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Find out for Yourself What’s So Special About One of the City’s Signature Dishes 

Written By: Marisa Thrasher  Fish Tacos in San Diego
Photography By: Bhadri Kubendran

Simply put, for many Southern California residents, fish tacos are a dietary staple. No matter if you prefer them fried or grilled, fancy or casual, the end result is always a solid bite of deliciousness. If you ask anyone who’s spent a significant amount of time in San Diego where to go for fish tacos, they’ll probably eagerly share their favorites in town—and you’ll more than likely end up with a ton of different answers. But look no further because we’ve managed to find the best fish tacos SD has to offer!

 

1 | Baby Got Baja!  Fish Tacos in San Diego

Casero Taqueria

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 between their cuisine’s diverse flavors, the alfresco dining and the modern Baja decor inside, you feel like you’ve made your way to Mexico. Also, everything is homemade, which includes cooking proteins on an open wood flame and hand-pressing the tortillas.

Native Knowledge: Casero’s GM, Robert, insists you try the homemade churros because “everyone is raving about them!”

Casero Taqueria
2674 Gateway Rd, Ste 195
Carlsbad, CA 92009
760.405.4195

 

2 | Go for the Sunset, Stay for the Tacos Fish Tacos in San Diego

JRDN

Must-Order: Grilled Mahi Mahi Tacos

Not only can you eat one of the best fish tacos in town at JRDN (at the Tower 23 Hotel), but you can also catch an epic sunset from their famous beachfront patio in the heart of Pacific Beach. Chef David Warner recently took over as head chef and he’s committed to classic and flavorful foods. Their tacos are so light and fresh that you will return to this hot spot for more.
JRDN

723 Felspar St
San Diego, CA 92109
858.270.2323

3 | You’ll Wonder Why You Didn’t Go Sooner Fish Tacos in San Diego

Wonderland Ocean Beach

Must-Order: Fresh Fish Taco

Wonderland Ocean Beach is not only known for its hospitality and rad views of the beach, but also for their killer fish tacos. Chris, the general manager, says their secret to great tacos is “having fresh fish delivered daily.” This place tends to get busy during sporting events since they keep the games on, but it’s a great space for everyone to enjoy. 

Native Knowledge: Go on a Wednesday for Tacos & Tunes for drink specials and live music starting at 5:30 p.m.

Wonderland Ocean Beach
5083 Santa Monica Ave, Ste 2C
San Diego, CA 92107
619.255.3358

4 | So Fresh and So Clean Fish Tacos in San Diego

Tocaya Organica

Must-Order: Baja Taco With Catch of the Day

Tocaya Organica is committed to using natural, sustainable ingredients that are locally sourced, and their proteins are free of hormones, steroids and antibiotics—woohoo! Their “Modern Mexican” cuisine is upscale yet fast casual, so it’s perfect for those on-the-run that want to get something healthy. Be sure to try the Baja tacos, which have a perfect portion of shaved cabbage, cilantro, sweet chipotle sauce, a vegan chipotle crema on a corn tortilla and topped with the catch of the day. Bonus: they’re gluten-free!

Tocaya Organica

755 Fifth Ave
San Diego, CA 92101
619.343.2898

 

5 | Use Your Creative License  Fish Tacos in San Diego

Pacific Beach Fish Shop

Must-Order: TKO Taco

Since opening in 2010, the Pacific Beach Fish Shop has been known for its customizable fresh fish dishes, so if you haven’t been yet, you’re missing out. You pick your fish, a marinade (for grilled fish), a style (grilled or fried) and obviously you’re getting it served as a taco since that’s the best way to eat, well, anything. Not feeling creative? Try their award-winning TKO taco marinated in their very own Fish Shop seasoning. It’s beyond tasty. 

Pacific Beach Fish Shop
1775 Garnet Ave
San Diego, CA 92109
858.483.1008

 

6 | The Real Deal 

Mariscos El Pulpo

Must-Order: Fish Taco

Take one step inside the Gaslamp hot spot, Mariscos El Pulpo, and you’ll be mesmerized by its painted oceanic scenes. Their white fish tacos are simple and authentic, served either Ensenada style (battered and fried) or grilled and topped with cabbage and pico de gallo. For only $3 a taco, life doesn’t get much better! Friendly team member, Victoria, insists, “You just need to try them!”

Mariscos El Pulpo
415 Market St
San Diego, CA 92101
619.795.8570

 

7 | Attention All Professional Wrestling Fans!

