In Connecticut and New York, going to get "Mexican" food was an extremely rare occurrence. Usually what it really meant was going to get margaritas. I had my staples: Viva Zapata is one of my all-time favorites, located in Westport, CT; in Manhattan, I went to Rosa Mexicano for fancy work lunches and El Cantinero for their insane happy hour that was made for alcoholic grad students like me ($3 margaritas + free appetizers). But none of those places really inspired me to crave Mexican food more often.
In San Diego, for obvious reasons, Mexican food is part of everyday life. There's two Mexican restaurants for every pizza joint that exists in New York (disclaimer: that is not founded on any facts) and there is a wonderful little tradition known as Taco Tuesday.
Taco Tuesday is when taco and drink specials abound. It is a magical night of the week to go get your guacamole on, engage in workday binge drinking and have a lot of fun with friends. I love exploring new places for Taco Tuesday so much that I've decided to make it a new weekly feature here on the blog. After all, this is a major part of the San Diego lifestyle. ;)
Today's Taco Tuesday recommendation is Barrio Star in Banker's Hill. The last time we were there they were installing a patio rail around the outside so this Balboa Park-adjacent eatery is about to get that much better.
Inside, the decor is really fun with a bit of a Dia de los Muertos vibe. There's a lot to look at. The restaurant manages to be cozy without being crammed, which I enjoyed, but it does get crazy as the Taco Tuesday crowd rolls in for their awesome specials. Vegetarian, meat, and fish tacos are priced a la carte at $3-$3.50 each with drink specials each week.
I opted to start with some chips and salsa, a cup of their Chicken Tortilla Soup, and a Pomegranate Margarita. The soup looked absolutely delicious but was a bit disappointing - just too bland. Next up were my tacos and I decided to try their chicken taco and the organic potato taco. Their chicken taco was just ok, but their potato taco was verrry tasty. It was almost too perfect a companion for drinking, especially since we live within walking distance. Both were filling despite their size.
I ordered a Skinny Margarita with dinner and was surprised and happy to have the waitress recommend that I go with their house margarita with less sweetener instead. I'm not sure how this worked or whether that meant they used less premade mix, but I'm always appreciative when I hear the truth from servers. I closed the night with some of their yummy flan, which is a must.
Overall, Barrio Star offers pretty decent food and a slightly more formal atmosphere for Taco Tuesday - great for a date or night out with co-workers or family. Absolutely use OpenTable to make reservations if you want a seat during their Taco Tuesdays and tweet me @SanBriego to let me know if you go!
2706 5th Ave
San Diego, CA 92103
Phone: (619) 501-7827