Written By: Elizabeth Morris and Chelsea Raineri
One of the many perks of living in Southern California is the beach, and what pairs better with beach-life than tacos and beer?! We spent many days trekking it through countless locations in search of the best, and here are the results.
With roots dating back to 1939, it’s no wonder that Santa Monica Seafood has mastered the fish taco. Thursdays from 2-5 p.m. at Santa Monica Seafood, a-la-carte tacos are $3 and house beer is $2.50! With tacos from the Fried Baja with battered cod, cabbage, baja sauce, and pico de gallo, to their Sautéed Shrimp with avocado salsa, cabbage and pico de gallo, anyone will find a taco that fits their taste.
Native Knowledge: Santa Monica Seafood was originally located on the Santa Monica Pier before opening their Southern California locations.
154 E 17th St
Costa Mesa, CA 92627
Tucked away in the corner of the Anaheim Packing District, this taco joint offers a little safe haven from the crowd, as well as some mean eats! Urbana offers a taste of Michoacán in Orange County, with meals that are clean, simple and con mucho sabor! Their one-of-a-kind Baja Fish Tacos are served on handmade corn tortillas, tastefully equipped with the catch of the day, cabbage, guacamole, pico de gallo, and spicy aioli for an extra kick. Show up on Taco Tuesday to get this, and their other specialty tacos, for a two-for-$5 special.
Native Knowledge: Start with the elote, which is Mexican street corn, grilled to perfection. With the right amount of char and a dash of citrus aioli, it is finished off with a roll in cotija cheese and spices. Remember to pair your tacos with one of their refreshing Micheladas too!
Anaheim Packing District
440 S Anaheim Blvd
Anaheim, CA 92806
Inspired by Mexico City’s culture and flavors, Puesto delivers award-winning tacos to Irvine. The
restaurant’s design combines the influences of Mesoamerica and a Yucatán jungle to create a casual dining atmosphere. Their gourmet tacos, bowls and salads are all made with fresh and local ingredients. Some of their noteworthy fish tacos include the classic Baja Fish and the
Grilled Market Fish.
Native Knowledge: Their #TacoTuesday is from 3 p.m. until closing, and their happy hour is Monday through Friday from 3-6 p.m.
8577 Irvine Center Dr
Irvine, CA 92618
Fly-N-Fish follows the philosophy of ocean-to-fork eating to give diners fresh seafood. The restaurant’s motivation for fresh cooking comes from Executive Chef Julio Hawkins, who learned to cook using fresh and simple ingredients that emphasize the food’s natural flavors. Their taco options include the Wild Alaskan Cod, the Caribbean Lobster and the Shrimp Tacos.
Native Knowledge: Head to Fly-N-Fish on Mondays to get the Wild Alaskan Cod Tacos are as a lunch special.
2304 W Oceanfront
Newport Beach, CA 92663
Taco Maria’s dishes are much more than a pretty face—they taste as good as they look! The style of cooking at Taco María is a mix between American and Mexican culture, or “Alta California” cuisine. Order the Pescado Frito with local black cod, charred scallion aioli, cabbage and grapes—yes, grapes. The unique flavors of their tacos make them a hot-spot and will keep you coming back for more.
Native Knowledge: Chef Carlos Salgado spent years in San Francisco and Oakland, to learn in some of the Bay Area’s highly rated kitchens.
3313 Hyland Ave
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Located in trendy outdoor mall, The Camp, Taco Asylum serves up unique and flavorful dishes to its diners. With tacos like the Bacon PB&J taco with roasted peanut butter, carrot-ginger jam, fresh greens, sweet and spicy bacon, and pickled fresno chili, you’ll be coming back to try all the dishes that the Specialty Taco menu has to offer. Want to keep it classic? Opt for the Carne Asada taco with fire-grilled steak, salsa negro, onion, cilantro, and a tangy lime wedge. Either way, your taco craving will be satisfied.
Native Knowledge: Quench your thirst with one of Taco Asylum’s craft beers! With six beers on tap, and 40 specialty beers by the can, you’ll have several options to pair your taco with.
2937 S Bristol St, Ste B102
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Best Fish Tacos in Orange County Best Fish Tacos in Orange County
Slapfish started out as a food truck and eventually opened their brick and mortar restaurant in Huntington Beach. Their fish tacos are amazing! Owner Chef Andrew Gruel promotes sustainable ingredients whenever possible. As a product of using sustainable produce, the menu changes such as the seasons do. Now let’s talk tacos, the toppings used are very fresh and the seasoning on each piece of fish is delicious. Each taco is topped with “awesome sauce” and cabbage. Their menu offers tons of mouth watering dishes like Chowder Fries and Lobster Taquitos to name a few.
Native Knowledge: They have a great happy hour, or Slappy Hour, Monday through Thursday from 3-5 p.m. and 8-9 p.m.
19696 Beach Blvd
Huntington Beach, CA 92648
Located in the historic district of downtown Fullerton, this place has charm with its old building, large booths and an even longer bar. Come for dinner to enjoy the dimly lit atmosphere. Chef Dave Dennis does Baja justice with his Mahi Mahi fish tacos. Here you’ll find the best cabbage that’s lightly dressed with Baja sauce and topped with Cotija cheese, adding the perfect touch to the tacos.
Native Knowledge: On Taco Tuesday, they offer tacos that are only $1.25 from 2 p.m. to close!
111 N Harbor Blvd
Fullerton, CA 92832
Chef Jimmy Martinez not only makes some of the tastiest tacos in Anaheim, but this spot is as Instagram worthy as the food is delicious. The menu is broken up into two categories: Tacos and Not Tacos, because that’s truly the best way to live. Pour Vida offers five different tacos from the sea, so you can eat your fish-taco-loving-heart out.
Native Knowledge: Pour Vida also offers vegetarian options under their “From the Garden” portion of the menu.
185 W Center Street Promenade
Anaheim, CA 92805
Best Fish Tacos in Orange County
Bear Flag Fish Co. has a beautiful display of different types of seafood. Your options for different dishes are endless, but their fish tacos are a thing of beauty. Order up the Bear Flag Fish Tacos for their panko crusted white fish with cabbage, pico de gallo and, of course, their special Tommy sauce.
Native Knowledge: Come prepared to wait in line; this place is usually packed.
3421 Via Lido
Newport Beach, CA 92663
Hapa J’s is dedicated to their Taco Tuesdays. In fact, they don’t even open until 4:30 p.m.! They take pride in their corn tortillas as they’re made from scratch for this special occasion. Try the Seared Ahi Poke Taco or their Coconut Shrimp Taco, both loaded with plenty of fish for only about $4. Pair your tacos with an ice cold draft pint of Primo.
Native Knowledge: Dining at Hapa J’s is an experience of itself as the decor is Hawaiian, offering something unique and fun!
2016 S El Camino Real
San Clemente, CA 92672
Best Fish Tacos in Orange County
Come to Sol Cocina for the food, stay for ambience! When you arrive, opt for any of the fish tacos and you won’t leave disappointed. If your palate is craving something fruity and spicy, try the Grilled Fish Zarandeado Taco, which features a pineapple-cucumber salsa. If you have an infinite love for salsas, Sol is the place for you, serving up several fresh salsas that are made daily. Be sure not to miss out on Tequila & Taco Tuesdays, every Tuesday from 4-10 p.m.
Native Knowledge: Get served dockside! Pull up behind Sol, and you’ll be able to enjoy their delicacies from the privacy of your own boat.
251 E Pacific Coast Hwy
Newport Beach, CA 92660