Before the stuff-food-inside-a-tortilla-and-call-it-a-taco trend became a thing, some industrious folks in Baja, California found themselves with fresh fried fish and tortillas, and the fish taco was born. Throw in a little cabbage, sour cream and a squirt of lime and you have the ubiquitous, Baja-style fish taco. Now, however, there are many riffs on the original. Here are my 5 best fish tacos in the Florida Keys.
A meal sized fish taco is important when it is, in fact, your entire meal. Garbo’s Grill offers just that. Two flour tortillas overloaded with giant pieces of fresh grilled mahi mahi, and topped with jalapenos, slaw, mangoes (for a zesty kick!) and their own Caribbean sauce. Garbo’s is a food truck with outdoor seating at a bar, Grunt’s, so plan accordingly.
For the next awesome taco, I actually need to leave my little island, get in the car and head about 20 minutes north to Geiger Key, meandering through a neighborhood until finally reaching Geiger Road. A quick turn leads us to the waterside restaurant and RV park. Geiger Key Marina has beautiful views and a calm atmosphere, despite the occasional military jet flying overhead. They also happen to have good food. Enter the grouper cheek taco. It is sweet and tender, and checks all of the important fish taco boxes: fresh fish, just the right amount of stuff on top, and as a bonus it comes with a huge plateful of fries.
My new favorite stop halfway between the mainland and Key West has outstanding fish tacos, and they come with a delicious coconut rice. What could be better? Smuggler’s Cove is also on the water (hey, it’s the Keys… a chain of islands. Go figure.)
Snuggled into a tiny storefront that sat empty for years, Deuce’s Off The Hook Grill cranks out a lot of fresh seafood from a tiny kitchen. One of the menu favorites is a fish taco. The fish changes often, depending on what is freshest, but the constant is the yumminess. Always tasty and topped with cheese, cabbage, jalapenos and a poblano sour cream, these tasty tacos are served with a side of black beans and plantains.
I wouldn’t expect a restaurant known for impressive entrees to also have good street food, but 7 Fish does just that. In addition to a fantastic curry, a warm grouper sushi roll I dream about often, and a unique Caesar salad, they also make a great fish taco appetizer. Smaller than some of the others on the list (it is, after all, an appetizer) it is every bit as delicious, fresh and flavorful. Try it next time you are there.
Honorable mention goes to Death by Tako. Their key lime marinated mahi mahi is served with avocado and a sesame slaw, all stuffed into a tortilla, with fresh jalapenos and sour cream on the side.
Bottom line: If you are in the mood for a fish taco in the Florida Keys, you don’t have to look far to find a good one.