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Pedro's Tacos
Pedro's Tacos continues to serve up its wildly popular fish tacos to hungry surfers in Oceanside. Courtesy photo
Columns Food & Wine Lick the Plate

Lick the Plate: Ultimate fish tacos, burritos at Pedro’s in Oceanside

It seems that with Mexican joints most San Diegan’s have at least two go-to options and maybe more in their lives. One that is local to where they live, and the other convenient to their workplace. Regardless, there is never a shortage of quality options in this Mexican food paradise we live in.

My home and work mix includes Leucadia and Oceanside, and my two go-to joints are Juanita’s and Pedro’s given that they are both in close proximity to my home and office. I’ve waxed poetic extensively on Juanita’s in the past but only mentioned Pedro’s in passing.

I will have to say that I would put both of their fish tacos and burritos up against any in San Diego, though I’m sure that comment will set off a debate amongst The Coast News readers. Let’s just all agree that we have some fabulous options when it comes to battered and crunchy fish tacos in San Diego County.

This column is going to focus specifically on the amazing fish burrito at Pedro’s and my reasoning behind that claim. First I’ll provide a bit of a backstory to set the stage.

Pedro's Tacos
Tim Romanowski, owner of Pedro’s Tacos in Oceanside, shows off his fabulous fish burrito. Photo by David Boylan

The year was 1986 when Pedro’s Tacos opened their first fish taco stand in Orange County, California.  They were an out-of-the-gate success in San Clemente with post-session surfers lining up for their hunger-quelling tacos and burritos that always seem to the trick.

Being a surfer, I don’t think there is a better option after coming out of the ocean than a hearty fish taco or burrito. Something about coming out of the sea and eating seafood just works.

The word spread quickly, and the legend was born. They even make the debatable claim on their signage that states “The World’s Best Tacos Since 1986,” so there you go.

Today, they have four locations, with two in San Clemente, and one in Oceanside and Fallbrook. The restaurant is celebrating 35 years by maintaining the high quality and original flavors of its early days.

The location I frequent is on the corner of the 76 and Benet Road in a light industrial part of Oceanside, across the 76 from the airport that is a skydiving hotspot.

If you choose to eat outside on a clear day, there is a good chance you will see colorful parachutes opening from the sky and acrobatic skydivers falling from the sky…which is just a bonus. This location is owned by Tim Romanowski who is a hands-on owner/operator you can see at the restaurant often.

OK so let’s talk about this fish burrito that is simply spectacular according to yours truly. First off I have to mention that is of modest size, and that translates for me at least, into a burrito that I can enjoy at lunch and not slip into a food coma. That is important when afternoon productivity is on the line.

Further translation…it’s not a gut bomb which is a welcome thing in my world of burritos. The battered cod is crispy on the outside and light and flaky inside and is combined with cabbage, salsa and a delicious dressing. The soft flour tortilla holds it all together nicely and because of its manageable size, it does not explode all over when consuming.

Everything just works so nicely in this burrito, the crunch, the sauce, the tortilla, it’s everything a burrito should be, hence my proclamation that it is the best in my two worlds and I’m thinking you all might like it as well. The fish taco is solid as well but that’s another conversation.

Some more unique elements of Pedro’s menu include tacos and burritos of the fried chicken and potato varieties and a surf and turf that combines steak and grilled shrimp.

The “mistake burrito” is includes grilled shrimp, rice, cabbage salsa and dressing. A low-carb bowl also exists for those of you out there who cannot or choose not to indulge in tortillas.

Most of the standard Mexican joint staples are also included on the menu but I have to say that I have not done much menu exploring outside of the fish burrito other than the above-mentioned and the occasional breakfast burrito.

Unless you work in the neighborhood or live in one of the surrounding developments, it’s not super convenient to get to but definitely worth the drive if you value a quality fish burrito.

Find them at 656 Benet Road, Oceanside, 760.722.7221 or www.pedrostacos.com

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