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Jun 1, 2010 08:23 AM

Best fish tacos on or near the Beach in San Diego

I have one afternoon and would love to see the ocean and have some great fish tacos? Any suggestions?

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  1. Yes, tell us where you're going to be in SD so we can tell you which beach is going to be closest to your location. Fish tacos and on the ocean don't necessarily go hand-in-hand and there are a lot of beaches in SD.

    8 Replies
    1. re: DiningDiva

      Thank you! I will be staying right by Torrey Pines and do not mind driving, I good forgo the taco for a nice place on the beach for an early dinner on Sunday..and something that would be casual, I read alot about some places in LaJolla being a bit more on the upscale side and I don't want to have to get dressed up..

      1. re: I love Jersey

        i doubt it is the best fish taco, but you can take a nice drive up the 101 along side the cliffs and the ocean from Torrey Pines thru Del Mar to Solana Beach to the Brigantine...casual and I know a lot of people like the fish tacos there. If you aren't driving during rush hour it doesn't take very long to get to.

        1. re: I love Jersey

          Just a few beautiful scenic miles north of Torrey Pines is the Beach House at Cardiff by the Sea. Cocktail hour, sun set special dinners right on ocean. Nothing between you and the sunset except beach, ocean & surfers. This is a don't miss. Check out their Website for pictures, menus, specials.

          Beach House
          2530 S Coast Highway 101, Cardiff by the Sea, CA 92007

          1. re: I love Jersey

            "I read alot about some places in LaJolla being a bit more on the upscale side and I don't want to have to get dressed up.."

            Don't be intimidated by La Jolla.

            "Dressed up" in San Diego usually means no flip flops or shorts. Sometimes you can even get away with those.

            A pair of pants and a shirt with buttons on it (even a Hawaiian shirt) and you can eat at 99% of the restaurants in san diego county.

            1. re: stevewag23

              A recent Wine Spectator review of the San Diego fine dining scene concluded "If you're wearing socks, you're already over-dressed."

              1. re: steveprez

                I actually like that about our city.

              2. re: stevewag23

                Can't remember the last time I wore shoes.

          2. Easy choice! Bahia Don Bravo's (99 cent specials w/all the mexican condiments you can eat). Avoid overcooked whole grilled snapper! 1 block from ocean & San Diego's most scenic location - La Jolla. A few more ocean front blocks to seal nursery on beach, La Jolla Cove and Village.
            5504 La Jolla Blvd, La Jolla, CA 92037 (858) 454-8940.

            Bahia Don Bravo
            5504 La Jolla Blvd, La Jolla, CA 92037

            1 Reply
            1. re: ldahl

              That is a great view from the little bar in the back.

              Or you can walk half a block to the beach.

              This would be an example of a La Jolla spot where you could wear shorts and flip flops.

            2. I'd drive to OB (Ocean Beach) to the Marisco's truck between Cable & Santa Monica.

              1. my brother took me to a bar in OB that was right on the beach. i really really like their fish tacos but can't remember the name....I'll see if I can find it.

                edit: I'm pretty sure it was this place- South Beach Bar and Grille

                South Beach Bar & Grill
                5059 Newport Ave, San Diego, CA 92107

                16 Replies
                1. re: WCchopper

                  Chopper, can you please help Josh out and remind him how tasty that orange stringy stuff on the taco was?

                  1. re: MrKrispy

                    Hey, I 'm not from SD so no claims of being a purist. I've had "authentic BBQ here in the Bay area, so I understand your wrath. I'm sorry it tasted so good. ;-)

                    1. re: WCchopper

                      exactly, sometimes people can't see the forest for the trees...I love going to South Beach for a few tacos and people watching. I can't wait until they get the upper floor finished.

                    2. re: MrKrispy

                      When I used to go to South Beach, many years ago, I always asked for no ranch dressing, and for the salsa on the side. The yellow cheese bothered me less than their heavy hands with the condiments.

                      1. re: Josh

                        what about the fish? everything around the fish can be controlled via ordering instructions. I think the fish, either grilled or baja style, is fresh and tastes good.

                        1. re: cstr

                          The fish is fine. But if I'm going to drive out of my way for fish tacos, I'm going to a mariscos truck.

