One of the things that I miss most about Southern California is fish tacos. Before leaving the West Coast, I thought fish tacos could be found everywhere in the US, or at least on the East Coast as well. But, after countless fruitless searches, I soon realized that fish tacos were a purely SoCal specialty, and on every trip home to Los Angeles,I have made sure to satisfy my craving.
I’ve always been a faithful Senor Fish girl, but when my boyfriend mentioned that he’d found an even better fish taco place in Santa Ana, I hesitantly decided to try it. Since then, fish tacos have never been the same for me.
Baja Fish Tacos is located in a strip mall, just down the street from South Coast Plaza. This unassuming spot always has a line out front, no matter what time of day. And yet, service is always friendly and efficient, as a seemingly endless number of diners place their orders at the counter.
After placing your order, take a seat either in the surprisingly spacious indoor seating area, or if it’s a sunny day, at one of the outdoor tables. While you’re waiting, help yourself to the fresh salsa bar, featuring 3 different types of salsa, sliced limes, peppers, and onions.
It doesn’t take long for the food to come out, always served hot and fresh off the grill. My go-to order at Baja Fish Tacos is the two taco combo ($7.60), with one carne asada taco, one blackened fish taco, rice, and black beans. The carne asada taco is excellent: tender steak cooked lovingly on the grill, topped with freshly chopped romaine lettuce and pico de gallo salsa.
But the real star of the show is the blackened fish taco. Marinated in a killer spice rub, the fish is bold yet subtle, slowly building up heat in your mouth. As the heat builds, take a bite of the fresh cabbage on top to cool you off. Or, if you’re a spice addict like me, add some more salsa and Cholula hot sauce for a more fiery effect. Either way, it’s delicious, and better than any fish taco I’ve eaten before.
With fresh ingredients, affordable prices, and a friendly atmosphere, it’s no wonder why Baja Fish Tacos is so popular, and has people singing its praises all over town.
Baja Fish Tacos
3664 South Bristol St.
Santa Ana, CA 92704
Other locations throughout Orange County, CA