Fish Tacos Good Surf Are Just Two of the Reasons We Love This SoCal City
Where there’s talk of San Diego, there’s talk of tacos—specifically, fish tacos. The fish taco made its first appearance in San Diego in the 1980s and has since become a staple for locals and a must-try for tourists. But who holds the crown of best of the best? The iconic dish has been reinvented hundreds of times throughout the years, so we did a deep dive to find the freshest, most flavorful fish tacos you can find in America’s Finest City. Trust us—these are a total catch.
Must-Order: The Brig’s Famous Fish Tacos and a Modelo Oro
They don’t call their fish tacos “famous” for no reason. The Brigantine’s tacos are consistently listed as a favorite among SD locals. They serve this gluten-free goodness grilled and topped with cabbage, salsa fresca, cheddar and ranch for a rich and satisfying bite. Wash it down with an ice-cold Modelo Oro—a light cerveza with a crisp, clean finish. You’ll love this downtown waterfront spot for a seafood fix!
Locations: Multiple locations throughout San Diego
Must-Order: Baja Fish Taco and a Tradicional Michelada with Corona Light
Innovative fine dining meets casual cuisine at Urbana Del Mar. Since opening in 2021, Del Mar locals and taco connoisseurs alike have experienced upscale, award-winning central Mexican cuisine inspired by cities like Michoacán and Jalisco. With a vibrant and artsy vibe, Urbana Del Mar is the perfect location for a date night! Located inside Del Mar Highlands Town Center’s SkyDeck, this award-winning Mexican gastronomy destination offers an extensive selection of tacos—but the Baja Fish ones are a must-try. These feature the catch of the day, guacamole, pico de gallo, spicy aioli, cabbage and handmade corn tortillas, and you can get two for $12 or 3 for $17! Be sure to pair your tacos with a michelada made with Corona Light! Stop by for Taco + Tequila Tuesday and enjoy delicious deals on tacos, tequila and mezcal starting at 4 p.m., when tacos are two for $10 and palomas are only $11! Or, hop on over for happy hour every day on Monday-Friday from 3-6 p.m. and Saturday-Sunday from 2-4 p.m. Be sure to pair your pick with one of their handcrafted cocktails; we love the Golden Hour margarita! What else could you fish for?
Location: Del Mar
Must-Order: Baja Fish Taco
If you’re searching for the best Baja fish taco at the best price point—we’ve got you covered! Pure Taco on State St. offers a specialty Baja fish taco that’s $1.99 all day, every day! Served on a fresh, hand-pressed tortilla with seasonal white fish, cilantro slaw, crema and salsa fresca, it’s so delicious that we guarantee you’ll be back for more (maybe even the next day). This all-new modern, American taqueria will be your new go-to spot for good vibes, delicious tacos and specialty margaritas. Sit out on the open-air patio with your taco-lovin’ crew and cheers to your favorite new taqueria!
Local Insight: Happy hour runs Monday through Friday from 3-5 p.m. with stellar deals on drinks and tacos.
Must-Order: Hot Fish Taco and Modelo Negra
The beloved Bay Area eatery has finally made its way down to San Diego! La Jolla’s Pacific Catch specializes in serving up fresh seafood in every form imaginable. Snag a seat on the spacious patio or at the open-air bar and sip on a Modelo Negra, savoring the ambiance of this buzzy seafood hotspot. From the islands of Hawaii to the Southeast Asian country of Vietnam, each dish on their extensive menu draws inspiration from a diverse array of cuisines from around the world. The founders’ travels and love for the ocean has shaped the menu wholly, ensuring that each dish is ethically sourced with responsibly raised seafood. Now that’s something to taco ‘bout.
Location: La Jolla
Must-Order: Fish Taco (Baja-Style or Grilled)
Casero Taqueria’s founders strive to educate their community on Baja soul through the dining experience, so it’s no surprise that among their cuisine’s diverse flavors, the al fresco dining and the modern Baja decor inside, you feel like you’ve made your way to Mexico. Everything is homemade, which includes cooking proteins on an open wood flame and hand-pressing the tortillas.
Local Insight: Casero’s general manager insists you try the homemade churros because “everyone raves about them!”
