Barrio Star
Barrio Star

Barrio Star

  • Dining Style: Casual Dining
  • Website: http://www.isabelscantina.com/
  • Phone: 6195017827x
  • Hours of Operation:
    Monday - Friday Brunch: 11:00am - 3:00pm

    Monday - Friday Dinner: 5:00pm - 9:30pm

    Saturday & Sunday: 9:00am - 10:30pm
  • Payment Options: AMEX,Discover,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: Mexican
  • Executive Chef: Isabel Cruz
  • Dress Code: Casual Dress
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Banquet/Private Rooms, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Counter Seating, Full Bar, Gluten-free Menu, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Personal wines welcome, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Private Room, Takeout, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access
  • Catering: Barrio Star's fresh local food is available for any occasion! Just reach out to us with the details and we'll take if from there.
  • Entertainment: Everything from classic rock to the good 'ole 90's! Whatever fits the mood we will play.

Getting there

  • Cross Street: Nutmeg
  • Public Transit: Close to downtown and all major bus routes.
  • Parking: Street Parking
  • Parking Details: Lots of street parking available as Barrio Star is centrally located one block away from Balboa Park.
A word from Barrio Star
Barrio Star is fresh and creative. We take on traditional mexican food, add our sense of style and create raving fans!

At Barrio Star you'll find generous portions, innovative cocktails and a friendly atmosphere where wholesome ingredients and delicious cocktails are the star.
Continued
Foodspotting photos
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerMexican
Barrio Star reviews from OpenTable diners
97 reviews since June 2, 2014
Overall Rating4.1
  • Food4.4
    Service4
  • Ambiance3.9
    Noise LevelEnergetic
88% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
neighborhood gem (67)fit for foodies (48)good for groups (36)great for lunch (35)hot spot (25)vibrant bar scene (23)great for brunch (15)kid-friendly (15)special occasion (8)late-night find (2)great for outdoor dining (2)scenic view (1)romantic (1)Show More
  • Barrio Star has a unique atmosphere
    6oldfriends
    Dined on 3/16/2014
    Barrio Star has a unique atmosphere with great food and drinks
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, vibrant bar scene, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Delish Vegetarian options!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2004VIP
    Dined on 3/15/2014
    They were very accommodating for my family who eats plainly - usually. Lots of great vegetarian options! Loved it. Felt like the waitress was great - until another, larger party sat down next to us. Then, she appeared distracted. :(
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • When is a reservation not one?
    bb1769
    Dined on 3/7/2014
    I made a reservation about 10 mins ahead last week, which the system seemed happy to confirm. But once we arrived, the host said they could not honor the reservation, even though there were empty tables. He said others had reserved before us, and nothing was available. If we wanted to wait 20 to 30 minutes something would probably come up. Or we could sit and eat at the bar, which my wife was ok with. We sat, got a drink, and then ordered some food. A few minutes later, the host came back and said they had a table--apparently other reservations failed to show. Oh, wait, he says, you ordered food? Sorry, we can't move you. Did they overbook intentionally or what?
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Fantastic Gourmet Mexican
    inksVIP
    Dined on 3/6/2014
    The food at Barrio Star is outstanding and unusual "Mexican". My favorite dish is their Steak Tacos, which can be ordered a la carte before 7pm and as a dinner with three tacos plus beans and rice anytime.The marianade used on the steak was very tasty and the tomatoes, guacamole and other tidbits served with the steak were delicious. My friend had the Salmon Tacos and loved them as well. During our 7 day visit to SD, we went back to Barrio Star twice. The atmosphere is unique, fairly dark during night hours with lots of sparkly lighting - very fanciful and fun to be in. It's a fairly small restaurant, so it seems intimate but lively at the same time. The wait staff was very cheerful, energetic and fun, as well as attentive.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Barrio Star
    VividVivian
    Dined on 3/4/2014
    This restaurant has the best drinks, they are delicious, classy and they have a bite. Their menu is just enough to satisfy any appetite. The service is great and the bartenders on Tuesday night are on it. They have great customer service and this venue is busy so make a reservation to be first seated and enjoy their drinks and delicious tacos and try their breakfast menu. It's groundbreaking !!!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great Food and Service!
    nknk
    Dined on 3/1/2014
