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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 help HER / Mother Earth by providing discounts on Thursdays for people who bike. A long-term project with no scheduled end-date, HER Helmet Thursdays was launched in 2009 in Monterey County, California as a public service. NOTE: When participating businesses and organizations sign up, they are provided a staff reference sheet. Many have frequent staff changes. Just in case a staff person on duty isn't familiar with this long-term project, it may be helpful to have the listing for that location pulled up on your mobile phone screen (or print a copy of their listing to take along), so you're prepared to kindly show their listing.
Before claiming discount, refer to FAQs and project details, including date restrictions, in "LISTINGS, Map, How to Get the Discounts, and FAQs about HER Helmet Thursdays" at

NYC-based travel blogger Passport Voyager, who has been eating at Taqueria del Mar since she was a toddler, wrote on Feb 24, 2018: "This hole-in-the-wall Mexican spot is possibly my absolute fave on the Central Coast. The family that runs it is exceptionally friendly and kind, their prices are right and the food comes out quick! My dish of choice is always the shrimp sope platter. SO GOOD."

Here's a sampling of what some others "in the know" say:

(1) Restaurant reviewer Raul Nava wrote in the Monterey County Herald 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'!"

(2) Mark C. Anderson of the Monterey County Weekly, wrote on 6/23/15: "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:

(3) Flashback to 2001: 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."

(4) Kera Abraham, former assistant editor at the Weekly, 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."

(5) 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,