If you are from a state that values Tex-Mex, I am sorry to say, I have no hope for you. Maybe growing up in Southern California has spoiled me, but I love the authentic Mexican food here. A fresh made corn tortilla shell fried to perfection right before being eaten, meat that has stewed for hours in spices, sharp cheddar cheese, crisp iceberg lettuce, and house made salsa.

The best tacos are usually not found in the prettiest places, and may not even have a seating area, but they are authentic and tasty. This is why finding a good taco shop that doesn’t make you sick is such a find. No chain restaurants here. In fact, the taco shop I want to tell you about today is attached to a gas station in Cardiff By The Sea, CA (a North San Diego County Beach City near Encinitas).   

Where to find a great taco shop in San Diego

We discovered El Pueblo Authentic Mexican Food one brave night when we were searching for something to eat after spending the day at the beach. We’d gotten gas at the station and noticed that the Mexican Food place was pretty busy. That’s always a good sign. We ordered the shredded beef taco and they were awesome… and we have high standards, just in case you didn’t catch my taco snobbery at the beginning of this post. The meat was seasoned really well and the salsa was delicious. 

El Pueblo Authentic Mexican Food Cardiff

They have a habanero salsa they make for those who enjoy things SPICY. Dan loved it. I didn’t brave it, but I really liked their regular salsa. 

There’s a small outdoor eating area that has a nice view of the carwash detail center, which might be a great idea. Get your car washed while you’re there!

Must eat at this great taco shop in San Diego. Click To Tweet

A great beach to go to in this area is at the campground. If you park on the East side of the train tracks across from the Cardiff Kook (a statue of a surfer that campers decorate), you get 2 hours of free parking. You cross the street, walk through the open fence behind The Kook, and straight across the campground to the beach. It’s a great little spot with bathrooms and a shower.

El Pueblo Authentic Mexican Food can be found at:

820 Birmingham Dr, Cardiff, CA 92007 
(760) 230-1771


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