San Diego Taco Company

It sure felt like San Diego around here yesterday. That's probably what put me in the mood to try the newly opened San Diego Taco Company. Very newly opened. They turned the open sign on for the first time Friday morning. Warning: This is not a review of this restaurant. This is only an early observation of my first visit, at a time when restaurants frequently discover unforeseen problems and are usually putting together final touches. If you need to be reminded why this is my policy, please read the comments on this post from 2007.




Anyone from California knows that San Diego has lots of great little taco stands that are open late and serve cheap eats. After driving by this place on Liberty St. NE, I was reminded of tasty times spent in the southern border town visiting friends. It's been awhile since those days and maybe my memories have been embellished because eating greasy Mexican food deep fried and smothered in guacamole seems less appetizing today. I started with the 5 rolled tacos for $3.99 as an appetizer to share with the family. We only got through 4 of them. For my entree, I ordered the carne asada combination plate for $8.99. To see there web site and menu click here. The colors in this place are a little bright. The picture doesn't do it justice but the colors on the wall are actually orange and blue. And yes, that painting on the wall is actually Lucha Libre Mexican Wresling Masks. The whole restaurant has this theme. The guy at the counter told me that this is their second store. The first one is in Canby.

25 comments:

KandN said...

Is this up near the Soup Cellar and the north Star Bucks?

Salem Man said...

Yes, behind Applebees. It used to be called Tommy Thai.

Anonymous said...

I will definitely try them... sounds yummy.

By the way, I count five rolled tacos in your picture.

Anonymous said...

If this is run by people who are actually from San Diego and know how to do mexican food right, then I am so there!

I almost broke down and went to la hacienda (gross) for some "mexican" food. but I just couldn't do it.

This brings me hope.

Anonymous said...

Will have to try this place.

There is a new place that just opened a month ago called Turbo (across from Boons Treasury - formerly a rockn rogers and La Mixteca) - that is quite good and authentic. The tacos are excellent. Ask for the green and red salsa.

Anonymous said...

Wife, mother in law and I went there on Saturday night. Excellent little taco joint! I had the California birrito(same as the muchas Oregon burrito), my wife had a bean and chease burrio, and my mother in law had the carne asada plate. The owner did say he and his wife are from San Diego. He came out and made sure we liked everything. I'm not a good food critic so all I can tell you is this place is worth checking out. We may have found a replacement for muchas! Better quality, reasonable prices, and great service.

Anonymous said...

Yup, they're a keeper. We stopped in for dinner tonight and I'm glad we decided to give them a try. I got the chicken rolled tacos combo plate and my fiance got the chicken soft taco combo plate. The beans were fresh and delicious. The rice was soft and had peas, corn and tomatoes in it which was perfect. The rolled tacos were piled high with guacamole, lettuce, cheese and pico de gallo (sp?). They were really tasty but did need to have a little more chicken in them. They weren't greasy at all. My fiance loved the beans and rice as well and thought his soft tacos needed to have 2 tortillas per taco since the tortilla fell apart from the juicy chicken. He found the chicken flavorful and plenty of meat per taco. We both are weaklings and thought that the MILD red and green sauces were a little too hot, but don't go by us because we can't handle much heat.

My fiance already wants more so I will be heading out tomorrow morning for the breakfast burritos and give my report then.

The owners are extremely sweet and just all around nice. They continue heading on this path and they will have lots of success here!

Anonymous said...

Mixteca was the best Mexican food in town and never once got a review here. Sad..

Anonymous said...

I really liked Mixteca too, but the last few times we had gone the service diminished each time and they did silly things like give us 3 tortillas total for 2 dinners that both came with them. Finally we gave up on them, so I'm happy to hear someone has replaced them. Does Turbo have a website/menu online anywhere or any other info? I think I'll either go there today for lunch or I'll give San Diego a try. Thanks for the heads up!

Anonymous said...

Not to hijack the review of SDTC, but Mixteca was excellent to begin with and then the quality went down pretty dramatically at the end.

