Here in San Diego it’s pretty obvious that the restaurant scene has grown a lot over the past few years. Places have come and gone and lots of new places are cropping up every week. It’s hard to keep up! However some places remain because they have established themselves in the community and people keep coming back for more. One such place is Jimmy Carter’s Mexican Cafe in Bankers Hill serving San Diego for over 27 years.
Owned by Jimmy Carter…but I know what you’re thinking NOT the president. I got a chance to meet Jimmy on my visit there and learn some insight on his beautiful and vibrant restaurant that’s been a gem in the Bankers Hill community for so many years.
Just sitting in a booth there you can sense the love employees have for working there and the joy the customers have dining there. Many of them seemed very excited to see Jimmy when they walked in which I think shows the impact he has on his customers.
One of the things I appreciate the most when dining out, besides the delicious food of course, is customer service. Nothing can ruin a mood faster than a place that seems annoyed you walked through the doors in the first place. You will not have that problem at Jimmy Carter’s.
Jimmy first started this restaurant with mostly American classic dishes which he still keeps on the menu to this day. However, he decided to add Mexican cuisine to the menu when Old Town started to become overly touristy and he felt that the authentic dishes were disappearing. I totally agree with him on this account too. I didn’t grow up in San Diego but even I sense the disconnect between the cuisine in Old Town and the traditional food you can find elsewhere. One place I went to was so bland I honestly think they forgot to even use salt on their meat.
Another thing I learned when chatting with Jimmy is that he gives his chefs, many which have been with him for 20+ years, lots of creative freedom in the kitchen. This allows them to have rotating specials mixed in with the everyday classics.
When Jarod and I visited it was for breakfast which they serve until 2:30 PM for all of you late risers! Basically combining my two favorite foods, breakfast and Mexican food. It might not be the most fancy meals to look at but let me tell you, most of the best food doesn’t need to look crazy or over garnished. It just needs to taste amazing!
Their Agua Frescas are so refreshing and made in house. I loved both the Watermelon Agua Fresca and The Horchata. Honestly it might be the best Horchata I’ve ever had! The chips and salsa were excellent too. One was extra spicy but I loved it.
As for the food, I asked Jimmy what his favorite breakfast item was and he said the breakfast tacos. Whenever I try a new restaurant I love finding out what the owner, chef or server love on the menu. They are around it everyday so I think it’s a great way to discover something you might overlook. I gotta say, Jimmy did not steer me wrong! The breakfast Tacos were delicious. I loved the peppers, cactus, eggs…everything married together well in those soft tortillas.
We also tried the Breakfast Enchiladas recommended by our server and the Chilaquiles. Both were great options as well. My favorites were still the Breakfast Tacos though. I wish I had some right now! Seriously the best!
If you’ve never been to Jimmy Carter’s Mexican Cafe I highly recommend you pay them a visit. You will find traditional Mexican fare at a reasonable price in a fun atmosphere with 5 star service! Thank you Jimmy for having us! I’ll be back soon to try the dinner menu!