    We arrived an hour early before our reservation and they took us no problem! The server was very sweet and could explain everything on the menu for us. There were 5 of us including a a gluten-free vegan and a meat and dairy lover, and EVERYONE was so pleased with their meal. Will definitely come back.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, vibrant bar scene, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Barrio Star
    Lovetoeat
    Dined on 2/28/2014
    This restaurant is amazingly wonderful. The food is fresh and delicious and it's my favorite Mexican restaurant in all of San Diego. The bartenders are exceptional... I love, love, love the margaritas!!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, vibrant bar scene, romantic, late-night find, neighborhood gem, hot spot, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Disappointing lunch aftermath
    akamamo
    Dined on 2/24/2014
    The food was ok. The fish tacos had the small pieces of fish but for me that was plenty with the chips, salsa and guacamole we had first. My salmon taco was delicious, as was the rice and black beans. The second taco was the fish special that day - sea bass and I didn't finish it. The Pozole was bland. It was my friend's birthday and they brought a piece of flour less chocolate cake that was tasty. It seemed to take an unusually long time for us to get our food and it wasn't very busy. The worst thing for me was the indigestion I had an hour later. I have been to Isabel's Cantina and the Coffee Cup and always been happy with my meal. It was a Monday at 12:30 in the afternoon, so maybe the chef was off.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Creative & Fun
    Rocker1
    Dined on 2/23/2014
    Food was excellent, service was OK and the atmosphere was festive. A solid choice in the city.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Disappointing
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 2/23/2014
    I used to love Barrio Star, but the last 2 times the service was very slow and unapologetic. Won't be going back.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Never again
    pixie
    Dined on 2/21/2014
    I had made reservations but had to stand and wait at the door for at least 10 minutes before anyone asked me if I had been helped yet. Finally got seated, again had to wait 10 minutes to just get water. The wait person was not very attentive and the food was far from bragging about. Everything was very mediocre...
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Nice surprise
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007VIP
    Dined on 2/19/2014
    Nice neighborhood restaurant. A good alternative for Mexican food. Don't miss the carnitas on platanas apetizer.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great lunch
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006VIP
    Dined on 2/19/2014
    Been many times for pre-theatre dining and loved it. A really great lunch menu and vibe too!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Healthy Mexican food
    SusanSzVIP
    Dined on 2/18/2014
    Our party of 3 - first timers at Barrio Star - got to enjoy Taco Tuesday. The restaurant was very crowded but we were seated immediately since we had a reservation. Service was prompt, helpful and very friendly. We shared chips w/guacamole, carnitas, steak and chicken tacos and brown rice with beans. For dessert we shared coconut flan. Everything was very good, fresh and presented well. Will definitely return! Nice place!
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Gosh Darn, We Love That Barrio Star
    FriendlyVIP
    Dined on 2/14/2014
    If you're looking for an improvement upon the most basic of Mexican food with a twist, Barrio Star Rocks for its ingenuity and flavorful enhancements of EVERYTHING. The guacamole is to die for; the chip seasoning is out of this world; everything is simply superb. And we love working with our waitress again too. Barrio Star, you're simply The Best!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, late-night find, neighborhood gem, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Wonderful tacos and margaritas, but
    PLhappyVIP
    Dined on 2/10/2014
    The food is really good, but the service is slow and somewhat inconsistent. It took over 15 minutes to get the server to our table and another 15 minutes To be served our margaritas. The tacos took another 15 minutes. Not sure if the place needs more staffing or if the servers need to step It up.... Otherwise, we enjoyed our meal.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Jessie's the best!!
    ashleyjene
    Dined on 2/9/2014
    Our food was amazing and Jessie our server did a terrific job. We could not ask for a better experience. :)
    Special Features:
    good for groups, vibrant bar scene, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Good food but overpriced
    CarlyVIP
    Dined on 2/8/2014
    The food is good, but overpriced. There are many Mexican Restaurants in San Diego that have great food and are less expensive.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great Tacos
