Discovering off the beaten path restaurants frequented by locals is one of our goals when we’re looking for places to eat while traveling. We struck gold with Las Cuatro Milpas (The Four Cornfields) in San Diego’s Barrio Logan neighborhood.
Discovering Las Cuatro Milpas
I found Las Cuatro Milpas while researching restaurants for a trip to San Diego in early 2015. It was probably on Google. The restaurant was high on our list but we didn’t get there because our days were packed with things to see and do and this popular taco joint closes at 3pm. During a laid back week in San Diego at the end of October we had enough time to make lunch a destination instead of a fuel stop. Off we went to find Barrio Logan and Las Cuatro Milpas.
Even though we arrived at Las Cuatro Milpas near closing time there was still a line out the door. We took our places and patiently waited. Spanish conversations swirled around us. The line moved quickly; the women at the counter are pros and the diners know the drill: order, put the food on your tray, pay and move on. As I neared the counter I realized that all the customers were ordering in Spanish and the menu was a bit hard to understand. We needed help. It was my turn. Taking a deep breath I asked the woman taking my order in my very poor Spanish if the spoke English. I was relieved to get a “yes.” I asked her to explain the menu and she did. The lunch menu offers two different kinds of tacos, chicken and pork; rolled pork-filled tacos, tamales, burritos, chorizo, rice and beans. On Saturdays they have menudo, which some in Santa Fe believe to be a great hangover cure.
We each ordered two tacos (one pork and one chicken) and five rolled tacos (which are basically taquitos), along with a side of rice and beans which came with two really delicious house-made tortillas. The tortillas for the tacos are fried; a cross between soft and hard tacos and topped with lettuce and cotija. The crispy rolled pork tacos are deep-fried topped with a bit of lettuce, tomato and cotija. Lunch for two came to about $17. We ate on a picnic table, shared with others, in one of the three no-frills dining rooms. We both loved every greasy bite.
A bit about Las Cuatro Milpas
Las Cuatro Milpas has been around for a while. Nati and Petra Estudillo, great-grandparents of the current owners, opened it in 1933. They pride themselves in cooking everything from scratch including their delicious tortillas. They’re open Monday through Saturday from 8:30am to 3pm serving breakfast and lunch. Rumor has it there’s already a line forming before the doors open each morning. We didn’t have a long wait but if you go at peak dining hours you probably will.
If you like basic, authentic Mexican food, don’t mind waiting on line and are looking for an inexpensive breakfast or lunch, Las Cuatro Milpas is worth checking out. We’ll go back next time we’re in SD. We loved it!
We hit two restaurants with longivity and lines on our recent SoCal road trip. Read about Pink’s, LA’s the iconic hot dog stand.