Edward Sanchez

Brasa Taquería

Courtesy photo

You won’t find paper-thin carne asada at this downtown taqueria. Located inside the bustling Colectivo Nueve food hall, arrachera, short ribs, and Spanish chorizo pile hand-pressed tortillas made to order. Quesadillas, tortas, and mulitas round out the menu.

Courtesy photo

Tacos Varios de La Sexta 

Chilango

While there are many stands and restaurants dedicated to tacos varios, the colloquially named los Tacos Varios de la Sexta — literally Tacos Varios on Sixth Street — is a Zona Centro landmark, serving commuters throughout the day and bar hoppers at night. Without a set menu, options at this streetside taco cart may include chile relleno, spicy shrimp, egg in tomato sauce, chicken mole, and milanesa steak, to name a few. 

Chilango

La Carmelita

With its home-cooked charm, La Carmelita is among the founding members at Telefonica Gastro Park’s original location and remains a favorite at Telefonica’s new outpost. This food truck’s three mainline tacos — cactus salad with panela cheese, roasted cauliflower in mole sauce, and braised pork — capture the traditional flavors being honored, while displaying a flair of irreverence. 

Taqueria Franc

Considered the current taco monarchs of the Sanchez Taboada drag just outside downtown,  Tacos el Franc doesn’t mess with success. Tacos here are made with the tried and true combination of flame-grilled meats, salsa, onion, cilantro, and guacamole, all atop of a tortilla. Despite its no frills attitude, El Franc’s excellent tacos have made crowds a common sight all week long.

Tras/Horizonte

As the second incarnation of chef Oso Campo’s acclaimed Tacos Kokopelli, Tras/Horizonte continues to showcase its founder’s passion for fusing Mexican influences with anything that tickles his fancy. While you can still find tacos like the Gringo en Vacaciones — with chile relleno, cheese, and grilled shrimp — or the Kraken — grilled octopus in a Mexican pesto — the smoked tuna birria Sunday special or the duck mixiote, which comes with fresh tortillas for making tacos, are reasons to schedule a visit. 

Los Compas

Founded by chefs Mario Peralta and Juan Cabrera, this joint venture pays homage to the legacy of Mexico’s indigenous corn varieties by introducing this grain to contemporary techniques. Come in on taco Tuesday for surprise special tacos, or get the signature Taco Chino, made with grilled chicken thigh, roasted cauliflower, and sweet sausage, from the everyday menu. 

Oryx Capital

Chef Ruffo Ibarra’s marquee project is a must for anyone looking to dive into the rich, complex  flavors of modern Baja cuisine. While the menu skews toward dishes, Oryx Capital’s lamb tacos — topped with pickled onion, garbanzos and greens — are among Tijuana’s must try tacos. The stunning Taco Negro, a house homage to the Baja fish taco, uses squid ink in the batter and a blue corn tortilla to execute its deep, dark colorway.

Tacos Salseados

Cathy Chaplin

While many might know this taco mecca from a Gael Garcia Bernal adlib in a Mexican romcom, neighbors and long-time visitors to Los Salceados know some of the best tacos in Tijuana are made on site. The house quesataco packs your choice of proteins into a grilled cheese shell, which takes the place of the traditional tortilla. 

Cathy Chaplin

Tacos El Gallito

Arriving in 2008, this taqueria originally made waves in the border-adjacent Otay district with its use of thick New York steak in lieu of the paper-thin cuts preferred for tacos. Today, El Gallito and its original outpost, El Gallo — just steps down the street — continue to slap uncut New York on tortillas and overstuffing tacos to the delight of all. Other maximalist entrees include a “double” California burrito and the taco campechano — with chorizo, cheese, cactus and the trademark slab of New York. 

Tacos A Vapor Gil

This low key taco stand serves the traditional “vapor” tacos of Mexico City, which are stacked in a tight pot or basket to keep them warm with their own steam. Despite their simple nature and filling — shredded beef, mashed potato, or beans — these tacos punch above their weight in the taste department. Get here early, as this corner stand closes when they sell out. 

Chewin's

Javier Guerra

This popular hub for Sinaloa-style mariscos and cold Pacificos delivers on all things seafood. While the beer-battered fish and shrimp tacos are good, the grilled marlin quesadillas are a cut above. Generously packed with melted cheese and smoked marlin, the folded tortilla is placed over coals to crisp up and then plated with greens. Order one as an appetizer or a six-piece platter for your table. 

Javier Guerra

Tacos El Compita

Courtesy Photo

While birria is just starting to catch on in food culture north of the border — as seen in the success of Tuetano Taqueria in San Ysidro — it has been an all-day, go-to meal in Tijuana for generations. El Compita executes perfectly on its spicy beef broth, which is put into crispy tacos, quesadillas, and generous bowl servings.

Courtesy Photo

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