Freshness is the key at Mr. Taco


In just three years, Mr. Taco has become so successful, the Mexican restaurant has had to enlarge to almost twice its original size. This informal little Mexican grill - tucked away on Ivanhoe Avenue -- is run by a team with a long track record in the restaurant business. In fact, there are two other Mr. Taco shops in North County, and another is being built in San Elijo Hills.

As owner Guillermo Cortes observed, when he opened the La Jolla Mr. Taco, “We have the quality of a restaurant and the quick service of a taco shop. Everything is made fresh daily, including the soup and salsa. We don’t work with lard, and everything is low-cholesterol.”

That winning combination works just as well here in La Jolla as it did in North County. Somehow, this local eatery has managed to maintain the same quality and service as the other locations, at prices we don’t expect to find in this neck of the woods.

One of Mr. Taco’s biggest sellers (and best buys) is the Chargers Burrito Supreme. This mammoth burrito, priced at just $5.75, is packed with over one pound of filling. You select any meat to go with the rice, beans, lettuce, guacamole, sour cream, salsa and cheese. Then see how much you can eat in one meal! Most diners have at least two hefty meals out of this house special.

There are so many wonderful dishes on the menu, you may never get to try one of the tacos (which start at $2.25). There are several TJ-style taco choices, including shrimp ($3.25), carnitas and carne asada ($2.50 each), and fish ($2.25). You can indulge in a nachos supreme - with beans, cheese, guacamole and sour cream - for $6.35.

Tortas (Mexican French bread sandwiches) are mouthwatering lunch choices. Select carnitas (roast pork), fish, chorizo and egg, machaca and egg, and beef or chicken (just to name a few). They’re all priced at $ 4.75.

Breakfast is served all day, and there are many different offerings on this section of the menu, including machaca con huevos ($5.99), chorizo con huevos ($5.99), Spanish omelet with ranchera salsa ($5.99), and ham and eggs ($5.99). Early birds (diners ordering between 7 and 10 a.m ) save even more. The “Buenos Dias” breakfast is priced at $4.99 (including rice, beans, tortillas and coffee). These bargain rates are available on weekends between 8 and 10 a.m. Several breakfast burritos are also on the menu at reduced prices for early birds. They cost $3.75.

One of the best items on the entire menu is the Sonora-style sizzling fajitas. You can choose from beef, grilled chicken breast, or grilled shrimp on these fajita platters, and they’re all fantastic. They stack up against most sit-down restaurants in San Diego. One choice runs $10.95, two are $11.95, and three choices are priced at $12.95 - but you can really share these platters among two people, so check out all three fajita selections.

The beef is often chewy and tough at fast-food style Mexican restaurants - even when they’re cooked to order. Not so at Mr. Taco because the beef is top quality. All the ingredients are prepared fresh every day, and you’ll taste the difference.

By all means, take the kids along. The children’s menu costs $4.75, and there are six appetizing items on this menu, including beef or chicken taquitos, enchilada, and chicken nuggets and fries. The children’s menu is priced at $4.75 and includes rice, beans and a small drink.

If you prefer take-out, everything on the menu can be packed to go - and Mr. Taco is open seven days a week.

Mr. Taco is at 7918 Ivanhoe Ave. For more information call (858) 729-0501.