My friends, Anne Smith and Susan Hislop, like me belong to the two-boys club. We each raised two boys, all close in age. It’s natural that we enjoy each other’s company, and we did just that on a sunny day late in March.
We decided to pretend we were on spring break, meeting for lunch at Red Fish Taco in the Blue Mountain Beach area of Santa Rosa Beach, South Walton.
Red Fish Taco, despite its name, offers a pretty varied selection of Latin-inspired street foods.
Anne was the only of us who ordered tacos, selecting a grilled fish variation. The seasonings include a chili lime aioli, salsa and fresh lime.
“I don’t like breaded fish on my taco,” she said, noting that the grilled version is light and fresh.
“It’s got cole slaw on it,” she added. “It’s on a soft shell. This is perfect.”
Susan selected the wedge taco salad, and true to description, the lettuce is a sliced wedge.
This seems unusual to those of us accustom to a torn-leaf salad, but I have noticed that many nationalities serve their salads in wedge form.
Included in the wedge salad is a grilled avocado and a black-eyed pea vinaigrette.
“This would be a good vegan option,” Susan said, adding “Oh … that dressing is good, sweet and light.”
Being one who appreciates a Cubano sandwich, I went totally unhealthy with my not-so-taco selection of a Cuban-inspired sandwich.
Like the traditional fare out of Miami, this sandwich features a roasted, pulled and seasoned pork. The seasoning is light enough to enjoy, especially on a hot afternoon at the beach. A generous slice of ham is also in the sandwich, which was pressed panini style.
Before our meal, we had visited the little Santa Rosa Pharmacy, with the staff highly recommending the Red Fish Taco chips and salsa. I ordered a batch, which Anne, Susan and I shared.
These are a great snack or as a side to a taco meal, salad or sandwich. The chips come dusted in a seasoning, which isn’t too hot or too delicate.
Anne noted: “I like these because they’re thin and light. The salsa has a bite to it. That’s pretty warm.”
After our meal, Susan decided to take home the leftover salsa. She intended to fix breakfast burritos the next day, and the salsa would provide the dish with an extra kick.
While Red Fish Taco is little more than a brick-and-mortar stand, the offerings are varied.
The menu includes a chicken tortilla soup, chicken fingers and fries, and crispy catfish and fires.
Sides offer a vegetarian refried red beans, and there is also Spanish rice.
We didn’t order dessert, which is pretty much limited to fresh-baked cookies. Truth be told, we were all full.
Located near public beach access, Red Fish Taco serves a great take-away lunch option.
The location also offers outdoor seating.
This is a dog-friendly, family-friendly, easy to enjoy location.
Orders are placed at the walk-in counter, with a tip jar by the register. The gentleman who took our order answered questions and provided free conversation. He discussed traffic, the friendly neighborhood and the successful spring break season.
The food came out quickly, and best of all, there’s a little bit of a view of the kitchen. I like places when I can get a peek at the kitchen. It’s clean.
A final taste
Locals tend to stay away from 30A during heavy visitor seasons, but Red Fish Taco provides a reason to visit the Blue Mountain Beach area. It’s not Memorial Day yet, so go and enjoy what our area does so well.
As a bonus, Red Fish Taco offers an eat-in, full-service dinner restaurant right next door.