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Who serves the best fish tacos in LA?

drewinmrblhd Aug 26, 2009 12:14 PM

I will be visitng in December from Boston and have fond memories of Southern California fish tacos with a mango or pineapple salsa. Any recommendatios would be appreciated. Also looking for any good eats in the West Hollywood area.

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  1. Peripatetic RE: drewinmrblhd Aug 26, 2009 12:36 PM


    11 Replies
    1. re: Peripatetic
      Peripatetic RE: Peripatetic Aug 26, 2009 12:39 PM

      "Unamed Fish Taco Stand" is Ricky's. NB: He's now in front of the laundromat rather than in the parking lot.

      Unnamed Fish Taco Stand in the parking lot of the laundromat across the street from Casbah Cafe
      3900 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

      1. re: Peripatetic
        ns1 RE: Peripatetic Aug 26, 2009 01:20 PM

        Ricky's has the best fish tacos

        The 2nd best fish tacos IMHO (and they have the salsas you want) is @Best Fish Tacos in Ensenada located in Los Feliz

        And yes, I've tried TBE/Nazo

        1. re: ns1
          odub RE: ns1 Aug 26, 2009 05:17 PM

          Ricky's is cool on several levels but the hours don't make it convenient for an out of town guest. I personally did not find BFT (Los Feliz) to be that great but I've only been there once.

          I will say, I have never, ever been disappointed by Tacos Baja Ensenada in East L.A. Nor has anyone I've ever taken there. Whether they are *THE* best or not is open to debate but they are, in my mind, absolutely guaranteed to please.

          Nazo and Hole Mole are part of the same chain; I find them to be "good enough" but I wouldn't suggest an out-of-towner make a trip to one.

          If you're in LA on a weekend, during lunch, then check out Ricky's. Otherwise, take thee to East Los Angeles.

          1. re: odub
            Burger Boy RE: odub Aug 27, 2009 06:50 AM

            What or where are Holy Mole, never seen them?

            1. re: Burger Boy
              Servorg RE: Burger Boy Aug 27, 2009 07:15 AM


              1. re: Burger Boy
                odub RE: Burger Boy Aug 27, 2009 07:57 AM

                All the locations I know of are in Long Beach but based on their ads, they seem to be part of the same chain that owns Nazo. Also, it's Hole Mole, not Holy Mole.

                Personally, I think their fish tacos are dependably tasty though I'd hesitate to say they're as good as BTE; I'd really need a side-by-side taste test and that's unlikely since a cold Baja taco is a sad one.

            2. re: ns1
              Das Ubergeek RE: ns1 Aug 27, 2009 08:21 AM

              I have to say that I've finally had BFTiE and I was not really impressed. Certainly not as good as TBE, SB or ETN.

              1. re: Das Ubergeek
                Burger Boy RE: Das Ubergeek Aug 27, 2009 10:26 AM

                I think they have slipped a bit! When I first went in the lady did not want to do togo because it sacrificed freshness. The second time I went she gave me a hard time about wanting to go again, so I ate them there. Funny thing was she gave me fish and shrimp that was sitting on the drain rack. Huh, I know those pieces were not frying when I went into the store, I wonder how long they were sitting out. She served me old fish and shrimp, even if just a few minutes and before she gave me this crap about they wanted me to enjoy the freshness of their food. Right! There salsa is also weak and sometimes not cold, they use those bowls they surround with ice and when it melts so fast in these hot summer months, they do not replace. Surprised they have an A from the health department.

                1. re: Das Ubergeek
                  ns1 RE: Das Ubergeek Aug 28, 2009 12:15 PM

                  To each his own. I find that while BFTiE isn't as crunch/authentic as TBE or ETN, it left a better aftertaste.

                  Really now, that radish relish is freaking AWESOME.

                  However, I haven't been in the past 6 months, so YMMV

                  But seriously, if you're in the area, Ricky's > BFTiE + TBE + ETN

              2. re: Peripatetic
                1newyorkguy RE: Peripatetic Aug 26, 2009 02:28 PM

                does Ricky have regular hours/days?

