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Traditional Mexican Food In the Heart of Old Town San Diego


Tag cinco de mayo

Cafe Coyote Gears Up for Mexican Independence!

Speaking to the gathered crowd in Dolores, Guanajuato, Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, the famed “father” of Mexico, expressed his beliefs in a people’s revolt for Mexican Independence. His war cry or “El Grito de Dolores / El Grito de la Independencia” marks the anniversary of Mexican Independence and evokes national pride.

Not to be confused with Cinco de Mayo (May 5th), September 16th marks the celebration of Mexico’s War of Independence. Every year at midnight on September 15, Mexicans join together in solidarity and led by the President of Mexico, shout the El Grito.


Nestled in the heart of San Diego’s historic old town, also known as “The Birthplace of California”, Café Coyote, a traditional Mexican cantina and café, is one of only two Academia Del Tequila certified Tequila houses in the United States.  At its home within walking distance of Old Town attractions such as the Whaley House, the “Little Adobe Chapel,” the Old Town Cemetery “El Campo Santo,” and The Old Town State Park (California’s most visited State Park), Café Coyote has become a landmark in and of itself being Voted Best Mexican Restaurant in 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, and 2010.

In honor of Mexico’s robust culinary history and to help mark the 200th Anniversary of the Mexico’s Independence, the Spirits of Mexico Festival presented by The Polished Palate will be returning to Historic Old Town the week of September 16th. The oldest and most comprehensive agave spirits Festival in the United States, will coincide with Café Coyote’s Independence celebrations, culminating on the night of September 15th, where Café Coyote will host an El Grito reenactment by Mario Marquez, our famed Tequila Ambassador.

Coinciding with the Independence Celebration, Café Coyote will host the Finals of the Sangrita Challenge presented by Living Liquid Magazine on Wednesday September 15 to mark the opening of the festival ($25 per person in advance; $30 cash only at the door, 21+).  Guests will be able to taste all 5 finalist entry cocktails as well as enjoy Café Coyote’s famous Mexican fair. The esteemed judging table will be headed by Judges Ryan Kelley of the National Tequila Examiner and Café Coyote’s own, Kenny Kaufmann.

A Tribute to Sonoran Cuisine

In honor of our Sonora Specials this month, enjoy this fantastic Grilled Tomatillo Chicken Tacos Recipe!



  • 6 Tomatillos, husked, washed, and grilled until blackened
  • 1 Serrano, grilled until blackened
  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 small red onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • Spices for chicken rub(smoked paprika, salt, pepper, dried cilantro, a pinch of cayenne for heat)
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded chicken
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • 1 cup of crumbled/shredded cheese (recommended: Queso Fresco)



Rub chicken with olive oil (breasts or thighs) and add spice mix.

Preheat the grill to medium. blacken tomatillo and serrano chilis and cook chicken until cooked through.

Once the chilis are blackened, add to a small sauté pan and briefly sauté in olive oil over medium heat.

Remove chicken from the grill and shred.

Place the tomatillos, serrano, onion, garlic, cilantro, lime juice, and honey in a blender and blend until smooth(remove seeds if you want to make the recipe more mild). Place the blended mixture in a large saute pan and place on medium/high heat. Bring the mixture to a simmer, add the shredded chicken, and heat through.

Heat the tortillas in a pan or on the grill, and heat until warm(if cooking on the grill, heat for 20 seconds on each side). Spoon the chicken mixture into the tortillas and top with a few tablespoons of your favorite cheese (i.e.queso fresco) Fold the tortillas in half, serve immediately.

Hasta Pronto!

Fiesta Old Town

Despite delays at the border, Café Coyote has been selected as the first restaurant in the United States to pour Pacifico on tap. Café Coyote is located in the historical district of Old Town in San Diego, California and has been family owned and operated for more than 21 years. Pacifico is the perfect drink for the cuisine of Café Coyote, which has been selected as the Best Mexican Restaurant in San Diego for four years–and the timing is perfect for the upcoming Cinco de Mayo celebration Fiesta Old Town from May 2nd – 5th. Why wait? We invite you to come in and try a complimentary glass of Pacifico draft during our pre Cinco De Mayo Taco Tuesday celebration on May 4th between 3:30pm until close — this offer is only for the first five people to tell the manager on duty the secret password: VivaMexico.

The Pacifico Brewery was established in 1900 by German settlers who created a pilsner style beer with a clean and hearty flavor from the choicest hops, barley, yeast and water from the springs of Mazatlan. Purchased by the Grupo Modelo in 1954, Pacifico has expanded to include seven state-of-the-art breweries throughout Mexico. The import of Pacifico to the United States has increased to more than 5 million cases annually — a testament to its popularity and compatibility with all types of food.

Celebrating its 21st anniversary, Café Coyote Old Town continues to be a landmark of the San Diego’s Historic Old Town Community and is a favorite of locals and visitors alike. Relax and select from over “120” tequilas for your fresh frosty Margaritas prepared by our master bartenders. Watch Mexican Tortilla Ladies make fresh tortillas to accompany your meal the traditional way “a mano” (by hand). Listen to strolling Mariachi’s fill the flower scented air with festive Mexican music in our colorful outdoor courtyards. Splashing Fountains add to the atmosphere in the Esplanade framed by Spanish architecture with colorful Mexican murals and décor. Savor traditional Mexican food made from authentic fresh ingredients prepared from Regional Recipes by Mexican Chefs.

Café Coyote is also excited to launch its Taco Tuesday celebration calendar — giving you a preview of the upcoming gourmet tacos featured each week. Taco Tuesday showcases nine traditional and specialty tacos for $2 — a great bargain to enjoy with family, friends and colleagues. Café Coyote’s tequila ambassador, Mario Marquez (click here to read Mario’s latest blog post), also offers drink specials–including crowd favorites such as the Coyote Gold or Pineapple Chipotle Margaritas.

Click here to visit Taco Tuesday.

Cinco De Mayo

Dear Café Coyote patrons,

We are looking forward to the arrival of our annual Cinco de Mayo celebration here in the historic Old Town district of San Diego, California. San Diegans have been celebrating Cinco de Mayo at the  Fiesta Old Town celebration for the past 27 years with 200,000 visitors joining the festivities last year. Cinco de Mayo, or the Fifth of May celebration, commemorates the victory of the Mexican militia over the French army at the Battle of Puebla in 1862, located in the south-central part of Mexico.  Not to be confused with Mexico’s Independence Day on September 16th, Cinco de Mayo has become a popular holiday in the United States–and this year’s celebration promises to be a grand fiesta.

Café Coyote has been participating in Fiesta Old Town for 21 years and looks forward to welcoming you this year. Saturday, May 1st and Sunday, May 2nd will feature activities that the entire family can enjoy: live bands, arts and crafts, unique food and visitors from all over the world are only a few of the attractions.  Wednesday, May 5th is tailored for the 21 and over  crowd when Café Coyote throws the biggest Cinco de Mayo party in town. There is ample space to everyone to enjoy the fiesta.  We invite you to join us to enjoy an outstanding selection of Tequila, beer, and specialty cocktails and by delicious Mexican food in a beautiful  setting–you won’t find a more perfect place to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.

Salud !

Mario Marquez

Tequila Ambassador

Café Coyote, Old Town, San Diego.