San Diego Restaurant Review: Mama Testa

Mama Testa

Put Some Mexican In You!!

I know Mexican food.  OK.  Maybe not like a Mexican.  But, growing up in San Diego, I grew up eating real “hole-in-da-wall” Mexican Food.  Or, what I thought was authentic Mexican food.  Until I saw Cesar Gonzalez (the owner of Mama Testa), on the Food Network,  Throwing it down with show host Bobby Flay claiming he had the best tacos in town…and that for the past 3 years running his place has won Best Fish Tacos in San Diego…I was like:  wait – a – minute!!  I’ll be the judge of that.  So…I headed over to Mama Testa
When you enter Mama Testa…you are greeted by brightly painted walls, the atmosphere is casual…it looks like any small Mexican food joint.  The chairs are hand painted with names of legendary film stars from Mexico, and there are posters of famous Mexican movies hanging from the ceiling.  The menu reflects the various types of tacos you would find in the varying regions in Mexico.

You can always tell how close you are to authentic Mexican food when you check out the Salsa bar and the most importantly the Guacamole.  When dining at  Americanized Mexican food restaurants…they seem to have a love of sour cream.  Huh?  What is that about?  If that Guacamole isn’t lumpy from fresh avocados, and it is creamy in any way….that’s a sign…you’re getting Americanized Mexican.  They’ve added sour cream.   There are “only” six ingredients that go into prime guacamole: avocado, cilantro, lime, onion, tomatoes, and salt.  And, maybe…maybe a jalapeno or two.  But that’s it.  Well…we were off to a good start because the guacamole was “off the chain”.

My mother ordered the Chicken a L’Suya (2 corn tortillas filled with chicken in green mole sauce); I ordered the Guaca Tacos (3 corn tortillas tacos deep fried and filled with fresh avocado).  They were both served up with refried beans and rice.  We also decided to order up the De Bandera Moreno (5 rolled tacos with shredded beef) as an appetizer.  This was a must try since I love me some rolled tacos.

As the food arrived I realized that I had made a mistake and accidentally had ordered the avocado stuffed tacos by mistake. Enter destiny.  I decided to eat them anyway.  Wow…what a pleasant surprise a mistake can make. They were delicious. In fact everything was delicious.  I had to succumb and admit that Cesar Gonzalez had not embellished his product on TV.   And, those rolled tacos  were simply the best that I have ever had. Ever!

This was the first introduction to what became an 2 week love affair for the remainder of my stay in San Diego. I felt as if I was caught in a hot romance with a Latin lover that I just had to see every day… and I did.  Seriously…I have the extra pounds to prove it.

When you visit Mama Testa you will enjoy authentic, traditional Mexican food.

If you’re ever in San Diego…get your butt up to Hillcrest and Put Some Mexican In You.

Guaca Tacos - Before

Guaca Tacos - After

Mama Testa Taqueria,

1417a University Ave, San Diego, CA 92103


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About Terri Lundberg

Terri Lundberg is an American expat currently residing with her husband in Saudi Arabia, but she calls Seattle and San Diego home. She’s a travel writer, an avid photographer and is a resource and cross cultural trainer to expats relocating to Saudi Arabia. She's been to 100 destinations, 30 countries, and counting.


  1. You went private on your other blog??

  2. OK. Hope nothing untoward occurred.