When I think of the quintessential food of San Diego, California, visions of tacos, rice and beans, or super fresh seafood caught just off the coast instantly come to mind. That's why the suggestion of Oscar's Mexican Seafood for our first meal in San Diego really hit the spot. This hole in the wall is a popular taco shop among the locals, but we probably would never have found it without the help of some San Diegan friends. Thank goodness for them, though, because if I had to choose one meal to eat in this area, I'd have it from this taco joint.
Oscar's is located not far from the ocean in La Jolla, so you get an idea of how fresh this seafood can be. It might be hard to find, as its sign is not as obvious as the one for the smoke shop next door. You'll know you've found it when you see the marine life mural with an underwater taco truck painted on the facade. There's no parking lot and street parking is sparse, so you may be in for a bit of a walk.
Address: 703 Turquoise Street, San Diego CA
- Monday - Thursday 10 am - 9 pm
- Friday - Saturday 10 am - 10 pm
- Sunday 9 am - 9 pm
This taqueria is a tiny restaurant with no tables inside. There's no room for one, though some counter seating is available, if the shop is ever empty enough to use it. Not to worry, though. This place makes good use of San Diego's amazing weather with a few tables and some counter style seating right out in front. If you're smart and with some friends you'll have one person in your party scope out seats while you wait to order. With the high number of customers at Oscar's, finding seats is a challenge.
Oscar's feels like a fish shack you'd find at the pier or right on the beach. California casual, shorts and flip flops. Perfect style to match the food.
The wait was long both to place an order and especially to get our food. Once you get your food, this won't matter. Since you pick up your order, this is mostly a self-service place, but they were incredibly nice to bring us our drinks anyway.
Totally reasonable and worth every penny. The cheapest taco starts at $1.99 and the max for a super-stuffed taco is $4.50. They had tortas for $10.00. Though we didn't try one, they looked like they were pretty filling. Drinks were around $2. No credit cards are accepted, so don't forget to bring some cash.
This might sound crazy, but this might be the best taco I've ever had. And tacos are one of my favorite foods. We ordered a whole tray of tacos and side orders of shrimp ceviche. My selections were a traditional battered fish taco and the taco especial - a combination of smoked fish, shrimp, and scallops, topped with cheese, cilantro, tomatoes and a slice of avocado. Spicy and delicious, this taco was certainly especial. The regular fish taco was also delicious, but less exciting and less spicy. I also had a bite of the octopus taco, which was surprisingly delicious. If I get to return, I'd choose the surf & turf taco as my second pick instead - made with steak and shrimp. My friends raved over it. The tables are adorned with two bottles of special house sauce. One is reddish, the other greenish. Both delicious and spicy, but different flavors.
The shrimp ceviche was pretty incredible too. I wasn't sure at first that the seemingly raw shellfish would have a good texture, but my worries vanished. Served with slices of avocado, as if to remind you that you are indeed still in California, the shrimp's texture is tender - better than any heat-cooked shrimp I can remember. Citrus "cooks" and tenderizes the shrimp, making for a light dish.
The drinks were a treat, too. Agua fresca, meaning fresh water, is a Mexican fruit drink made in-house at Oscar's. The flavors available were melon and orange, and the melon went quick before we could get any. Orange was quite different from typical orange juice. Darker and a bit thicker. We got to try the peach and canteloupe before leaving and it's hard to say which was my favorite.
In all, I'm ready to start planning my next trip to San Diego so I can have a few more of these tacos.
Published On: Monday, June 3rd, 2013