Getting Fishy in San Diego

Different cities are easily associated with key food items.

  • Philadelphia – The Cheesesteak. Pick Geno’s or Pat’s or get one from each. Just order a steak with. (avoid the temptation to add a word after with).
  • Boston – Chowder for many people; lobster for others.
  • Chicago – while some may say the Chicago Dog, nothing in my mind comes close to deep dish pizza. Giordanos is my favorite.
  • Seattle is Copper River salmon. If you have not had Copper River salmon, you don’t know how good salmon can taste. Available starting mid May, it is over typically by mid summer.
  • Toledo – Tony Packo’s hot dogs. Yes, M*A*S*H made it nationally famous, but Tony keeps you coming back.
  • San Diego – ?

For me San Diego will be associated with fish tacos. I was never a big fish eater (unless you counted fish sticks or canned tuna), but started to tentatively explore eating more fish early in my adulthood. One of my first business trips ever was to San Diego where my company had its headquarters. The sales manager took the group out to the Old Town section of San Diego. We first went to a tequila bar (at the time they had a tequila that sold for $100 a shot) and then to a restaurant that specialized in fish tacos. After some encouragement by my peers, I ordered them. I’ve been hooked ever since.

I’ve made fish tacos both with battered and unbattered fish. This recipe helped me use of some left over Guinness from my appetizer trials for the Gourmet Club Irish Dinner.

I used orange roughy this time.

Mix up the beer batter.

Get it all ready, because things move fast!

You have to use a fish that will hold up to the dipping in batter. Stick a fork into a piece and dip.

Drop it in the hot oil. It will cook fast.

Pull them out of the oil and drain them.

I put them all together, but they could be served as make your own. I also used a chipotle ranch dressing in place of the recipe below. Notice in the picture above, some of the tacos look a little different. Those were made with low carb tortillas that I cut down.

What to do with the left over tortilla cuttings or the 1 regular tortilla left over? Drop them in the oil to make tortilla chips. Drain and salt them. Yum!

Wonderful Fried Fish Tacos

Prep Time: 30 Min | Cook Time: 15 Min | Servings: 10 servings | Difficulty: moderate


  • 1 cup dark beer
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 pounds cod fillets, cubed
  • 1 quart vegetable oil for frying
  • 20 (6 inch) corn tortillas
  • 5 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup salsa
  • Or use chipotle ranch dressing
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges


In a shallow bowl, whisk together beer, flour, and salt.

Rinse fish, and pat dry. Cut into 10 equal pieces.

In a large saucepan, heat 1 inch oil to 360 degrees F (168 degrees C). Using a fork, coat fish pieces in batter. Slide coated fish into hot oil in batches; adjust heat to maintain oil temperature. Fry until golden, about 2 minutes. Lift out with a slotted spoon, and drain briefly on paper towels; keep warm. Repeat to fry remaining fish.

Stack 2 tortillas. Place a piece of fish and 1/2 cup cabbage in the center of the tortillas. Garnish with mayonnaise, lime wedges and salsa

Nutritional Info:

Amount Per Serving Calories: 472 | Total Fat: 28.3g | Cholesterol: 33mg Powered by ESHA Nutrient Database


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Categories: Beer, Fried, kosher, Lunch, Main Dish, Mexican, Recipes, Seafood, snack

Author:The Ranting Chef

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49 Comments on “Getting Fishy in San Diego”

  1. March 27, 2012 at 11:16 am #

    Our family loves fish tacos! However I do not fry them. Instead, I season them with garlic powder, cumin, and chili powder and “fry” them in a cooking spray coated pan. YUM! For the cabbage, I lightly dress it with a mayo, lime juice, and cumin mixture. I love the idea of frying up the extra tortillas! Thanks for sharing!


    • March 27, 2012 at 3:34 pm #

      I too would like to experiment with a no-fry version. The fried version looks DELICIOUS, don’t get me wrong. I think I’m just a little afraid of cooking with oils. Too many splatter/burn experiences 😦


      • March 27, 2012 at 3:50 pm #

        I have made them with baked fish (no breading) and pan fried (no breading). It is good all ways!


  2. March 27, 2012 at 11:25 am #

    I’ve been wanting to try fish tacos for a while now. Thanks for the nudge, especially since I have some Guinness leftover from St. Paddy’s Day. They sound great!


