So I’m down in San Diego again, for a birthday and a bit of a holiday season spell. It’s the first time in awhile that I have been able to go home longer than a second, so I’ve had the chance to settle down and relax over the last week. I have been to some great new restaurants in the area, but nothing satisfies me more then grabbing one of my old favorites â€“ fish tacos.
Now, I know to most of you Nor-Cal or out-of-state peeps this may sound disgusting. You’re picturing a fried salmon head in a tortilla or fish guts wrapped in flour, right? Trust me, there is a lot more greatness to fish tacos then meets the mind’s eye.
Traditional tacos are filled with cod [halibut and mahi mahi have been used as well], which is lightly breaded and then fried. They’re placed in warm, corn tortillas and topped with cabbage, salsa, and what many San Diegans call â€œwhite sauceâ€ â€“ there are many variations of it, but its basically a delicious cream sauce that you should devour without question.
Now, everyone in San Diego knows that the best fish tacos are found â€“ not surprisingly â€“ over the border. I have made many weekend trips with my dad and my friends and have gotten wasted on the light, fantastic beer and have eaten so many of these things its surprising that I’m not sick of them. In Mexico, many places sell them, made with fresh fish, for around $.50. Did you read that correctly? $.50! But because of the growing governmental tensions and increased security around the exit and entrance to Tijuana, many of us have not paid a visit in some time.
So, my goal before I left SD was to find a cheap, delicious and happening fish taco joint that would blow the rest out of the water and provide me with sanctuary until I was able to slide over south again.
Enter El Zarape!
Located in the hipstery University Heights area of San Diego, this place knows how to pack a fish taco punch. For only $.99, you get one of the best fish taco’s I’ve ever had in the U.S., and probably the best I’ve ever had at a restaurant. They don’t over fry, over batter or over compensate with the cream sauce, such as many other places do. This place is always packed, so its best to call in your order and get it to go if you’re in a hurry. It also isn’t very warm on the inside, but since its rarely cold in San Diego, its not really an issue! Seating is limited and the parking is street parking, but it is all worth it for a great taco. They have lobster tacos, scallop tacos, fish tacos and all of the per usual — carne asada, carnitias…its making my mouth water just thinking about it! They also offer vegetarian and vegan dishes that are straight up amazing â€“ the potato taco was to die for! [And still only $2.50!]
Next time you’re in San Diego, or if you have no idea what is up, get your ass to El Zarape for some deliciousness, pronto! I’m heading back to the Bay in a few hours â€“ stay tuned for more intern updates in the near future!
-Monica the Intern
PS: If you’re in the City and you can’t get your broke ass down south anytime soon, try El Metate for the best tacos I’ve ever had in the city. Reasonably priced, it’ll hold you over until you get to Zarape.