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Plate of shredded carnitas Yesenia’s Mexican Food

Where to Eat Carnitas in San Diego

Pig out at these Mexican eateries

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Proper carnitas takes time and care to cook — typically made with well-marbled pork butt or sometime pork shoulder, the meat is slowly simmered with seasonings until meltingly tender and then fried in its own fat to concentrate its pork flavor and render crisp edges. Hungry now? Here’s where you can go to satisfy your carnitas cravings, whether in a taco, burrito, or by the pound.

Did we overlook your favorite eatery? Let us know in the comments below.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Carnitas Don Pancho

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707 S Escondido Blvd
Escondido, CA 92025
(888) 249-5282
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Escondido’s Carnitas Don Pancho specializes in Michoacánan-style carnitas but the ingredients are a secret. Taste it in an entree plate starting at $10.95 or up to a full pound at $14.95. Don’t miss out on the pork beans for more porcine pleasures.

Uncut carnitas pork butt Carnitas Don Pancho/Facebook

2. Maritza's Mexican Food Restaurant

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3582 Mt Acadia Blvd # D
San Diego, CA 92111
(858) 279-8866
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This neighborhood favorite serves up classic Mexican dishes for those on a budget. For carnitas, head in on Wednesdays; it’s not available any other day.

3. Puesto Mission Valley

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5010 Mission Center Rd
San Diego, CA 92108
(619) 333-2167
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Puesto is far fancier than the neighborhood taqueria but their carnitas are worth the visit. Prepared the traditional way, order the meaty morsels in burritos, tacos or in bowl with herb lime rice as a base.

4. Carnitas Uruapan Mexican Food

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4233 Spring St
La Mesa, CA 91941
(619) 337-2448
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This family-run eatery in La Mesa sells ready-to-eat carnitas by the pound. Dinner for one starts at a half pound and includes rice, beans, cilantro, tomatoes, onions, limes and tortillas. 

Rack of pork bones for carnitas Carnitas Uruapan/Facebook

5. Yesenia's Mexican Food & Ice Cream

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2505 El Cajon Blvd
San Diego, CA 92104
(619) 255-1602

Yesenia’s big menu is packed with all the taco shop favorites including carnitas. Order it in tortas, tostadas, chimichangas or mini tacos.

6. Carnitas Las Michoacanas

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6513 University Ave
San Diego, CA 92115
(619) 229-9574

This hole-in-the-wall joint in Rolando features carnitas in burritos, quesadillas, sopes, tacos, tortas, tostadas and chilaquiles. The spot is cash only so bring enough to feed your carnitas craving.

Store front for Carnitas Las Michoacanas Carnitas Las Michoacanas/Facebook

7. Super Cocina

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3627 University Ave
San Diego, CA 92104
(619) 584-6244
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The not-so-secret ingredient to Super Cocina’s carnitas is their use of Mexican cinnamon and molasses. Order the tender carnitas in a combo plate alongside rice and beans, or as a burrito.

Carnitas burrito filling Super Cocina/Facebook

8. City Tacos

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3028 University Ave
San Diego, CA 92104
(619) 296-2303
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Per the name, it’s all about tacos at this local chain and their carnitas is a good option. The slow-simmered carnitas comes served with the usual suspects — cilantro, onion and guac — and is finished with bits of chicharron on top.

9. Carnitas y Mariscos Las Morelianas

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2822 Imperial Ave
San Diego, CA 92102
(619) 239-6284
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Imperial Avenue’s beloved Carnitas y Mariscos Las Morelianas has several menu items featuring carnitas including a pound of pork fit to feed two people. Head in on Wednesdays or Fridays for the carnitas special: two pounds plus a complimentary half pound.

10. La Fachada

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20 25th St
San Diego, CA 92102
(619) 236-8566
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The carnitas tacos at this laid back outdoor eatery is renowned for its generous portion of pork. If the craving hits late at night, know the spot is open until 1:30 am every night.

11. Las Cuatro Milpas

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1857 Logan Ave
San Diego, CA 92113
(619) 234-4460
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Rolled tacos may steal the spotlight at this Barrio Logan institution but the carnitas de tacos are equally as good. Crisp tortilla shells include generous mounds of pork under shredded lettuce and cheese.

12. ¡SALUD! Barrio Logan

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2196 Logan Ave
San Diego, CA 92113
(619) 255-3856

Visit this Barrio Logan hotspot for carnitas along with a bevy of other tacos. Diners’ best bet is the family pack that feeds four. Go with the carnitas option with pico, bean, guacamole and tortillas.

