Feliz Navidad! Celebrate With a Traditional Mexican Feast at These Five San Diego Restaurants

December 11, 2014

With Mexico just a 30 minute trip from Downtown San Diego, it’s no wonder the city has such a Mexican influence. And us San Diegans do love our Mexican food! This month, visit these 5 San Diego Latin hotspots to get your fix for Mexican-style Christmas dishes to celebrate the season.

Tamales are one of the top traditional Mexican Christmas dishes. Visit Isabel’s Cantina in PB for tamales two different ways. Traditionalists will love the Chicken Tamale Bowl - house-made chicken tamales on steamed kale, topped with guajillo chile sauce, sour cream and pico de gallo and served with black beans, rice and avocado. While those who like a little spice can order the Green Chile Tamales; house-made slightly sweet corn tamales with roasted tomatillo sauce, corn salsa and served with black beans, brown rice and guajillo chile sauce. You can also make Isabel’s Cantina’s traditional tamales at home. Check out the recipe below.

Barrio Star's banana cinnamon margarita
Margaritas are to Mexico as craft beer is to San Diego. Head up to Banker’s Hill to sip on Barrio Star’s latest seasonal margarita flavor just added to the menu. Sip on the banana cinnamon margarita while grubbing on a taco or two. If tequila isn’t your spirit of choice, try the Prickly Pear Sangria in celebration of National Pear Month. This sangria is only available until the end of December.

Bacalao, or cod, is a dish eaten in the central and southern states of Mexico on Christmas. Check out ViVa Bar + Kitchen in the Gaslamp for a seafood dish that is just as delicious. The Seafood Paella with shrimp, halibut, scallops, mussels, calamari, garlic and shallots mixed in with saffron risotto makes for hearty meal to fill up on during the holidays. Order the spiked Horchata cocktail for a little extra holiday cheer.

Churros are not just a snack found at amusement parks. They’re also a sweet treat to dip into hot chocolate during the holidays. Romesco Mexiterranean Bistro’s Tijuana’s Border Churros are served with a small mug of Ibarra Mexican Hot Chocolate, homemade dulce de leche dipping sauce and vanilla ice cream. The best part? No need to wait at the border for hours, when these “border churros” can be found in Bonita.

For another Mexican dessert served during the holidays head to Hillcrest for Ortega’s, A Mexican Bistro Strawberry Buñuelos. A must during the Christmas in Mexican, Ortega’s buñuelos are made with the restaurant’s homemade tortillas that are served crispy with cinnamon, sugar, fresh strawberries and whipped cream. Add a scoop of vanilla bean gelato if feeling extra indulgent.