Aerial view of a diner eating a variety of Mexican dishes


There are two types of diners: those who have to study the menu before choosing a restaurant, and those who understand that Mexican food is always delicious, no matter what.

When it comes to cuisine, the city of Santa Cruz represents a wide reach across the globe. From east to west, there are a variety of options for every taste and for a range of budgets: fun, relaxed meals with the family to fine dining on date night. And, across the city, there are a number of excellent, casual Mexican restaurants to choose from—but here are just a few of our favorites!

Taqueria Santa Cruz

2215 Mission Street, Santa Cruz


Defined by their diners as “comfort food”, Taqueria Santa Cruz offers delicious, authentic Mexican food in a laid-back setting. This proudly traditional, family-owned restaurant has been open for over thirty years, and although tucked away in an easily-overlooked location, this spot continues to be popular with the locals for a reason.

Its menu contains the staples: tacos, burritos, quesadillas, enchiladas, nachos… the works! Frequent diners praise the quality of the food and the great service provided. Popular choices from Taqueria Santa Cruz include the Grande Carne en su Jugo, the Super Burrito, and the 4 Krispy Tacos. There are also some vegetarian options on the menu for those interested!

Find their website here.

El Palomar

1336 Pacific Avenue, Santa Cruz


For those searching for unique but authentic Mexican cuisine in a central location, this is the place! Located right in Downtown Santa Cruz within the Palomar Inn, El Palomar is not to be missed. Offering both sit-down dining and takeout, this restaurant is well-loved for its delicious menu with large portions, its excellent service, and its unique building. El Palomar has a larger (and quieter) dining area as well as a bar, which serves margaritas and a number of specialty drinks.

The menu contains a range of options, including soups, salads, seafood dishes, vegetarian options, and, of course, classic Mexican dishes. Favorites from locals include the Enchiladas Verdes, Chimichangas, and Tacos de Carne Asada. They also have a kids menu with deals for those under the age of 10. 

Find their website here.

Taqueria Los Pericos

139 Water Street, Santa Cruz


Perhaps the most famed of all restaurants on this list, Taqueria Los Pericos is also located in the downtown area of Santa Cruz, just steps away from the Santa Cruz Riverwalk—and is top-rated by locals and tourists alike. This quaint Mexican restaurant is great for a quick stop for lunch or when you’re on the go, and features authentic dishes served hot and fresh. 

Because of its smaller size and overwhelming popularity, Taqueria Los Pericos is usually quite busy. As well, parking is quite competitive, but those who have dined here say it’s all worth it. Self-described as “just, humble at heart”, their menu contains a lot of the great Mexican dishes you know and love. Favorites from their customers include the Fish Tacos, the Camarones al Mojo de Ajo, the breakfast burritos (of any variety), and the chips and salsa. 

Find their website here.


With the wide selection around the city (and beyond!), it may be difficult to choose just one Mexican restaurant to dine at. However, a home in Santa Cruz means that you can try them all. 

Discover these restaurants and more in the Santa Cruz area with Lauren Spencer. Click to get in touch and start your Santa Cruz home search today!

Posted by Lauren Spencer on
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