My Favorite SoCal Restaurant Is Not In-N-Out

Shrimp tacos.  After more than seven years, the taste I miss most in Southern California is shrimp tacos… at a fast-food chain… called Rubios.  Seriously.


I wish I could claim that the place I’ve been visiting twice a week for the last two months ranked high under Yelp’s “hipster restaurants” for “San Diego”:

  1. Craft & Commerce
  2. Soda & Swine
  3. Ironside Fish & Oyster
  4. Underbelly
  5. Wow Wow Waffle
  6. Neighborhood

Nope.  What I miss most is a San Diego-based chain that is synonymous with “fish tacos”.  Founded in 1983, the chain quickly expanded to locations in Los Angeles, the Bay Area, Salt Lake City, Tucson, Phoenix, and Denver.

Part of the attraction is the restaurant’s ubiquity.  Pull out your smartphone and enter “Rubios” in your map search.  No doubt, there’s a location not more than 2 miles from where you are.  The quality is pretty consistent throughout.

Rubios shrimp tacos

Rubios offers something familiar — a taco — and something seemingly contradictory — fish, mahi mahi, shrimp.  Roughly, the menu lists hand-battered fish tacos, grilled seafood tacos, seafood burritos, enchiladas, and chicken/steak tacos for people compelled to come with their friends. Every store offers, at least, three salsas that they claim are prepared fresh daily on the premises.

Each two-taco plate is served with a side of chips and beans for $9.  (Unfortunately, I am not earning any fees for this plug.) Nonetheless, I recommend visitors to Southern California to take a moment and try the tacos at Rubios.

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