Birria — the slow-cooked dish originally from the state of Jalisco in Mexico — has worked its way into the culinary spotlight. Traditionally featuring goat meat, variations of the recipe have been adapted over the decades to include modern ingredients like beef, especially in the US.
In San Diego, shredded birria beef is a popular taco filling — served with consommé on the side for dipping (the red liquid the meat is braised in). Today, we take you to seven local spots that make truly bomb birria.
Tuetano Taqueria, 2548 Congress St., Old Town San Diego
Chef Priscilla Curiel — who’s been in the local birria biz for nearly a decade — runs the Michelin-recognized taqueria at Old Town Urban Market (the original San Ysidro location is now closed). There, she specializes in perfectly seasoned, stewed beef shoulder. The menu also features plus the item that put Tuetano Taqueria on the culinary map: A birria taco topped with bone marrow. The eatery opens daily at 11 a.m.
Ed Fernandez Restaurant Birrieria, 2265 Flower Ave., South Bay
Known for its slow-cooked, bold birria seasoned with chilis including smoky guajillo, Yelp ranked this eatery the No. 1 taco spot in the US in 2022. Pro tip: You can order birria tacos or a bowl of birria that comes with six warm tortillas so you can build your tacos at home. Visit Wednesday-Sunday from 7 a.m.-2 p.m.
Mr. Birria, 8926 Carlton Hills Blvd., Santee
As you might have guessed by its name, this eatery is all about birria — in all forms. Don’t miss the menu’s traditional Birria Taco, but also dip into the Birria Torta, Birria Sopes, Birria Burrito, Birria Nachos, Birria Quesadilla + Birria Grilled Cheese. Mr. Birria is puttin’ in work. It opens at 9 a.m. Monday-Friday, and at 8 a.m. on weekends.
Birria El Rey, 1015 25th St., Golden Hill
This tiny, streetside stand is known for its Tijuana-style birria and “Birriamen” — a combo of ramen noodles with birria meat + broth. Get your birria in a taco or torta, or atopfries. It opens daily at 8 a.m., and is closed on Mondays.
664 TJ Birrieria, 1794 Newton Ave., Logan Heights + more
The quesabirria and birria tacos get high praise from locals, with many Yelpers saying this is another top spot for the delicious dish in San Diego. Also, the Tosta-Quesobirria is a work of art. This eatery has locations all over the county, including National City + Chula Vista, and hours vary by location.
La Taquería Tijuana, 406 W. University Ave., Unit B, Hillcrest
Todo Pa’ La Cruda, 2851 Imperial Ave., Grant Hill
Doña Antonia, of Acapulco, Mexico, knows what she’s doing — try the birria tacos (dipping required) and other birria-centric menu items like the birria mulitas or quesabirria (birria tacos with melted cheese). It’s open Tuesday-Thursday from 9:30 a.m.-8 p.m., Friday + Saturday from 9 a.m.-8 p.m., and Sunday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.