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Fish tacos in Fresno?

I'm flying into Fresno and heading out to Sequoia National Park next month. I would LOVE to be able to find some true Baja-style fish tacos along the way. Any recommendations?

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  1. My favorite is El Toro at the SE corner of Cedar & Shields, not far from the airport. They're grilled however, not battered, and sort of pricey, @8.00 for two ala carte, iirc. Be sure and get the special sauce as well as the salsa if you go.

    Hopefully, other local hounds will chime in with other finds of both styles.

    4 Replies
    1. re: PolarBear

      PB, hubby and I noticed that Numero Uno in Clovis has fish tacos on the menu. We have been there a few times and love their breakfast burritos and chicken mole. We have never tried the fish tacos there and I was wondering if you or any other hounds had sampled the fish tacos there. If so, what style were they?

      1. re: glazebrookgirl

        Managed to swing by last Thursday all psyched up for fish tacos only to find they were no longer on the menu. After ordering a chicken mole taco and a chile verde taco (too full to get a burrito since I'd stopped earlier at Jus Jo's for a half order of biscuits & gravy), I asked Brenda if she knew of any place doing a decent fish taco, she didn't and when I inquired why that might be she hinted that the price of fish was the deterrant. The chicken was tender in a red mole sauce, a little too mild for my tastes, but Brenda's hot sauce brought it up to the right level, great depth of flavor. The chile verde had nice tender chunks of pork and again great flavor to the sauce. She kept telling me I have to try the carnitas, and I will next time. Tacos were $2 ea and well worth it.

        1. re: PolarBear

          Hmmm...that's odd. Hubby and I were just there a week or two ago and noted the fish tacos on the menu as a reason to come back. The chicken mole is indeed a tad on the mild side, but since I am going to add hot sauce anyway, I just add a little more to make it as hot as I like.

      2. re: PolarBear

        As I noted in the Feb 19 update to Fresno Closures and Changes thread, El Toro Cafe has closed and are relocating to the big red brick building on the east side of Cedar Ave, a block north of Shields, the former site of DiCicco's. Will try to get by and see if I can get a guess on when they might reopen.

      3. I am afraid I won't be too much help on this one. Fish tacos are not really my area of expertise and I don't really think of the Central Valley as a place with a lot of great fish options. We got a lot of carnitas, but fish not so much. That being said, a long time ago I had good fish tacos at Alberto's. I haven't been back in awhile, so keep that in mind. One of their specialities was a surf and turf combo, where you got one fish taco, baja style, and one carne asada taco. You used to order it by name. Be sure to ask for extra lime. They have three locations:

        311 N Abby St, Fresno, 93701 - (559) 268-3246
        6745 N Blackstone Ave, Fresno, 93710 - (559) 448-4695
        3880 N Cedar Ave, Fresno, 93726 - (559) 226-7731

        Don Pepe's is discussed at length on this board and while they don't have any fish tacos, they do have fabulous shrimp dishes. I highly recommend them for all sorts of shrimpy goodness.
        4582 N Blackstone Ave
        Fresno, CA 93726
        (559) 224-1431

        Hopefully that will help somewhat.

        1 Reply
        1. re: glazebrookgirl

          To all who try Don Pepe`s you must try the sopes al pastor ( grilled, marinated pork )

        2. Thanks, guys. I really do appreciate the advice! I'm coming in from Texas, so I can get carnitas, carne asada and shrimp at home, but fish tacos are a rarity here.

          1. At the risk of being shunned, I'll suggest Rubio's. It's a chain that started in San Diego (showing my roots here). I like their fish tacos and they are consistently good. Not outstanding, but good. There is one in Riverpark, which is of of Herndon, between Blackstone and Nees.

            1 Reply
            1. re: tavmark

              Ah appraently it was really early when I wrote that. Directions would be that it's on Blackstone between Herndon and Nees.

            2. I agree with tavmark, Rubio's is probably the best choice. Other places in the valley that serve them don't sell to many. With Baja style fish tacos you want a place that counts them as a specialty rather than an afterthought.

