Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >
Aug 17, 2006 10:05 PM

Los Cotijas Taco Shop - Tustin - A Review with Photo

Where else but Orange County can a trio of long-haired, Asian-American surfer dudes build an empire selling Mexican food. But as much I admire the homegrown success of Wahoo's, I do not like their fish tacos because of one very simple reason: the fish must be fried.

Charbroiling the fish over flames may cut the fat content and increase its heart-health quotient, but it makes for flavorless, lifeless, dry-as-dust tacos. Deep-frying is the only path to righteousness for tacos de pescado.

The folks at Los Cotijas operate on this tried-and-true, time-tested principle. And the result? Well let's just say that your cardiologist likely won't approve. But damn if it ain't one tasty taco!

A slender fillet of white-fleshed fish is dunked in batter, dropped into hot grease, and fried until it attains a golden brown crunch. Stop here and you'd have half of what the British serve in their pubs as fish and chips. But wrap it around warm corn tortillas, top with crunchy shredded cabbage, mound on a spoonful of spicy pico de gallo, squirt some tangy, milky-white mayo-sauce and you have the best invention to come out of our Southern neighbors since tequila.

Los Cotijas charges you a paltry two bucks for each. And even if the Rubio's chain might charge less per taco, theirs is also smaller in size and lacks the soulfulness of these beauties. And if you think you'll miss the faux thatched roof over Rubio's salsa bar, or the signs pointing south with the distance in miles to Ensanada and Los Cabos, take comfort in this: Los Cotijas' grimy and worn interior is more accurate to what a fish taco joint would actually look like in Mexico.

Los Cotijas Taco Shop
(714) 832-7681
642 E 1st St
Tustin, CA 92780


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Nicely written, as always ! Must try this place, and soon.

    1 Reply
    1. Elmo, I'm in your club as far as fried v. grilled. Tacos are not meant to be health food.

      Your excellent review begs the question of comparison to the LA standard, Tacos de Baja Ensenada. How does Los Cotijas fare, taco a taco?

      2 Replies
      1. re: Mrs Fang

        Actually, I've never tried Tacos de Baja Ensenada...yet. But as for comparing it to fish tacos I've had here in OC, like Bajas Fish Tacos, Los Cotijas wins. Bajas Fish Tacos' fish, although deep fried, is actually dry, which amazes me.

        The best fish taco I've had thus far is from El Taco Nazo in Chino Hills...which are small things, but deliciously delectable and packed with flavor.

        El Taco Nazo Chino Hills, by the way, is in no way associated to the Taco Nazo chain, which has popped up in Bellflower and other areas. The chain's tacos (at least in Bellflower), although good initially, hits you with a greasy oil slick halfway through...fried fish tacos are great, but grease is not.

        1. re: elmomonster

          Los Cotijas taco's aren't heavy battered like Nazo's or Taco's de Baja Ensenada, which is a good thing!
          Los Cotijas fish tacos are pretty good except for the tough tortilla I just encountered an hour ago. I almost didn't stop because while walking by their window I saw someone eating the Fake Fluorescent Green Guacamole(enough Mayo to choke a horse) that was on their taquito's which is a major turn off. I've been to LC before and it was ok(haven't been back till today) but being in East LA almost weekly it's hard to find any Mexican Food that's great in OC.
          If you get a chance try CHRONIC TACO'S in NEWPORT, pretty good.

      2. Well, Elmomonster, you've got me really curious to try this place now, because I do quite enjoy Rubio's fish tacos, probably my favorite among chain restaurants. I really like their chipotle-style salsa, as it seems perfect for thier fish tacos. I do agree about the dry flavorless ones at Baja Fresh and Wahoo's. I only get the burritos at Wahoo's now.

        Just curioius if you've tried Taqueria El Granjenal, on 19th St, in Costa Mesa. They seem to have one of the best fish tacos in OC, and I've never heard anyone say bad things about their food yet.

        I had run across some negative reviews on Los Cotijas before, so that's why I haven't tried it yet, but you've now given me inspiration to try it soon, maybe sometime next week.