El Turbo is pretty much what Mixteca was when they started. Very good.

Anonymous said...

We just tried this place. The food is GREAT!!!
I had the crispy tacos and they were wonderful, my wife had the Carne asada soft tacos also Great.My son had a giant breakfast burrito, also wonderful and bigger than his head!!The menu is huge and so are the portions! Give it a try it is awsome!!!

Anonymous said...

Ate there for lunch today and was impressed. Food is tasty, service was super friendly, and place was clean. Totally reminded me of the local mexican joints I visit when in Southern California. I hope this place starts to catch on cause it is real southern cali mexican food. I look forward to going back.

Anonymous said...

This place is the real deal, for anyone who knows what good Mexican food is. I just moved to Salem from San Diego last year and have been craving a good fish taco ever since. San Diego Taco Company delivered on this, and my carne asada taco was excellent too. Everything was fresh and tasted great. I had the opportunity to talk with the owner during lunch and he recently moved here from San Diego too. I will definitely be going back and recommending this new restaurant to all my friends!

Anonymous said...

Hey - fyi - people commenting on La Mixteca / El Turbo - they are the same! I asked about it and they just changed the name.

Anonymous said...

La Mixteca/El Turbo - - - Who did you ask? It's different owners and different cooks. I eat there three times a week. They told me new owners/new cooks.

El Turbo is very authentic - though I am not so sure about the chicken soup instead of chips.

Anonymous said...

I could not find the hours listed on their website. Had to do q bit of searching online to find them. Wanted to get a breakfast burrito for work, but they do not open until 8am. Not very conducive breakfast hours for working individuals. Too bad, would have loved to give it a try.

Anonymous said...

im from san diego myself this is the real deal the food is as good as its gonna get with these guys in town everyone should try it there amazing

Anonymous said...

Ive been to SDTC at least a dozen times so far. Great always look foreward to it. If your really hungry try the Grande burritto or half it with someone. Also the carne asada fries are awesome. I really like the fresh gucamole they make. I also tried the carne asada torta with plenty of fresh guacamole on it. Definetly worth going out of your way to try espescailly if your thinking about going to muchas. SDTC is on a new level of mexican food that ive never had in Salem.

Anonymous said...

I ate here today for the first time. Even though I got takeout, I will comment on the building for those diner-inners, and it was perfectly pleasent. Bright colors, sparse decor and CLEAN. While waiting for my meal, I saw the guy who takes orders at the counter come out and shine up a few tables. I really like that. He was also friendly to me at the counter. Good good.

The food -- Deeeelicious. Carnitas are my favorite and SDTC's are heaven. Crispy, crackly, moist but not greasy. Shredded in kind of the style of pulled pork, so no chunks here. They were a tad salty and there were a few pieces fattier than I like, but still miles better than anywhere else I've tried in town. Yum!

Mine came in a huge container with beans, guacamole, a tiny smidge of pico de gallo (more of that would have been great!) and rice. Everything was pretty average except that pico de gallo was chunky and tasty. They give good-sized cups of red or green hot or mild sauce out too. Not tiny cups like Muchas where I have to grab like ten.

But the best part was the home made flour tortillas. My meal came with ONE. One giant, amazing sail of a perfectious flour tortilla, and it was wrapped in foil and PIPING hot even when I got back to my office. Almost burned myself. So, so good. Can't wait to try more here. I will be back.

Chuck Bradley said...

She who must be obeyed and I tried this place today. Our last outing to this location was to a better than average thai establishment which, surprisingly, lasted only a few months. If food quality and goodness counts for anything, San Diego Taco Company is here to stay! I had Carnitas with beans and rice. My bride had Carne Asada (also with beans and rice). Both were exceptional. The rice contained bits of carrot, corn, onion and peas. Most Mex places serve refried beans that one almost needs a spoon to eat. Not SDTC! They were of a nice thick consistency almost (but not quite) rivaling those found at Los Baez. These folks really nailed it! It just may be the best order-at-the-counter Mexican food I've had anywhere.