                1. re: 1newyorkguy
                  Peripatetic RE: 1newyorkguy Aug 26, 2009 05:41 PM

                  He aims to be open between noon and 4pm on Saturdays and Sundays. He now has a Twitter feed: http://twitter.com/RickysFishTacos

            3. m
              Michelle RE: drewinmrblhd Aug 26, 2009 04:02 PM

              We think Senor Fish has the best fish tacos...they have several locations, LA, South Pasadena, Duarte...

              2 Replies
              1. re: Michelle
                Will Owen RE: Michelle Aug 26, 2009 04:31 PM

                There may be better ones than at Señor Fish, but none I've had in LA. The two locations I've been to are South Pas (on Mission at Grand) and Eagle Rock Blvd. The former I think has somewhat better food, but the ambient charm of a bus station; Eagle Rock food has been somehow less luscious, but their bosky little patio with the fake birds singing in the real tree is just darling.

                They also have both shrimp and scallop tacos, your choice of grilled or fried. Oh boy...!

                1. re: Michelle
                  Peripatetic RE: Michelle Aug 26, 2009 05:37 PM

                  Even in comparison to Ricky's?

                2. David Kahn RE: drewinmrblhd Aug 26, 2009 04:34 PM

                  Tacos Baja Ensenada in East LA has the best I've had in Los Angeles. Absolutely spectacular -- one of LA's culinary gems.

                  Tacos Baja Ensenada
                  5385 Whittier Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90022

                  14 Replies
                  1. re: David Kahn
                    liu RE: David Kahn Aug 26, 2009 04:39 PM

                    I agree...with much enthusiasm!!!!

                    1. re: David Kahn
                      Tom Armitage RE: David Kahn Aug 26, 2009 04:42 PM

                      Boy how I wish I could join you for some tacos at TBE, David. When I worked at Childrens Hospital, I often had the tacos at The Best Fish Taco in Ensenada on Hillhurst and though they were terrific. Now you've got me absolutely drooling. It just isn't fair -- it's torture.

                      1. re: Tom Armitage
                        estnyboer RE: Tom Armitage Aug 26, 2009 10:32 PM

                        don't get me wrong - I'm glad that Señor Fish is around but if you're coming all the way from BOSton you can do better. Take the advice about Tacos Baja. And by the way, folks are right: the fruit on the taco business is not what's going on in these parts.

                        alternative to TBE:
                        If you're up for some SERIOUS southland driving, go to this place--their beer is cold and the fish tacos are outstanding:
                        Mariscos Bahia Ensenada
                        8157 Firestone Boulevard
                        Downey, CA 90241
                        (562) 862-9591

                        and i'm not trying to start any trouble here, but if you're going to be visiting someone who might be a little, um, misinformed about these neighborhoods, tell them to relax and buy them a taco.

                        1. re: estnyboer
                          odub RE: estnyboer Aug 27, 2009 12:54 AM

                          I didn't realize Downey was that rugged.

                          Seriously though, how's MBE compared with TBE?

                          1. re: odub
                            estnyboer RE: odub Aug 30, 2009 03:44 PM

                            it's not rugged but it's potentially a lot of long, hot driving through a lot of flat L.A. that is not generally what visitors/tourists come here to see. on the other hand, that's what a huge chunk of L.A. and O.C. really looks like so for a visitor who wants to see the "real" L.A. you can't beat it!

                            I've never been to TBE but I've been to Mexico and these are pretty damn good.

                            1. re: estnyboer
                              odub RE: estnyboer Aug 30, 2009 03:56 PM

                              I was joking about the Downey thing. I'm always amused at how nervous people can be about L.A. neighborhoods that don't resemble Midtown or the Westside.

                              I'm down to check out Downey - thanks for the recommendation.

