Chiqitas Mexican Restaurant.

Best Authentic Mexican restaurants in San Diego

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7. Re: OLD TOWN- Any good authentic MOM & POP Mexican restaurants?

Not to put too fine a point on it, what is even authentic Italian cuisine? My point is that authentic Italian has a specific meaning to you, but it might not to another Italian American because your background and orientation is to say maybe Calabrian while maybe theirs is Sicilian or Lombardian or Tuscan. There are differences. And not just in place but it time as well. I am sure that the restaurants in the different regions of Italy are not cooking the same food they did 50 years ago, just like American restaurants are not either. I am also sure the households in Italy have changed how and what they cook as well, just as Americans have.

I am willing to bet most Olive Gardens in CA will not have chefs from Italy in them, but I can almost guarantee you that every Mexican restaurant in Old Town has a Mexican chef and most likely, born and raised in Mexico, including Acapulco. Does that make their food authentic because they have Mexican cooks and chefs? Is authentic the same as good? Can it be authentic and bad?

You could go to Romesco Baja Med Bistro and decide it isn't "authentic" Mexican because they have entrees of duck with balsamic glaze, Scottish salmon with a tomatillo beurreblanc and short rib in a Cabernet sauce. There isn't an enchilada, tamale or tostada on the menu, yet their executive chef, Javier Plascencia, is the hottest chef in Mexico right now. Romesco is his only restaurant in the US, his others are in Baja California and his Mision19 is possibly the best Mexican restaurant in North America, but it isn't your abuela's Mexican food. It is new, cutting edge and creative. Does that make is any less authentic? It represents the very best of Mexican food, but it isn't stuck in a time warp of what people think authentic ought to be.

If you want great Mexican food, truly great, go to Romesco Baja Med Bistro. There isn't a better Mexican restaurant in San Diego.

You can go to Super Cocina, a hole-in-the-wall, counter serve restaurant in Normal Heights that serves very good food, bordering on great. Their goat stew is amazing. Many people would call it the best Mexican restaurant in San Diego, but it is a time capsule of a certain type of Mexican food. They will probably serve the same dishes 50 years from now, if they are around. Will they still be authentic by then? Or will they get the disdain that ground beef and chicken tacos are given now in foodie circles, especially here is San Diego where a taco shop has to have cabeza (beef head), tripa (tripe), buche (fried pig's esophagus), etc to meet the "authentic" test.

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