Kirbie's Cravings

Carnitas’ Snack Shack – Carmel Valley/ Del Mar

The ever popular Carnitas’ Snack Shack opened its second location last week, inside Del Mar Highlands Town Center (which seems to be the designated spot for second restaurant locations as it also houses the North County branches of Searsucker and Snooze). I was extremely excited to check out the new digs, which are bigger with indoor seating and a better parking situation.

The menu is pretty much the same, though they do offer a monthly doughnut special and the pork burger is a permanent menu item at this new branch. The restaurant has both indoor seating and some patio seating.

While the restaurant was busy, it was not nearly as crowded as the original location, which is what I was hoping for. We were able to order and grab a table right away.

Elvis Doughnut

The doughnut had a peanut butter glaze and is topped with chocolate chips, candied bacon and a cinnamon sugar dusted plantain chip. I was a little disappointed that the donut itself was plain, with all the flavors coming from the frosting and toppings. This was a decent doughnut, but a bit overpriced at $5.

Pork Burger

The pork patty is topped with Gorgonzola cheese and candied bacon. I’ve had this before and enjoyed it but I actually found the candied bacon on this occasion to be overwhelming and it made the burger too salty. The patty itself is flavorful and juicy. The burger is accompanied by their corn and jicama slaw, which is light, crunchy and refreshing.

Carnitas Tacos

The carnitas tacos here are completely loaded with tender pork carnitas. It’s actually a little hard to hold up because of the heavy amount of pork, but I’m really happy with the portions.

Pork Belly App

Of course, no meal for us is complete here without an order of their pork belly, hands-down our favorite item here. The generous, tender braised pork belly is paired with a sweet and spicy glaze reminsicent of Asian inspired flavors. I’ve been meaning to try making it at home, but Mr. K insisted I make a crispy version instead, hence the crispy golden pork belly I recently made. I did find this recipe online that seems like it would produce similar results to Carnitas’ version.  The pork belly is accompanied by an apple frisée salad that is both refreshing and cuts into the sweetness of the glaze.

Overall, we had a good meal here. I was worried that they would still be working out the kinks, but things ran very smoothly. The quality of food was on par with the original location, and I love the additional space and parking this new location provides. We’ll definitely be visiting more often.

Carnitas’ Snack Shack – Carmel Valley/ Del Mar
12873 El Camino Real, Ste M4
San Diego, CA 92130


12873 El Camino Real, Suite M-4
San Diego, CA 92130 – See more at:
12873 El Camino Real, Suite M-4
San Diego, CA 92130 – See more at:' Snack Shack on Urbanspoon

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8 comments on “Carnitas’ Snack Shack – Carmel Valley/ Del Mar”

  1. The peanut butter glaze on the donut looks oh so smooth… but $5 bucks for a donut seems a bit too steep. We visited Carnitas Snack Shack once and we just thought it was okay… so maybe we ordered the wrong things (we got a triple pork sandwich and the carnitas taco). Maybe that pork belly is the way to go! 

  2. Oh no…  Now that you posted about how great it is it will probably be packed next time I go…

  3. Ooh we go to the Cinepolis movies there, nice to know we have another great food option. I love their carnitas tacos! The NP location has such crazy lines though, this seems like a good option. 

  4. I was just there yesterday for dinner! You ordered everything I didn’t order (except for the pork belly app) so I can’t wait to revisit this place as the food was amazing. I agree the pork belly was delicious. The Triple Threat was my favorite item there that evening. 

    • i’ve only had the triple threat once and thought it was a little dry but it may have just been that visit. i’ll be curious to see what you had!