San Diego, CA

Cocina De Barrio - Popular Brunch Spot in Hillcrest, San Diego

Dinh Lee

Cocina De Barrio is a Mexican restaurant and tequila and mezcal bar located in Hillcrest, San Diego. They are quite well known for their brunch but also offer lunch and dinner menus. This is one of my favorite brunch spots in San Diego because not only is their presentation absolutely stunning, but the food itself is incredibly delicious!

Their churro French toast is one of the specialties that they are known for. It is a very unique dish and the churros are definitely a great way to level up a French toast. The French toast itself was well-made, very flavorful, crispy on the outside but soft and pillowy on the inside. The churros were very fresh and crisp and added a lot of texture to the French toast. The addition of all the fresh fruits like strawberries, bananas, and other berries helped to balance the sweetness with the tanginess of the fruit and added lots of freshness and texture to the dish as well. This dish is definitely beautiful to look at, with the garnishes and flower petals, it is a very bright and colorful dish that is also very delicious.

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Their sopes benny is a gorgeous eggs benedict with fried corn cakes, beans, lamb birria, poached eggs, chipotle hollandaise, and potatoes. The chipotle hollandaise makes this dish different from any other eggs benedict because it adds a bit of a kick to it, making it much more flavorful. The lamb birria is definitely a special touch to this dish and would be perfect for lamb enthusiasts out there (myself included). Their lamb birria is very tender and well-seasoned and went very well with the poached eggs and chipotle hollandaise. Their friend corn cakes are sometimes blue and sometimes yellow depending on the season, but equally delicious and a great way to serve their benny. The color of the hollandaise is a beautiful orange which complements the yellow and white poached egg, making it a beautiful dish as well.

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For the pancake lovers out there, they have a great selection of pancakes to choose from. We chose to go with their cheesecake pancakes which are quite large and fluffy pancakes topped with bananas, strawberries, cheesecake bits, and berry sauce. The pancakes themselves are very well done, extremely soft and pillowy and just the perfect texture for pancakes. One thing that really stands out about these pancakes specifically is the berry sauce that they use. Flavor is immaculate, a great balance between sweet and tangy and complimented the pancakes very well. Rather than using maple syrup, I’d like to have this berry sauce for all my pancakes from now on, please!

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This was my first time trying chilaquiles verdes and I was not disappointed. Their chilaquiles verdes comprised of crisp corn tortilla strips, refried beans, salsa verde, ten hour braised beef (birria), queso fresco, pickled red onion, and sour cream. I really enjoyed the tortilla strips which really absorbed the sauces from the birria, beans, salsa, and everything else in the dish. Their birria is, again, very well made, very tender and flavorful, except this time is beef rather than lamb in the sopes benny. The refried beans just work so well with this dish and adds so much texture and flavor as well as the pickled red onion, sour cream, and salsa verde. This is quite a traditional Mexican dish and very enjoyable at that, I’m glad I was able to try it here as I am confident they were able to do it justice seeing as all the other dishes have been incredible thus far.

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Last but not least, their popsicle margaritas. A staple of their brunch (and all other meals really) and a very unique and tasty drink. It is made of tequila blanco, agave, fresh lime juice, and your choice of popsicle flavor which changes from time to time. This is just a lovely drink and all the flavors complimented the tequila blanco very well and went down very smoothly. This drink is definitely a super cute photo opportunity and really makes the brunch a well-rounded experience. They also offer a very wide selection of cocktails and also have the option to make each of the drinks a mocktail if you weren’t looking to consume alcohol.

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Overall, this was an excellent meal, there was not one dish or drink that I disliked. The service was also great. The waitress who served us was very kind and friendly and helped give us suggestions of what to order. I would definitely recommend going here for brunch and can definitely see myself coming back here often.

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Join me on my quest to eat at all the best restaurants in town and around the world! Follow me on Instagram @sanfoodiego for more food recs.

San Diego, CA
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