Lesley and David Cohn, founders of the prolific Cohn Restaurant Group (Coasterra, Island Prime), got their start in Hillcrest with Corvette Diner, so when they zeroed in on the neighborhood as the next location for their BO-beau Kitchen series last year, they knew the homecoming deserved more than a predictable concept.
Enter Tacos Libertad, an adjoining late-night taco shop with a mission to give back. One hundred percent of the profits go to a local charity, which rotates monthly and is chosen by an unpaid advisory committee. The Cohns guarantee each charity of the month will receive no less than $3,000. Balboa Park Conservancy, Alpha Project, and Humble Design have all gotten tastes of the goodwill.
And while the charity component is enough to lure you inside, their signature Caja China pork belly taco will keep you coming back. It’s comfort food in a handmade corn tortilla. The pork belly—cooked to greasy perfection in Libertad’s wood-burning Caja China roaster—and healthy dollop of mashed sweet potatoes is satisfyingly savory. Sliced red onions and pickled red peppers in the salsa criolla add tang, while the cilantro ají crema lends a kick.
Wash it down with a margarita—or head through the back door in Libertad to enter the Cohns’ other concept, Caché, a French-themed speakeasy.
1023 University Avenue, Hillcrest tacoslibertad