The Best Taco Trucks from San Diego to Tijuana

Long before the mainstream popularity of food trucks, San Diego’s taco-loving culture was built on a foundation of rubber tires and mobile kitchens. To this day, if you ask locals where to find the city’s best tacos, they’ll usually point you to a taco truck. Or, they might tell you San Diego’s best are found south of the border, in Tijuana.

Mariscos Nine Seas taco truck
Some of San Diego’s best fish tacos come off a truck. Photo © Lindsay Bullis.

Can’t Miss Mariscos

Throughout San Diego, dozens of food trucks start with the word mariscos, which simply means “seafood” in Spanish. They may vary in quality, but nearly all feature delicate ceviches, seafood tostadas, and a rich assortment of fish tacos. The city’s most central is the beloved Mariscos Nine Seas, which parks in the same spot daily: a TargetExpress parking lot in the homey neighborhood of South Park (3030 Grape Street). Its legendary Baja-style fish tacos cost just a buck-eighty each, and you’ll get a free fish stew to eat while you wait. And you will wait, because the city lines up for these tacos of fried or grilled whitefish, smoked marlin, and grilled shrimp, cheese, and mixed veggies (called gobernador).

If you’re looking for a similar—most say better—experience in Tijuana, look for the celebrated Sonoran-style seafood of the Mariscos Ruben truck at its regular location in Zona Centro (Quintana Roo 740). It’s a longtime favorite among celebrity chefs for its acclaimed salsas, crab claw aguachile, and shrimp enchiladas.

Vegan and Then Some

Food truck Taqueria Vegiee may be bad at spelling, but it’s great at channeling the Tijuana taco experience to a meat-free audience, preparing its own vegan alternatives to taco staples such as carne asada, carnitas, and al pastor. A new Taqueria Vegiee truck conveniently parks right beside Mariscos Nine Seas in South Park (3030 Grape Street), while its original continues to do business in Tijuana’s exceptional gastropark, Telefónica.

What’s a gastropark, you ask? It’s like a mobile food court built around a shared dining garden with a craft brewery attached. Telefónica is in a fixed Zona Centro location (Boulevard Agua Caliente 8860) where a dozen highly regarded food trucks have dropped anchor.

black food truck
Corazón de Torta is a favorite among beer lovers. Photo © Ian Anderson.

The New Beef

One of the highlights of Telefónica is the food truck La Carmelita, which captures the warmth of homestyle Mexican cooking with its delicious tacos, tortas (sandwiches), and nourishing stews.

Last year, La Carmelita’s chef Jose Rodrigo Figueroa Sanchez brought a similar warmth to San Diego, partnering with the food truck Corazón de Torta, which has quickly captured the adoration of San Diego taco lovers and beer fans. With this food truck, Tijuana’s delectable tradition of braised meat guisados are brought north, in particular a guajillo chili-stewed short rib that has made Corazón de Torta the most in-demand food truck at San Diego’s top craft breweries. Track it on Instagram @corazondetortasd to find each day’s location or hold out for the business to park a new, second truck at its home base (2490 Commercial Street).

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