Where to Celebrate Cinco de Mayo in San Diego

A day of celebration and superb Mexican dishes, Cinco de Mayo is almost here, and tacos and tequila are in order! With so many Mexican restaurants nestled in San Diego’s culinary enclave, it can be difficult to find your Cinco de Mayo go-to. Rest assured, here is a list of the city’s best Mexican eateries serving up authentic tacos and tequila that will have you questioning where you are!  In the mood for a festive setting adorned with rustic décor? Del Sur Mexican Cantina in the heart of South park offers a menu brimming with culinary zest, and boasts a list of tequila-infused libations that are perfectly suited to the occasion. Try their Jack Fruit Taco Plate, packed with adobo marinated jackfruit, cabbage, poblano crema and chipotle aioli, and served with rice and beans. Pair this taco with a Mango Chili Margarita, mixed with 100% agave tequila reposado, mango, pineapple, lime, Triple Sec and housemade serrano, for a flavor combination inherently perfect for Cinco De Mayo festivities! Specials: Party at this eclectic Mexican cantina on Cinco with specials running all day long and live music with DJRIKK from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Sip on $5 house margaritas and spiked wines, $6 sangria and palomas, $2 off all bottled beers and $3 select Mexican drafts. If surf culture and the beach are more your style, head over to PB Shore Club in Pacific Beach. Bask in SoCal surroundings and enjoy Sautéed Lobster Tacos, as you sip on a Green Machine, made with Olmeca Altos Silver, jalapenos, cucumber, mint and house agave mix. A zesty blend of cucumber and mint flavors, and just a hint of spice, this cocktail is sure to satisfy your Cinco De Mayo hankerings.  Another eclectic Pacific Beach location, The Duck Dive offers a laid back atmosphere suited to its proximity to the shoreline. Decked in surf-inspired décor and serving coastal cuisine, this PB hotspot is idyllic for a day of celebration! Savor their Beer Battered Mahi Taco, a flour tortilla cradling shredded cabbage, pico, radish, queso fresco and jalapeno crema. Pair this with Duck Dive’s refreshing Verdita Margarita, shaken with Los Altos Plata Tequila, house-made verdita and agave.  Seeking an authentic taco stand experience? With locations in La Jolla, Downtown and Encinitas, The Taco Stand offers patrons menu items that both maintain traditional Mexican spices as well as transcend the flavor experience. Their Nopal Taco, made with flamed grilled cactus, melted cheese, cilantro sauce, tomato and avocado, offers a lighter take on the classic while also incorporating a sense of culinary distinctiveness unmatched by other taco stands. Looking to build your own taco and prefer a beer to satisfy those Cinco de Mayo cravings? Head into Pacific Beach Fish Shop, Encinitas Fish Shop or Hermosa Beach Fish Shop! Each location allows amigos to pick the freshest catch, chose between beer battered or grilled, pick a marinade and maybe style with some avocado. Or, try their famous TKO Taco made with grilled Mahi Mahi, shredded cabbage, mixed cheese, house white sauce and finished off with a tropical salsa. Wash it down with a cold Mexican beer as you bask in the sun of the patio. Have your fiesta at WESTROOT tavern in Carmel Valley! Join the lively staff of WESTROOT on Friday, May 5 for $5 Mexican beers and $7 margaritas. Sway your hips to Latin rhythms with live music from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. All Cinco Everything at Tavern by the beach! Enjoy $5 El Jimador Margaritas, $5 Mexican cervezas, $5 Espolón shots and delicioso $5 lobster tacos. To top everything off there will be a live mariachi band to make this the best Cinco de Mayo.  Toast to Cinco de Mayo by the beach while sipping JRDN’s Chile Mango Margarita, made with chili-infused tequila, mango syrup, and house mix. Watch people biking along the Pacific Beach boardwalk and take in the sunset for a perfect evening.  

East Village culinary hot spot Jsix has a creative cocktail menu featuring the El Mariachi Pt. 2 made with Tequila blanco, Mescal, Absinthe, Cherry Herring, vanilla syrup and fresh lemon. 

 Tucked away in San Marcos is Decoy Dockside Dining. Sipp on the Smokey Mango-Rita, a delicious blend of Cazadores Blanco Tequila, Cointreau, lemon & lime juice, jalapeño and mango purée dockside.    Known for their innovative cocktail menu and difficulty getting a table on a Saturday Night, Hillcrest’s hot spot TRUST offers a delicious twist on the classic maragrita. The Trust Cocktail #2 is a satisfying mix of Jalapeno Tequila, grapefruit, agave and firewater bitters.  Looking for a classic? Pull a seat up to the bar at Bottega Americano and order the Cuprite. This Italian take on a margarita is the perfect combination of tequila, grapefruit, and agave, and is served with a sweet & salty rim.   Join your favorite neighborhood restaurant on this day of fiesta! Fig Tree Café in Pacific Beach embraces a mix of traditional Italian and American-organic cuisine, but for Cinco de Mayo, they are adding a little Mexican flavor through the weekend. Enjoy their Cinco de Mayo themed special of Tacos Trio, served with Steak, Chicken Fajitas, and Shrimp Tacos that come with a side of beans and rice.  If a standard margarita just won’t cut it this year, feast your eyes on Brian’s 24’s El Holy Grail Fishbowl. This glorious cocktail is served in a 54-oz. fishbowl and is ideal for sharing. Made with Hornitos Reposado tequila, Triple Sec, Sierra Mist, Grand Marnier, lemon, lime, and pineapple juices, and garnished with lemon, lime and orange slices, this margarita lives up to its title as The Holy Grail of tequila-bearing drinks.  For one night only on Friday, May 5 Kettner Exchange, San Diego’s award-winning restaurant and lounge, will transform its regular menu into a festive, Cinco de Mayo-themed cocktail list. With spirits hand-selected by Beverage Director Steven Tuttle, cocktail offerings are priced at $10 each and will include:

