With a location near the border, it's no surprise that Mexican cuisine has a sizable presence in San Diego. There is some debate as to who brought the famous fish taco back to San Diego from Baja, where fresh seafood is present in regional dishes.
Fish tacos from Brigantine — Photo courtesy of Katie Dillon
The usual components of a fish taco include grilled or battered fish, cabbage, salsa, white sauce and a corn tortilla. Yes, it's a simple mixture that some San Diego restaurants have mastered while others fall flavorlessly flat. If visiting San Diego for the first time and anxious to try our famous dish, here's where you can go.
On the Beach
South Beach Bar & Grill is a casual bar with a spectacular view of funky Ocean Beach. Seafood tacos include mahi mahi, shrimp, lobster or shark. They pile on the salsa higher than other places, but that's part of the reason why they are often considered the best fish taco in San Diego. Delicious is an understatement. Prices range from $3.50-$6.95, however, all tacos (with the exception of lobster) are $2.75 on Taco Tuesdays.
South Beach Bar & Grill Tacos — Photo courtesy of Katie Dillon
At Happy Hour
Brigantine Seafood restaurant locations include Coronado, Point Loma, La Mesa, Del Mar, Escondido and Poway. The Brig's fish tacos use fried fish with ranch dressing and a generous amount of cheddar cheese on top. They are a great value at happy hour (check location for pricing info).
To Go From Almost Anywhere
La Jolla resident, Ralph Rubio, ate his first fish taco in San Felipe and set out to create his own fish taco recipe upon return from his trip. Now, wherever you are in San Diego, you can probably find a Rubio's restaurant to grab a reliably good, inexpensive fish taco. Their original fish taco includes a special beer batter, white sauce, mild salsa and cabbage. They've branched out from the original to include interesting combinations, such as the salmon and chimichurri taco. And, they have plenty of gluten-free taco options.
Posh Fish Tacos
Make a reservation at George's Ocean Terrace, the upstairs patio dining area at George's at the Cove, that offers one of the best ocean view dining experiences in San Diego. The decor is modern, yet comfortable, and the bar can easily pair a craft beer or specialty cocktail with your fish taco, which have mango salsa, guacamole, jalapeno-lime creme fraiche and shredded cabbage. The plate runs $13.50.
Fish tacos are often served with a side of lime and locals debate whether or not the hint of citrus is necessary. Whether you squeeze or not, the above restaurants are sure to satisfy a fish taco fix.