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As cheesesteaks are to Philly, the fish taco is to San Diego. Head to one of these San Diego fish taco landmarks and experience this tasty export from Baja for yourself.
While the fish taco may have originated in Baja, California, San Diego has certainly made this local staple into their signature dish. It's a perfect bite that represents our ties to our nearby border neighbors, along with our coastal community, epic surf culture and laidback beach lifestyle. With a bounty of fresh fish in our waters, farm crisp produce, handmade tortillas, authentic salsas and innovative sauces, San Diego has perfected the art of the fish taco.
Here are some of our favorite haunts for fabulous fish tacos (in no particular order):
Owned and operated by George's at the Cove Executive Chef Trey Foshee, Galaxy Taco made a splash when it opened in 2015 and has been making waves ever since with delicious Cali Baja style cuisine. As the name implies, the tacos are sublime including the Baja Fried Fish Taco served on a house-made tortilla with cabbage, pico de gallo, chipotle crema and avocado.
This rooftop outpost wows with its Pacific panoramas and views of La Jolla Cove, an ideal perch for a fish taco and cold cerveza. Executive Chef Trey Foshee has finessed this fish dish, as warm tortillas cradle marinated and grilled catch-of-the-day, topped with the crunch of cabbage, creamy guacamole and a wickedly good jalapeno-lime crème fraiche, all further elevated by his mango salsa. Marry that with the best ocean view in all of San Diego and a cold citrusy brew like an Insurgente Tiniebla Witbier from Tijuana, and you've got a perfect pairing.
Also in La Jolla, El Pescador Fish Market has been serving up ocean-to-table fare for over 25 years, boasting some of the freshest fish around. These guys dish out the perfect example of a traditional fish taco: succulent, flaky fresh fish on a pillow of cabbage, topped with tomatoes, guacamole, Mexican crema and cilantro on a warm, hand-made corn tortilla with fresh limes for squeezing. This taste represents the fish taco circa 1970, found in sleepy Mexican beach towns.
Locals pack this Ocean Beach seaside institution that's been a mecca for mahi mahi fish tacos for more than 20 years. These decadent beauties feature grilled fish, bedded on a soft tortilla with cheese, shredded cabbage, and their signature cream sauce. Crashing surf, soulful sunsets, 40 beers, 22 tequilas and one of the best happy hours in town make it a go-to beachside spot.
A favorite San Diego tradition since 1969, The Brigantine expanded beyond their original Shelter Island spot to bring tasty fish tacos to hungry patrons in Coronado, Point Loma, Del Mar, Escondido, Poway and La Mesa. Serving up fish tacos two ways, the Brigantine tempts with crispy white fish fillets or Sonoran-spiced swordfish both served with cabbage, salsa fresca, cheddar cheese and ranch dressing on corn tortillas. Time your visit for a Tuesday and enjoy $1 off featured tacos in their oyster bar.
The Braun brothers, avid fishermen and Baja road trippers, own this fish-only eatery that is famous for its tacos, served on warm El Indio tortillas with cabbage, tomatoes, onions, cheddar cheese, homemade white sauce, and plump with spicy-chipotle marinated fresh fish like red snapper, shark, swordfish, mahi mahi and more. Order up a local Ballast Point yellowtail ale and taste the true flavors of San Diego.
For 27 years strong, the Bravo family has been serving up traditional fish tacos in the friendly La Jolla neighborhood of Birdrock. Their beer-battered fish taco, sprinkled with onions and tomatoes, and drizzled with a secret white sauce recipe, costs only $1.99, and stands as a true contender for the best taco in town.
This seafood haven, with outposts in Pacific Beach, Hillcrest, the East Village and Encinitas, supports local farms and spotlights fresh ingredients. The battered fish taco is simply dressed with cabbage, cilantro, onion and tomatoes, but we suggest adding slivers of fresh avocado to the mix.
Located in Del Mar and Encinitas, this friendly little walk-up is known for its huge fish tacos with onions, tomatoes and pica de gallo for a fiery kick. Simple balanced flavors make this a memorable bite.
Post up on the dog friendly patio of this local favorite, famed for their award-winning TKO (technical knockout) taco - think grilled mahi-mahi marinated in spicy seasonings, counterbalanced by house-made tropical mango-pineapple salsa, perfect with a hoppy Stone IPA.
Their classic fish taco, beer battered and golden brown, is quintessential San Diego. Expect a line as those in the know head to this cheap and cheerful food truck in Linda Vista for seriously good eats.
Stay one night, get the second night 50% off Sunday through Wednesday. Guests will enjoy shorter lines and smaller crowds while exploring San Diego.
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