Craving Mexican Food in San Jose, California? Head to These Restaurants
The Bay Area in Northern California is over 450 miles from the Mexican border. But its sizable Mexican and Chicano population ensures that you can fulfill your cravings for the country's cuisine anytime.
You'll find fusion Cal-Mex to street tacos to region-specific dishes. You could spend a lifetime in San Jose and never sample all of its Mexican restaurants. We still welcome you to try. Looking for a place to start? Put these local-favorite spots on your list.
10. Adelita's Taqueria & Bar
Rating: 35 (out of 100 based on Tripadvisor reviews)
For over 20 years, Adelita's Taqueria has been delighting San Jose locals with its extensive Cal and Tex-Mex menu. You'll have a hard time choosing between the chilaquiles, soups, burritos, fajitas, tacos and more.
As a family-owned establishment, this unassuming restaurant takes great pride in keeping repeat customers happy. They introduce new dishes and change the menu somewhat often — while keeping all the popular items, of course.
9. El Camaron de Sinaloa
Sinaloa is a wonderful state in Mexico that is (sadly) fairly unknown to foreigners due to its high levels of cartel violence. But while traveling to the state is not recommended at the moment, you can enjoy a taste of its delicious cuisine at El Camaron de Sinaloa.
As its name suggests, this is all about seafood. You'll find shellfish "towers" and generous ceviches, fried whole fish, Mexican-style sushi and even a michelada with shrimp.
8. Mezcal Restaurant
Mezcal is all the rage right now, but not all restaurants really understand what this Mexican drink really entails. But Adolfo Gomez, the restaurant's owner, is a mezcalero by trade. The Oaxacan native decided to open up his restaurant after moving to San Jose, bringing to the city a taste of southern Mexican cuisine.
Start with chapulines, delicious sauteed grasshoppers that will absolutely change your mind about eating bugs. Then, order the tlayuda, a very typical Oaxacan dish.
And a drink is a must. The restaurant is called Mezcal after all.
7. Doña Maria Mexican Restaurant
We support any family-owned Mexican restaurant brave enough to not offer tacos. Not because we don't love the dish, but because there's much more to the country's cuisine.
Recognizing the market for tacos is already saturated (though there are never enough tacos in our opinion), Doña Maria offers sopes, moles, flautas, enchiladas, tortas (Mexican-style sandwiches) and much more.
The restaurant doesn't shy away from pleasing its American customers, either, serving up Tex-Mex dishes like taco salads and nachos in its no-frills locations.
6. Dia de Pesca
With a name that means Fishing Day, you know this is the place to get fresh fish tacos. Not in the mood for it? There are plenty of other seafood dishes here.
You can also order free-range chicken and beef, but we'd recommend staying with seafood since it's such an underrated part of Mexican cuisine.
Dia de Pesca is also perfect for al fresco dining in San Jose.
5. La Perla Taqueria
Established in 1985, La Perla Taqueria was serving Mexican food decades before it was trendy. This San Jose establishment has a large base of loyal followers who swear by its homecooked-style food.
Relish in its smoky steak cooked over coal, the house specialty. Or order a nopal scramble, made with a Mexican cactus popular in traditional cuisine.
The large menu also has soups, enchiladas, tacos, seafood, tortas, and much more. You could come again and again and always try something new.
4. Zona Rosa
Named after one of Mexico City's hottest nightlife districts, Zona Rosa is Cal-Mex cuisine at its finest. The tortillas are all handmade. This immediately elevates the restaurant's dishes, which fuse Mexican tradition with global flavors and ingredients.
Of course, if you want to stick with the authentic, there's plenty of that. But you'll also find tacos with pistachio and sweet potato and pecan pancakes for brunch.
3. Taqueria Milagro
"Mexican restaurants are everywhere, but not everyone is authentic." So claims Taqueria Milagro, which prides itself in bringing a true taste of Mexico to San Jose. The menu includes some American-style dishes like nachos and fajitas, but you'll also find plates that are rarely seen north of the border.
The menu is huge. We recommend the moles and the sopes (a woefully underrated dish made with a thick tortilla topped with beans, sour cream and meat). Accompany it with a jarrito or a michelada, as you would in Mexico.
2. Tu Mero Mole
If you want to try dishes from different regions of Mexico, you've come to the right place. You'll find dishes like Jaliscan carnitas (tender pork), Pueblan mole and Los Cabos shrimp cocktail.
Interestingly, you can also order Mayan-inspired dishes that use traditional spices and ingredients from this impressive (and still living) civilization.
1. Luna Mexican Kitchen
Luna Mexican Kitchen has a simple philosophy: "clean ingredients, ancient methods, no shortcuts." And while it's simple, it certainly isn't ordinary. The restaurant is committed to bringing local and organic products to its plates.
The Cal-Mex establishment offers healthy breakfasts, mixed grilled meats, Mexican street corn, elote salads and much more. Its menu is also vegan and vegetarian-friendly, a claim not many Mexican restaurants can boast.