These grilled baja fish tacos are a copycat recipe from South Beach Bar & Grill in San Diego. They were an unbeatable treat along with their fried counterparts when I lived there. This recipe is my homage to all those delicious taco Tuesdays, and I make these all throughout the summer.
Looking to branch out your taco fillings beyond chicken and steak? These grilled Baja fish tacos are a great move. They're simple but packed to the brim with flavor.
Why this Recipe Works
Grilling is a fantastic way to get flavorful and tender fish. I like to use Opah or Mahi-Mahi, or cod if that's all you can find. But if you choose to make a fried fish version, I recommend Tilapia. These tacos work great with all these white fish varieties.
These tacos are actually deceptively simple. After you grill the fish, all you need to do is top it with your toppings.
This is the combination of toppings I learned at my favorite taco spot in San Diego and there's no going back from this deliciousness.
Ingredients & Substitutions
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Cheese – I use cheddar cheese but you could substitute with queso fresco.
Fish – I used Opah for these, but Mahi Mahi is also great. You'll need to cut it into about 8 pieces.
Tortillas – flour tortillas are preferred for this recipe but you could substitute with corn.
Hot sauce – For my hot sauce I always use Valentina. It's my favorite.
Ranch – it may sound a little weird but I promise the addition of ranch dressing to these tacos is going to take it to the next level.
How to Make this Recipe
To make your pico de gallo salsa, put the finely diced ingredients into a bowl and mix them together until the salsa is combined.
Set this aside for when your tacos are ready. You can make it a full day in advance and just store it in the fridge until you're ready to use it.
Cook the fish
When it comes to making your fish you have a few different options. Your first option is to pan fry, and the other is to grill.
To pan fry: heat your olive oil in a pan over medium to medium-high heat and add in the pieces of fish. Cook your fish for 2 to 3 minutes per side until they are cooked through.
To grill (preferred method): cook over direct heat for about 2 to 3 minutes per side, until cooked through.
I recommend grilling the tortillas on a grill so that you get those horizontal char marks on either side. It really does make a difference and steps up your overall taco experience.
Top each tortilla in this order: cheese on the bottom, then the fish, cabbage, salsa, ranch, hot sauce, and finally a big squeeze of lime. Each person gets two. Enjoy!
There are so many fantastic options for taco fillings to make including things like chicken, pork, steak or even vegetarian versions like mushroom, potatoes, or cauliflower. I think seafood always makes for tasty tacos with ingredients like shrimp and salmon.
It's always a white flaky fish, which can be cod, halibut, tilapia, mahi-mahi, or similar.
When you hear someone refer to food as Baja-style, it means a style of cooking and ingredients that originated in Baja California. This style is known for fresh ingredients and seafood like fish with some of the most famous dishes being white fish tacos and seafood tostadas. What I love about the style of food is that it's a phenomenal fusion of both Mexican and American flavors and cuisine.
Baja California is a strip of land located below San Diego on the coast of Mexico. Right below it is Baja California Sur, and both are separated from Mexico by the Gulf of California.
There are plenty of delicious fish recipes for you to try on the blog, and you NEED to try these different taco fillings. Rotate through them all and have the best summer of tacos ever!
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Grilled Baja Fish Tacos with Pico de Gallo Salsa
Pico de Gallo Salsa
- 1 large tomato diced
- ½ red onion diced
- 1 jalapeño diced (seeds removed for a milder salsa)
- 1 lime juiced
- salt and pepper
- 1 ½ lbs. fish I use Opah or mahi mahi, but cod also works. Cut into 8 strips*
- 8 flour tortillas
- ¼ red cabbage shredded
- 1 cup cheddar cheese
- 8 teaspoon hot sauce I use Valentina
- 8 teaspoon ranch
- 2 limes cut into wedges
- Salsa: Mix ingredients in a bowl. Set aside. Can be made a day in advance.
- To pan fry: heat your olive oil in a pan over medium to medium-high heat and add in the pieces of fish. Cook your fish for 2 to 3 minutes per side until they are cooked through.To grill (preferred method): cook over direct heat for about 2 to 3 minutes per side, until cooked through.
- (Optional) Heat the tortillas on the grill until warm.
- Top each tortilla in this order: cheese on the bottom, then the fish, cabbage, salsa, ranch, hot sauce, and finally a big squeeze of lime.
This post was originally published in April of 2017 but was republished with new photos, step-by-step instructions, FAQs, and tips in June of 2022.
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