  3. Agi's Farmhouse Kitchen
    March 27, 2012 at 11:28 am #

    this looks delicious, always looking for something new to do with fish!


  4. March 27, 2012 at 11:29 am #

    Great looking tacos! Just in time for the approaching warm weather.


  5. March 27, 2012 at 11:33 am #

    In my past “non-vegetarian” life there was nothing like a good fish taco. Especially if it was in close proximity to the beach. Yours look PERFECT!


  6. March 27, 2012 at 11:42 am #

    They look delicious! I’m not very adventurous with fish, maybe I’ll give these a go!


  7. March 27, 2012 at 11:56 am #

    Wow! These look really good! I will have to try making them sometime soon!


  8. Lori M.
    March 27, 2012 at 12:00 pm #

    I LOVE fish tacos. The first time I had them was in Rosarita Beach in Mexico when I was visiting my friends in San Diego 🙂


  9. GSG
    March 27, 2012 at 12:02 pm #

    color me hungry now


  10. March 27, 2012 at 12:11 pm #

    Great post, I just posted about Fish Tacos myself today… however mine is just images with no instructions 🙂


  11. March 27, 2012 at 12:25 pm #

    That looks pretty tasty 🙂 If I didn’t have such an aversion to fried foods, I might actually try it. Any idea how “bad” these are?

    I LOVE Giordano’s 🙂 It’s gotta be fresh, though.


    • March 27, 2012 at 12:31 pm #

      oops! Nevermind 🙂 I see the nutritional information included at the bottom. I’ve pinned this on my foodies board for later.


  12. March 27, 2012 at 12:27 pm #

    Yum – looks delicious.


  13. March 27, 2012 at 1:56 pm #

    Fish tacos are wonderful! I’ve gotten teenagers who say they don’t like fish to eat fish tacos! My recipe is similar to yours, but since my family likes to eat them with frequency, I find myself pan griddling the fish more often than not. I save the frying for when I really want to wow company. I was born and raised in San Diego and although we have some great fish tacos- fish tacos always take me back to Ensenada in Baja where you can get the best fish tacos at roadside stands. Great post!


  14. March 27, 2012 at 2:03 pm #

    I have never tried Fish Taco – may be next time!


  15. roadtrips r us
    March 27, 2012 at 2:17 pm #

    Mmm, Makes us hungry! Great food blog!


  16. March 27, 2012 at 2:34 pm #

    Thanks for the San Diego shout out! I adore fish tacos. i usually make mine on the grill but eat them fried if I’m out. We have a little taco shop here in Escondido that makes fish rolled tacos (or taquitos). Served with cabbage, lime and crema, it’s one of my favorite lunches.


  17. March 27, 2012 at 3:59 pm #

    I have been looking for a beer batter recipe! I live in San Diego so I don’t have to go far to get an awesome fish taco, but I am still trying to perfect my home version. I look forward to trying this soon!


  18. March 27, 2012 at 5:08 pm #

    So glad you went the cabbage route, cannot stand lettuce on a tact, just adds nothing to the experience except a bit of crunch. Next time the kids want taco’s for dinner, I’m going to make some of these for papa.


  19. jenkakio
    March 27, 2012 at 5:22 pm #

    I LOVE fish tacos!!!! I’ve been to San Diego a couple of times and they’ve always had the BEST tacos EVER. LOL

    I can’t wait to try your recipe, although I’m not a good fryer. We’ll see how it goes. Wish me luck.


  20. March 27, 2012 at 6:16 pm #

    Anxious to give these a try. Thanks for the recipe! Terri


  21. delpercente
    March 27, 2012 at 7:26 pm #

    Reblogged this on From the mind of Del… and commented:
    Hmmm, this looks yummy! Definitely gonna have to reblog this! Thanks for sharing your recipe!


  22. Claire Cappetta
    March 27, 2012 at 11:58 pm #

    Thank you for the post, great recipe, but if you find the batter won’t stick to the fish, it will if floured first and although it’s not healthy, frying in lard makes a huge difference to the taste, but then that could just be because I’m a Brit! LOL


  23. March 28, 2012 at 2:04 am #

    love fish tacos! so yummy!