    Charlie
    Dined on 2/7/2014
    Great selection of tacos, including vegan, vegetarian, and gluten free. We have some of each in our group, so finally a restaurant we can all enjoy together! Really good margaritas, too.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, neighborhood gem, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great food and fun!
    JE95
    Dined on 2/1/2014
    This is a high energy, crowded, noisy place that has been decorated in a very fun and charming way. The food is simply delicious...all three of us had the salmon tacos this time and they were fabulous but have never had anything less than great here. The happy hour wine deals are excellent and the servers were friendly and knowledgeable. It was very busy so we waited for things a bit more than usual but all in all, it was wonderful.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, hot spot, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Fun Evening
    FriendsVIP
    Dined on 1/27/2014
    Good meal. Great Feature cocktail (even the special request virgin one they were willing to make). Can't wait until Summer to try the outdoor dining.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Funky, Fun, Authentic Mexican
    hpsdmom
    Dined on 1/27/2014
    Barrio Star is a fun eclectic neighborhood restaurant that delivers on vibrant atmosphere and great food. We love the paprika/ chili powder chips and salsa with a margarita. The pomogranite and jalepeno/ blackberry margaritas were our favorites. Our group ordered an assortment of tacos and all were awesome. Think authentic food with unusual sauces and toppings not your 'crunchy taco'. The service was relaxed for lack of a better word but no problems- we were there to enjoy a leisurely lunch. If I was on a tight schedule, I'd let them know and I assume they would accomodate. We'll be back!!!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • drinks
    bobski
    Dined on 1/25/2014
    Bar was packed, drink took a long time. got them half way into our meal.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Barrio Star
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 1/24/2014
    went there during restaurant week and a Friday night, so we should have known better, it was very crowded. we did make reservations which was really helpful, the table arrangement is VERY close to others, it is incredibly loud and could really use some acoustical help. we thought about leaving since we had a play to get to and we were cutting it close, but we decided to give it a try. we were using a living social deal. we ordered right away, she bought us all our drinks at once, awesome! tacos arrived shortly, we tried one of each; carnitas, carne asada, chicken and fish, ranked them in that order... carnitas and carne asada were delicious, chicken was OK and the fish was not so great. best thing about our experience was the waitress!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Happy Hour OLE'!!
    heycw
    Dined on 1/24/2014
    Great Food! Terrific drinks provided by an energetic and attentive staff! A modern flair to Mexican food that leaves you satisfied with crispy tacos, savory sides, and great chips and salsa, that leave you dying to come back again and again!!!
    Special Features:
    good for groups, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • A fun place!
    SDfan
    Dined on 1/18/2014
    The food was really good, mild without being bland, and on the triple taco plate, you can mix your choices, which adds to the dining fun. The big salad with the avocado topping was also delicious and very satisfying. The atmosphere is appealing - relaxed, but energetic. The noise level is a little high if you have trouble hearing, but it's made up for by the feeling that everybody's having a good time. On my next trip to SD, it will definitely be included on my restaurant stops!
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Just ok
    Ster
    Dined on 1/17/2014
    Too, too loud. Tacos were good but beans, rice and salsa were boring (no flavor)
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Good eatery, location, easy parking
    Kamuela
    Dined on 1/11/2014
    Small, but highly energetic inside, very good service staff, and excellent food. By glancing at the menu, this eatery could easily cater to a variety of diners, including vegetarians. I had the roasted, free-range half chicken which looked very appealing when it was served to my table and tasted very good to my palate - wishing I had another half! It was rather cool inside the evening I went so keep that in mind and dress accordingly). Situated on the same block, there's the new Croce's, as well as a Japanese/Sushi place. I could find myself very, very happy eating out at each eatery every week!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, vibrant bar scene, late-night find, neighborhood gem, hot spot, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Disappointed
    Magg
