Where To Find The Best Street Food In San Diego
Whether you are looking for delicious fish tacos, spicy shrimp in a corn tortilla, or roasted duck with garlic butter, you can find it and more on the streets of San Diego. The street food scene in San Diego is huge because of the year-round warm temperatures and tourism.
You cannot go far in downtown San Diego without running into a taco truck with delicious tacos or a booth at the beach serving delicious food. In fact, tacos are the number one street food in San Diego. If you are looking for burgers and fries, you will find plenty of trucks and vendors all over the city. Almost all of the street food vendors in San Diego also have beer, tea, and coffee to drink.
Also, there are many restaurants in Del Mar and along Convoy Street where you can sit down and eat breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Eggs with cheese, tomato, and avocado with cheese sauce, chorizo dishes full of tasty meat, and taco salad are all on the menu at many locations all day and night.
San Diego street food can be found all along Ocean Beach and the shores of the Pacific Ocean serving spicy shrimp, burgers and french fries, tacos with sour cream, or a corn tortilla packed with meat, sauce, and veggies on the menu.
North Park and National City are just two of the best places to find the best San Diego street food served 24/7 from a truck, booth, or one of the restaurants, depending on the location. Whether you want to sit down and eat or grab a bite and go, drop off your bags at a luggage storage site first. East hands-free and savor every bite!
The Best Street Food Vendors in San Diego
The Taco Stand
If you are looking for one of the best tacos in San Diego, look for the Taco Stand. They have four different locations in San Diego including La Jolla, Encinitas, Downtown San Diego, and North Park. Every dish is served with fresh lettuce, extra cheese, guacamole, onions, and sour cream as well as cilantro and salsa.
With nine different tacos to choose from including carne asada, spicy shrimp, Mahi Mahi, Sonora, and the mushroom taco, they have something for everyone. But they also have delicious burritos and quesadillas on the menu so you do not have to eat a taco if you don't want to. Make sure you grab a drink for that spicy shrimp taco!
Swagyu Burger San Diego
Located in both Imperial and Pacific Beaches, Swagyu Burger is the best place to go for real wagyu beef burgers. Cooked fresh when you order them, the Smashburger is San Diego's best burger bar by far and the El Swagador is a close second made with cheese, pork, and wagyu beef. But don't forget the fries.
Also on the menu, bao buns with hanger steak, katsu skewers with scallions, and wagyu tataki. Get some nitro potatoes with cheese on the side or their market mushrooms. But Swagyu is more than just a burger joint. They also serve butcher cut meats. The Wagyu NY Strip is a favorite but the wagyu tomahawk is the number one choice of chops. The price is a bit high, but the quality is too.
Taste of the Himalayas
For authentic Indian food, the Taste of the Himalayas boasts five restaurants in San Diego including La Jolla, Point Loma, Hillcrest, El Cajon, and Carlsbad. Try their shrimp pakora with mint chutney or the chicken makhani, which is cooked in the tandoor oven and basted with garlic butter. Every San Diego shop has breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus.
The hinge machha is also great with shrimp cooked with onions and chunks of tomato or the shrimp chilly with jumbo shrimp sauteed in special sauce. But don't miss the dumplings. These tender little packages of deliciousness come in vegetable, chicken, or lamb and come with eight dumplings.
Its Raw Poke Shop
Also in Ocean Beach at the Farmer's Market, Its Raw Poke Shop serves Hawaiian poke bowls and other Hawaiian dishes made with raw tuna, shrimp, and crab as well as kimchi ahi and chili garden edamame with guacamole. Or try the pho ga di bo. You have never had chicken noodle soup like this before.
Their plated dishes are also great featuring kalua pig, chicken, or the Hawaiian combo. The seafood fried rice with pineapple and coconut are also great and the lemongrass grilled chicken is amazing. Even the ramen here is terrific and you can get a taco here as well. This place is one of San Diego's best gluten free food trucks.
If it's egg rolls you are after, you have to go to A-Chau on El Cajon. The eggroll is their signature street food and you can get them for 70 cents each so the price is right! The spring rolls are also popular and everything they serve is freshly made while you wait.
Their portions are exceptionally large and the service is great. Try the cup of ramen or the seafood chow mein or the broken rice with shredded pork and eggs. The stuffed chicken wing is another favorite. They only take cash though, so hit the ATM before you go.
Famoso Mexican Street Food
The name of the place tells you, this is the place to go in San Diego if you want more than just a taco or burrito, although they have those too. The most unique item though is the bacon-wrapped hot dog called the TJ dog. Get this delicious Mexican dog with a side of fries and a beer on the go. They can do gluten free as well.
The Cali Diablo burrito is one of the most popular with your choice of meat, spicy shrimp, sour cream, pico de Gallo, onions, and guacamole. The streat fries are amazing and covered in chorizo, cheese, guacamole, and sour cream. For dessert, the Bavarian creme-filled churros are outstanding. They also serve breakfast and brunch if that is what you are after. The Mexican breakfast taco or burrito are also great.
