El Salvadoreño

Kevin Wu/Guardian

Housed in the Grant Hill neighborhood near downtown, El Salvadoreño serves authentic, filling and — most importantly — inexpensive Latin American grub.

Well worth a 20-minute caravan from campus, El Salvadoreño exists in a world apart from the high prices and cramped bustle of the Gaslamp District; instead, the eatery’s nearest neighbors are empty lots of dirt adorned with chain-link fencing and dingy cornerstores. But unless you’d rather stick to Los Primos’ antiseptic burritos, your expedition will be generously rewarded with some pretty tasty eats.

El Salvadoreño is homey and underembellished — your classic family sit-down restaurant. Aside from a colorful ceiling mural, decorations are sparse. Tables and chairs are scattered throughout the restaurant’s single room, and a large open kitchen provides for a view of your meal’s preparation.

Service is prompt — even at peak hours — and the menu is overflowing with Central-American dishes like the crisp baleadas (bean and cheese quesadillas) and hearty caldo de res (beef soup). The finest goods in the house, though, are El Salvadoreño’s homemade pupusas, which — at just $2 a pop — are a godsend for both your budget and your hangover. The corn disks are served piping hot, stuffed with melting cheese and any combination of chicken, pork, loroco, jalapeños or beans — then topped with spicy red-pepper salsa and cabbage salad.

If you’re not already expecting a baby after the main course, the dessert menu is a worthy adventure. Skip the soggy empanadas con crema (deep fried bananas and cream) and opt for a dish of smooth, caramel flan — sure to put to shame that store-bought version that’s been sitting in your fridge all month.

More to Discover
Donate to The UCSD Guardian
$200
$500
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists at University of California, San Diego. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment, keep printing our papers, and cover our annual website hosting costs.

Donate to The UCSD Guardian
$200
$500
Contributed
Our Goal