Monday, February 15, 2010

Fish Tacos

Visiting San Diego without eating fish tacos would be like visiting New York without getting a slice. So while the kids napped, we drove to Roberto's, a taco shop that came highly recommended.

I imagined a messy shack, guys eating tacos at concrete picnic tables, their surfboards resting next to them. I'm sure there are plenty of places like that, and we ate at one last time we were here, but Roberto's is a bit more upscale than that.

I will admit, I was a worried when we drove up and I saw the sign. "Very Mexican Food..." Was I about to eat at the Olive Garden of taco shacks?

No, not at all, as it turns out. This place was bustling - there was a line at the counter the entire time we were there, and for good reason, the food was inexpensive and very good. We quickly joined the throng of people sitting outdoors happily munching on tacos, burritos, and sipping horchata.

I'm no fish taco expert, but Roberto's is the new reference standard for me. The fish was plump and moist on the inside, and crisply fried without being at all greasy. The corn tortillas were fresh and had a toothsome grainy quality. But the condiments took the whole package to another level, for me. Fresh crunchy cabbage shreds and a sauce that was probably not much more than crema and dill. That's right, dill, in just the right proportion, and it was refreshing and delicious. Next time I would skip the rice and beans in favor of another fish taco. I want another fish taco.


Kate said...


I've been following your post for the last couple of months and have really been enjoying it.

I actually live here in San Diego and work for Kermit Lynch. Your fish taco posting made me think of a piece I wrote for the January newsletter. Fish tacos and Eric Chevalier's Fie Gris. Hopefully someday you have the opportunity to try the two together. If you have the time you should take a trip over to Chino Farm in Del Mar.

Have a wonderful vacation. The weather has been lovely (as usual).


kitchen tables said...

I haven't been into this place. The food looks great in here. I think this deserves a visit! Thanks!

Do Bianchi said...

alas, BrooklynGuy, we keep missing each other! Did you go to the Roberto's on PCH? San Diego is, indeed, the home of the fish taco... hope to see you soon... glad you're enjoying SD...

fillay said...

My wife and I did an extensive comparative tasting of fish tacos when we were in San Diego a couple of years ago. We didn't know about or find Roberto's, which several people have since pointed out was a grave oversight on our part. For us, the winner was El Zarape, a little joint up near USD. Excellent fresh fish, it hit the perfect balance between crisp (cabbage), crunch (fish) and tang (sauce) that we came to look for in a good taco. In the "surprisingly good" category was the Brigantine in Del Mar, next to the historic Del Mar racetrack. Sit at the bar, have a margarita and a couple of their tacos and watch the races - it made us feel like we were in a Cary Grant movie.

And I second Kate's suggestion of a trip to Chino Farms followed by a bottle of fie gris.

Brooklynguy said...

hey Kate - thanks for the kind words. we actually did go to Chinos, and the food is indeed quite beautiful and delicious. not cheap, but it is what it is. thanks again.

hey Jeremy - i know, such a shame. we went to the one right near Torrey Pines, not the PCH location.

fillay - i think we might have driven past Brigantine today, and it looked cool. last time i was here it was racing season, but we never went to the track. i'm definitely going to do that next time, and perhaps your agenda at Brigantine will be followed.

Pameladevi Govinda said...

Not fish taco related but if you can make it to The Linkery you can get some really good cask beers and I like the food there.