  24. March 28, 2012 at 2:29 am #

    I’m a san diego gal and I can totally vouch for this being a really good SD meal! I always have it when I go back and visit 🙂


  25. March 28, 2012 at 2:44 am #

    I love fish but I’ve never made my own fried fish in batter before. I got put off by fatty battered fish in fish and chip shops when I was younger. I know I’d probably like it if I made it myself with a really light batter but it’s hard to overcome your early prejudices. I think adding a few spices to the batter mix would be good too.


  26. March 28, 2012 at 7:45 am #

    Despite living in the New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and PEI (the Maritimes, known for seafood), I have never had the pleasure of tasting fish tacos. I am super-stoked about your post and can’t wait for the DIY version!


  27. March 28, 2012 at 8:59 am #

    I am going to try this really soon! I love fish taco but have never made my own from fresh fish.


  28. March 28, 2012 at 9:36 am #

    You’ve successfully given me a craving for fish tacos. These look delicious! One question though: How is it possible to have extra Guinness? :>


  29. March 28, 2012 at 9:37 am #

    As a kid we used to get the cheese steak sands and hoogies…yum hoogies from a little place called Venturas in Mt. Laurel NJ. I have never found one I liked better. The next time I am in PA I will try out your suggestions (can’t even say with onions on top…?)
    As for the fish tacos – never knew how good they were till I went to Coronado . . . a tiny little place my sister took me to this summer. SO I will be trying out this recipe ASAP.

    I invite you to have a look at our new collection:


  30. March 28, 2012 at 9:55 am #

    We love fish tacos. It will be interesting to try your recipe. We have never used fried fish!


  31. March 28, 2012 at 10:20 am #

    yummmmmm – fish tacos are wonderful…..


  32. March 28, 2012 at 4:09 pm #

    Looks delicious!! I’ll be honest, fish tacos ave never sounded appealing to me. I guess when I think about tacos, and then fish, it doesn’t seem to blend at all. Maybe I’ll give it a try though. That idea for tortilla chips is brilliant btw!


  33. March 28, 2012 at 4:20 pm #

    Thank you for stopping by, and for liking my post! I haven’t ever had fish tacos any other way than ceviche style (i adore lime and garlic!), but always love to hear new recipes!


  34. March 28, 2012 at 10:22 pm #

    The first fish (mango) tacos I had were off the coast of North Carolina – I was surprised I liked them! … I’ll have to give these whirl and see what happens – Jury still out!


  35. March 28, 2012 at 11:25 pm #

    this looks great- i also really appreciate the calorie count as I always make sure to watch what I eat and adding up all the calories can often be a real pain


  36. March 29, 2012 at 8:28 am #

    What would be Cleveland food then? I don’t know it well at all but I think of Michael Simon of course. Detroit? Peirogis for sure.


  37. March 29, 2012 at 3:21 pm #

    Niiice. I just cooked this last night… CRAZY!
    Very similiar recipe. Great post! I look forward to more…


  38. March 30, 2012 at 4:00 am #

    yum! My husband is going to die for these…thanks for sharing. While we are on the subject of fish tacos…you might want to try these…just another option…

    And thanks for the like…I look forward to trying some of your recipes soon 🙂


  39. March 30, 2012 at 11:24 am #

    I rarely find a fish recipe that I like, but this looks delicious! I’ll probably try it out this weekend!

    Happy Friday,


  40. March 30, 2012 at 7:47 pm #

    Amazing. Love fish tacos. I will definitely try this soon. Thanks for sharing!


  41. March 31, 2012 at 1:19 am #

    I’m still a fish-taco virgin unfortunately, but as a Brit import I’m a champion at tucking away beer-battered fish! Those tacos look awesome!


  42. moresequinsplease
    April 2, 2012 at 7:59 pm #

    oooh I want to try this one out. looks delicious!!!!!


  43. munsterncookie
    April 2, 2012 at 10:00 pm #

    Never ate fish tacos and I’ve been thnking of trying it. Also I wanted to make them and not go somewhere to eat them. I love food and making stuff from scratch so tjis gets me more interested. Think I’ll try this. Thanks. Also thanks for the like on my post. 🙂


  44. April 5, 2012 at 4:45 pm #

    Those look amazing!



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    […] last time I made Fish Tacos for the blog, I received quite a few great comments, but some of them were chastising me for beer […]


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    […] world, Baja Mexico. This is the third fish taco recipe I’ve made for the blog. The first was beer battered. The second was without batter. This is like the three bears, right in the middle. It was […]


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