Why go: Chef David Scribner has hit his stride with this casual Cali-Mex hangout painted in surf-shop colors and booming with reggae. The overstuffed tacos filled with grilled meats are the stars, but salads are refined and quesadillas are about the high-quality vegetables, not the gooey cheese.
What to get: Trays of tortilla chips with guacamole and queso; grilled-shrimp or carnitas tacos with lime sour cream and pineapple salsa; blackened-fish tacos; veggie or steak quesadillas with lime sour cream for dipping; design-your-own salads with honey-peanut or chili-ranch dressing; chocolate-frosted cupcakes from Something Sweet, the Cleveland Park bakery run by the Surfside owner’s wife.
Best for: A drop-in dinner; takeout; a round of margaritas (half price weeknights from 5 to 6:30; on Mondays, drinkers get free chips and seven-layer dip); summer nights on the rooftop, which has lots of tables and its own bar.
Insider tip: On Tuesdays, kids get a free meal when parents order a regular dinner item. The restaurant now has a private parking lot in back.
>> See all 2010 Cheap Eats restaurants here