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Mariscos Los Angulo
Paseo de los Héroes #4449, Tijuana

Best marlin tacos? Ask around (Tijuana) town, and you'll get a thousand answers. But if atmosphere helps your taste buds, Mariscos Los Angulo is it. Promenade down TJ's swank, tree-lined Paseo de los Héroes (not to be confused with Niños Héroes) until a gigantic thatch-roofed palapa stops you in your tracks. At first you think Pacific Islands. But no. It's Sinaloa style. The Angulo family, who built it, come from Culiacán. Inside, with the high-arched palm-frond ceiling and thickets of ficus trees underneath, you feel as if you're eating in an urban forest. You sit at tables swathed in stylish yellow-on-purple tablecloths, and order -- what else? Taco de marlin a las brasas. Ember-cooked marlin taco, about $2. It will look simple, but it's far from plain. The marlin is smoked in Ensenada. Here they mix it with tomato, onion, celery, hot poblano peppers, then mash it all together and charbroil it in a corn tortilla. The result? The smoky, corny, slightly charry taste, with fumaroles of flavor curling back through your nostrils. It will transport you south to warmer climes. Squeeze lime on it. Order a Tecate beer ($2) with it. Try this around 3:00 in the afternoon. That's when Tijuana eats lunch.

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