Lucha Libre

Must-Order: Undefeated Seafood Taco With Mahi

In 2008, the Rojano brothers opened up their first Lucha Libre Gourmet Taco Shop outpost in Mission Hills. Yes, they incorporated their love of professional wrestling and its vibrant and colorful lucha libre culture. Their Undefeated Seafood Taco comes with seasoned Mahi (or shrimp), jack cheese, pico de gallo, cabbage and serrano sauce. We completely agree with cashier, Noel, who told us, “It’s hard to find tacos that aren’t fried, but still pretty tasty.” Lucha Libre nailed it.

Native Knowledge: Get extra serrano sauce. The tacos don’t need it, but it’s just that good. 

Lucha Libre
1810 W Washington St
San Diego, CA 92103
619.296.8226

8 | Keeping up With the Traditions  

Puesto

Must-Order: Baja Fish Tacos

Puesto is the child of first-generation Mexican-Americans who frequently travel back to Mexico City on the search for inspiration between 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, of course, comes with all the proper taco accoutrements. 

Native Knowledge: Go for Taco Tuesdays when you score tacos for $3.50 each and a pop a cold can of Modelo to wash it down for $4.  

Puesto

1026 Wall St
La Jolla, CA 92037
858.454.1260

 

9 | Fiesta, Fiesta Fish Tacos in San Diego

Casa Guadalajara

Must-Order: Ensenada Fish Tacos

At Casa Guadalajara, you’ll immediately feel the fun, fiesta vibes on the colorful and umbrella-dotted patio. “People come from near and far to enjoy our Ensenada Fish Tacos,” said Owner/Operator Diane Powers. “We only use the finest ingredients to create authentic Mexican flavors that make this dish a customer favorite.” The spicy salsa that tops off their Ensenada Fish Tacos is divine and is a huge hit among guests.

Casa Guadalajara

4105 Taylor St
San Diego, CA 92110
619.295.5111

10 | Taco Tuesday, Wednesday AND Thursday 

South Beach Bar & Grille

Must-Order: Wahoo Grilled Taco

South Beach Bar & Grille has SO many fish tacos to choose from, from grilled swordfish, Wahoo and Yellowtail to Mahi Mahi. Another option is the fried Baja taco, which is always a favorite among fish taco lovers. The service is fast and friendly and they have ocean views for days. They have tacos for only $2.95 all day every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday—the kind of taco day spirit everyone needs! 

South Beach Bar & Grille

5059 Newport Ave
San Diego, CA 92107
619.226.4577

11 | One of the Best in the West Fish Tacos in San Diego

The Brigantine

Must-Order: The Brig’s Famous Fish Tacos

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. There are multiple locations in San Diego, but the sunset views of their Del Mar outlet are pretty outstanding.

The Brigantine
3263 Camino Del Mar
Del Mar, CA 92014
858.481.1166

 

12 |  The Hunger Strikes Back

Oscar’s Mexican Seafood

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. Plus, they offer a variety of sauces. Sources tell us the green sauce and chipotle are to die for. 

Oscar’s Mexican Seafood
646 University Ave
San Diego, CA 92103
619.798.3550

 

13 | Cheapest Tacos in Town

El Zarape’s 

Must-Order: Fish-Battered Fried Taco

First of all, who sells anything for next to nothing these days?! Well, you’re in luck because El Zarape’s Fished-Battered Fried Taco is only 99 cents! Their chalkboard menu and get-your-own salsa bar give this place quintessential taco shop vibes, albeit a bit fancier. The tacos are super tasty and, let’s be real, how can you go wrong for 99 cents?!

El Zarape’s

4642 Park Blvd
San Diego, CA 92116
619.692.1652

 

14 | It’s Worth the Wait

The Taco Stand

Must-Order: Baja Taco

There are a few places you consistently see lines out the door. The Taco Shop is one of them. The ingredients including the fish are always super fresh. Their Baja Taco comes battered and is priced at a super reasonable $2.99. Plus, they’re open until 1 a.m. on Fridays, so it’s the perfect late-night delight. 

The Taco Stand
642 S Coast Hwy 101
Encinitas, CA 92024
760.230.2061

 

15 | You Fancy, Huh? Fish Tacos in San Diego

George’s Ocean Terrace

Must-Order: Blackened Fish Taco

George’s Ocean Terrace offers one of the most unique fish tacos in town and it’s absolutely delectable. Their taco creation consists of achiote marinated yellowtail and polished off with cabbage, cilantro, onion, salsa and crema. Also, they have one of the most spectacular views of the ocean from their downtown La Jolla rooftop. It’s not to be missed.

George’s Ocean Terrace
1250 Prospect St
La Jolla, CA 92037
858.454.4244