The Quest for Fish Tacos in Cincinnati

Fish Tacos? In the Queen City? We started a few weeks ago talking about the lack of choices but soon realized there were a lot of places serving them on the menu. We searched Google, asked friends and put out a call on Twitter and Facebook for suggestions and started making a list. We have sampled them at 7 places in the greater Cincinnati area so far. They vary greatly from place to place and our only requirement when ordering was that they were white fish tacos. (versus salmon, shrimp, etc.)

Here they are in the order we tried them. You will have to read to the end to find out our favorites.

Taco Loco

Our 1st stop was in Forest Park at 610 Northland Blvd for Taco Loco. It’s located in a an old Burger king and had some amazing authentic Mexican food on the menu which is printed in Spanish and English. Fish tacos were not on the menu but we asked for and received 2 in a short time. While we waited, we saw a few customers order giant (32oz.) Bloody Marys for 8$. They have a decent selection of Mexican beers available also.

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The tacos came on warm corn tortillas and contained a fairly large piece of cornmeal breaded and fried fish. It was served with tartar sauce, lettuce, tomato and pico de gallo on the side. They cost 2.95$ each which was the lowest priced of the 8. Overall it was pretty tasty and since it closet to our home base, we will return to try other items on the menu and probably have a giant Bloody Mary.

Nada

A Classy place next to the Aronoff center, at the corner of Walnut and 6th was our next stop after finding 2 others on the list closed because it was a Sunday. They have a nice but pricey brunch drink menu.

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The tacos came on a flour tortilla. The fish was battered and fried with cole slaw, pico de gallo, lime juice and a spoonful of guacomole. They where very juicy and flavorful, but also the priciest at 12$ for 2.

Moerlein Lager House

Located at the Banks with a view of the mighty Ohio River. We have been here often for their awesome draft beer and bottle list but have never tried the fish tacos, until now.

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They come in groups of 4 so its more like a meal in our opinion.Corn tortillas with a great red pepper slaw and house made white sauce of some kind. they were served with Guacamole and salsa Verde on the side. the fish was naked and pan fried. The tacos where very juicy and almost sweet from the slaw. We found them to be very tasty. 14$ for 4.

Seafood Station

Located in Loveland Just north of 275 is a little seafood store that makes a variety of seafood tacos. You get to watch their taco artistry while you wait or shop for seafood.

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The Tacos consist of various whitefishes baked and shredded, then spooned on to a flour tortilla. They add mozzarella cheese and a store made white sauce and then press it a hot sandwich press.They then add lettuce and tomatoes so you get that warm and cool sensation when eating them. These are to go only and cost 3$ each.

Django Western Taco

This is 1 of 2 taco joints on the same block of Hamilton Ave. on the Northside. The other one does not have fish tacos so, moving on. Django’s has a great menu and atmosphere. Their beer selection is second only to Moerlein in this group of eateries. They serve you these wonderful freshly baked tortilla chips while you wait.

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The taco came on your choice of corn or flour tortillas. we tried 1 of each. it consisted of a very large piece of battered and fried tilapia, a little cole slaw, a chipotle lime sauce and cilantro. It was very hot and spicey but you couldn’t fit a bigger piece of fish on a tortilla. the corn was both of our favorites. 5$ each.

Mazunte Taquaria

Located at 5207 Madison Rd. in a small strip plaza is this little gem. They have a very nice and simple menu with a salsa bar as a bonus.. The also have a nice selection of local and Mexican beers.

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The tacos come in groups of 3’s with your choice of battered or grilled whitefish. We went with the grilled which we both prefer. They came on a homemade flour tortilla with a Mexican Slaw (pickled),  guacamole and a mango habenero salsa. they are a little on the small side compared to others but they are packed with flavor. They are a little spicy from the habenero but not as hot a Django. 9.25$ for 3

Gomez Salsa

Located in OTR on 12th is a little walk up window for tacos.You use the multiple choice order form and then can go next door and sit at Halfcut OTR and wait. They will deliver them to you while you enjoy a beer at this great location.

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The fish tacos are battered and fried. We ordered 1 corn tortilla with their pineapple salsa and 1 flour tortilla with their corn salsa. They also put a very tasty and cool slaw on there. 3.50$ each

So, Our Favorites so Far?

We both easily agree that Mazunte Taqueria is our hands down favorite. The flavor of these tacos is on a whole different level. We have already been back there despite them being so far from us.

The tacos at Moerlein Lager House and Nada come in a close 2nd but none of the eateries we tried made a bad fish taco.

Thank you to all who made suggestions. We know that there are other great restaurants in the area serving some great fish tacos and this list is just the small dent we put in it. As we try them at other places, we will try to update this blog. You can tweet your suggestions to us @tastingbuddies and we will try to get there someday. (Right now we are trying to help our buddy Tom at Queen City Drinks work thru his list of bloody mary joints.)