                              1. re: odub
                                Das Ubergeek RE: odub Aug 30, 2009 04:16 PM

                                You think Downey is badass, you should see Placentia. Talk about ghetto!!

                                1. re: Das Ubergeek
                                  odub RE: Das Ubergeek Aug 30, 2009 04:21 PM

                                  If people crave sterility in their surroundings, there's always The Grove. Meanwhile, how's the food in Placentia? What's up with El Farolito there?

                                  1. re: odub
                                    Das Ubergeek RE: odub Aug 30, 2009 09:15 PM

                                    El Farolito is good combo-plate Cal-Mexican. It is not Mexican Mexican.

                                    Q Tortas across the street is good. And there's Tony's Little Italy. And Gem Meats.

                                    For being a town that nobody's ever heard of, they have some decent food.

                                  2. re: Das Ubergeek
                                    Burger Boy RE: Das Ubergeek Aug 30, 2009 05:35 PM

                                    Placentia, Los Feliz and Silver Lake have gotten very scary! I am always coming heavy when I run around there!

                                    1. re: Burger Boy
                                      odub RE: Burger Boy Aug 30, 2009 05:41 PM

                                      As opposed to coming *out* heavy from these restaurants? ;)

                                      1. re: odub
                                        Burger Boy RE: odub Sep 3, 2009 03:36 PM

                                        Exactly! Bring the HEAT! Not being in the heat.

                                  3. re: odub
                                    bulavinaka RE: odub Sep 7, 2009 10:18 PM

                                    I was born and raised in Midtown (6th and Jefferson) - it ain't the Westside in no way, and talk about rugged...

                              2. re: estnyboer
                                odub RE: estnyboer Sep 3, 2009 03:06 PM

                                Ok - I hit up MBE. This place was kind of the Truth, but with some reservations.

                                Truth: Excellent baja fish taco - everything you could want in terms of texture and taste and what's great is that they give you our own squeeze bottle of baja sauce so you can determine how much you want. I heartily endorse such a convenience.

                                Reservations: They're big. Rather too big; I'm not a small guy and I have a big mouth and it was hard for me to put a fist around the taco and get a bite off it without making a mess. I personally like my baja fish tacos smaller - like how Ricky's and BFT do it. MBE's tacos are also more expensive but that's because they're also significantly bigger.

                                That said, if you are a baja fish taco fan, I do think you should come down to Downey and try this for yourself. It's really quite good.

                                I also tried the fried shrimp taco which was fine but as with the same taco at BFT, I find that all you taste is batter vs. the shrimp.

                                Also: I know the poster was joking about how sketchy Downey is but seriously, MBE sits at one of the most plain jane old school downtown strips you could imagine. It's like Artesia.

                          2. o
                            odub RE: drewinmrblhd Aug 26, 2009 06:15 PM

                            Full stop - I just realized the OP was asking for fish tacos with *mango or pineapple salsa*. None of the places I mentioned, including Ricky's TPE or BFT offer fruit salsas of that variety. Perhaps the OP is speaking of a fish taco that is NOT Baja-style?

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: odub
                              liu RE: odub Aug 26, 2009 08:32 PM

                              You are very observant, odub!
                              When I hear the words "fish taco," I go straight to TBE!
                              Mango and pineapple salsa...that's a different animal...I'm out.

                              1. re: liu
                                ipsedixit RE: liu Aug 26, 2009 10:52 PM

                                Well, if it's fish tacos with mango salsa that the OP is looking for then La Salsa would fit the bill.

                                It's got fish tacos and its self-serve salsa bar has a pretty good kick-ass mango salsa.

                              2. re: odub
                                soniabegonia RE: odub Aug 27, 2009 11:17 AM

                                I'm pretty sure BFT has pineapple salsa. Agree completely with Burger Boy about the quality going down and the salsa bar with melted ice. When it's fresh, it's great; when it's not, it's just not. Also, sometimes they overcook the tortillas and they become hard and brittle. I prefer the shrimp tacos to the fish ones there. I"ve only been to TBE once and I guess I just wasn't blown away enough to go out of my way for it. Plus the line can get ridiculous. But if I were in the neighborhood, I'd go again.