                          1. re: Josh

                            Personally, I have a much better time eating a fish taco and watching the water with a craft beer than I do sitting in the CrappleTree parking lot that often stinks of pee. If I am on the run and just need to grab a taco then that is a different story haha

                            1. re: MrKrispy

                              Has South Beach improved their beer options?

                              1. re: Josh

                                Here is their beer list:

                                It is reasonably extensive and contains a number of local beers (Stone PA, Yellowtail, Green Flash IPA), as well as a lot of standard-but-good regional/national beers.

                                Their wahoo tacos are delicious, even if not "authentic".

                                1. re: mayache

                                  I find it weird when people put the word authentic in scare quotes. Fish tacos weren't invented here, they come from Baja. As found in Baja, and at mariscos trucks owned by people who know this cuisine, ranch dressing, flour tortillas, and yellow cheese are not to be found.

                                  It's a really weird provincial quirk of San Diego that hometown favorites can't have factual observations made about them without it getting up someone's nose.

                                  I'm delighted that people enjoy South Beach's tacos - really. But there's nothing wrong with mentioning to people seeking out good fish tacos that the product sold at South Beach is distinctly an Americanized one, with flavors that won't be found south of the border.

                                  1. re: Josh

                                    I don't think authentic is a particularly useful word for food. My general objection is the sense of rightness/wrongness it often implies. Of course the tacos sold at SBBG are not traditional Baja cuisine, they are a different style. That doesn't necessarily mean they are better or worse than the ones sold at MG. ____-American is often a cuisine in its own right (e.g Italian or Chinese) that is different from the mother cuisine, even if originally based on it.

                                    Although I've enjoyed the fish tacos at both SBBG and MG, I'm not particularly defensive about San Diego favorites -- I'm not even from here. In fact I do have my own authenticity moments myself, as any of my friends who have heard me do the "pizza rant" or the "bagel rant" can attest (although there are now a few options for decent NY-style pizza in town). I just believe that if a new product developed based on a previous product, there is nothing inherently wrong with the new one solely due to its differences from the old one.

                                    1. re: mayache

                                      I think the usefulness of authentic as an adjective depends on the food being discussed. I think it's okay to use this term when talking about foods that are regional or ethnic specialties.

                                      Phil's BBQ is a good example to me - if you've eaten BBQ in a state where it was developed as a style of cooking, it's something of an affront to see the stuff at Phil's bearing that moniker. Where's the smoke ring? Where's the long, slow cooking over smoke in a pit? Does it taste good? Sure - but that doesn't change the fact that what's being served is labeled as something that it plainly isn't, and anyone from a state where BBQ is taken seriously would confirm this.

                                      What Phil's sells is ersatz BBQ. It has some of the trappings - it's rubbed with spices, finished over mesquite to give a hint of smoke flavor, and dressed in a sweet sauce. There's nothing wrong with them doing this, but it does seem to a purist to be a little dishonest on some level.

                                      That's where I think that South Beach being reflexively recommended as a top choice for fish tacos in San Diego seems outdated. When you have to explicitly ask for all the condiments on the side so you can actually taste the fish in the taco, something's wrong with this picture.

                                      Lastly - any luck with those bagels? It kills me that you can't get a decent one in this town.

                                      Phil's BBQ
                                      3750 Sports Arena Blvd, San Diego, CA 92110

                                      1. re: Josh

                                        Wasn't reflexive. Was tasty and at the beach as requested. And am a little indignant that my BBQ dudgeon has been co-opted and used against me;-)

                            2. re: Josh

                              Just making the case for Mr. Krispy, the view and people watching. S. Beach has nothing to do with authenticity like Marisco's, like comparing apples to oranges.

                      2. re: WCchopper

                        I agree with WCchopper: South Beach has tasty unauthentic fish tacos. Mariscos German, also in OB, is the real deal and has better food, but you'll be eating on the hood of your car. I also love the fish tacos at Taco Surf in Pacific Beach.

                        Mariscos German
                        3515 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92104

                      3. I enjoy the fish tacos at the Brigantine for the everyday happy hour..
                        Shelter Island or Del Mar has bay/ocean views.
                        Can't beat the $3 price either.
                        Bahia Don Bravo's in Bird Rock/LJ has great .99 cents fish tacos and you get a peak of the surf on the back patio with a cold is good!