1. Carnitas Don Pancho

707 S Escondido Blvd, Escondido, CA 92025
Uncut carnitas pork butt Carnitas Don Pancho/Facebook

Escondido’s Carnitas Don Pancho specializes in Michoacánan-style carnitas but the ingredients are a secret. Taste it in an entree plate starting at $10.95 or up to a full pound at $14.95. Don’t miss out on the pork beans for more porcine pleasures.

707 S Escondido Blvd
Escondido, CA 92025

2. Maritza's Mexican Food Restaurant

3582 Mt Acadia Blvd # D, San Diego, CA 92111

This neighborhood favorite serves up classic Mexican dishes for those on a budget. For carnitas, head in on Wednesdays; it’s not available any other day.

3582 Mt Acadia Blvd # D
San Diego, CA 92111

3. Puesto Mission Valley

5010 Mission Center Rd, San Diego, CA 92108

Puesto is far fancier than the neighborhood taqueria but their carnitas are worth the visit. Prepared the traditional way, order the meaty morsels in burritos, tacos or in bowl with herb lime rice as a base.

5010 Mission Center Rd
San Diego, CA 92108

4. Carnitas Uruapan Mexican Food

4233 Spring St, La Mesa, CA 91941
Rack of pork bones for carnitas Carnitas Uruapan/Facebook

This family-run eatery in La Mesa sells ready-to-eat carnitas by the pound. Dinner for one starts at a half pound and includes rice, beans, cilantro, tomatoes, onions, limes and tortillas. 

4233 Spring St
La Mesa, CA 91941

5. Yesenia's Mexican Food & Ice Cream

2505 El Cajon Blvd, San Diego, CA 92104

Yesenia’s big menu is packed with all the taco shop favorites including carnitas. Order it in tortas, tostadas, chimichangas or mini tacos.

2505 El Cajon Blvd
San Diego, CA 92104

6. Carnitas Las Michoacanas

6513 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92115
Store front for Carnitas Las Michoacanas Carnitas Las Michoacanas/Facebook

This hole-in-the-wall joint in Rolando features carnitas in burritos, quesadillas, sopes, tacos, tortas, tostadas and chilaquiles. The spot is cash only so bring enough to feed your carnitas craving.

6513 University Ave
San Diego, CA 92115

7. Super Cocina

3627 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92104
Carnitas burrito filling Super Cocina/Facebook

The not-so-secret ingredient to Super Cocina’s carnitas is their use of Mexican cinnamon and molasses. Order the tender carnitas in a combo plate alongside rice and beans, or as a burrito.

3627 University Ave
San Diego, CA 92104

8. City Tacos

3028 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92104

Per the name, it’s all about tacos at this local chain and their carnitas is a good option. The slow-simmered carnitas comes served with the usual suspects — cilantro, onion and guac — and is finished with bits of chicharron on top.

3028 University Ave
San Diego, CA 92104

9. Carnitas y Mariscos Las Morelianas

2822 Imperial Ave, San Diego, CA 92102

Imperial Avenue’s beloved Carnitas y Mariscos Las Morelianas has several menu items featuring carnitas including a pound of pork fit to feed two people. Head in on Wednesdays or Fridays for the carnitas special: two pounds plus a complimentary half pound.

2822 Imperial Ave
San Diego, CA 92102

10. La Fachada

20 25th St, San Diego, CA 92102

The carnitas tacos at this laid back outdoor eatery is renowned for its generous portion of pork. If the craving hits late at night, know the spot is open until 1:30 am every night.

20 25th St
San Diego, CA 92102

11. Las Cuatro Milpas

1857 Logan Ave, San Diego, CA 92113

Rolled tacos may steal the spotlight at this Barrio Logan institution but the carnitas de tacos are equally as good. Crisp tortilla shells include generous mounds of pork under shredded lettuce and cheese.

1857 Logan Ave
San Diego, CA 92113

12. ¡SALUD! Barrio Logan

2196 Logan Ave, San Diego, CA 92113

Visit this Barrio Logan hotspot for carnitas along with a bevy of other tacos. Diners’ best bet is the family pack that feeds four. Go with the carnitas option with pico, bean, guacamole and tortillas.

2196 Logan Ave
San Diego, CA 92113

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