                              3. e
                                EricDC RE: drewinmrblhd Aug 27, 2009 01:18 AM

                                I'll probably get my culinary butt kicked but....

                                I really like the fish tacos at Del Taco. The fast food chain. (gulp.)

                                And I actually, flat-out, adore fish tacos.

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: EricDC
                                  Burger Boy RE: EricDC Aug 27, 2009 06:53 AM

                                  I have had them and they are ok, not amazing, but okay. They are missing all the extra things that go on it.

                                  1. re: Burger Boy
                                    JeetJet RE: Burger Boy Aug 27, 2009 09:20 AM

                                    You are being kind, I have been reading this thread to see if anyone mentions who might offer mango or pineapple salsa on a fish taco and now we are not even discussing fish tacos, let alone mango salsa. A friend who knows I like fish tacos gave me a coupon “Buy one, get one free” for Del Tacos “Fish tacos.” I hate to waste food but it was Del Taco who wasted that fish and not me. I only buried it deep in the trash can so no cats would eat it thinking it was fish. After that one bite I had to get the taste out of my mouth so I drove to Taqueria LA Cabana in El Monte for some shrimp tacos.

                                    Taqueria LA Cabana (A true Mexican Taco stand in the L.A. Area. Just check out some of the menu items. Tacos for $1 to $1.50, Shrimp, fish, Lengua, Carnitas, Pollo, Al pastor, Chorizo, Cabeza, Sesos, Buche, Jaiva, and on Sat. and Sun. Tacos de Tripas, and Tacos de Barbacoa and more).
                                    3402 Cogswell Rd
                                    El Monte, CA 91732
                                    (626) 448-9310

                                    Catus Mexican Food (Shrimp, fish and veggie tacos, something special about the cabbage here))
                                    950 Vine St
                                    Los Angeles, CA 90038-2714

                                    Mariscos La Bucana (Something special about the women who runs this place. Very good Shrimp tacos at a Taco shack w/ outside tables)
                                    11016 Concert St (Across from El Monte High School between Peck Rd & Tyler Ave.)
                                    El Monte

                                    Tacos la Bufadora (Deep Fried Fish and Shrimp tacos. Wed. special $1 fish tacos)
                                    10990 Lower Azusa Rd (South west corner at Santa Anita)
                                    El Monte, CA 91731
                                    (626) 575-7174
                                    Tacos Baja Ensenada (Deep Fried Fish and Shrimp tacos)
                                    5385 Whittier Blvd.
                                    E. Los Angeles

                                    Maybe the best?
                                    When driving South of Orange County in Carlsbad, try “Harbor Fish.” Maybe the best fish tacos in the West.

                                    1. re: JeetJet
                                      Burger Boy RE: JeetJet Aug 27, 2009 10:30 AM

                                      Cactus does everything well! Have only had the chorizo burrito at LaCabana and it is great! TBE is great, Nazo is also right up there!

                                      1. re: JeetJet
                                        exilekiss RE: JeetJet Aug 27, 2009 10:55 AM

                                        Hi JeetJet,

                                        Nice recommendations. Thanks. :) BTW, I thought you were all Veggie now if you don't mind me asking.

                                  2. a
                                    annapurna7 RE: drewinmrblhd Aug 28, 2009 03:19 PM

                                    I've had some pretty good fish tacos at Baja Fish Grill in Harbor City. Not as good as Tacos Baja Ensenada, but it'll do in a pinch. :) The tacos are $2.50 each, so the price is right.

                                    Baja Fish Grill
                                    1605 W. Pacific Coast Highway., #105
                                    Harbor City, CA 90710

                                    1. o
                                      odub RE: drewinmrblhd Aug 30, 2009 04:07 PM

                                      Can anyone vouch for Baja Fish in San Pedro? This is not to be confused with the Baja Fish Grill in Harbor City. I'm talking about this place: http://www.yelp.com/biz/baja-fish-san...

