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Fish taco at Central Market

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I found myself in Grand Central Market downtown yesterday, and wandered around wondering what the single best thing to eat there would be. I wasn't hungry, just curious. After a few turns around the stalls, I plunked down at the counter at Maria's Fresh Seafood and ordered a fish taco. Woof! What a taco! It may have been the best fish taco I've ever had--a pefect taco-gestalt of delicious fresh fried fish, shredded romaine lettuce, exactly the right amount of cilantro, really ripe tomato, a little onion, and some, I don't know, something like sour cream. Crema fresca? Everything in absolutely perfect proportion. All for $1.50. I love L.A.

No doubt this has been discussed before, but what else is good at Grand Central Market? Has anyone ever bought fish from the monger along the wall on the north side? He had some intriguing looking baby octopuses, but I wasn't going right home, so didn't dare...

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  1. This stand is great... but the fish/shrimp tacos are a little too heavy for me. What I recommend from this place are the SOUPS, which seems to be what all the locals from the counter are getting. They are just
    awesome.

    BTW I love LA too :)

    1. I've bought fish from the fishmonger at Grand Central Market, and never had any problems (and the prices are pretty good as well). Usually I get halibut or something similar for making fish tacos at home.

      Also, the fresh tortillas at the factory are tasty, especially when you get them while they're hot. And I've gotten produce from a variety of stands (be sure to comparison shop before buying).

      The juice place on the west entrance is pretty tasty as well.

      Link: http://www.grandcentralsquare.com/ind...

      1 Reply
      1. re: Alison B.

        I just moved into the neighborhood and Man, am I glad that I'm so close to Central Market!

        Not only is the fresh fish reasonably priced... but Porterhouse Steak for $6 per pound. Have I died and gone to heaven??!

        Anyone else buy their fish or meat regularly at Central Market? What's the word on the freshness and quality?

        Cheers!

      2. Try the Scallop Taco. P. still talks about that to this day!

        I love the Burritos and Gorditas from Ana Marias and the Tortas from Tomas... The Pupusas are also EXCELLENT! :D The Paneria by the front is also EXCELLENT! :D

        --Dommy!

        9 Replies
        1. re: Dommy

          Dommy: Which stand has the SCALLOP taco?? I don't remember seeing that on any of the menus.

          Also... what's a pupusa?

          1. re: Liquid Sky

            The scallop taco is at Maria's Seafood. It's breaded with a little bit of cornmeal to give it a slight sweetness. I ask for the crema and salsa on the side because otherwise they're a little heavy handed with it.

            Also at Maria's is a great fish taco, but be sure to ask for it Ensenada Style (it's on the menu as "taco pescado estilo Ensenada"). I've not had it, but apparently their shrimp and ceviche cocktails (cocteles) are also well regarded.

            I recommend walking around Grand Central. It's sort of like the ethnic version of the 3rd St Farmer's Market. Mostly black, Latino and Asians clientele all eating *awesome* food. Watching the crowd around Tumbras a Tomas is especially inspiring. Oh man I kinda want a carnitas torta now...

            1. re: SauceSupreme

              And my brother is reporting that the chicken torta at Tumbras a Tomas is actually more flavorful than the carnitas (they use all dark meat). Torta pollo por favor!

              Going back to Maria's Seafood, it's important to stress that in addition to being a taco stand, they're also a fishmonger. So you know the stuff is good enough to sell by itself, let alone put into a taco. Their caldos also looked good last time I was there, though if I really want a seafood soup I'm going to KTown.

              Grand Central is easy to get to via the Red Line by exiting at the Pershing Square Stop (follow the signs to 4th street). You can park there, too, though the parking spots seem really really narrow. They'll validate your parking pass if you spend $10 at one of the vendors; the vendor signs the parking stub, which you then take to the information booth to get stamped.

              1. re: SauceSupreme

                Thanks, Sauce! For some reason, I thought Maria's did not have the seafood tacos. Will check again...

                Yes, I LOVE the market. It makes me really proud to live downtown.

                1. re: SauceSupreme

                  The only thing that frustrates me at some of these stands is that THERE IS NO CONCEPT OF A LINE! I'm a Virgo, so I like ORDER. But I guess I'll deal with it...

                  1. re: Liquid Sky

                    All I can say is don't go to Yum Cha Cafe of any place in the SGV with a take out counter... LOL!

                    In genera, with the clientele of GCM, all you have to do is give a kind stare down and people will respect your space. I have to figure out what a death stare in Chinese looks like however...

                    --Dommy!

                2. re: Liquid Sky

                  A pupusa is a fried puppy. NO -- just kidding. A pupusa or papusa (spellings vary) is a central american griddled cross between a tamale and a quesadilla. Rounds of masa-like dough or batter with a thin layer of cheese and sometimes meat or vegies stuffed within, so it crisps up a bit on the outsides, and served with a cabbage slaw type of garnish salad. I believe it is a Salvadoran specialty.

