If there’s one thing that’s true, it’s that fish tacos are incredibly delicious. A fish taco has everything: It’s salty, spicy, creamy, and crispy at the same time. The umami taste from the fish will not only delight your taste buds but also serve you numerous health benefits while quelling your hunger.
A fish taco consists of a charred tortilla made of corn or flour, filled with fried, grilled, or baked fish and diced and shredded vegetables, topped with one or more sauces. We scouted the Irvine, California, area for the best fish tacos spots, and these local joints made it to the top of the list.
California Fish Grill
3988 Barranca Parkway, Suite B, Irvine
Best pick: Battered fish taco
California Fish Grill believes in providing healthy, delicious seafood at affordable prices in a relaxed, casual atmosphere. The restaurant provides only the freshest fish, be it farm-raised or wild-caught. Its battered fish taco is quite generous and succulent, with a crispy texture. The swai fish is breaded lightly before frying and is paired with vegetables and sauce.
Urbana Mexican Gastronomy & Mixology
440 S. Anaheim Blvd. #101, Anaheim
Best pick: Baha fish tacos
When looking to dine out in the Anaheim Packing District of Irvine, Urbana Mexican Gastronomy should be your first stop for its Baja fish tacos, featuring the catch of the day served with spicy aioli, cabbage, guacamole, and pico de gallo. The restaurant has beautiful paintings, with skeleton dolls as part of the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) vibe. You will love the food and the great service from the staff.
Baja Fish Tacos
745 S Main St., Suite 170, Orange
Best pick: Shrimp taco
Baja Fish Tacos‘ meals are always fresh, and the ingredients used are of the highest quality. The tacos are made throughout the day, so you’re guaranteed to taste this freshness and quality in every dish. You have to try the sauteed shrimp taco, which is cooked in white wine and garlic butter, garnished with cabbage relish, Cotija cheese, and Baja sauce, and served on a flour tortilla. You’ll enjoy charbroiled fish or blackened fish tacos, or try the Ensenada-style fish tacos, featuring beer-battered fish with cabbage and Baja sauce. You can dine in with friends or order online.
428 E 17th St., Costa Mesa
Best pick: Crispy fish taco
Locals in Costa Mesa will tell you that Playa Mesa is the spot to go to when you’re looking to enjoy some smooth margaritas. We would be quick to add that in this restaurant, they pride themselves in having tacos as their favorite food group. When you visit Costa Mesa, you must sample Playa Mesa’s crispy fish taco, which will also go well with a margarita.
OC Fish Grill
5789 Alton Parkway, Irvine
Best Pick: Battered fish tacos
One of the best places for tacos in Irvine has to be the OC Fish Grill. The restaurant serves the freshest produce and sources its fish from sustainable producers.
Before we get into our best pick at this restaurant, you will love to know that it offers free refills on drinks and that their meats are all Halal for those of the Islam faith. The OC Fish Grill has outdoor and indoor seating areas, but most people prefer to dine on the outdoor patio. The staff is quite friendly, and the place is super clean.
As for the fish tacos, the restaurant has quite an offering, but we find our favorite to be the battered fish tacos. They include cabbage (both red and white), cilantro mix, white sauce, and tomatoes. The fish is crispy, warm, and super delicious.
Puesto Los Olivos Irvine
8577 Irvine Center Drive, Irvine
Best Pick: Baja fish tacos
Puesto Los Olivos Irvine is a renowned restaurant and is one of the best taco places you’ll find in Irvine. The restaurant also has a bar, and as such, we would not recommend it for kids. Other than that, very few places can best it.
This award-winning restaurant’s approach to tacos is unlike anything you’ll find elsewhere, and you can expect authenticity. The Mexican-American family at the helm has empowered the chefs to play around with the menu, and you can expect different offerings depending on the season.
As for our top pick, we recommend Baja fish tacos. The restaurant only uses line-caught fish, as it’s dedicated to sustainable practices. Furthermore, it sources its fish only from local producers to spur the local economy and bring you quality and freshness. In the tacos, you’ll find shredded cabbage, avocado, and morita salsa.
Puesto Los Olivos Irvine is a modern artisan Mexican restaurant that features colorful decor and creative dishes that are just as colorful. It’s great for special occasions, but you’ll also enjoy the restaurant for everyday dining experiences. Some of the prices are high, but you can expect to get good value for your money, and you’ll always be able to find affordable menu items.
Fish House Market & Grill
7626 E. Chapman Ave., Orange
Best pick: Marigold shrimp tacos
Fish House Market & Grill has a wide variety of unique fish and seafood tacos, including taco plates featuring fried Pacific cod or charbroiled mahi mahi. If you’re looking for something new with a kick, the marigold shrimp taco is one of the best you’ll find. This special taco features shrimp rubbed with ginger, cumin, garlic, turmeric, and more, topped with spinach, onion, cilantro, hot sauce, and lemon. Fish House Market and Grill has excellent Taco Tuesday offers, and you can enjoy crab cakes, calamari, salmon cakes, and scallops as well. You can even get a jackfruit taco!
With an origin that can be traced back to Baja California in Mexico, fish tacos are widely consumed in Irvine, California, and are enjoyed both in restaurants and from street vendors. These delicious treats are perfect for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or late at night; either as a snack or a full-meal option for all diets. Did we leave out your favorite fish taco spot in Irvine? Let us know — we would love to hear about your favorites.