Best Fish Taco Spots in North County San Diego

Keep in mind I am not a culinary expert by any stretch, but I do love Mexican food and fish tacos in particular so I thought hey, North County SD might appreciate my Top Five List, so here we go!

Taco Bar in San Marcos 

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This place is in a strip mall but get over it, and get in here. Amazing tacos, and great prices. Their standard batter fish tacos are top notch, but don’t stop there. They also offer hot octopus, smoked tuna, lengua (beef tongue) and cabeza (beef cheeks) tacos. Another fav is the pastor, my husband cannot get enough of these and always goes back to order at least one more. Their corn tortillas are always made fresh and hot, and they have a salsa bar to die for.

Bonus= the folks that work here are beyond friendly.

Lourdes in Escondido


Forget the ambiance, you won’t  find it, and it’s not needed. They feature super fresh and darn tasty fish tacos, but even better they serve up the most amazing onion-cilantro-chicken-avocado and rice soup. Ever.

Bull Taco in Cardiff

 bull taco

These folks started with one location in Oceanside and are now up to six, and that’s because simply put, they have got it going on. They call their food “inauthentic Mexican” which is quite a risky statement in San Diego, but believe you me they deliver. The tacos are awesome. They feature a rotating fish special every day, as well as carne asada tater tots and exotic meat specials like wild boar, chicken heart, grilled quail egg and pheasant to name a few.

The Cardiff location is a must see. It’s in the San Elijo Campgrounds with front-row views of the Pacific Ocean.

Pretty much a walk up café but well worth bussing your own table for spectacular tacos, and magnificent views.

Juanitas in Encinitas


Total hole in the wall, but locals abound in this real deal SoCal taco shop cuz the food is consistently great, they are open late, and the price is right.

Surfers and late night revelers a like clamor for the fish tacos doused in signature special white sauce (what’s in there?) and I don’t eat burritos but from all accounts the California is truly the bomb.

P.S. Be prepared for limited parking and a line out the door.

Hello Betty Fish House in Oceanside

hello b

This is the priciest and fanciest of the group but it must be on my list. It’s a really great place to take out of towners. The menu is extensive, and every item we have tried has been spot on, but I have to give special props to the shrimp tacos in crema sauce, and a shout out to the tuna poke, they are my favs.

With an incredible beachfront location right near the pier you are almost guaranteed a fabulous sunset view from the bar, or any table in the joint. The restaurant fills up Thursday-Sunday but if you walk upstairs to the rooftop deck they aim to please with kickass heaters, cozy couches, and a fully loaded bar menu. It is truly a delight.

Ok I am now ready for the backlash, so bring it:)

Care to share YOUR top spots for fish tacos and the like in North County?

About JulieRae, she’s a hardworking Realtor/Mom whose mantra is “Yes, but first coffee.”

For help buying, selling, or investing in SD she’s your gal @


Strip Mall? Yes, please!


Last summer we moved from the inner city of Portland Oregon to a gated community in the suburbs of Escondido California. Of course we knew it would be an adjustment on many levels, but didn’t think trying to find our kind of “stuff” would be one of them.

Where to shop? Where to eat? It was quite a challenge for us, since we had lived in the heart of the city where we could easily walk or bike to coffee shops, artisan pizza, DIY pottery studios, and organic grocery stores.

It is Portlandia, after all.

But, like I said, we moved.

Walk six blocks for a farm to table gluten free dinner, leash up the dog, grab a cloth grocery bag and head out for some free-range brown eggs?

Not anymore.

Welcome to the land of strip malls. And by the way, you must drive to all of them.

I admit it; I was a strip mall snob. I had assumed everything in a strip mall was a Subway, Payless shoes, or Papa Johns. You know what I mean?

Not so.

Exhibit A, Trader Joes. They have them in strip malls here. I kid you not.

The first time I went with my daughter, who fought the move from day one since we were “ruining her life,” she all but fell to her knees in prayer to Allah Joe the moment we went inside.

“Mom… it’s just like the one back home.”

Since they are all pretty much laid out the same she finally felt comfortable somewhere because it felt so FAMILIAR.

Typically I am a stealth shopper on my weekly TJ’s run, but this time we slowly strolled down every isle while she carefully loaded the cart with her favorite items. Naturally we came home with twice as much usual, including way too many of those oh so good Toblerone bars. Ugh.

(P.S. I needed that reprieve, so I heart you even more now, Trader Joes)

Ok, groceries bought for the week but I don’t want to cook, so where do we find some decent pizza?

I’ll tell you where, in a strip mall!

We found two places we love, both in strip malls. One of them is Killer Pizza from Mars in Escondido and not surprisingly the whole place is decked out in wacky alien chic. They have a great selection of old school arcade games, the people working there are super friendly, and they make a darn good pie.

The other is a local chain called Flippin Pizza with décor straight outta Brooklyn. Brick interior walls, nice old wooden bar, and gluten free you ask? Why yes, don’t mind if I do! They serve it five different ways and all are quite tasty.

Where to go for date night? Our local Strip Mall, of course! We had a wonderful authentic Indian dinner paired with a fabulous Pinot Noir and great ambiance at family owned and operated Curry and More in San Marcos. Delish!

I could go on and on. We have found hidden gems at every turn.

Our new dentist Dr. Miller who we love?              Check

K9 Dog Park daycare for neurotic Dexter?           Check

Family owned tailor/dry cleaner?                          Check

It’s all at the Strip Mall.

We just had to get over ourselves, take a drive, open our eyes, and walk through that tinted glass door.

About JulieRae, she’s a hardworking Realtor/Mom whose mantra is “Yes, but first coffee.”

For help buying, selling, or investing in SD she’s your gal @