It would seem that for any small, privately owned restaurant to be successful, they would have to offer a gimmick along with food and service, or sometimes, in place of. Every downtown attraction is somewhat responsible from bucking mechanical bulls in Fort Worth to a pineapple shaped eatery in Downtown Disney; many of these destinations are often like light to flies to tourists. Essentially, the brighter the light, the more inclined are these out-of-towners to throw vacation savings at.
Rest assured, not all gimmicky attractions are absent identity or substance. There’s a small, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it taco shop that rests behind the San Diego airport at the bottom of Mission Hills. With a colorful pastel décor flaunting on a retro backdrop and an ode to showcasing Mexico’s finest luchadores, Lucha Libre Taco Shop offers a one of a kind identity while serving up some of the best Mexican food SoCal has to offer.
Fit for foodie champions
Located on the corner of Washington and India, Lucha Libre unfortunately shares a wall and parking lot of a not-so-hip and often overcrowded night bar. Parking there any time of the day is a challenge, as every nearby spot is like leading a blitzkrieg against the indecisive tourists and over entitled Californians who are wanting the same piece of the pie. Once you are able to find something, you then have to endure the line stretching out past the door, as the same indecisive tourists and over entitled Californians are eagerly awaiting their spot to order. With such daunting tasks ahead, it’s a challenge to remain interested, as sandwich shops and bars are just a few feet away.
But if your conviction is strong enough, you will be rewarded. Lucha Libre Taco Shop has a menu well worth the wait, which can range from 15 - 25 minutes during the peak hours of noon to nine at night. I recommend showing up a little before the 12 o’clock rush hour to beat the lunch madness. It essentially has something for everyone. If monster sized burritos are your thing, then you’ll have to challenge the classic Surfin’ California, a burrito fit for champions that is packed with juicy marinated steak, succulent shrimp, crispy fries, avocado, pico de gallo, and a delicious and mysterious chipotle sauce. If you’re feeling adventurous, the Holy Moly shouts of Mexico authenticity with its special mole sauce, grilled chicken breast, queso panela, rice, and sour cream.
Every choice is a winner
You’ll have to find the space in your stomach to indulge in a taco because it is, after all, a taco shop. You can’t go wrong with a favorite like the Surf and Turf, which combines that same juicy steak and succulent shrimp topped with avocados and a special sauce. Lucha Libre also pays tribute to “street style” tacos with Classic Carne Asada and Pollo Asada, topped with pico and guacamole, or Adobada, topped with cilantro and onions.
Luckily, every choice is moderately priced considering that this isn’t your everyday taco stand. In fact, a meal for 4 will run you about 40 USD. With portions meant to fill a pound for pound champ and guarded recipes you won’t find elsewhere, Lucha Libre stands in a league of its own.
Beach worthy allies
If the San Diego beach scene has you self-conscious about all the goodness you’re ingesting, then you’ll take comfort in noteworthy and healthy options like the Flaco Taco, a lettuce cup with grilled chicken or blackened Mahi-Mahi fish with pickled onions and cilantro, or the Veg Out burrito, a grilled medley of marinated onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, and zucchini with guacamole and rice. With the option to substitute any flour tortilla with whole wheat (seen on left), it’ll make any option a smart one.
You might be interested in these Airbnbs!
Best of the West
With local beer and a salsa bar, it’s easy, and expected to overindulge. Don’t worry because if you can find the energy and stability to mosey your way out the door, a beautiful city filled with local attractions and perfectly mild weather await you. Burn off the thousand calories with a joyous walk down Kettner or India and explore all the shops and sidewalk attractions that make San Diego a city of culture and beauty. Make your way to Casa Artelexia, located at 2400 Kettner, for elegant art and home décor inspired by artists and visionaries south of the border. For all those unaware San Diego, California is a city you see with your stomach and feet. Let Lucha Libre Taco Shop be your first stop among many in your SoCal destination.
Get Trip101 in your inbox