              1. If you were willing to take a little drive, Colima's on Main Street in Visalia and Vallarta on E. Pine in Exeter make great fish tacos. Well worth the drive!

                2 Replies
                1. re: pkatwillobee

                  Thanks for the tip, pkat. It's always great to hear about good finds in little out of the way places.

                  1. re: pkatwillobee

                    I'll actually be spending my weekend in Visalia (after flying into Fresno and seeing Sequoias) so I will try to hit Colima's, too!

                  2. Stopped by the new Chapala Grill in the new center at Friant and Ft. Washington roads yesterday. Tried one grilled and one Baja style (battered). Started with the complimentary chips and salsa and refried beans topped with cheese. Chips were light and fresh tasting, the salsa initially had a sweet note to it but was followed with enough of a kick to make it OK, beans also were just OK, kind of bland not like the tasty ones that Lorena's serves up with their chips & salsa.

                    The Baja style was pretty tasty, well done batter not too thick and not greasy at all, a single long irregular piece of fresh tasting fish. The grilled seemed to have a little more of the fish on it and the seasoning was very good. The only off putting thing was they were served with lettuce instead of cabbage. Ala carte the two were $5 plus tax, 7.25 w/rice, beans and salad. I inquired as to what fish they were using and after checking with the kitchen was told it was "Bola" and they didn't know the English translation, I'm guessing red snapper.

                    It's a big open upscale place with an extensive menu and full bar off to the side. Along with huevos rancheros, other menu items that looked interesting are the chilaquiles (6.50) w/ green, red, or mole poblano, Pozole verde (6.25), a couple of versions of grilled skirt steak (10.95), Pollo en Mole Poblano, and a large selection of fish and shellfish.

                    Chapala Grill
                    9433 N. Ft. Washington
                    6737 N. Milburn

                    There's two others located in Visalia on W. Caldwell and one on W. Goshen.

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: PolarBear

                      PB, I haven't been to Chapala Grill yet and was wondering what it was all about. Is it like an upscale Baja Fresh?

                      1. re: glazebrookgirl

                        I'd say that's a pretty good description, at least as far as the decor goes. We'll probably meet up with K's sister and our BIL for dinner there in the near future and see how the dinners are.

                      2. re: PolarBear

                        i really enjoy the chapala grill on n. milburn. pleasant surprise given it's shopping center location. it's a cross between a baja fresh & el torito. definitely one of my favorite sit-down mexican joints.

                        1. re: nikinaka

                          Thanks for the feedback, didn't realize there was a second one at this location until I picked up a menu at the other. We'll be trying it soon since it's close to home.

                          Any dishes that stand out?

                          1. re: PolarBear

                            love the tacos puntas chapalas, as well as the chicken tortilla soup.

                            1. re: nikinaka

                              The best fish tacos are at Palomino's in the Tower District, I am not kidding on this one!! Palomino's is usually thought of as being Cali/Italian but Paul (the owner and chef) created the best fish tacos ever. You get a generous filet of salmon batter dipped and then deep fried over corn tortillas with a homemade pico de gallo and freshly grated parmesan cheese, there are two tacos and they also come with a salad with a homemade citrus vinaigrette. The batter is fluffy and light but nicely crispy too. I cannot rave enough on how wonderful these tacos are!! I have been eating them since Paul was down at 609 Grill (next to the old Echo) years ago!!

                      3. Sniffing around Bulldog Plaza (NW Cedar & Barstow) for something prior to a meeting late yesterday afternoon, came across Tacos Marquitos. I'd poked my head into Sushi & Pop and the mediterranean place (Zoe Grill?) but both had kind of a sterile feel and were empty (it was before 5 pm to be fair). At first glance, and being across the street from the university, it had the look of any one of a thousand gringoized combo plate places. Watching the 3-4 gentlemen (not college students) work back in the kitchen, quickly got the feeling that there was more going on here.

