2906 University Avenue, North Park
Tamarindo North Park Latin Kitchen and Bar
Last month, Tamarindo debuted at the former site of North Park landmark Claire de Lune Coffee Lounge. The locale serves inventive agave and sotol cocktails (Mark Broadfoot of Galaxy Taco helms the bar) and locally sourced Latin American cuisine with a Cali-Baja flair under the guidance of chef Elliott Townsend (Juniper & Ivy, EAT at the Pearl). So far, the suadero tacos (plate of three, $8) are stealing the limelight with buttery cuts of slow-roasted brisket served on handmade corn tortillas, garnished with tomatillo salsa and pico de gallo. The quesadillas (four for $6.50) are stuffed with hearty oyster mushrooms and the soft tortillas are smacked with griddled cheese.
2991 Broadway, Golden Hill
This Mexican seafood truck recently relocated a block south from its post at Miller’s Market to the parking lot of Anakin’s Barber Shop and Deli. Here you’ll find all the classic mariscos offerings such as fish, shrimp, marlin, gobernador tacos, cocktails, tostadas, aguachiles, and clamatos. Grab a complimentary cup of consomé (seafood and vegetable broth) while your order cooks. At $1.50 each, the fish tacos are some of the cheapest and most generous around. Bigger appetites can opt for a burrito or the heaping mar y tierra taco ($5.75) — a surf-and-turf medley of carne asada, shrimp, white cheese, and the holy trinity: sauteed celery, bell pepper, and onion.
631 Broadway, Chula Vista
Tijuana J.R. got its start south of the border in 1993. Today it has several stateside locations throughout South Bay. This downtown Chula Vista truck, which recently expanded to include an indoor seating area, is among the most popular. Their prices also saw some growth recently, but it’s hard to argue with a Monday–Thursday happy hour that includes 2x1 domestic beers and fish ceviche tostadas from 1 to 3 p.m. Fish tacos are just 99 cents on Taco Tuesday and every order comes with a hot cup of consomé. Got a party? Tijuana J.R. offers sharable preparations of shrimp, clams, octopus, oysters, and all the usual suspects for under 20 bucks.
Salt + Lime
A food truck that moves? Yeah, those exist. Former executive chef Julio Rodriguez was replaced about a year ago by chef Carlos Nuñez, but Salt + Lime’s modern Mexican menu remains more or less unchanged. That’s great news for those of us who have grown fond of their chicken al pastor taco ($3.95). Putting adobo-marinated chicken in place of pork, the taco includes a generous slice of chicharrón de queso (griddled cheese), pineapple habanero sauce, pickled onions, and guacamole. Want more? Try a bowl ($9), torta ($8.50), or burrito ($9.50).
2150 Imperial Avenue, Sherman Heights
Jolla Shark relocated a couple of years ago from Clairemont Mesa & Genessee down to 22nd & Imperial, where they sling high-quality, modestly priced mariscos next to a tire shop and a cell-phone store. You know the drill: free cup of sea soup while you wait for buck-fiddy fish tacos. You’re gonna want to try the taco arrachera con camarón — maybe the best surf-and-turf taco in town. Marinated flank steak, juicy shrimp, cilantro, tomato, onion, avocado, gooey cheese, and a splash of crema on a corn tortilla. I’m convinced they’re hiding a mesquite grill somewhere in their truck. The Shark’s beef really is that good.