The Best Fish Tacos on the Central Coast

Playing hooky is something I learned the value of a long time ago. It often brings new perspectives through serendipity, which is exactly what happened this past Saturday during the annual World of Pinot Noir festival in Pismo Beach. Before the grand tasting started, a small group of us headed over to the charming hamlet of Avila Beach where we’d heard there was a good fish shack at the end of the pier, some place called Pete’s Pierside Café.

So off we went thinking, hey, beers and fish tacos, what could be better? We got that, but we got so much more.

pete's menu

As you can see from the menu of specials above, this was no ordinary pierside taco shack. Chanterelle enchiladas smothered in a vibrant green sauce, housemade chips, halibut tacos, wild salmon tacos (I raised an eyebrow at this, given the collapse of the Pacific salmon run), an array of pickled vegetables and salsas, and, seen below, pescado entero, a whole, crispy fried fish served with rice and beans and steaming corning tortillas. Shred with a fork, build your own taco.

whole fish

Note to Tyler: We talked about food and wine pairings here, but really, Tecate in a can is where it’s at! And yes, that’s a 22-oz can…

*We felt like copying the local seal population after lunch but as the little guy in the water can attest, there just wasn’t any room on the dock under the pier.


(NB: For another Central Coast hole-in-wall Mexican seafood experience, it’s hard to beat El Lugarcito in King City.)