Alright Corvallisites, yours truly just completed her mission of attempting to eat every fish taco in town. Who would have thought 24 restaurants in this tiny town serve up their best rendition of the fish taco? So, this mission is by no means impossible—if money, time, and weight gain are no issue for you. I struggle with those three things on a daily basis, which put a real damper on this adventure, but rest assured, I gave it all I got.
This list is by no means definitive, as taste is subjective, and under many constraints. Full disclosure though: I am partial to grilled fish over fried, so keep that in mind while you inevitably bash my ranking of 14 different Corvallis tacos.
1. Bombs Away Café
1 taco à la carte $6, 1 taco with rice and beans $11, 2 tacos with rice and beans $14
Shock value goes a long way and the fish tacos at Bombs Away were by far the most surprising of the bunch (or should I say school?). The fish was grilled fresh, and topped with caramelized onions, cabbage, pico de gallo, and cheese, all served warm and earning not only the top spot on this list but also the most dollars I will probably give Bombs from here on out—I live on a writer’s salary, after all.
2. Sky High
Next up we have Sky High’s Tres Tacos, taking the Number 2 spot because of just how much fresh fish you get. Each taco is stuffed to capacity—so much you better keep a fork nearby. Pro tip: the verde salsa is key.
3. Cloud & Kelly’s and The Downward Dog
CnK $13 for 2 tacos, DD $6.50 regular, $5 at happy hour sold solo
I’m going to let you in on a not-so-little secret. The downtown Downward Dog and Cloud & Kelly’s share a kitchen! Meaning, you can get the same damn taco at either place. And now you don’t have to find out the hard way, like this here writer. If you like ahi, then these are the way to go, but beware of the spicy chipotle sauce, as it tends to overshadow the tomatoes and arugula. Pro tip: go to The Downward Dog to save those pennies.
4. Sanchos Mexican Grill
$7.99 1 taco with rice and beans, $8.99 2 tacos with rice and beans
Sanchos takes the Number 1 spot in the fried fish category for two reasons. The first being guacamole (duh), and the second being that the two tortillas making up the taco are essentially a quesadilla, with mozzarella melted in between. All you other tacos, take notes!
5. Delicias Valley Café
$3 per taco, $9.75 lunch menu, 2 tacos with rice and beans
These tacos were by far the cutest, and by that I mean one taco could fit into the palm of my hand. They’re small, but the grilled halibut packs a punch, and it does well paired with simply cilantro and diced onions.
6. Taqueria Alonzo
$3 per taco, $9.50 2 tacos with rice and beans
These tacos might not look like much but they were definitely the most filling. The pico de gallo is top notch, and the fish is never ending, plus everything else on their menu is amazing and in my opinion one of Corvallis’ hidden gems. FYI, they’re hiding right across the street from Fred Meyer.
7. Greenberry Tavern
$3 per taco
Where the hell is Greenberry Tavern? I asked this too, during my research, but since you asked, it’s down past the airport on 99. It’s worth the visit, if not for the fish tacos, then for the beer selection and the side-of-the-highway vibes. The fish is breaded not fried, and topped with spicy chipotle coleslaw and a kick that’ll stick with your mouth for quite a while.
8. Flat Tail Brewing
Popcorn shrimp in a flour tortilla atop cabbage and some verde sauce was a new concept for me, and although not my favorite, it’s better than some of the ones on this list. Also these were bumped down for simply being inaccessible—served only on Taco Tuesdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m
9. Harrison’s Bar & Grill
$6 for 2 tacos
Harrison’s tacos come with a lot of fish, though maybe a little heavy on the beer batter. It’s literally just your basic coleslaw and fish sticks, so in my opinion you’re better off getting the fish and chips, because it’s the same damn thing, but you get fries!
10. Burrito Heaven
$2.25 per taco
Burrito Heaven will give you the cheapest fish taco, but that factor didn’t bring it any further up the list. More bread than fish didn’t help, and the pico de gallo had more jalapenos than tomatoes. Better stick to the heavenly stuff.
11. Baja Fresh
$3.79 à la carte, $7.99 combo rice and beans
I’ll admit I had higher expectations for Baja Fresh, so disappointment tanked the rankings for them. The tortillas were overflowing with pico de gallo, the avocado could have been fresher, and they take the expression “throw something together” quite literally. Pro tip: get the shrimp before the Wahoo fish.
$7.60 for 2 tacos
I hope you’re not surprised that the last fish taco on this list is Rivas. Yes, I tried them, and even better I was sober in the middle of the afternoon. To sum it up, they were overall not fresh, the lettuce was stale, and there wasn’t a whole lot of flavor, but hey, that’s what you get for ordering fish at a drive-through window.
Well, folks, that concludes my mission for the best fish taco in Corvallis, though I can’t exactly say I accomplished the feat of eating every single taco with a Corvallis address. Restaurants left out: 101, Murphy’s ($18, are you kidding?), El Sol de Mexico, McGraths, Tommy’s, Taco Time, and lastly, Carl’s Jr.
By Regina Pieracci