Thanks to the Food Network and human cheese-fry Guy Fieri, Cali Taco is one of the best-known restaurants in Omaha. And you won’t forget this when you go, thanks to a television in the corner endlessly playing their Diners Drive-Ins and Dives episode on repeat.
Surprisingly, Cali Taco mostly lives up to the hype. I say “surprisingly” not because I don’t trust Cali Taco, but because I don’t trust Guy Fieri, or any kind of hype, really. It’s simple Mexican food made by white people, but most of the food is really quite good.
I judge a Mexican place in part by their fish tacos. My rubric is as follows: they must grill or fry a fish fillet and make it tender and juicy without obliterating or burning it. Then they must manage to put it in a soft shell that isn’t wet and cold or a hard shell that isn’t hard and dry. Then, once they give me condiments that don’t bore me to tears, then I will be satisfied.
As admittedly little as I’ve been to Mexican joints in Omaha, Cali Taco has some of the best fish tacos I’ve had yet. The fish is tender to the point of disintegration, and the shell is their specialty puffy shell: fried, soft, and bready. Whenever I order anything else, I just regret not getting a taco. Not because the other entrees are particularly bad, but only because their tacos are so good.
Among the other notable amenities offered to the discerning consumer are their flour chips and jalapeño poppers. The flour chips seem to be fried bread, and they’re quite good with the provided green mystery sauce. The poppers were pretty good too, but a bit overloaded with cream-cheese. Good if that’s your thing. I’ll just stick to the fish tacos.