Reel Inn, Malibu, CA
). Fish tacos are the Steve McQueen of road food: casual and cool. Surfers were the first to discover them, at snack shacks like Reel Inn. Today, they’re still a fixture on its chalkboard menu: fresh-caught salmon or ahi tuna wrapped in warm corn tortillas with melted cheddar, crisp lettuce, tomato, and salsa. The setting helps, of course. The best fish tacos (with one notable exception, below) are eaten within sight of the ocean. $$; 18661 Pacific Coast Hwy.; 310/456-8221.
Lupita’s Cantina, Oak Creek, CO. Here’s our exception, inexplicable and amazing: fab fish tacos (mahimahi, shrimp) in a tiny town high in the Colorado Rockies. $; 102 E. Main St.; search for Lupita’s Cantina on Facebook.