One of my main missions in LA was to eat as many fish tacos as possible. It’s one of those quintessential SoCal dishes that has not been perfected on the same scale on the East Coast. On our first day in Santa Monica, Albert and I sought out the local treat and went no further than a few blocks from our apartment before finding Blue Plate Taco. Being right across from the Santa Monica Pier, I was concerned it would be a bit too touristy; I wanted a true locals spot. But then we thought about it: it was the best menu we had seen that day, the people watching would be spectacular, and it was close to the hotel. We also realized it was a branch of a restaurant group that began in a more local area so it had some street cred. We would be silly to look any further.
We started with cocktails because vacation is all about having a cocktail at lunch on a Friday when you would normally be at work. Albert got a beer, but I went with an agua fresca. For only $4, you can get one of these juices in pineapple, hibiscus, or watermelon and you would be completely happy with life. But for $12, you can get one of those agua frescas mixed with booze. I went with watermelon and tequila and sipped happily while gazing at the beach. We also ordered a half portion of the guac, which was plenty for two people and full of nice avocado chunks.
We wanted to try a variety of tacos so we ordered a mix: chicken tinga, short rib, and, of course, baja fish. I was impressed that the fish they use in the fish tacos changes daily based on what’s fresh. It might be sea bass one day, cod the next. Instead of beans and rice, we got the slaw and found it to be flavorful and refreshing. A pefect crunch on the side of our tacos. All the tacos were great and nicely portioned. I loved the layer of beans on the inside of the tortilla of the chicken taco, and everything about the fish was great. It was a little trendier than the beach shacks I hoped to hit up for my fish taco fix, but my clean plate evidenced I didn’t care about that too much.