Puesto Street Tacos | La Jolla’s Classy Taqueria

April 13, 2012

In San Diego, tacquerias are everywhere.  If you’re going to open a taco shop here, you have to stand out amongst the crowd.  Puesto Mexican Street Food does just that by offering upscale casual-fare in a delightful space in downtown La Jolla.

Brothers and native La Jollans, Eric and Alan Adler, opened Puesto in early February 2012, and judging from the crowd, they’re fitting right in at their quaint spot on Wall Street.  The boys are usually running the show, but if not, many servers are eager to greet and guide customers.  

The eatery is chicly designed, both indoor and out.  Upon entry, check out the brick façade, the vaulted ceilings, and the garage door windows.  Inside, there is more exposed brick, hanging yellow light fixtures, and several eclectic seating options, including a very cool circular booth.  All the ingredients are on full display at the counter, and the fresh produce sits as a colorful exhibit behind glass refrigerator doors.   When choosing, you’ll be able to customize your order as it is quickly constructed before your eyes.

Puesto’s menu is relatively unassuming until you realize all of the ingredient options - then ordering gets complicated.  Essentially, there are 3 main choices on the menu – tacos (two for $6.45 or three for $8.95), guisado bowls (think rice bowls) ($8.95), and salad bowls ($6.95 + $2.95 for meat and veggies).  While they do offer some preset combinations, I’d prefer a larger set of suggestions, as decisiveness is not my strong suit.

Guisados go on top of the cheese as it grills
Puesto definitely offers unique “guisados” (which Merriam-Webster translates as stew in English - but I translate as the hearty part of your order).  For meats, they offer carne asada, chicken al pastor, all natural pork alambres, shrimp, and for added price, grilled salmon filet.  For grilled veggies, things get interesting with the unique choices of potatoes and chiles, potatoes and soy chorizo, corn truffle (Google it!), zucchini flower, and cactus.  After choosing your guisados, head to the cornucopia of toppings, sides, and salsas.  Choose wisely my friend. 

I went with three tacos and followed the recommended combinations with a few alterations.  I chose the pollo al pastor with pineapple, fresh garlic, cheese and tinga (a mixture of hibiscus, chipotle and onion).   For numero dos, I picked the carne with cactus, jalapenos and garlic, topped with guac and pistache salsa (pistachio and jalapeno).  Lastly, I went veggie with huitlacoche (corn truffle) and zucchini flower.  I got them all with cheese, which is shredded cheese, pan fried and topped with your guisados, then rolled up and placed on your fresh made corn tortilla.  Each taco looked gourmet and was delicious and full of flavor, but with their small size, I could rack up quite the bill with my appetite.  As a gringo, I wish there was a flour tortilla option (go ahead and scoff).  Definitely try out the pistachio salsa, as it was one of a kind and brought some good heat.   

In addition to more combinations of ingredients than you could imagine, Puesto offers a boatload of choices to wash down your meal.   The fountain soda bar has many interesting options including cactus and prickly pear soda.  Puesto also offers house made hibiscus tea, and choices of wine and beer (including drafts that travel through frozen pipes), as well as a flavorful  frozen Lime-a-Rita Margarita made from agave wine.  For an icy treat, try the horchata, which was a first for me, and therefore, the best I’ve ever had.  No, it really was. 

Stop by Puesto and let them guide you through their menu of fresh and tasty ingredients.  They’re open everyday from 11am to 9pm.

1026 Wall St., La Jolla
(858) 454-1260


Everyday 11am to 9pm

Puesto on Urbanspoon