Enrique and Alicia Ramirez first opened the original Senor Fish in 1988 in Highland Park. Senor Fish was the originator of the Mexican fish taco sensation that occurred in the early 1990s strongly due to the numerous food critics that heralded Senor Fish and their menu. It was Enrique’s trips to the Puerto Vallarta beaches where he drew inspiration in creating the fish taco. During these trips, he would witness people grilling fish and seafood on the beach, pair it with tortilla and salsa, and sell it as a street food.
The Ramirez siblings decided to start up a restaurant that would resonate the foods they ate growing up. The core menu at Senor Fish is based off of the Ramirez’s family recipes, from their mother, Gloria. Gloria was raised on a small ranchero located two hours from Jalisco, Guadalajara, called Santa Ana. At this self-sustaining ranchero the entire family, aunts, sisters, mothers and grandmothers, cooked together. All the ingredients from the ranchero were made from scratch, including the tortillas, tamales, salsas, rice and beans. The ranchero also had chickens, quail, and pigs all which were raised near a river where the Ramirez family caught fresh fish. The Senor Fish product is a direct descendant of this early family experience of a communal lifestyle of producing sustenance for their farming men, children & entire family.
After 20+ years, the establishment is still operated by siblings Enrique and Alicia Ramirez, who grew up in Northeast Los Angeles. The restaurant quickly attracted the attention of Angelinos and people from across Southern California. Senor Fish became a food sensation when top food critics began writing about the establishment in their reviews. The positive feedback allowed the Ramirez siblings to open more locations. After leaving Highland Park, they relocated in Eagle Rock and expanded to South Pasadena, Little Tokyo, Alhambra, and Duarte (with current plans for expanding west). The diversity of the locations reflects the dynamic appeal of Senor Fish in various cultures in Southern California.
The restaurant has been lauded and celebrated by such renowned food writers and critics as Ruth Reichl, Molly O’Neill, Jonathan Gold, Merrill Schindler, and Elmer Dills. Senor Fish remains one of the few casual/fast food Mexican restaurants to be positively reviewed by top food critics from the east and west coast. Even after 23 years, Senor Fish continues to uphold their commitment to provide an authentic taste of Mexican food, and always using sea-range fish.