Hands down, the best thing America has given to us, aside from the Franco brothers, is fish tacos.
I realise they came from Mexico, ok, it’s just I’ve never been there and the Hawaiian fish tacos I tried are just THE BEST. I will spend my life trying to find fish tacos in Australia that are as consistently good as the all the varieties I scarfed in Hawaii. Unfortunately, I haven’t gotten far yet. Although a crop of Mexican restaurants have sprung up around Brisbane, and I’m starting to see fish tacos more on menus around the place, it’s still hard to find one that compares to the ones that live in my Hawaiian dreams.
A round up of what I’ve found so far:
5. Primal Pantry
I don’t want to be harsh. The meal itself was ok. The crispy skinned salmon was cooked well and the avocado salsa and dressing were flavoursome. But the “taco”… I’m not sure what it was made out of but it was thick like a pancake, soggy from all the ingredients sitting on top of it and the texture was so freaking weird, I had to eat around it. In reality tv cooking show speak it just added nothing to the plate.
As my one and only paleo meal experience it was fine, but it was no fish taco.
Fish taco rating: Good try
4. Guzman y Gomez
So people go nuts about how great Guzman y Gomez is. I don’t know. Maybe I’m a hard marker but the few times I’ve eaten there it’s been fine, but not over the top amaze. Unfortunately their barramundi taco failed to sway me away from this opinion.
If I’d read the menu more carefully I would have noticed that all their tacos come with black beans included. For chicken or pork – sure, pile em on. But for a fish taco I found the black beans totally overpowering. They just kinda took the taste out of everything else, and created an unappealing black sludge that ran unattractively down my arms.
Fish taco rating: Why so many black beans?
3. Sixes and Sevens
I know I should be wearing bold framed glasses, vintage clothing and an ironic smirk to be saying this, seeing as this place is hipster heaven, but I love Sixes and Sevens. It’s a beautiful building, fitted out attractively (the hanging light bulbs! I love the hanging light bulbs!) with a diverse and enticing menu.
But the fish taco, available as a house special from the blackboard, not the menu (so confusing. Why do this? Just put it on the menu), failed to completely float my boat. It was just the right amount of spicy, and it was light and not too messy. But their choice of fish put me off – not sure what it was – but it was just too fishy tasting. It put me on edge, I had to dive into the bowl of chips to change the taste sensation that was happening my mouth.
The chips though. Yum. Also, the prawn pick up sticks are super delicious.
Fish taco rating: Fishy fish
2. Beach Burrito Company (West End)
I’ve dropped Beach Burrito Company in front of Sixes and Sevens for three reasons: super friendly service, my lack of menu reading skills is responsible for some of what I didn’t like and we got takeaway. I am sure if we ate in I wouldn’t have been eating cold tacos.
I mixed things up at Beach Burrito company, adding pibil pork and chipotle chicken to my tempura fish order. Unfortunately, when it came to flavours I could have ordered anything – they all tasted exactly the same. Sure there was a slight variation – “I think I’m eating the fish one now! Oh, this one tastes like chicken!” but in terms of distinct flavours for each taco, no. Fortunately that flavour was good, if a bit heavy on the tomato salsa.
Because we ordered takeaway the taco shells were soggy – and actually just kind of unpleasant to eat. It was only after re-checking the menu at home we found out the soft shell tacos are gluten free. Dudes. I want gluten with my tacos ok. I know it’s very, very bad for me, but I must have it. If I’d read the menu more closely I would have opted for hard shell tacos.
Fish taco rating: Give me my gluten.
1. Miss Margarita (Byron Bay)
Actually nowhere near Brisbane but two hours south in New South Wales, Miss Margarita tops my list because: DELICIOUS.
I think I ate there six months ago and I’m still dreaming of the super yum crispy snapper, chipotle coleslaw, mango and fresh lime. Get in my belly. Generously sized, reasonably priced, the beach just up the road, backpackers all around, Corona on the tables – the whole experience added up to what I think I’m looking for in my fish tacos: the feeling of being on holidays, in the sun, relaxed, with good wholesome food on my plate.
If I could be bothered fighting my way through the traffic to get into Byron these days the first place I’d go would be to Miss Margarita to get my taco on. Highly recommend.
I don’t have a photo of my taco experience. I know I took one, of course I did, I Instagram, therefore I eat. But I can’t find it. So imagine it, or head over the Miss Margarita website, they have a link to their own Instagram feed.
Fish taco rating: Almost Hawaiian.
If you feel like making fish tacos I use this recipe and it makes me happy.
Have I said fish taco enough times in this post? Fish taco. Fish taco.