To celebrate Tucson this holiday season, our food writer is putting the spotlight on La Doce. Follow along as we eat tacos and soak up the atmosphere at 12 different joints along iconic South 12th Avenue. Share your favorite taco memories with us on Facebook, Instagram or email@example.com.
Is there a place in Tucson more deserving of an ode than Taco Fish on their Tuesday special? Despite recently raising their price from $1 to $1.50 per fish taco, I have never felt so supported as when I’m hungry and on a lean budget when Taco Fish delivers.
The fish itself is a mystery, flaky and white and beer-battered. Two fry baskets are continually churning out these golden nuggets, which are then arranged on corn tortillas and styrofoam trays.
The condiment buffet is a star. Each table takes turns carefully filling tiny plastic cups with their platonic ideal cremas (both chipotle and a tomatillo verde), fresh shredded cabbage and pico de gallo, and the juiciest limes.
If you’re abandoning the special or coming in on a day other than Tuesday, try their taco enchilado. I get the camaron, but I would bet the pulpa is just as good. The enchilada sauce meters out the richness of the grill-fried cheese; the mild shrimpy protein is tender, suspended in cheesy deliciousness.
The farther side of the establishment uses an old garage door as the ceiling. I imagine it comes down when temperatures aren’t pushing 100. But for now the tiny rectangular windows are skylights, portholes into the blistering day outside.
Two men wearing masks and cowboy hats are washing their hands at the small sink in the back left corner, under a porthole, as one of their wives orders lemonade.
Here we are surrounded by tin sculptures of fish, a fan muffling a Spanish-language radio station of Tejano and mariachi hits. A palm frond roof juts out over the condiment table, near a framed painting of a series of surfboards against a wooden fence.
The tree-lined patio is charming, tucked away from the busy street behind an auto shop. Months ago, I ate out here for the first time with a friend visiting from the east coast. We had been told to try their tacos gordos, which involve fried shrimp, fried fish, and a generous portion of their marinated tuna fish (called marlin on the menu).
If you don’t care for canned tuna, it’s not the taco for you, but it created a strong memory of finding shelter from the summer in the shade, shared limonada, a moment between friends.
Open 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Saturday | 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday
For more information, check out their website.
Beer-battered fish tacos cost $3.25, and there's a $1.50 fish taco special on Tuesday. Their shrimp enchilado costs $4.