  • Classic Margarita – A tried and true classic 3 ingredient margarita
  • Wildfires – An Ancho Reyes Chili Liqueur-heavy but refreshing cocktail with a kick of spice
  • Es Una Fresa – A smoky, yet refreshing tropical mezcal drink topped with Jarritos Strawberry soda
  • Verde Michelada – Steven Tuttle’s take on the classic michelada (minus tomato) with the new to market Ancho Reyes Verde Poblano Chili Liqueur and a Mexican Style lager from SF
  • Paloma – An always-delicious classic Paloma!
  • Rich Man’s Margarita  – Another classic margarita recipe featuring the Kettner Exchange Herradura Double Barrel Reposado, hand selected by Steven Tuttle in Guadalajara, and a unique curaçao featuring Martinique Petite Shrubb.
  • El Matador – Wonderfully balanced reposed tequila old fashioned with a touch of amaro for sweetness and chocolaty flavors
  • Double Barrel Old Fashioned – A classic old fashioned featuring once again, the Kettner Exchange Double Barrel Reposado

 Celebrate Cinco de Mayo at The Pony Room at Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa and indulge in festive bites, margaritas and Mexican craft beer specials, Rancho Valencia’s signature guacamole, chips and salsa, and a build your own taco bar. An equestrian-themed bar and restaurant, The Pony Room offers an extensive tequila program led by mixologist, Ted Gibson, with over 100 variations of tequila, as well as an array of creative handcrafted cocktails, local beers, and vintage wines. One-of-a-kind signature cocktails include La Piñata with charred pineapple mezcal, serrano tequila, lime, cilantro, salt and pepper, or the Juan Y Appleseed with Kimo Sabe Joven mezcal, cavadoes, lemon, honey, ginger and rosemary. The Pony Room’s Cinco de Mayo offerings are available on Friday, May 5 at 11 am – 10 pm with the build your own taco bar available 5:30 pm – 10 pm.  Located on the sparkling waters of San Diego’s Mission Bay, Paradise Point Resort & Spa‘s signature restaurant, Tidal, offers guests and locals the ultimate Southern California dining experience. Perfect for Cinco de Mayo on May 5, enjoy the Thee Barnacle – one of the coastal restaurant’s signature Snake Oil rendition of a spicy margarita, composed of Milagro tequila, cayenne infusion, pressed grapefruit and lemon, agave nectar and smoked sea salt on top. Friday May 5, celebrate Cinco de Mayo with a “fun-rager”at Pacific Beach’s FIREHOUSE American Eatery + Lounge where a $10 donation to Mana includes access to a Hola Bitches x Art Elexia VIP lounge. Access to the lounge includes a welcome cocktail, tequila tasting, donkey rides, gift bag, photo booth and extended happy hour. There will be $5 frozen margaritas, Montejo and a street taco special until 10 p.m. with mariachis from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.  Sip on a Spanish Sunrise this Cinco de Mayo at the San Diego hot spot, Rustic Root. Combining Espolon Tequila, pressed lime and lavender tonic topped with fresh grapefruit zest, the Spanish Sunrise offers a twist on a classic Mexican cocktail. Celebrate Cinco de Mayo in style at Don Chido with live music and drink specials including $6 Dos Equis, $6 house margaritas and $6 Sauza shots. Don Chido will also offer signature margaritas including the Chido Caddy, mixing Peligroso Anejo, fresh lime, agave and a grand marnier float.  Offering guests an elevated Mexican dining experience from service to presentation, Red O La Jolla is the perfect destination for an upscale Cinco de Mayo celebration. With a variety of speciality margaritas curated with authentic intention, guests can pair a variety of libations with a wide selection of traditional cuisine. Guests can indulge in Red O’s authentic Signature Red O Margarita, mixed with Cabo Wabo Blanco Tequila, JDK & Sons O3 Orange Liqueur and house-made limonada served over ice with a salt rim. Celebrate Cinco de Mayo on the sparkling waters of San Diego’s Mission Bay at Barefoot Bar & Grill. Guests and locals can dine alfresco while enjoying waterfront views with $5 cerveza and taco specials on Friday, May 5.  Start the weekend off right with these festive sips and bites — salud! Enjoy one of the downtown neighborhood’s favorite happy hours on Cinco de Mayo from 3 to 7 p.m. The Commons will be offering $2 off draft cervezas, $5 wines, $4 well cocktails and half-priced starters, including a variety of wings served with delicious house-made sauces. Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with a variety of handcrafted margaritas and house-made, authentic salsas at ‘ritas Cantina. With margarita options including pepper melon, blackberry, cucumber, blood orange and more, ‘rites Cantina is sure to have something for everyone. Guests can also indulge in ‘ritas house-made salsas including salsa verde, chipotle, roasted chile de arbol and the ultra-spicy roasted habanero-ghost pepper salsa. All salsas are prepared in-house and are served with a colorful variety of tortilla chips. Happy hour will also run for 3 to 6 p.m. on Cinco de Mayo.   

Leave a Reply