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Alfonso’s of La Jolla: Remembering an iconic restaurant 

Alfonso Fierro. Photo credit unknown.

For nearly 40 years, Mexican restaurant Alfonso’s of La Jolla at 1251 Prospect St. anchored families in The Village, serving enchiladas, memories and more.

Owner Alfonso Fierro began working in the food industry in the 1960s as a dishwasher before working his way through various food service jobs at similarly-remembered La Plaza, eventually opening his own restaurant in an old courtroom in La Jolla in 1971.

Alfonso moved his eatery to the Prospect Street location in 1977; his son Jorge Fierro ran the place for several years as well until its relocation to Solana Beach in 2016 and eventual shuttering in 2019.

In a La Jolla-based Facebook group, current and former residents fondly recalled numerous visits to Alfonso’s of La Jolla, from staff softball games to stating the restaurant served the best carne asada burritos around.

Now, a new restaurant is poised to take the iconic location. Longtime La Jollan Steve Horowitz is preparing to open Aldea Wednesday, Jan 31, taking over for Mermaids & Cowboys, an upscale take on surf and turf dishes that Mike Matthews operated in the space from 2020 to 2023.

Aldea, Spanish for “village,” will feature a menu inspired by foods “from Mexico City on up to Carlsbad or Orange County,” Horowitz said, with “unique ingredients that you just don’t see on menus.”

Horowitz, who also owns Buck’s Meat Market in The Village, focuses all of his businesses on community, he said, and imagines Aldea will function largely as a place for locals of all ages.

“It’s really just about bringing people together,” Horowitz said. 

Aldea will even feature a margarita called “The Alfonso,” he said, in a nod to the history of the location. 

Many locals come by the new restaurant with stories about Alfonso’s, Horowitz said, stories stretching back decades that indicate how important the traditional Mexican restaurant was to the community.

“Our goal is really, to really focus on La Jolla,” he said. “We want to be on that list of the top five spots that people want to go.”

Alfonso’s in 1986, with owner Alfonso Fierro, far left. Photo courtesy of the La Jolla Historical Society.
Elisabeth Frausto

Elisabeth Frausto

Elisabeth Frausto has been reporting on and writing about La Jolla since 2019. With dozens of local and state journalism awards to her name, Elisabeth knows the industry as well as she knows her community. When she’s not covering all things 92037, you’ll find her with coffee in hand staring at the sea.
Elisabeth Frausto

Elisabeth Frausto

Elisabeth Frausto has been reporting on and writing about La Jolla since 2019. With dozens of local and state journalism awards to her name, Elisabeth knows the industry as well as she knows her community. When she’s not covering all things 92037, you’ll find her with coffee in hand staring at the sea.

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