Written & Photos by Matthew Bevan
Good fish tacos aren’t always easy to come by in Philadelphia. Luckily, former Iron Chef and restaurateur Jose Garces has made it possible to get Baja Peninsula-inspired fish tacos not 15 minutes from Temple’s campus.
On Callowhill Street, between 19th and 20th, Garces has a casual taqueria providing delicious tacos made with fresh ingredients. Buena Onda’s main attraction is fish tacos, both fried and grilled in a tequila lime glaze, as well as a special K38 pale ale on tap, made by Philadelphia’s Yards Brewing specifically for Garces’ restaurants.
The tacos include mahi mahi or shrimp as well as land varieties carnitas, carne or pollo. In addition to the regular taco offerings, Buena Onda offers a unique monthly fish taco. (My tastebuds danced a little from the fried swordfish with black bean puree, apple slaw, creme fraiche and “charred lime juice.”) All of their regular seafood tacos come with jicama slaw, a generous amount of avocado and chipotle remoulade on a house-made flour tortilla.
If tacos aren’t your speed, we shouldn’t be friends. This aside, Buena Onda offers “missionary style” quesadillas, nachos, soups and other non-taco fare. The food is supplemented with a selection of interesting margaritas (even a prickly-pear frozen margarita,) in addition to canned Mexican beers like Tecate and Corona.
Buena Onda’s cuisine is fresh and delicious and you can never go wrong with any of their seafood tacos. Tacos are $3.50 and $4.50 for the monthly seafood variety; every Thursday there is a $2 special on pollo tacos.