el indio mexican restaurant / mission hills – san diego, ca

Jake and I had been thinking about/trying to go to El Indio for awhile before we finally made it in last month. We’ve been driven off by either no parking or frightened of the long line we saw inside but once we finally made it in, we got the scoop on the place and I think we could manage to make it in more often when the urge strikes.


They have indoor and outdoor seating and we opted to sit inside that day. I got a kick out of the sky painted ceiling inside. It reminded me of the ceiling at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas!


[el indio salsas]

I didn’t take notes on this trip so I don’t remember the salsas. They do have a little bar for you to grab what you’d like.


[bag of chips]

Jake got us a bag of chips after we had placed the rest of our order so I don’t remember the price point on these, but they’re cheap enough and delicious enough for you to warrant getting a bag. They’re made fresh daily and seasoned just right. These chips are a bit thicker than your garden variety tortilla chip, so it can stand up to being dipped in things. And there’s only five ingredients for the chips: corn, lime, canola oil, salt and paprika!


[mordiditas – $6.99]

Now here’s something I’ve never seen at another Mexican restaurant! These are called mordiditas (which translated means “nibbles”). They’re taquitos cut into little bits and covered with nacho cheese sauce and jalapenos. Jake and T shared this order and I snagged a couple of bits to try it. They choose to get this with chicken taquitos (you get your choice of meat filling). I thought this was just okay, but that’s because the cheese makes them less crunchy and that makes me sad. But Jake and T loved them since they were like nachos and had a bit of heat on them. If you’re not insane like me and don’t insist on crunchiness at all times, you’d probably dig this.



The neat thing about ordering taquitos here is that you order them individually. You only want two? You only want one? You want twenty? Any amount they can hook you up. The price point changes slightly depending on your toppings as well (with cheese, with guacamole, etc). These are nice and crunchy and taste really fresh. You can tell they’re made fresh daily and are pretty darn tasty.


[soup of the day – albondigas – $4.99]

I also got myself the soup of the day on this visit, which was the Albondigas, a Mexican meatball soup. They give you a container of rice on the side so you can control the amount of rice that goes in. This also helps prevent the rice from getting too soggy or soaking up all of the liquid (which has totally happened to me making soup before). The meatball was juicy and tasty and I loved the flavor of the broth. Very simple and very delicious.


[pork tamale – $3.75]

My absolute favorite item of our visit though were the tamales. Jake didn’t know about my glorious love of tamales until this visit when I raved and horded the tamale we got. I don’t like my tamales with sauce on them – nah uh! I like it plain with the husk since I love the flavor of the masa. To me, its the perfect vessel for the delicious filling with that corn ground taste and a hint of salt. YUM. The pork filling here is also very good. The whole package is moist and not overdone with the masa being nice and tender.

I loved these so much that I ordered a few refrigerated ones to take home with me to enjoy the rest of the week. You can also buy them frozen and uncooked to get the freshest flavor at home but they also carry the already cooked ones for faster heating up time for if you just don’t have the time to cook them yourself (which takes about 45 minutes or so if you get the frozen ones). Sometime I’d like to get the frozen ones, too!


All in all I was happy we were finally able to visit this San Diego classic to enjoy some truly fresh and original Mexican dishes.

El Indio Mexican Restaurant
3695 India Street
San Diego, CA 92103

El Indio on Urbanspoon

7 thoughts on “el indio mexican restaurant / mission hills – san diego, ca

  1. Oooh your description of the tamales makes me wanna try it now, too! 😀 I’ve only had tamales at Las Cuatros Milpas, which was good but a bit too greasy. This looks delicious!

    1. Oh, I like the ones at Las Cuatros Milpas a lot, too. These ones are not as greasy as those so you might just like these ones better! They have other fillings, too, but I stuck with the pork. I think sometimes they have sweet tamales too but I haven’t tried those (yet).

  2. Ooh, the masa for your tamale looked so nice and fluffy! i’ve been on a tamale kick lately. we’ve bought them after church and a co-worker’s mom also made some for the holidays. homemade…yeah!

    yeah, there are usually crowds at el indo because it was on that guy fieri show. ugh, i can’t stand him.

    1. I used to buy tamales at the farmer’s market but then it changed to some “gourmet” tamale place that wasn’t as good and cost more! Boo. El Indio’s is a good version I really liked them. Guy Fieri is lame 🙁

  3. Great review! I have yet to try out El Indio but after looking at your pictures and reading what you wrote, I’ll have to give it a try soon.

    I run a site that reviews not only locations but specific items so you can narrow down your search. I would love it if you could add part of your review for El Indio on my site, I think it would bring a lot of great value. Thanks and I look forward to reading more of your posts!



  4. I’ve only been here once and didn’t think the food was all that great. I did love their flour tortillas though.

    I’ve never heard of mordiditas!! I love the concept though! But i’m totally like you – can’t stand soggy stuff put on crunchy stuff that makes ’em less crunchy. No bueno.

    I personally think Lucha Libre down the street is a better Mex place though. I just read your review on LL too. Have you gone to LL recently? They only thing there that i CRAVE is their creamy cilantro sauce.

    1. Yeah I liked the concept of mordiditas more than I actually liked them. I don’t even like nacho cheese sauce all over my nachos, I wish they’d put it on the side! We haven’t been to LL in forever and a day. The last time we went it was just okay. I do really like that cilantro sauce that you mentioned – it is pretty yummy!

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