                3. re: Dommy

                  We are noshing our way around GCM, and are impressed with the taste and value of most of what we've sampled so far. Scallop tacos are next. The tortilleria did not impress, however. Still looking for really good tortillas in LA.

                4. While I was on jury duty a while back, I picked up some eastern raw oysters at a stall somewhere. I couldn't believe how cheap and good they were. There was also a stall that sold sliced pastrami meat where I also bought some French rolls and yellow mustard for the deliberating jurors. We ate good! Too bad I didn't see the fish tacos...

                  1. I'm sorry to report that the fish taco is now $2.00, but it still tastes great! The scallop taco is $2.25 I didn't ask for the crema and salsa on the side as SauceSupreme said I should have and as stated they're were a little heavy handed with it. C. Sprouse is right, EVERYONE at the counter was eating soup.

                    But overall so good that I will be going back, esp. to try the soup.

                    1. Oh, how I love GCM. My grandfather would make a trip in every Saturday. It is a great mix of the cultures of LA. Tacos Tumbras A Tomas had never disappointed. Yeah, you have to gear yourself up for the "line". If your normal line experience is Target, the bank and Starbucks, this is a whole different thing. I get a little nervous just thinking about it. After about 45 seconds, your competitive spirit will ignite and you will make your way to the counter. Hear me! Just order one. You will think, but I am really hungry, but I don't want to do this line thing again. Seriously, it is about 1/2 a pound of meat. Carnitas or Pastor are delicious. Squeeze the lime on top. Sweet mercy!

                       
                      1. After rading about Maria's in the GCM, I tried Maria's Fresh Seafood this week. It was truly awful. Disgusting. The place smelled of old fish and people in line seem to think its ok to spit on the floor. Must have just been my luck day, but I counted four men spitting on the floor while waiting in line. Against my better judgement, I ordered two tacos. I walked to get a table and in that brief bit of time, they became too soggy to easily pick up, which is fine because it only took one bite to know that it was truly the worst thing I ever put in my mouth. Totally gross stinky mushy fish. I will never go back.
                        For what it's worth, I otherwise like the GCM and love fish tacos.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: rednyellow

                          I visitied the GCM for the first time a month or so ago after reading about it for years, and I really don't understand what all the hype is about. I'm not a picky eater by any means -- I frequent many taco trucks in LA and I've eaten street food in Mexico, Brazil, Russia, you name it. But not one single place in the GCM came across as appetizing to me and I was appalled at the lack of sanitary conditions there. The few things I tried (two tacos from two places) were fine but paled in comparison to any single taco truck I could eat at between Venice and Pico-Union. The produce in nearly every single stall was half rotten. The panaderia in the back was good, but again nothing special compared to the countless panaderias around town.

                          GCM: waaay overrated.

                          1. Old poster digging up an old thread.

                            Back in LA visiting the fam. My first stop: Grand Central Market for the scallop taco.

                            Prices have gone up. $2.25 for the Ensenada style fish taco, as well as for the scallop taco. Might be considered a big jump in this town, but it's a price I'll happily pay coming from Oregon.

                            http://www.saucesupreme.com/scallop-t...

                            -----
                            Grand Central Market
                            317 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90013

                             
                            1. In LA this week again, with a goal of getting to Maria’s Fresh Seafood at Grand Central Market to try the fish tacos. I agree with the earlier posts here: they’re very good and I followed the recommended approach which called for the crema and salsa on the side.

                              Also tried a scallop taco, which is made with lightly breaded bay scallops.

                              Each taco is served on two soft corn tortillas with lettuce and chopped tomatoes, quarters of fresh lime on the side. Both were really nice, but I think I preferred the scallops over the fish.

                              Followed up then with a small pulpo coctele (octopus cocktail) for $4. Chunks of octopus served in a plastic dixie cup with light tomato sauce (almost like the tomato juice in a bloody mary), chopped onions, and cilantro sprinkled on top. Lemon on the side. Tasty, but I think I’ve been spoiled by better octopus offerings elsewhere.

                              Then on to the surprise highlight of my visit: the breaded oyster plate: a half dozen plump oysters in the light cornmeal breading, served with beans, shredded coleslaw, lettuce, tomatoes, and tortillas. Limes, crema, and hot sauce on the side. Delicious, and at least to me, it seemed a very novel and winning combination.

                              This was my first trip to Grand Central Market, and I thought it was great. I loved the bustle and authenticity.

                              1. i wanted to co-sign on the comment about the soups at maria's. they are excellent excellent excellent. i also really enjoy the whole fried fish with rice and beans for around $7. i love this stand and constantly look for excuses to head downtown just so i can eat there.