San Diego culture is famous for several attractions, events, and flavors. Comic-Con, craft beer, beautiful beaches, and a park with its own zoo are just a few of the reasons people travel from all over the world to visit San Diego. But if we’re gonna get specific, we really want to ask, what food is San Diego known for? The answer is obvious—fish tacos.
What is San Diego known for?
San Diego food begins and ends at the fish taco. Let’s give credit where credit’s due: San Diegans didn’t invent fish tacos. That honor belongs to Mexico. Baja California is the hero of this story, as that’s where the first fish tacos were created. However, in 1983 Ralph Rubio brought the classic battered fish taco up the coast to the San Diego region, and the rest is delicious history.
Line up these six places to try the food that ignites many local debates. Book one of the great flights to San Diego, and choose your own favorite.
1. Rubio’s Coastal Mexican Grill
Today, Rubio’s legacy is over 200 locations strong. Local fish taco aficionados may scoff at the fast-casual chain now, but you bet they’re singing a different tune after a long day. And the sangria is basically Kool-Aid for grownups.
2. Oscars Mexican Seafood
Oh, Oscars. They keep it simple with a menu that sticks to their superhuman strengths: fish, seafood, and surf ‘n’ turf taco options with savory sauces. The OG battered option is arguably the best fish taco in San Diego, and at $2.25 a pop, it’s a must-try.
3. Pacific Beach Fish Shop
Known affectionately as PB Fish Shop, this local favorite lets you build your own fish taco or order from the chef’s menu. Hands down, the marinated TKO taco is a favorite. It’s topped with tangy tropical salsa for a little something extra.
4. Wonderland Ocean Pub
This local’s bar with waterfront views is the place to find casual sports-bar vibes and gourmet eats, like the fresh fish taco. It’s grilled to perfection, and the white sauce, which could be the love child of Mexican crema and a really good ranch, sets this San Diego taco apart.
Puesto specializes in Mexican street food, and the ambiance in their original San Diego location captures the colors and flavors of Mexico City. The smoked tuna is unique and rich, and the fried quinoa gives it an earthy crunch.
6. La Taqueria Vegiee
No, this one isn’t really fish, but the all-vegan menu serves up contenders that are delicious in their own right. The Ensenada taco from this Tijuana transplant has the satisfying crunch of a battered taco—no fins necessary.
Is your stomach growling? That’s what happens when we start talking about things to eat in San Diego. We didn’t even mention how good those fish tacos are with a cold craft beer. So, you’ll just have to score one of our hotels in San Diego and taste for yourself!