While we endure the cooler winter weather, there is a dish that can transport you and make you feel as though you are dining beachfront in Mexico. The culinary mecca is full of delicious cuisine from all different regions of the country, and the Fish Taco, which is said to have originated in Baja, is no exception.
You may recall the fast-casual Mexican chain Rubio’s, which expanded to six locations on the Front Range from 1999 until their local casualty due to COVID in 2020. Beginning in 1974, founder Ralph Rubio, traveled down to San Felipe (located on the eastern coast of the Peninsula) during his college spring breaks. Developing a love and taste for the taco, he opened his first location in San Diego on January 25, 1983.
So what makes a traditional fish taco? To start, a fresh warm corn tortilla is used as the vessel. Then, battered and deep-fried white fish, white sauce, and additional toppings like shredded cabbage, salsa, and lime are what make each restaurant’s rendition unique. We have selected five Denver restaurants that we believe exhibit the true spirit of this Baja favorite.
Tacos el Metate has been frying fish tacos at its Aurora location since 2017. In June 2020, they opened their University location which is where we had the honor of tasting their specialty. “It comes with our rich and creamy housemade sauce; garnished with cabbage, tomatoes, cilantro, and onions. All served on corn tortillas.”
Denver’s beloved Loca developed her own tequila and mezcal brand, Doña Loca, and then opened a cantina to showcase it along with other spirits and Mexican eats. Their Baja Fish taco is topped with pickled cabbage and a memorable chipotle aioli that will have you coming back for more.
Wallenta brothers Kris and Jason have expanded this Denver taco joint to Castle Rock and Colorado Springs. The O.M.F.G. Ahi tuna taco is one of my all-time favorites, and they also serve a Beer Battered Fish Taco made with mahi mahi, habanero aioli, cabbage, onion, leek, poblano sauce, and cilantro.
Check the schedule on their website for upcoming locations
Food trucks have also made a splash onto our list, and one is even fittingly named after the Mexican state the dish originates from. La Baja’s fish taco is made with tempura fried fish (tilapia or cod) served on a six-inch soft corn tortilla and topped with cabbage, sour cream, and pico de gallo. Enjoy a beer at one of the local breweries they have scheduled.
Seasonal Food Truck
What began as a summer project is now a must-have. Kiko’s Tacos ran for the Summer of 2022 at a single location in Federal Heights. After their successful debut, the owners have decided to build out a larger food truck that will hit the street in the Summer of 2023. We will keep you up-to-date on exactly when to find their dark lager beer-battered fish taco topped with a cabbage pico and homemade sauces served on a Nixtamal tortilla.