You have to love a restaurant with a big wooden pig on the roof. It wasn’t the reason my friend and I went here, actually we were headed somewhere else and I found it on Trip Advisor en route. It was ranked the number one restaurant in San Diego but you know how rankings are on social media. A “shack” specializing in pork things number one? We looked at each other with a WTF expression and then said in unison, “Well, WTF, why not!” Glad about that.
Definite atmosphere, very relaxed and casual, as is most of San Diego. The ordering takes place at the shack, which is just about on the street. However, don’t start conjuring up images of yourself sucking down pork tacos in your car or on the sidewalk, just walk a bit to left of the shack to see the large outdoor patio. No worries, your order will be hand delivered. Don’t want to eat outside? What’s your problem, its the land of 68 degrees and eternal sunshine. I found the patio to be very social and it seems Californians just don’t have any social insecurities, they will talk to anyone in their proximity; very enjoyable.
They know their pork, particularly how to roast it to delicious, smoky and moist perfection. I only had their roast pork tacos but they were the best; only adorned with some homemade guac and tomato, as not to distract from the flavor of the pork.
I noticed on the menu they had dessert and bacon was a prominent ingredient in the desserts. Curious but not curious enough, maybe next time, I certainly appreciate their loyalty to incorporating pork into everything!
Friendly but slow. My suggestion is to order a beer and enjoy the social atmosphere while you wait; it will be about 30-45 minutes. I rather liked this local IPA from Green Flash.
Most of the mains were around $10, apps $3-5 and beers about $5. Totally reasonable.
I ran into the owner of Carnitas, who was extremely warm, funny and personable. She told quite a story about how the name of the restaurant was also the name of her pet mini-pig. I could tell she had great affection for the her little piggy family member by the way she contrasted and compared her relationship with her pig and her husband, however ironic is was to also own a restaurant serving almost exclusively pork items.
Such is life in California, don’t worry yourself trying to riddle it out, just enjoy it.
Dinner: 16 June 2013
Carnitas Snack Shack | 2632 University Ave | San Diego, CA 92104