For many people, discovering Momentos Café is like hitting the culinary jackpot. Some restaurants offer delicious food, but at extravagant prices, while others may be cheaper but the food is not up to your expectations. At Momentos, you get fantastic, authentic Mexican food at affordable prices, plus terrific service in an inviting setting as well. That is why this family-owned eatery at Grossmont Center is considered a true hidden gem in the San Diego restaurant scene.

Momentos is a step above your average taco shop. Of course, tacos and burritos are well represented on the menu, but they are featured alongside dishes that are not seen quite as frequently, such as sopes, ceviche, tortas, and mulitas. All of the food is prepared with great care by owner Karim Parra and the staff.

“We want everyone to feel comfortable here,” Parra says. “Momentos is a casual, relaxed place where families can enjoy a wonderful meal that is not expensive. Co-workers can drop by for lunch together or take it to go if they are in a hurry. It is also a great place to unwind while shopping, and we even have regulars who visit Grossmont Center so they can eat here. We want everyone to leave feeling that they just had a lovely home-cooked meal, like something made by their mom or grandmother.”

That is if your mother or grandmother was a talented chef who was an expert in Mexican cuisine. Momentos earns praise for its food down to the smallest details, such as the fresh, soft rolls used for tortas, or the excellent quality and variety of the salsas that come with the complimentary tortilla chips. The dishes are crafted from high-quality ingredients, and their made-to-order preparation ensures everything tastes delicious and fresh. Tacos and burritos come with mouthwatering fillings such as shredded beef, chicken, and carne asada. For something different, try the mulitas, which are a kind of taco/quesadilla hybrid made of grilled corn tortillas stuffed with meat and melted cheese.

All of their portions are hearty, especially the platters. Your options include enchiladas, flautas, empanadas, and tostadas. A customer favorite is the sopes platter; picture an extra-thick corn tortilla crowned with delectable toppings and a choice of chicken, adobada, asada, or shredded beef. All their platters come with a heaping serving of tasty rice and beans.

During colder weather, the piping hot soups are a must. The delicious rotation includes pozole, birria, and albóndigas, as well as the always-popular tortilla soup that warms with the flavors of chiles and cilantro. Salads, quesadillas, tortas, and burgers round out the lunch and dinner menu.

This fiesta of food doesn’t end there. The breakfast menu offers several variations on burrito and egg dishes for a great way to start your morning. For a real pick-me-up, order the cafe de olla, a coffee drink sweetened with the irresistible flavors of dark Mexican sugar and cinnamon.

The tastiness of the food is equaled by the service. Parra can be seen taking orders and delivering food to tables, and all Momentos team members follow that example of courteous, solicitous service. A noticeable friendliness and warmth are displayed by the staff, and that creates a convivial dining atmosphere. It is a clean, well-kept restaurant where customers can relax in the intimate space while waiting for the food, which is delivered quickly. Many customers say they are never disappointed with the food or service; it is why they keep coming back for more!

Momentos is the definition of a charming mom-and-pop restaurant. When you buy local and give your business to these kinds of restaurants and shops, you are supporting tireless entrepreneurs who have dedicated themselves to you, their customer. Grossmont Center businesses build their reputation on quality goods and services that cannot be found everywhere. Their uniqueness makes them stand out. At the Center, our valuable family of “Shop Local” tenants makes us more than just a mall. We are the place to go to in La Mesa, a community gathering spot for shopping or spending time with friends and loved ones.

In addition to contributing to our community’s character, local businesses help boost the La Mesa economy. They help create jobs, work with regional suppliers, and contribute vital sales tax revenue to the city—in fact, for every dollar spent in the community, on average 67 cents stays in the local economy, according to the 2018 Small Business Economic Impact Study. Obviously, these businesses enrich our community in more ways than one. That is why it is always important to shop local.

Momentos Café invites you to put your money where your stomach is: The next time you get a craving for Mexican food, come to Grossmont Center. Support a terrific local business and savor some great food. It is a win-win!

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