                        Ordered two fish tacos (2.50ea) after learning they were grilled, not fried, and a chile relleno (2.50). Fish tacos were small but very good, and simply preprared, served with cabbage, cilantro and a little onion. Fellow behind the registered informed me the fish was Tilapia, and that they prefer it to others, The relleno was also quite good. Opted for a medium and a hot salsa, the former sort of light brownish color, thin, but with good flavor, the hot a beautiful brick red, and thick with plenty of kick.

                        While woofing down the fish tacos and slowly devouring the relleno as it cooled, I looked over the menu some more and found myself back at the counter a Taco de Papa (1.75) and an Enchiladas Estilo Michoacan (@2.00) ala carte, the latter by special request since they're normally served three to an entree. This was my first taste of Tacos de Papa (potato), the corn tortilla (homemade I think) was lightly fried leaving it soft a pliable but with some crispness around the edges. The mashed potatoes had been flattened and also given a slight browning of the edge. Served with cabbage and a dollop of sour cream, it grew on me with each bite. Unfortunately the place had started to get busy and I couldn't quiz the friendly cashier any further. The enchiladas were quite different also, the tortilla dippen in ranchera sauce then a thin layer of cotijo (?) cheese, then piled up with chopped cabbage, other veggis, and small cubes of nicely seasoned pork and browned potatoes of the same size. Definitely need to give these another try and get more info.

                        I'd earlier been able to discover that their cooking style is from their home village in Michoacan, and they are trying to do more of the regional dishes for the dinner (after 4pm) clientele. They have Pozole and Menudo daily. Corundas (triangular tamale type things wrapped in banana leaves, but with the meat added afterward on top, if I understood correctly, and the item I can't wait to get back and try.... a Pambazo!!! described on their menu as a Morelia style torta. This place looks like it might qualify as hidden gem status. There's only seating for about 20 or so, so off peak hour visits are probably the best bet.

                        I thought the name Tacos Marquitos sounded familiar and sure enough a search came up with them included alanstottle's breakfast burrito thread:


                        Tacos Marquitos
                        1772 E. Barstow Ave. (Bulldog Plaza, at Cedar Ave. NW

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: PolarBear

                          Hey PB, good reminder that we need to stop back in to Tacos Marquitos for a follow-up. We only had the breakfast burritos, so thanks for the verification that the other stuff is good. The Pambazo defintely sounds interesting. I was thinking about the different types of Mexican that are available and while doing research on Michoacan cuisine, ran across these helpful websites (especially the Chowhound post). It seems as though Michaocan is rather famous for their culinary prowress. Now I know it is famous as the dairy state, the masa state (tamales and corundas), and the carnitas state, to name only a few of the many culinary traditions that are honored there. This is making me hungry! Do you know much about other types of Mexican cuisine here in Fresno?


                          1. re: glazebrookgirl

                            For more on Tacos Marquitos, here is a new thread that I started....


                        2. Beat feet back to Don Pepe's today after noticing earlier this week that they'd added fish tacos and shrimp tacos to their menu at 3.50 per. Two of their soft corn tortillas loaded with fresh tasting perfectly cooked red snapper, with cabbage, crema, and diced tomato sprinkled over the top. I added cilantro, lime, and salsa verde from the condiments bar, outstanding!

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: PolarBear

                            OK, I know it's a chain--but a small chain. Wahoo, at Nees & Palm is knocking 'em dead. The place is absolutely packed every lunch-time and the food is really good. They serve you at the table, there's real hot-sauce in bottles, and the prices are great. Give it a try-you won't be disappointed.

                            1. re: FAT Traveler

                              FAT Traveler, glad to see you love Wahoo's as much as hubby and I do. They cook the fish perfectly and their toppings are always fresh! We live very close to Wahoo's and have been there a lot since they opened. They are a chain, but they seem to be pretty selective on where they open and who they give a franchise to. Hubby loves the fish tacos, and I enjoy the shrimp taco with a bowl of their chicken tortilla soup, fresh and flavorful!

                              PB, thanks for the update on Don Pepe's. I enjoyed a shrimp burrito not too long ago, but missed the tacos. Will try some next time!

                          2. Thought I'd bump up this thread with a new one started by Jeff Avis.