Sometimes there are eateries where you have to weigh the trouble of getting there and getting a table with the quality of food. El Indio fits that category. After three separate attempts to eat there we finally made it inside on a Saturday afternoon. Dial up your patience before taking a trip to this one.
El Indio is a taco shop that has reached institutional status among San Diego locals. Legendary. It is close to downtown, (just off of Washington St.) close to the airport, and has long been popular with the nightlife crowd as a great place to grab a bite before heading out. Since El Indio has been around a long time and the food has always been good, this place is mecca to San Diego residents. It’s always on the list of places to visit for those who moved away from San Diego and come back to visit.
The food: The reason there is a line out the door all day every day is the food. Trust me when I say that the hassle of finding parking and waiting in line is worth it. For a first visit I’d suggest the carne asada buritto. Amazing flavors, built-in spices, and large enough to be a meal unto itself. I don’t think I’ve had a better carne asada burrito and I use them as a measuring device for taco shops. It provides the standard by which all others are judged against. If you need traditional sides of rice and beans you’ll be satisfied with these staples but they are not noteworthy. Instead, make sure to get freshly made guacamole and chips as they are fantastic.
Getting there: If you’re from out-of-town and staying at a downtown hotel, I’d recommend getting a cab. There are several popular places on this block and the parking situation is horrible. If you are going out to El Indio before going out to the clubs you’ll want a cab anyway… so save yourself the frustration and leave the rental car in the parking lot. Other than that, expect a fast-food styled line and limited seating. There is some additional outdoor seating across the street. If it is warm you may want to consider that as well.
Overall: This little joint lives up to the hype. If your trip to San Diego is going to explore taco shops, I’d recommend starting here to get a primer for what is to come. Great flavor, fun vibe, and rock bottom prices. (A rarity in San Diego) If you’re staying in a hotel I’d highly suggest getting a bag of chips, some salsa, and fresh guacamole to keep in your hotel room. You’ll be craving this stuff in no time!El Indio 3695 India Street, San Diego Map Under $10 per person Family-friendly