Where to find the best fish tacos on the OBX
Fish tacos do not originate from a recipe, they originate from the soul. No two chefs will ever make their fish tacos the exact same way, and that is part of the joy and consistent wonderment in ordering them, especially when you are on the coast and in the land of fresh seafood. Inspired by seasons, regional influences, availability of ingredients and personal visions, Outer Banks chefs go the extra mile to share pieces of themselves when they present their fresh catch interpretations. Here are just a few favorites on the Outer Banks.
Mama Kwan’s Tiki Bar and Grill
Sometimes fish tacos are a DYI project in which each bite becomes a testament to your personal preferences. Such is the case at Mama Kwan’s, where they sell more fish tacos than any other item on the menu. Your plate arrives with everything needed to make your own tacos, along with warm tortillas for filling. A generous portion of marinated and sautéed mahi mahi is plated alongside jasmine rice, cheddar cheese, scallions, shredded cabbage and lime sour cream. You can also order your mahi blackened, which is recommended. There is a reason they sell more of this dish than anything else. They are that good. 1701 S. Croatan Hwy., milepost 9, Kill Devil Hills. 252-441-7889; mamakwans.com
The Buxton Munch Co.
If you are in Buxton and craving a similar yet completely different fish taco experience, stop by Buxton Munch Company for one of the prettiest plates of food found on Hatteras Island. Really. They elevate the taco plate to an art form. They use only locally caught fish, and you can have your catch blackened, grilled or fried. This is a huge dilemma. They are all so good. In addition to warmed flour tortillas, your plate is filled with chopped onion, tomato, shredded lettuce and cheeses, black beans, rice and fresh avocado if you like. This place is tiny and may appear to be a fast-food option. It is not. These good folks serve you real food, cooked to order and they have house rules so you do not harsh their mellow. Give them a try for all the right reasons. HOUSE RULES: Be Nice. Be Happy. Be Patient. Be Mellow. Osprey Shopping Center, 47359 N.C. Hwy. 12, Buxton. 252-995-5502; buxtonmunch.com
Outer Banks Taco Bar
If you love the salsa as much as the taco, visit Outer Banks Taco Bar and try an assortment of homemade salsas, all lovingly displayed on their self-serve salsa bar. Served on hand-pressed soft or hard corn tortillas, fresh-catch fish or local shrimp tacos are available a la carte or by the delicious plateful with rice and beans. You can even get them Baja style with the addition of spicy chili-lime slaw and a bit of house sauce. 3723 N. Croatan Hwy., milepost 4.5, Kitty Hawk. 252-261-8226; obxtacobar.com
Ortega’z on Roanoke Island is a certified-by-celebrity-chef, must-visit fish taco stop. Guy Fieri approved these fish tacos so you know they have street cred. Using only fresh, local catch sautéed with white wine, cilantro and generous squeezes of lime, these tacos are served with warmed flour tortillas, housemade pico de gallo and a special house sauce. Completely cravable. 201 Sir Walter Raleigh St., Manteo. 252-473-5911; ortegaz.com
Eduardo’s Taco Stand
Ocracoke Island is home to Eduardo’s Taco Stand, an authentic Mexican food truck experience that serves fresh dishes all day long. We are talking tacos and beyond. Owner Eduardo Chavez Perez has a passion for food, and all his dishes have Mexican touches and are made with local ingredients whenever possible. He’s always sharing something new, and his fresh fish tacos will keep you returning to his truck, often multiple times a day. Last week he served just-caught Tuna Tacos with just-picked and chopped Pico de Gallo and avocado. He also offered super-fresh Tuna Tacos with a tart-sweet cherry mango salsa. Oh, my. 950 Irvin Garrish Hwy., Ocracoke, at the edge of the Variety Store parking lot. 252-588-0202; Facebook: Eduardo’s Taco Stand
Seafood: Brown Shrimp, Tuna, Mahi, Tilefish, Speckled Trout, Blue Crabs
Produce: Potatoes, Corn, Peppers, Tomatoes, Mattamuskeet Sweet Onions, Squash, Zucchini, Peaches