(October 25 – written by Dave)
El Rey, or “the King”, is a very local taco restaurant located near the corner of Benito Juarez and Misoneros Streets. It’s a little way off the beaten path and just outside the main tourist area.
El Rey – the best fish tacos in Loreto – so far, yes
El Rey – the best fish tacos in Baja –so far, hard to say anything but yes
El Rey – the best fish tacos in Mexico – that’s a big call and more research is required – But they are darn good!
They have no menu. You go there to get fish or beef tacos. They open around 9 in the morning sometime earlier, sometimes later. They stay open until they run out of fish and beef – around 2 or 3PM in the afternoon, perhaps as early as 1PM if they are busy. We rode past them about 12:30 last Sunday when we first arrived in town and there was a massive queue out into the street.
The story goes that the fish they serve is caught by local family members on a daily basis. If they have a bad day fishing, then the restaurant doesn’t open that day. So sometimes you may go there and find them closed. There is no “operating hours” sign – if you arrive and they are open, then they are open – if they are closed, they are closed. Other than tacos, they make fresh lemonade, orange juice and tacos – but that’s it.
Upon entry visitors are asked to wash their hands and then be seated. There is very little seating and it’s all communal with one counter bench and a few end-to end tables. The wait staff asks if you want beef or fish, corn or flour tortillas and if you want a drink. They spoke Spanish and English, so clearly some tourists have found the place.
When the food arrives, you take your tacos to self serve toppings bar. Toppings are basic red and green sauce, cucumbers, sliced limes, diced tomatoes with cilantro and onions and of course, fresh guacamole. Travellers worried that their veggies may have been washed in tap water need not visit the toppings bar. This is local food and you just have to accept it as it is. We tried all the toppings except the red sauce – mainly because we are getting smarter and now know that red sauce is probably going to be too hot for us – at least until we get further into Latin America and used to more heat.
We started with one fish taco each, and liked it so much that a second one soon followed. Fish and toppings being so fresh, plus fresh, warm tortillas, made for very tasty tacos. They put a good bit of fish in their tacos – chunks that have been battered and fried and two tacos were more than enough. It was only out of my commitment to this blog that I had to try everything – I ordered a third taco, beef. It came with onions and was just as tasty as the fish.
The result, yup, these are dang good tacos. Certainly the best we’ve had in Loreto and probably best in Baja (though I expect there is some stiff competition in La Paz). We’ve got another 4 months total in Mexico, so we’ll see how they stack up as time goes on. If you make it to Loreto, and you arrive roughly between the hours of 9 and 1, 2 or 3, and the fish are biting, then I’d suggest that you make your way to El Reys. If you arrive late, stay another day and hope that the fish are on…