Photo by Amanda Friedman, AFAR Media
PuestoGiven the lines you’ll almost inevitably find at the original Puesto—an authentic taqueria so beloved, it’s expanding into a small SoCal empire—you may well be discouraged. But don’t be: Simply put your name down, walk the two blocks to the beach at La Jolla Cove, and consider the seaside view your appetizer. Or the first of many appetizers. Back at Puesto, forget moderation altogether as you’re contemplating the house offerings—most dreamt up by Mexico City–born Luisteen Gonzales, who still loves to visit his father’s fish stall in the famed Mercado San Juan. Blending this inherited appreciation for seafood with an equal reverence for seasonal produce, Chef Gonzales has created an array of award-winning tacos, from spicy atún (seared ahi with avocado, jalapeno-cucumber salsa, and chipotle crema) to zucchini and cactus (crispy melted cheese with calabaza à la Mexicana, avocado, and cilantro-tomatillo salsa). Pro tip: If you’re a vegetarian, you’ll find some—but not all—of your options on the main menu. There’s also a separate plant-based menu available on request (don’t miss the Sikil Pak—a Yucatan pepita dip served with jicama, cucumber, and heirloom carrots).