                                      A friend who grew up in San Pedro swears by it but I don't think he's tried too many of the other Baja taco places mentioned in this thread. I've never seen Baja Fish mentioned on Chowhound prior.

                                      7 Replies
                                      1. re: odub
                                        Joe Blowe RE: odub Aug 30, 2009 04:24 PM

                                        As posted by me back in 2003: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5635...

                                        The Baja-style fish TACOS there are average-to-substandard. But, if you ask them to make a fish taco *burrito* (fried fish, shredded cabbage, crema, etc. -- i.e. a taco rolled up in a warm flour tortilla), it's pretty good...

                                        1. re: Joe Blowe
                                          odub RE: Joe Blowe Aug 30, 2009 04:32 PM

                                          Thanks Joe. Is your "average-to-substandard" rating based on recent consumption or your impressions from '03?

                                          1. re: odub
                                            Joe Blowe RE: odub Aug 30, 2009 04:36 PM

                                            I haven't had one of their fish tacos since I made the fish burrito discovery. And it's been about 18 months since my last visit, but the fish itself was pretty good then.

                                            Report back after your visit ;-) wink wink nudge nudge

                                            1. re: Joe Blowe
                                              odub RE: Joe Blowe Aug 30, 2009 04:39 PM

                                              No doubt. I work in Long Beach and I've been meaning to use the proximity to try more places in San Pedro. Had my first Busy Bee Market sandwich the other day; am definitely going back.

                                              1. re: odub
                                                Joe Blowe RE: odub Aug 30, 2009 04:48 PM

                                                Don't forget about Pavich's!


                                                1. re: Joe Blowe
                                                  odub RE: Joe Blowe Aug 30, 2009 04:54 PM

                                                  Oh yeah, I've heard. Croation pizza!

                                              2. re: Joe Blowe
                                                odub RE: Joe Blowe Sep 1, 2009 05:22 PM

                                                Reporting back after my visit to Baja Fish in San Pedro: Joe B. was right on the money. "average to substandard" indeed.

                                                I wanted to like the baja tacos here but in general, I found them too heavy and dense in contrast to the light, scrumptiousness that you'll get at TBE, BFT, Hole Mole, etc. For one Baja Fish's tortillas are too thick in my opinion; part of the beauty of a Baja fish taco is getting to that "crunch" quickly and this took too much work. The cod was, I'm assuming, good quality given that Baja Fish is a fish market but I wished they were smaller and more bite-size. As it was, it was hard to get a solid bite in between the size of the cod, the tortilla and the toppings.

                                                Along similar lines, the sauce they use with it tastes a lot like a conventional tartar (or some approximation) and is not like the white sauce at TBE, BFT, etc. Not off-putting but I missed the more clean, simple flavor of that style of sauce compared to the heavier tartar.

                                                The hunt continues. Maybe I'll hit up the spot in Downey next.

                                        2. f
                                          FatTooth RE: drewinmrblhd Sep 7, 2009 10:10 PM

                                          for everyone making the trek to san pedro for pavich's, mishi's, etc., i would highly recommend making a short detour to shamrock seafood in wilmington. i live right around the corner from baja fish but i haven't been there in years. their food is mediocre. shamrock makes great fish tacos. you can't go wrong with their salmon or seabass tacos. they have specials during the week. mondays and wednesday, their footlong grilled fish tacos are just under four bucks. i get pretty full off of half a sandwich. tuesdays are fried shrimp taco day for $1.50. thursdays are grilled fish tacos for $1.25. my favorite side there is the barbequed zucchini and they also have 500ml bottles of mexican coke!
                                          shamrock seafood inc.
                                          120 w. g. st.
                                          wilmington, ca 90744
                                          310 835 6671

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