Experiencing San Diego’s Obsession with Fish Tacos

A luxury of living in the greater LA area is the fact that we are only hours away from a number of interesting mini vacations. I attended UC San Diego and have fond memories of the area. As a result, I’ve kept my eyes and ears open to their food scene.

If you ever do a search on restaurants in the greater San Diego area, you’ll quickly find out that San Diegans have a love affair for fish tacos. I recently spent a weekend with my family in San Diego and decided to try Oscar’s Mexican Seafood to see what the hype is all about.

While there are different styles of fish tacos, I happen to enjoy the Baja-style version. These are made with pieces of fish that are dipped in a batter and deep fried so they end up with a crisp exterior. They are usually topped with shredded cabbage, chopped tomatoes, cilantro and a white cream sauce.

Front of Oscar's Mexican Seafood

Front of Oscar’s Mexican Seafood

While we had GPS and good directions, we still had trouble locating the place. The exterior signage on the building indicates that it is a “Smoke Shop” and unless you are aware of how the front appears, you can easily miss the place. Parking is also a challenge.

I did not expect that there would be so many items on the menu. I appreciate the fact that my wife and daughter were willing to do the “divide and conquer” approach so that we could experience a lot of different tacos.

Complimentary ceviche with mahi mahi and octopus

Complimentary ceviche with mahi mahi and octopus

I received a complimentary ceviche. I was amazed at how tender the mahi mahi was. It also included fresh octopus, chopped onions, tomatoes, green onions, avocado and cilantro. I’m glad to see octopus appearing on more Southern California restaurant menus.

Their signature fish taco

Their signature fish taco

I think a tasty exterior is what makes the Baja-style fish taco extra special. Oscar’s mixes their batter with white flour, black pepper, garlic, Mexican oregano flakes and yellow mustard. They add baking powder so that the exterior expands and is fluffy on the outside. It is topped with shredded cabbage, diced red onions and fresh tomatoes. Finally fresh cilantro is added followed by a squeeze of fresh lime juice. Their homemade hot sauce and chipotle sauce is layered on the top.

Spicy shrimp taco

Spicy shrimp taco

While I didn’t want to admit it, I really enjoyed the surf & turf. It was the highest priced taco ($4.00) and it was comprised of grilled skirt steak and shrimp and topped with their normal fish taco toppings. The flavors of the skirt steak and shrimp blended extremely well with the toppings.

My hibiscus drink next to the white, red sauce and the chipotle sauce

My hibiscus drink next to the white, red sauce and the chipotle sauce

Other items that we didn’t get to try were their smoked fish tacos and their fish stew.

Happy Hour is available Monday through Thursday from 2:30 pm to 5:30 pm with 99-cent fish tacos or a free fish taco with any purchase!

I wish they had a location in the South Bay – I would be a regular!

  • Oscar’s Mexican Seafood
    • Website: http://oscarsmexicanseafood
    • North Pacific Beach – 703 Turquoise Street, San Diego, Ca 92109; (858) 488-6392
    • Pacific Beach – 746 Emerald Street, San Diego, Ca 92109; (858) 412-4009
    • Hillcrest – 646 University Avenue, San Diego, Ca 92103; (619) 798-3990

This review is based on our visit to Oscar’s Mexican Seafood’s North Pacific Beach location.

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Follow Bryan on twitter for the latest and greatest in food trucks and street food. @btsunoda.

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