A piece of Latin America lives in the neighborhood of Barrio Logan and Logan Heights. During the Mexican Revolutionary War in the 1910s, refugees from the conflict arrived in the area, giving it its initial character. A strong organized protest movement around Chicano Park in 1970 solidified the Barrio as a hub for Mexican-American culture in San Diego.
Today, thanks to a wealth of colorful murals and locally owned shops, restaurants, bars, and cafés, walking down Logan Avenue resembles strolling through a neighborhood in any big Latin-American city.
Including almost everything south of Imperial Avenue and west of the I-15 until you hit the naval base, this part of town has been experiencing a cultural and culinary boom in the past few years, but good food has always been at the foundation of the neighborhood. Las Cuatro Milpas, one of the area’s most well-known spots, has been there since 1933 and is considered the oldest Mexican restaurant in San Diego.
Next time you stop by, check out unique landmarks like community hub Bread & Salt, independent bookstore Libélula Books, art café Por Vida, upcycled fashion boutique Sew Loka, and women-centered craft beer purveyor Mujeres Brewhouse before hitting one of these ﬁve delicious spots for a bite.
The quesabirria—an indulgent marriage between a quesadilla and a birria taco—originated in Tijuana, inspired by the traditional birria of Jalisco. To create his satiating version, ¡Salud! owner Ernie Becerra dips a slightly crispy corn tortilla in consomé before griddling it and stuffing it with melted jack cheese, braised pork birria, onion, and cilantro. Pair with their red salsa to break a sweat. Go between meal times to skip the line that usually rounds the corner and stay to enjoy Latin music and colorful murals.
Vampiro Al Pastor
Tacos Del Barrio
Presented by Turys Tacos, this small business on the back patio of popular brewery Border X offers tacos, mulitas, vampiros, burritos, pizzas, fries, and nachos—bar food, made Mexican-style. Their al pastor vampiro is a tostada topped with tender al pastor pork, plus radishes and onions for crunchiness. Soft, salty pinto beans balance it all out. Wash it down with a crisp, cold Jumbx hazy IPA from Border X.
Few might expect to find an Italian restaurant on Logan Avenue. But it’s there—and it’s a 2021 Michelin Guide Bib Gourmand Award winner. They have a handwritten selection of specials that changes constantly, but among their permanent homemade fresh pastas is the ubriaca, a red wine–infused gemelli with mild hot Italian sausage, ricotta, and shallots. Also try their mushroom ﬂan, the creamiest dessert-shaped appetizer, to go along your glass of vino rosso. Brush up on your Italian if you want to practice it with chef Mario Cassineri, who runs the place alongside his wife, chef Francesca Penoncelli.
Located one block away from Chicano Park, this restaurant fashioned out of a 1930s cable car is busy breakfast through lunch with their ample offerings of Mexican antojitos. El Carrito‘s chilaquiles divorciados are the best of two worlds in one plate: On one side sits tortilla chips doused in green salsa, corn, and crema, light and subtly spiced. The chips perched across from it are bathed in red sauce, onion, cilantro, and cheese, imparting a deeper and more spicy flavor. In the middle, your choice of meat—the restaurant recommends carne de res (pulled beef), which complements both sauces nicely.
La Fachada on 25th street is a hole-in-the-wall place, but the sort where the magic happens. Their menu is packed with homemade, traditional Mexican fare, but the pozole shines when accompanied with either tortillas or tostadas. The hearty, brothy soup is loaded with hominy and pork and comes garnished with shredded lettuce or cabbage, chili peppers, onion, garlic, radishes, avocado, and limes. Add in spicy red salsa for a kick that warms you from the inside out.