Must-Order: Baja Fish Tacos
Puesto is the child of first-generation Mexican-Americans who frequently travel back to Mexico City searching for various flavors and family traditions to incorporate into their recipes back here in Cali. Pick a table al fresco or sit inside, where they have a super chic bar and an exhibition kitchen. Their Baja taco comes with a generous portion of battered cod on a non-GMO, blue corn tortilla and all the proper taco accouterments.
Locations: La Jolla, Mission Valley, San Diego at The Headquarters
Must-Order: Grilled Ahi Taco With Fish Shop Seasoning
As the name would suggest, it’s your local one-stop fish shop. Here you’ll find a true build-it-yourself experience with the choice of seven sauces, 12 fresh fish options and your choice of fried or grilled fish atop a corn or flour tortilla. As if that weren’t homemade enough, you can also buy fresh fish (by the pound) at the counter to cook at home.
Local Insight: Bring your own wine along to pair with your tacos for only a $5 corkage fee!
Must-Order: Baja-Style Fish Taco
Elevating the famous Tijuana street taco and classic Baja California eats is East Village’s very own Lola 55. Lola’s menu offers a modern twist on the classics with options every age can enjoy. They even offer a tantalizing vegan menu that has stolen even the most loyal of carnivore’s hearts and bellies—just ask the cauliflower taco.
Location: East Village
Must-Order: Mahi a la Veracruzana Taco
City Tacos stay true to its name by serving up unique tacos all over the city of San Diego—all the way from Imperial Beach to Encinitas. Specializing in combining traditional recipes with a hint of SoCal inspiration, no taco here is created equal. Grab yourself an innovative street taco loaded to maximum capacity in a casual, upbeat atmosphere. Spice up each bite with a variety of creative homemade salsas; the more flavor the merrier!
Local Insight: Cruise over on Taco Tuesday for $2.50 Mexican beers and 10% off all food!
Locations: Multiple San Diego locations
Must-Order: Shrimp Diabla and a Modelo
Stumble upon stellar tacos just outside of Barrio Logan’s historic Chicano Park at ¡SALUD TACOS! With a menu of Northern Mexican street food and ambient Southern California vibes, it’s been the taco spot in the town since opening its doors. Complete with vegan taco options and a variety of craft cocktails and beers, including classics like Modelo, come take a bite of tradition and experience a touch of Chicano flair from taco to tattoo-inspired murals.
Location: Barrio Logan
Must-Order: Stingray Taco and a Corona
What started as a modest taco shop has become an award-winning locals’ hideaway with several locations. Specializing in baja-style fish tacos in a casual atmosphere, TJ Oyster Bar prides itself on offering a simple, authentic take on the fish taco, but if you’re feelin’ frisky, try their stingray taco and pair it with a Corona! Prepare for a fresh, flavorful experience—that is if you can patiently wait in the typically long line out the door.
Locations: Bonita, Chula Vista
Must-Order: Battered Fish Taco
The first thing you’ll notice about Oscar’s is their generous portions. The veggies are just as crisp as the fish and make for the perfect lunch or dinner. They also offer a variety of sauces; sources tell us the green sauce and chipotle are to die for!
Location: Pacific Beach
Must-Order: Classic Fish Tacos
Located in the heart of La Jolla among the city’s finest beaches, El Pescador has proudly served up fresh fish for over 40 years. Plating locally sourced catches daily, there is no question that the quality of the tacos you’ll find here are a catch above the rest. Looking for a night in? Grab a fresh filet from the market case to throw on the grill at home.
Location: La Jolla
Must-Order: Camaron Enchilado Taco
Ain’t no taco like a food truck taco. Taste the authentic touch of Mariscos Mi Gusto Es, a top-tier taco truck located in San Diego’s very own East Village. Loaded with fish and flavor and topped off with the classic fixings, it’s a true classic-meets-classic experience that we can’t recommend enough. Take your taco to go and wander for a true downtown San Diego experience.
Location: East Village
Jaclyn is a sunshine chasing San Diego native with an extensive writing background. When she isn’t word-smithing, you can find her playing beach volleyball, skating the boardwalk, or on a rooftop enjoying a drink in the sunshine with her pals.