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A Northeast Ohio Beer Weekend

We recently took a trip to visit some of our favorite breweries and to stock up on some bombers of great beer. This time we headed north east towards Akron, Cleveland and eventually Lakewood New York, home of Southern Tier Brewing. We found a few new favorites, had some disappointments and spent way too much money, but overall it was an amazing weekend for a couple of beer lovers. We did not keep any notes on the beer we sampled, but we rated them all at ‘Untapped’. Our username is ‘TastingBuddies’, of course!

Our 1st stop was not a brewery but we got a chance to kill 2 birds with 1 empty pint glass. The World of Beer has 2 locations in Columbus. Not sure why there are 2 of them but we stopped at the one located in the Easton Town Center shopping area near the airport. We received points on our WOB card and we got a chance to try “Bodhi” from The Columbus Brewery. It’s a double IPA at 8% and it is delicious. We hope to see this on a local tap somewhere soon.

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Our next stop was in Akron for the Hoppin’ Frog Brewing Company. They occupy 2 sides of a business park right across the street from the giant Goodyear blimp hangar and according to some locals, they are expanding quickly. Dee had to try the ‘Frog’s Hollow Double Pumpkin Ale’, While I had the ‘Hop Heathen’, a Double Black IPA. Both were amazing on tap. The taproom has 18 beers on tap and a huge selection of chilled bombers which we took advantage of by stocking up on some favorites like the barrel aged B.O.R.I.S and Mean Manalishi.

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Our 1st disappointment came next as we tried to visit the Thirsty Dog Brewery in Akron. We arrived at 8:30 on a Friday night to a locked door. Apparently they close at 8 PM for some reason. Production was in full swing and they offered to fill a growler for us, but we passed and headed up the road. We should have planned better but 8 o’clock on a Friday night is a little early to close a taproom at a growing microbrewery.

Saturday brought rain and cold weather in Cleveland. No surprise there. We went for lunch at the Great Lakes Brewing Company in the Market District downtown. They have a large taproom, restaurant here and on a Saturday at lunchtime it was very crowded.  I had a fresh pint of ‘Nosferatu’, a Double Red Ale, while Dee enjoyed a ‘Commodore Perry IPA’.  They have great menu full of pub food that we really enjoyed, We tried the Pub Bites & the Sausage Sampler.

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Fat Heads Brewery and Saloon in N. Olmstead was our next stop. They have over 30 taps here with 20 or so dedicated to their own beers. The others were a mix of other great beers, some local. Dee sampled their 3 IPA’s and rated them in the following order:  ‘Hop Ju Ju’ DIPA, ‘Head Hunter’ and ‘IBUsive’.  I was lucky enough to try a cask conditioned ‘Hippy Sippy’ Imperial Stout. It was so smooth and creamy and hoppy and delicious and unavailable for take out.

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The next stop was for some ‘White Rajah IPA’ from the Brewkettle Taproom and Smokehouse in Strongsville, Ohio. This a Brew-on-premise location with a huge tap list that includes Brewkettle Brews, home brews, other local brews and a few others including our own local Rivertown Brewing’s ‘Lawn Conquerer’. The ‘White Rajah’ was fresh and delicious and well worth the side trip. Yes, that Is a deer’s ass.

 

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Saturday night brought our biggest find of the weekend. This brewery wasn’t really on our list but was on the way to our next stop and we had time. Willoughby Brewing in Willoughby, Ohio has no distribution. You can only drink their beers at the brewery according to our bartender and we are so glad we stopped here. Their IPA’s are amazing. ‘Cosmic” is their regular IPA and ‘Hopnotic’ is their seasonal DIPA. But the highlight was their ‘Peanut Butter Cup Coffee Porter’. Oh man, is this stuff good! Big Coffee nose and a great peanut butter finish. This place is 300 miles away, but we will be going back.

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Most of the breweries on our list are closed on Sunday’s, but not Southern Tier Brewing Company in Lakewood, NY. Their taproom is open 12-5 on Sundays. Google maps will mislead you here. The address on their website takes you to a small neighborhood about 2 miles away from the brewery. The intersection of Hunt Rd. and Big Tree Rd. will get you there though. The good people at the brewery helped us get there and explained that they have been trying to fix that glitch with Google for a while now. We may have come on a bad day though. They had a charity event and this caused some changes at the taproom for the day. We had to purchase tickets to trade for beer and there was no opportunity to sample. Also their bomber selection was very disappointing. One of goals this trip was to stock up on favorites at brewery prices. Dee’s favorite, The ‘Creme Brulee’ was out completely, along with a few others we were excited to try and/or purchase. No kegs or bottles. We managed to enjoy a pint or 2 (2x IPA and Rasberry Wheat) and filled a case with bombers anyway so it was not a wasted trip to New York.

Last but not least was the Cellar Rats Brewery located in Madison, OH in the Debonne Winery. This is Ohio’s 1st winery-brewery combo and they do it right. This is a beautiful location with great indoor and outdoor seating. Unfortunately they were tapped out of the ‘Black Rat’ Imperial Stout that we came for but they had it in bottles so that works out. We can enjoy it at home.

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