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Taqueria Del Mar

(Restaurants/all dining)
530 Lighthouse Avenue Monterey, CA, 93940
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Alcohol excluded


Businesses and organizations participating in HER Helmet Thursdays provide discounts on Thursdays for males and females who bike.
For FAQs, project-wide date restrictions, and other details, see "H-E-R Helmet Thurs INFO" section at, or call 831.375.6278.

Monterey County Herald restaurant reviewer Raul N wrote on 2/12/12, "Whenever anyone asks me where I go for Mexican food in Monterey, without skipping a beat, I reply 'Taqueria del Mar'!"

Other foodies highly value Taqueria del Mar too, including Mark C. Anderson of the Monterey County Weekly, who wrote on 6/23/15 about Taqueria Del Mar: "A thoroughly underrated spot for seafood-centric Mexican, with some of the best fish and artichoke tacos to be had anywhere by the bay." We noticed that on 8/19/15, Mark tweeted a photo while eating at Taqueria del Mar, and said: "New squid taco champ in town: Nicholas Gasca of Taqueria del Mar!" And 12/9/16, Mark was raving about Taqueria del Mar's Catch-of-the-Day burritos:

The Weekly's food writers have been singing Taqueria del Mar's praises for a long time. Learn a little back story about this very special place from Ray Napolitano, in the 2/8/01 Weekly: As Ray writes, "It's an honest eatery run by people with genuine humility and integrity who are kind and hardworking. They are the kind of people who make a community strong, just by being part of it."

Weekly writer Kera Abraham has chimed in too, on the Bicycling Monterey site on 3/19/10: "I enjoyed my first HER Helmet Thursdays discount yesterday at Taqueria Del Mar. I’m smitten by their fish burritos."

And this independently owned restaurant is a favorite of Bicycling Monterey founder Mari Lynch's family too. When her daughter comes home from college, of all the restaurants in Monterey County, where does she ask to go? Taqueria del Mar! As Mari told foodie writer Ray Napolitano in October 2007 (scroll down) the Gasca family was already celebrating the 20th anniversary of Taqueria del Mar back then, and they just keep on rolling!

House specialties include Marisco's Diabla, Crab Chimichanga, Pescado al Mojo de Ajo or Prawns, and more. The menu emphasizes light, healthy food without compromising flavor (i.e., chimichangas made on the grill, not in a fryer), enchiladas flacos, guaraches, tortas, sopes. They feature all the traditional favorites in a healthier version, including tostadas, quesadillas, burritos, and tacos.

Don't be misled if there aren't many people dining in this small, simple establishment. This locally owned taqueria is in high demand for some of the most delicious carry-out food in town. And the warm, caring ways of owner Nicholas Gasca and his niece Lilia Gasca have earned a faithful following among the locals--along with savvy tourists, who share a heads-up with their traveling friends.

Also, although Taqueria del Mar does a lot of carry out business, it is also an exceptional dining spot, because it is muy tranquillo! The calm, peaceful vibe established by the Gascas is tangible. Want to enjoy mealtime conversation? This is a place where you can do easily hear your table mates and enjoy a visit while you dine.

Another hot tip: when you need something delicious, nutritious, and very reasonably priced, their soft-shell tacos and their sopes absolutely fit the bill! Be sure to come back later and enjoy a full dinner, with options like prawn fajitas.

Adding to the many pluses of this restaurant: the Gascas use only non-disposable tableware, a rarity among fast, casual dining spots.

Bike Tips:

Bike parking rack in front, directly across from their picture window and dining bar (making it easy to keep an eye on your bike).

Directions tips:

Coming from the Fisherman's Wharf side, bike on the bike/multi-use coastal trail in the direction of the Monterey Bay Aquarium, although you won't go nearly that far. Stay on the trail until you reach Hoffman Street. (Hoffman is just after Trailside Cafe on your left, and Bay Bikes on your right, as of June 2015).

Turn left on Hoffman, and go up the slight hill (if cycling with children, you will want bike the sidewalks in this section--as usual, being extra cautious at driveways and intersections).

Continue up Hoffman to Lighthouse Avenue. (Landmark: As of August 2016, Book Buyers is still on the right at Hoffman & Lighthouse.)

Turn left on Lighthouse, but don't go out onto the street, because Taqueria del Mar is on this side of the street anyway, and just a short distance down. Just walk your bikes along the sidewalk the remaining distance.

Taqueria del Mar will be on your left, about mid-way down the block. Look for their brown-striped awning, and the bike parking rack right out front.
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Bicycling Monterey website,, or call 831.375.6278.