Because nothing’s more San Diego than good fish tacos.
The food: My favorite item to get here is the Surf and Turf taco, which has skirt steak, shrimp, cabbage, onion, tomato, cilantro, avocado, and cheese. It’s the perfect balance of salty and a little sweet and both the steak and shrimp are seasoned to perfection. I also get their Battered Fish taco, which is pretty standard, but what really sets Oscars apart is their sauces: distinctive red and green bottles that visitors can grab from the nearest table. While the creamy red sauce is a chipotle and the darker red is a pepper salsa, I can’t quite tell what the green sauce is, but you’re going to want to put it on your taco.
If you’re not in the mood for tacos, their ceviche and fish stew are also amazing. If you happen to be around in the mornings, they serve breakfast burritos as well.
The ambiance: Oscars has four locations in San Diego: two in Pacific Beach, one in Hillcrest, and one in Downtown. I’ve only been to the PB locations, and they have that easygoing, chill vibe you’d expect from a taco joint on the beach. The Emerald St. location is on the larger side and packs a more assertive aesthetic, with reclaimed wood tables, metal barstools, and a cool octopus mural on the back wall. The Turquoise St. location, which is the one I frequent, shares the same tables and barstools but only has outdoor seating. The aesthetic at this location is a bit hole-in-the-wall, but I actually think they season their food a little better on Turquoise than on Emerald. Both places can get really busy and it can be hard to find a seat sometimes, so if you’re in a hurry, this may not be the place for you.
The price: The cheapest tacos you can get are the Battered Fish at $2.25 or the Battered Shrimp at $3.29. The rest of their tacos average at around $5, which, I’ll admit, isn’t the greatest deal in the world, but a filling and delicious meal for under $10 is still a win in my books. Oscars is a great place to go for a casual lunch or dinner with friends; if there are no seats available, you can always walk to the beach and eat your food with your toes in the sand.
Why you should go: I discovered Oscars my freshman year at UC San Diego; I’m a fourth-year student now and it’s one of the places I keep coming back to. If you’re a big seafood lover, you definitely have to try this place — also, did I mention that you can take the bus there? To get to the Turquoise location, hop on the MTS 30 and get off at Turquoise St. and La Jolla Blvd.!