    Dined on 1/11/2014
    I have eaten lunch and dinner at Barrio Star and always enjoyed my food, the friendly service and the energy. So I took out of town guests for Saturday Brunch. The pancakes were cold. It is always a bad sign when the butter will not melt. The server was friendly but either had too many tables or was distracted. The syrup is in a clever looking container, but pours so slowly as to not be usable. Noise during the brunch hour was such that conversation was difficult. I might return for lunch or dinner but never again for brunch.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Drinks are great! Food is
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 1/5/2014
    Drinks are great! Food is good but not very spicy for a Mexican restaurant. Chips and salsa are very good.
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Early Dinner
    docdietz
    Dined on 1/4/2014
    Cocktails were great, until they ran out of the mix for one of the special margs, too popular.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Fresh take on Mexican food
    Lynnski
    Dined on 1/3/2014
    Really enjoyed our dinner... Nice guacamole appetizer, Pozole soup,, and the some fish tacos and roast chicken... All was delicious and we took half the chicken home to enjoy the next day. Would definitely go back. Nice "neighborhoody" ambiance.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great food but value is so-so
    Nonetogive
    Dined on 1/3/2014
    I think the prices are too high in relation to the portion size, especially for the vegetarian items on the menu. And it's loud so prepare to shout at your dining partners if the restaurant is full. They never have specials, so I'm not enticed to go back unless I'm entertaining friends from out-of-town. Barrio Star used to be better when it first opened a few years ago -- very hip and cool. Now it's just a little bit passe and tired. That said, service is great and food quality is excellent. The owner's breakfast/lunch place in Pacific Beach is better overall - Isabel's Cantina. Check it out.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, hot spot, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Regular!
    TraciB
    Dined on 12/31/2013
    The menu never dulls, never disappoints ... I bring everyone I know in for these tacos!! Great food: fresh, local, & foodie friendly!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, vibrant bar scene, great for brunch, neighborhood gem, hot spot, special occasion, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great Way to Ring In the New Year
    HippieLyss
    Dined on 12/31/2013
    Donika was great. Completely understanding that we were ten minutes late and very attentive. Great recommendations on drinks and food. She even remembered me from my previous dinner there =) Great job!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for brunch, romantic, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Happy Hour
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 12/23/2013
    This is one of my favorite places for lunch and happy hour so I decided it was the perfect place to take the team for a Christmas Happy Hour and gift exchange. The appetizers are wonderful and the margaritas were great. Service was perfect and we were well taken care of. For several of my team it was the first time they had been to Barrio Star and they were impressed. In fact they are talking about return visits.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Food was great and service
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 12/14/2013
    Food was great and service was even better. Great wait staff, friendly and energetic. Very cool set up and decor.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Fantastic food and amazing service
    Boojum
    Dined on 12/14/2013
    Our second time at Barrio Star, a small, cozy restaurant. The menu, mostly organic, is fantastic. This time we each had a variant of the triple street taco plate. Each taco was excellent and unique. My favorite was the grilled shrimp, which was off menu. The service was once again amazing. Very friendly, very attentive, very prompt. We'll be back!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, late-night find, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Incredible Taste Treats, Must Dine
    FriendlyVIP
    Dined on 12/8/2013
    Barrio Star has taken Mexican food to a new high, adding incredible tastes and Flavors to anew high. Everything was simply incredible. Great food, great drinks, great service. Wow, what a treat!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Afternoon Service
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 12/1/2013
    We notice a difference when we come in the afternoon and in the evening. Afternoon Service took a long time. We ordered Salmon Tacos and Soy Chorizo tacos. I believe it took 30 minutes. Food came out warm; not hot. We do enjoy the Chicken Diablo and the Cucumber for the appetizer.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.