Per Melanie Wong's request on the San Diego board, this is a short post about Garaje which serves up what tastes to me like a heavily Southern California-influenced version of Mexican food.
We relocated here from San Diego about a year ago and have had a hard time finding the kind of Mexican food that is ubiquitous down there. Garaje is extremely close in spirit, if not 100% in execution. It's more upscale and deluxe, but the flavors are very close.
I haven't eaten everything on the menu, but I've tried several things. My favorite are the tacos. The Cadillac, grilled fish, and seared ahi are excellent. They're not cheap, but they are quite large. Two tacos makes for a good meal.
They also offer crispy tacos with homemade fried shells which are cheaper and less filling. These are OK for a taste of nostalgia but can be safely skipped.
They have a burrito they call a Zapato that's grilled on a panini press. The presence of refried beans is the only off-note, otherwise it's a pretty bona fide take on the California burrito (carne asada, cheese, fries, guacamole). No rice, no steamed tortilla, etc. The panini press use is a little strange, but it gives a drier, grilled tortilla flavor that you get in San Diego taco shops.
Beer selection is quite good, though it's hilarious that their beer menu says "no crap on tap" when Hamm's is one of the options.
I don't know that I'd travel to eat there. We're in the Inner Richmond and if we are craving tacos Tacobar on Fillmore is as good in its own way and a lot closer, but I work in SOMA and this is one of my go-to spots for lunch there and it's a lot better than many of the other lunch venues in the area.
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