Barrio Star in Bankers Hill offers a variety of margaritas at fair prices. Photo credit: Michelle Moran
Barrio Star in Banker’s Hill offers a variety of margaritas at fair prices. Photo credit: Michelle Moran

Barrio Star offers Mexican food and drinks for the soul

Barrio Star is a small gem located in Bankers Hill. It is hard to miss this eye-catching restaurant as you drive north on Fifth Street toward Hillcrest. First impressions, the decor is eccentric and very colorful. There is sugar skull art everywhere, bright menus, and the building is an orange pink color. As cool as the decor is, you would hope for tasty food, and fortunately, you would not be disappointed.

Ordering drinks is difficult because of the several different margarita options makes you want to try more than one. Although the blood orange margarita was not too sweet, not too bland, the mango margarita was indulging because of the chili salt rim that gave it more added flavor.

For an appetizer, the barrio guacamole was a hit, but who doesn’t love guacamole? It came with a side of salsa for the chips that could have been spicier, but other than that, it was just like any other restaurant salsa. It’s a good-sized appetizer for a party of two to four.

The first main dish was chicken tacos, featuring grilled chicken breast, cheese, avocado sauce, chipotle cream and pico de gallo. All taco plates come with a a choice of pinto or black beans, brown rice and a small cup of red pozole soup. It is healthy Mexican food, which is different, but a nice transition from the typical Mexican restaurant. The bottom of the menu says that they try to use local and organic ingredients as much as possible, which is always a bonus when dining out. The tacos were very tasty; the chipotle cream and avocado sauce paired nicely.

The second entrée was the carne asada torta. It is a sandwich that has grilled marinated steak, avocado, cheese, jalapeño, lettuce, tomato and came with a side of chips and salsa. The steak was really juicy and tender, and the jalapeño made it spicy, which made it even better.

Photo credit: Michelle Moran

The music selection was really cool, to say the least. The restaurant played Passion Pit, Cut/Copy, Empire of the Sun, Foster the People and other hipster, catchy tunes.

Although the place was nice and the food tasty, the service was a bit slow. Other than that, this restaurant is an enjoyable spot to munch on tacos and enjoy a margarita.

Barrio Start is located on 2706 Fifth Ave., close to Hillcrest and Balboa Park.

For hours and more information, visit

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Barrio Star offers Mexican food and drinks for the soul