There’s an ancient saying in Newport Beach: “On Tuesdays, one must taco.”
No, that’s not a real thing. But it should be because Taco Tuesday is as firmly entrenched in the culture of local life on Balboa Peninsula as surfboards, sunscreen and an ocean dip in December. (It was legit 80 F yesterday.) So, if you’re a believer in this totally awesome tradition, we’re naming five tasty spots to get your Tuesday taco fix:
3421 Via Lido, Newport Beach, CA 92663; 7972 E Pacific Coast Hwy, Newport Coast, CA 92657
Bear Flag Fish Co. is the best-kept Newport Beach secret everyone knows about. A seafood spot from Newport native Thomas Carson, Bear Flag is THE place to be for Tuesday-night deliciousness, complete with enough outdoor seating to accommodate the suntanned crowds that chill at the eatery each week. Carson opened the wildly successful restaurant in 2008 after finding inspiration from a childhood spent working on his father’s fishing boat—named, of course, Bear Flag—and then years of apprenticing for culinary greats like Chef Tim Johnson of San Diego’s Zenbu Sushi. Storied beginnings aside, Bear Flag also has a $2 fish taco special every single Tuesday. So there’s that.
407 31st St, Newport Beach, CA 92663
Located a hint off the main road, this semi-hidden joint is everything you’d want and more from a taco place serving up ridiculously good eats. (Bonus: It’s owned by the same team that owns Bear Flag, so you know the fish is fresh.) Decorated like an old-timey, secret hideaway somewhere on the Mexican Riviera, Wild Taco is a true taco aficionado’s oasis for Baja-inspired dishes that are as affordable as they are appetizing.
4533 West Coast Hwy, Newport Beach, CA 92663; 1120 Irvine Ave, Newport Beach, CA 92660; 3601 Pacific Coast Hwy, Newport Coast, CA 92657
Yes, Chronic Tacos is a franchise throughout Orange County and yes, there are three Newport Beach locations to choose from (one on the Balboa Peninsula, one in Corona del Mar and a third at the Westcliff Plaza Shopping Center) but don’t let any preconceived notions about boring, restaurant chains fool you: These tacos are the real deal. What began as a late-night hankering (famously, founders Randall L. Wyner and Daniel A. Biello came up with the idea in 2002 after a night out in West Newport) is now a thriving, made-to-order Mexican establishment dishing up fresh, fast and delectable meals.
2304 W Oceanfront, Newport Beach, CA 92663
A taco experience for the discerning Newport Beach diner, Fly N Fish is your Tuesday night go-to if you’re looking for a fancier alternative to the more casual options around town. Choose from the wild Alaskan cod fish tacos, Caribbean lobster tacos or shrimp tacos; all three combinations come grilled or blackened and arrive accompanied by spicy pico de gallo, crunchy cabbage and crumbly queso fresco. Plus, with the restaurant’s massive windows overlooking the glittery Pacific Ocean beyond, Taco Tuesday at Fly N Fish never looked so scenic … or scrumptious.
3014 W Balboa Blvd, Newport Beach, CA 92663
If you’re in the mood to eat mouthwateringly good food enjoyed in a funky setting—at Sancho’s, crooked paintings hang on distressed-wood walls and seating is found by way of oversized, leather couches—then this taco joint is for you. Offering the self-proclaimed “bombest” food in town, Sancho’s is a local favorite and an offbeat option for your Tuesday evening fiesta.
800 Newport Blvd, Newport Beach, CA 92663
*Still open during construction.* The beauty of Avila’s is in its location and feel-good vibes. The tacos here are definitely not as poised as some of the other options on this list (Avila’s is a chain throughout Southern California) but nobody really comes here for the food; it’s more about the scene. On Tuesdays, Avila’s serves a $2 taco special and in the summer, will have live music. So, taco enthusiasts be warned: You’ll want to show up at El Ranchito early to grab a table and once inside, be ready to celebrate life like it’s Tuesday because, well, it is.