August 14, 2023 | 2 Minutes

Fish Tacos for All

San Diego's Signature Dish

Every great tradition has a history — and traditional food is no exception. The original Rubio’s Coastal Grill in San Diego, California, is the point of origin for the city’s famous fish taco. Forty years ago, Ralph Rubio came back from a surfing trip in nearby San Felipe, Mexico, with the idea to import the fish taco to the United States. Since then, the fish taco has become synonymous with San Diego, like pizza is with New York or cheesesteaks with Philadelphia. Here are some favorite spots to sample this iconic San Diego dish.

Classic Versions

Located in an unassuming strip mall in Bonita, TJ Oyster Bar serves a traditional take on the fish taco, as well as variations with grilled fish or fried oysters. For an even wider variety of flavors, head to Seafood La 57, a food truck with a stand-up canopy located in a retail store’s parking lot. The Baja Trio Taco, with fish, shrimp, and marlin, lets you sample both a traditional-style Ensenada taco and some worthy alternative options.

Beer Batter, Anyone?

San Diego is one of America’s epicenters for craft beer. So it’s no surprise that chefs have brought the two obsessions together. Find this delicious dish at local spots like Coronado Brewing Company, San Diego Brewing Company, and Ketch Brewing. The beer adds a more complex taste to the batter, a little crunch, and pairs well with the finished product.

Food For Vegans, Too

In Kearny Mesa, El Viejón offers its own traditional fish taco along with two key alternatives. The “Viejón style” subs in flour tortillas for the traditional corn and adds cheese for a Mexican American fusion taste. And just because you’re a vegan doesn’t mean you can’t get in on the fun. This healthy alternative boasts cauliflower fried up Ensenada-style and served with a pico-avocado sauce and an animal-free crema.

Let’s Get Fancy

The elevated fish taco has become a favorite on local menus. At Camino Riviera in San Diego’s Little Italy, tempura-fried sea bass and frisée combines with bitter orange and chipotle to create what this upscale eatery simply calls “The Taco.”

In nearby East Village, Lola 55 has received a Michelin Bib Gourmand (good quality and value) — in part thanks to the freshness of its Baja-style fish taco. It’s topped with remoulade, chorizo-tomato vinaigrette, frisée, pickled Serrano peppers, and purple basil.

Nothing says holiday fun more than doing what the locals do. So next time you’re in America’s Finest City, be sure to indulge your palate with a delicious local favorite.

Where To Stay

Marriott Vacation Club Pulse®, San Diego

Stay in the heart of San Diego at a property inspired by the architecture around it. Your well-appointed suite is the perfect home base for your adventures.* Visit the world-famous zoo or one of the city’s pristine beaches. Find a local restaurant to indulge in a local dish (fish tacos anyone?) or simply soak up the beautiful San Diego sun as you walk around town.

Marriott Vacation Club Pulse, San Diego

Contact Member Services to use Points** to reserve a stay at these or dozens of other hotels.