The 10 Best Fish Tacos In California

Fish Tacos | © djjewelz/Flickr
Fish Tacos | © djjewelz/Flickr
Photo of Uniqua Hardy
30 September 2016

Due to the Pacific coastline and the shared border with Mexico, fish tacos are to California what fried chicken is to the Southern states. You’ll find variations served on every corner, from San Diego through to vibrant Los Angeles and all the way up the coast to San Francisco. Here are 10 of the best.

Tacos Baja

Tacos Baja is in the Los Angeles area and is inspired by the coastal city of Ensenada in Baja California. It specializes in seafood, and popular choices include fish tacos, shrimp tacos, shrimp cocktails, and ceviche tostadas, all prepared with roasted yellow ‘chiles gueros’ and lightly sprinkled with red chili powder. The menu is short, simple, and fuss-free, which makes it a great place for enjoying casual snacks with friends or grabbing something quick to eat on the go.

Rogue | Nick's Crispy Tacos

Restaurant, Mexican
Map View
Nick’s Crispy Tacos was named the place to get the best tacos in San Fransisco by SF Weekly in both 2005 and 2013. It opened in 2002 as a day time restaurant serving fresh Mexican cuisine in the night club Rogue Lounge. Today the two have joined forces, and the lines between Rogue and Nick’s Crispy Tacos have blurred into one. The atmosphere is casual and friendly, and it’s the perfect place for happy hour drinks and snacks with friends or a nice dinner out with the whole family. There’s occasional live music as well as sports events on the plasma televisions.


With eateries in both San Diego and La Jolla, as well as a joint set to soon open in Irvine, Puesto is one of the top places in the state to enjoy fish tacos. It’s known for award-winning tacos and delicious Mexican street food made with all-natural meat, sustainable seafood, and local organic greens. Fish taco options include octopus, swordfish, tuna, lobster, beer-battered cod, and shrimp. The menu also has a good amount of meat and vegetarian choices, as well as soups, specialty salsas and guacamoles, salads, bowls, sides, and desserts. If you plan on returning, be sure to check out Puesto’s loyalty system for free tacos, discounts, and other rewards.

1026 Wall St, La Jolla, CA, USA +1 858 454 1260

Bull Taco

Bull Taco is in the city of Encinitas in San Diego County, half-way between San Diego and Los Angeles. Positioned right on the beach, you can take in beautiful views of the ocean while ordering tacos, burritos, tortas, quesadillas, salads, and Mexican bowls. There’s also a popular breakfast menu, as well as daily specials that won’t break your wallet. The Surf and Turf Taco features shrimp and asada with queso fresco, onions, and cilantro. Other options include shrimp curry, fish of the day, and a California taco that comes with tater tots and guacamole.

Mi Casa

Bar, Cocktail Bar, Restaurant, Mexican, $$$
Map View
Mi Casa is an authentic Orange County Mexican restaurant with locations in both Costa Mesa and Rancho Santa Margarita. Since opening its doors in 1972, the family-owned restaurant has won many awards, the most recently for the best tacos, best Mexican food, and the best burritos in the 2015 OC People’s Choice Awards. The menu is a mix of classic Cal-Mex dishes and special family recipes, including options for lunch, brunch, dinner ,and happy hour. The atmosphere is laid-back, with rustic, red brick accents, weathered chairs, and beautiful dark wood, and it’s one of the best places to enjoy fish tacos along with a selection of enticing cocktails, beer, and wine.

Cholita Linda

Restaurant, American, $$$
Map View
Located in Oakland, Cholita Linda is vibrant and colorful. In addition to Baja fish tacos, the menu includes meaty tacos, a variety of sandwiches, salads and fried fish plates, along with exotic drinks like Sangria and a range of fresh citrus and fruit juices. The owner’s love for food started as a child when she watched her grandmother cook, and her restaurant is a warm tribute to Latin American culture. With a charming outdoor patio and colorful décor, the Cholita Linda restaurant offers great food and even better company.

Fish 101

The Fish Shop

Market, Restaurant, Seafood, Salad Bar, $$$
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You’ll find the popular Fish Shops, which double as fresh fish markets and grill restaurants, in the coastal locations of Pacific Beach, Encinitas and Hermosa Beach. In each location, they are known by locals as one of the area’s best places to get quick service and the freshest fish. With a unique individually customizable menu, you first choose your favorite from a wide selection of fish, then a marinade to go along with it, and lastly your preferred style of a taco, sandwich or plate. You can either dine on the outdoor patio or eat inside, and there is also an option of ordering the fresh daily catch to cook at home from their fish market. One of the most popular tacos is the award winning TKO taco with fresh grilled mahi and house white sauce topped with the house’s tropical mango salsa.

Taco Nazo

With six independently owned spots around the Los Angeles area in Azusa, Bellflower, La Habra, La Puente, South El Monte, and Walnut, Taco Nazo is one of the most recognized restaurants serving fish and shrimp tacos. The small restaurant chain started from a single food truck in 1978, offering authentic, Baja-style cuisine, and today the locations still serve high quality, authentic dishes. Inside the signature taco, you’ll find crunchy battered Alaskan pollock wrapped in two corn tortillas along with cabbage, chopped tomato, and secret sauce. In addition, the menu has meat quesadillas, seafood ceviche tostadas, shrimp cocktails, and burritos.

Blue Water Seafood Market & Grill

Restaurant, Seafood, Mexican, $$$
Map View
Blue Water Seafood Market & Grill is a local San Diego seafood spot known for fish tacos. The restaurant is owned by fishermen who grew up in the surrounding waters surfing, boating, and diving. The regular menu includes a mixture of grilled fish with your choice of marinade, served in a sandwich, a salad, or on a plate, as well as the famous fish tacos, homemade soups, and fresh oysters. There are also changing specials with the best seasonal seafood and locally caught fish, ranging from Black Seabass, local Halibut, Alaskan Halibut, Copper River King Salmon, Steelhead, Grouper, Opah, and Ahi.

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