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Successful chain brings popular tacos to Jewel

La Fuente Mexican Grill and Seafood had successful restaurants in Chula Vista and Hillcrest before opening its doors in La Jolla recently.

And if La Jollans are anything like their neighbors in San Diego County, they’ll welcome this new eatery as a great source of hearty and inexpensive Mexican cuisine.

The restaurant is small, with an open kitchen and a few tables for indoor dining. An intimate outdoor patio makes alfresco dining even more inviting.

Don’t expect china or silverware with your meal. La Fuente serves on paper plates. But, that’s the only sign that this is low-priced food.

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The traditional dishes are all cooked fresh to order and are attractively presented. You’ll have to place your order at the counter, but the food is prepared quickly. No need for extra-long lunch hours to enjoy a big burrito or combination plate at La Fuente.

The menu is quite extensive, with almost a dozen burritos, about nine soft tacos, and at least 23 combination plates. That’s not all you’ll find at La Fuente. The restaurant serves several tasty tortas - Mexican sandwiches - tostadas, quesadillas, enchiladas and four fresh soups.

We tried a couple of combo platters, which include rice and beans. The chimichanga ($5.99 for beef or chicken) was huge and crispy, more than enough for one serving, even if it’s your main meal. Among the other delicious choices on the combo menu are chicken fajitas with tortillas ($5.99), carne asada ($5.29), fish tacos ($5.29) and chicken enchiladas ($5.79).

If you’re not hungry enough for a combination plate, try the soft chicken asado taco ($2.20). The chicken is cut into bite-sized pieces and grilled, and it is very good, especially when the chef douses it with a helping of guacamole.

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Shrimp is a specialty at La Fuente, so try the garlic shrimp ($7.19), diabla shrimp ($7.19) or ranchero shrimp ($7.19). You can also opt for a shrimp cocktail ($6.99).

Gringos can order a plain burger for $1.29, among other burger offerings. The restaurant even features “ham” burgers ($3.99 for a pound-and-a-quarter).

Breakfast, served 9 a.m. to noon, is a good time to experience La Fuente. The informal eatery offers several breakfast plates served with rice, beans, and tortillas, for $4.79, and a variety of breakfast burritos ($2.99).

With reasonable prices and quality food, La Fuente promises to be a popular casual dining spot on Fay Avenue.

La Fuente Mexican Grill and Seafood is at 7556 Fay Ave. For more information, call (858) 551-8330.