Mariscos El Pescador San Diego
They are known as the best seafood truck in San Diego so it makes sense to stop by and have a taste. Right off the San Diego Freeway with a stunning view of the bay in Chula Vista, Mariscos El Pescador has something for everyone from the shrimp taco to the octopus clamatos with sour cream. You can get an ice-cold beer too.
If you have never tasted a gobernador (Governor) taco, you have to try this exceptional snack from Sinaloa, which is shrimp with cheese, onions, and chiles with a side of guacamole and chips. The Biker taco with octopus and mussels is another popular one. If you cannot decide, just get the fish special, which comes with a variety of fresh fish. Bring cash. They do not do plastic.
Tambayan Filipino BBQ & Grill
Breakfast has never tasted so scrumptious until you try Tambayan Filipino BBQ & Grill. They have all kinds of meat dishes from beef to pork belly and you can get any of their items on the menu with rice and eggs over easy. Sample avocado toast with special sauce, fried pork with Mang Tomas sauce, and the beef short ribs with BBQ sauce.
If you just want eggs and sausage, they can do that too whether you want them fried, over easy, or scrambled. They even have loaded fries with cheese sauce, avocado, and an egg on top. Their beer or Thai tea go great with anything on the menu and the price is right for everything you see.
Hodad's San Diego
Hodad's has two locations, Ocean Beach and Downtown San Diego and according to the reviews, they serve the best burgers in the country. Hodad's is actually a brewing company that makes dozens of IPAs and craft brews so you know what to get to drink with your burger. They have every kind of beer you can think of.
The menu features burgers of all kinds from the blue jay with blue cheese sauce to the guido burger with pastrami and spicy brown mustard. Freshly made guacamole is also on the menu or try their Frings, which are a combo of onion rings and fries together.
Where to Find the Best San Diego Street Food Spots
National City Market on 8th
This public market has a dozen restaurants, several vendors selling their homemade wares, and 11,000 square feet of culture and entertainment. The place is filled with locals who make all sorts of culinary delights. Weapon Ramen is one of the most popular as well as Smitty's Taste of the Bayou serving cajun creole food.
Kaiju Pizza has every topping you can imagine on its square pies, La Central Mexican Food boasts the best tacos in the city including their signature Rockefeller Taco. Novo Brazil Brewing Company serves Brazilian beer and food. From sweet watermelon smoothies to buffalo wings, you can find it here.
Visiting Ocean Beach is great but having a variety of street food choices nearby is essential. You can find over a dozen eateries within a few blocks right on the beach. Interestingly, most of them are on Bacon Street so you would expect some bacon-inspired food. But that is not on the menu.
OB Noodle House Bar is Asian fusion to go, Poma's Italian Deli serves all sorts of sandwiches, and the Raglan Public House serves New Zealand cuisine. You can get a taco at La Dona, a slice of pizza at Pizza Port, or burgers at Alex's Brown Bag.
San Diego's Pacific Beach
Taco Surf, La Playa Taco Shop, and Ramiro's Taco Shop are just a few of the fun eateries in Pacific Beach. In fact, you can find over a dozen taco stands and shops in the area. There are more than tacos there though so you will not have to search for food while hanging out on Pacific Beach.
The Board & Brew Sandwich Shop, JRDN Restaurant, and Kono's Cafe are within a few feet of Crystal Pier and The Truckstop on the Promenade has spectacular breakfast dishes and coffee refills are free. Search a little more in that area to find Big Kahuna's Ice Cream if you want something sweet.
Street Food Festivals in San Diego
Street Food Cinema
Are you looking for an evening activity? Dinner and a movie have changed in San Diego. At the Street Food Cinema, you get both of these in a gorgeous outdoor setting that even includes live music. The best food trucks are there like Devilicious, Epic Eatz, and Sushi Uno. For dessert, try the Snocal Shaved Ice or Herb 'N Donuts. Starting at the end of May, you can catch the food and free flicks every Saturday at Balboa Park.
For a classy food festival, Vin Diego is a wine and food fest where you can sip, slurp, and savor over 200 wines as well as a variety of foods. For one Saturday in April, make new friends at the Vin Diego while enjoying the drinks, olive oils, cheese, and artisan breads. Most of the food trucks have a long line so be prepared to wait.
San Diego Brew Fest
In June, enjoy more than 200 craft and IPA beers from over 70 breweries, cover bands, lawn games, and food trucks all day long. Located in Liberty Station NTC Park, you do not have to search for food or beer with so many booths, trucks, and popups. Some of the trucks include Doggos Gus Mexican hot dogs, The Groovy Greek, and Baja Fish Tacos & Burgers.
Tacos and More
With so many amazing food trucks, cafes, eateries, and restaurants selling street food, you will not have to search far in San Diego to find what you want. But if you go during lunch or dinner, you may be waiting in line. Enjoy your food free of stuffy interiors and just eat outside.