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Very Important Taco: Carne Asada Taco at El Nopalito Restaurant

Head to Encinitas for classic tacos—and salsas to go


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Step into El Nopalito Market and you’ll find stacks of freshly pressed tortillas, bags of tortilla chips, and masa to DIY. But if you’d rather let the experts work their magic, settle in to a table at El Nopalito Restaurant, located in the same lot and owned by the same family for over 30 years. It’s a no-fuss, no-muss kind of place, where the traditional menu spans chorizo con huevos, pozole, carnitas burritos, and combination platters with enchiladas, tamales, and chiles rellenos.

Portions are hefty; just look to the tacos, which are anything but street-style size. We always go for the carne asada, stuffed with juicy, seasoned meat and topped with just pico de gallo and housemade guacamole. That means all the more room for El Nopalito’s famous salsas. Beyond what you’ll find at the restaurant, the market has a fridge full of take-home options, including their legendary roasted salsa. They can even create a taco bar for your next party, with meat, toppings (hot carrots!), and tortillas for $12 per person.Thinking bigger? You can order a gallon of guacamole ($46), too. Summer fiesta complete.

582 Santa Fe Drive, Encinitas

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