Ask any two Tapatios where to find the best fish tacos in Guadalajara and a long discussion is sure to ensue, with each extolling the virtues of his or her particular neighborhood haunt.
For me, much new Spanish vocabulary is used, as they wax eloquent about the delicacy of breading, the variety of condiments and ensaladas, the freshness of pescados and camarones and the idiosyncratic salsas that are ultimately a signature touch that distinguishes each taqueria.
It should come as no surprise to the reader to learn that when I proposed to write a story about the best fish taco joints in the city a couple of weeks ago, I fell into a deep rabbit hole (or was it a fishing hole) of delicious searching, out of which I have not yet climbed. My list of places to investigate keeps growing, and I am determined to seek out each and every one. Meanwhile, I do have a short list of places I have sampled as well as a few more recommendations from friends and colleagues.
I first must add a caveat: I have yet to find a favorite – I love them all. The following list is not in order of preference. Unable to decide on the best of the lot thus far, I have elected to list them alphabetically:
Boca del Cielo
Undoubtedly one of the best places for mariscos in the city, this lively spot lives up to its name. The extensive menu goes far beyond the mere fish taco: a recent renovation and menu upgrade include a few “secret” items that have become my fast favorites (if you don’t want a taco, ask for the “atun serrado”). Ensaladas and condiments are served in small bowls straight to the table. Boca packs a continuous lunchtime crowd that on weekends lines up around the downtown corner of Morelos and Progreso and is worth the wait for a table. My favorite taco? “Carnitas del atun.” This wonderful dish features freshly seared tuna cubes coated in a secret sauce – the recipe is unrevealed but I detect cumin, paprika and a touch of chile de arbol. A single order will feed two people – but I can’t stop from devouring the entire plateful. Open from about noon until 7 p.m., Tuesdays through Sundays,
Morelos 1548, Colonia Americana. Website: www.facebook.com/bocadelcielogdl.
Tacos Gala Fish
Young Edgar Galaviz, fresh from a stint in the food industry in London and Spain, operates his five-month-old taco stand in leafy Colonia Providencia. After passing it on my weekly walks for a month or so, I finally stopped in to sample his menu. I should done this much earlier. Galaviz’s experience in fusion cooking spills over into his delicate touch with both the fish preparation and with the ensaladas, one of which includes diced sweet peppers, tomatoes and a touch of pineapple juice. This combination with delicately breaded fish or shrimp is a brilliantly subtle flavor. His “gobernador” taco features a touch of bacon, adding a smoky flavor to the usual shrimp and avocado taco. And the tuna! I know where I will be for lunch at least once a week for the next several months. Galaviz is planning to launch a food truck as his business grows. I want him to park outside my house. Open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Avenida Americas, corner of Colomos, Colonia Providencia.
Tacos Fish La Paz
Yes, every guidebook on Guadalajara includes this landmark taqueria on Avenida La Paz, where locals and tourists line up almost every day, where mariachi bands entertain the customers as they circle the unbelievably extensive ensalada board on the sidewalk, then stand and sit both inside and out on plastic chairs, contentedly munching their tacos, sipping the freshly made horchata and aguas frescas. However, I often just run over to the tented sister restaurant La Paz on Avenida Vallarta, which has the same menu, same great salads, condiments and aguas frescas, but is more relaxed and less crowded. My favorites? One of each, with a tuna empanada on the side, and an alfalfa/chia agua fresca. Inevitably, I cannot resist the fiery hot sauce. Luckily, there’s a delicious arroz con leche for dessert. Then a nap.
Av. La Paz corner of Donato Guerra, and Av. Vallarta 77, Colonia Lafayette.
El Pescadito de Hermosillo
Another downtown taqueria that opened recently, this bright, inviting little place is a branch of the celebrated taqueria in Hermosillo, with its own regional twist on the fish taco. Specialties of the house include “quesetote,” chile relleno with cheese and camarones, “tacochango,” marlin with camarones, and “enchiloso,” a taco cooked on the griddle with camarones and cheese. A full bar of ensaladas and eight salsas complete the meal.
López Cotilla 1194. Colonia Americana.
Tacos Las Ro
Just off Patria at the corner of Inglaterra sits this Zapopan institution. I discovered this place at the end of a Sunday bicycle ride, when my husband and I couldn’t help but notice the crowd outside. We stopped for a michelada and stayed for the fish tacos. Although Las Ro offers a full menu from sopes to tortas ahogadas to pozole, we have rarely strayed from the tacos de pescado or the tacos de camarones capeados. Newly renovated with a hip interior and more substantial seating and lighting - and lots of televisions airing futbol - the menu remains extensive, prepared with great care, and consistently delicious. My husband and I have made this a weekly stop for almost a year. Las Ro is open daily, from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Someday, I’ll try the pozole. With a fish taco. And a Rusa.
Avendia Inglaterra 4944 A, Jardines de La Patria, 45110 Zapopan. Website: www.lasro.mx.
As is evident, I have not wandered far in my search for the best fish tacos. Perhaps in this town the truth is that all fish tacos are good. Here are some more recommended places, although I have yet to sample their delights.
Mariscos El Negro
A Santa Tere spot that I keep passing with intention to stop, with a cool exterior, a long history and an apparently devoted clientele.
Ignacio Ramirez 646, corner Francisco Zarco. Website: www.mariscosnegro.com.
Recommended by a new arrival, this large airy restaurant offers a full array of mariscos, featuring full fish plates and interesting tropical recipes.
Avenida Terranova 415, Colonia Providencia. Website: www.mariscosterranova.com.
The Happy Fish Marisqueria
Recommended by a local and the Reporter editor, this restaurant near the Parque Agua Azul also has a sister restaurant on Tepeyac, offering fresh ceviche, empanadas, tacos and more.
Calzada del Águila 878, Colonia Moderna (corner of Constituyentes) and Avendia Tepeyac 4709, Mirador del Sol, Zapopan. Website: www.thehappyfish.com.mx.
Los Compios Taqueria
Another locally recommended marisqueria on Avenida Tepeyac, with delicious aguachiles and tacos de chile rellenos.
Avenida Tepeyac 749, Zapopan.