Anonymous said...

YES I WAS THERE A WEEK AGO IN OREGON ON LIBERTY ST.AND I HAD THE POLLO ASADA QUESADILLAS. WAS VERY TASTY AND TOO MUCH FOR ME TO EAT, BUT DID HAVE LEFT OVERS AND WAS JUST AS TASTY.NOW THAT I AM HOME IN OCEANSIDE WOULD LIKE TO KNOW WHERE THE TACO COMPANY IS LOCATED. SO I CAN TREAT MYSELF OR TAKE FRIENDS WHEN THEY VISIT .THANK YOU. YOU GUYS ARE THE BEST. DEBBI OCT 13

Anonymous said...

I had another awesome meal here the other day. It was about 3:00, an odd time for lunch, but I'd missed the noon hour break and was starving. I ordered a chicken quesadilla "for here" and sat down at one of their clean, orderly tables.

One thing I love about this place is the staff. They seem to like what they do and have always been friendly and upbeat. It really makes a difference.

One of the staff brought my food out to me at my table, which he didn't have to do, and it was served on a real ceramic plate, not paper. It felt homey. The chicken quesadilla was made on one of their gigantic homemade flour tortillas, cut into sections and stacked. This meant two things: it was piled high because it was so big, and it was piping hot all the way down to the last bite.

It was accompanied by two large dollops of sour cream and guacamole, included in the price. They were dolloped alongside, not on the food, so nothing was getting soggy. I really appreciated the amount because I got to have guac or sour cream on each bite, instead of running out (and yes, I ate the entire thing!) (I was starving!).

My meal was great. The chicken was shredded, tender and juicy. Still, nothing seemed soggy. Inside with the chicken was plenty of cheese, and soft-cooked bell peppers and onions. Tons of flavor. Good price. Huge amount of food. Thanks STC!

-guitar4me

Chuck Bradley said...

Today I had their wonderful Pollo Asada Quesadilla. It was HUGE! Delicious marinated chicken and melted cheese in a folded hot flour tortilla was so good, but very rich. It was served with generous portions of guacamole and sour cream on the side. It was really almost too much to eat. But I managed;~D

Anonymous said...

To each his own I guess. I ate here for the first time today, being stuck in a meeting until 2 pm and the only close place was this place (or one of those really dull sandwiches from Starbucks next door).

I had tacos al pastor and a quesadilla. The taco was gigantic and if that is your primary motivation then I suppose it was good. I didn't think the meat was very good. Too much meat. I've ate a lot of tacos all over Mexico and in fairly authentic taquerias in the states, and there is a balance that seems to be the trick- between the fillings and the tortilla. If you were looking for a LOT of meat - then you would probably like this. I am looking for a better quality marinated meat and a much smaller ratio of meat to tortilla. More fresh toppings.

The quesadilla was greasy and three big slices piled on top of each other. I only ate one "slice".

I don't know. I came here convinced that it would have bad reviews. There are so many good reviews here that I would highly recommend that you do try it and form your own opinion. That said, nothing about the experience made me very happy. The food - only redeeming quality was the portion sizes. The dining room - not very comfortable, like a strange cafeteria, stark and trying too hard. The service was adequate, probably the best feature.

Aimee said...

I ate here when it opened a couple of times but two times in a row the rolled tacos were burnt and I didn't find out until I got back to work so I stopped going. I decided to try them again because I was craving Mexican food and this is close to my office. I ordered off the take out menu I got from them when they opened last year. I wanted a taco and enchilada and since the person taking the order on the phone was less than helpful (to say the least) she rang it up individually. When I got to there to pay and pick up the pricing was raised significantly from the previous pricing (that was less than a year old). All in all I paid $9.06 for a lunch that would have been less than $7 at a sit down Mexican restaurant, the taco was burnt and the enchilada had sour cream on it even though I asked for it without.

It was good when it first opened but has drastically gone downhill. I won't be back and I would suggest that you pass on this place, too. Poor service, way over priced (for lunch) and the quality of the food is spotty at best.