Open since the early ’90s, Señor Fish is a Southern California institution that at one time had 10 locations. Nowadays, the popular Mexican eatery is down to four spots —South Pasadena, Echo Park, Eagle Rock and in Downtown Los Angeles, next door to the police station. The chain is owned by brother-and-sister duo Enrique and Alicia Ramirez, who opened the first location in Highland Park more than 30 years ago.
“At the time I was involved in a Chinese restaurant called Charlie Chan’s in Highland Park with a friend of mine,” said Enrique. “I brought my sister on board and eventually that restaurant didn’t work out, so after getting a taste for the restaurant life, we decided to open another restaurant of our own. It was in Highland Park where we grew up, and from there we kept expanding.”
Known for its authentic yet inexpensive Mexican cuisine, which includes an array of favorites such as its bestselling fish tacos and batter fried-shrimp and scallop burrito, Señor Fish caught the eye of top restaurant critics and received rave reviews in countless media outlets, including a front page story by Molly O’Neill for The New York Times. The late Anthony Bourdain also featured Señor Fish’s Ensenada-style tacos at its DTLA location on the Los Angeles episode of his TV series “The Layover.”
“Our mother is from Jalisco in Mexico, so we started with her original recipes,” Enrique said. “She later expanded on them, and as time went on, we’ve added new items to the menu.’’
Added Alicia, “We cater a lot to our customers’ desires as far as making little changes here and there, which they appreciate.”
In addition to full lunch and dinner menus that offer everything from burritos and tostadas to nachos and tacos, Señor Fish also has an extensive breakfast menu it serves daily that runs the gamut from Mexican-style Eggs Benedict and huevos rancheros to chilaquiles breakfast sopes and omelets, as well as breakfast tortas, tacos and burritos.
“We also serve hotcakes with bananas mixed into the batter drizzled with cajeta, a Mexican caramel sauce,” Enrique said. “People love our French toast with raisins and apples. Our breakfast is excellent and inexpensive.”
Señor Fish also does catering for homes and businesses and hosts large private parties at its downtown location, which is five times the size of the South Pasadena restaurant. The Eagle Rock location also has a huge patio that wraps around the restaurant, making it a great spot for parties as well. Señor Fish also participates in DoorDash and Postmates, making it easier for customers to enjoy their food at home.
Currently, the restaurant is in the process of getting a beer and wine license, and also has plans to remodel the interior and add a bar area in the near future. In addition to the four Señor Fish locations, Enrique is also co-owner of Far Bar and Sake Dojo, both located in Little Tokyo. While running between his different ventures keeps him busy, he said he always makes sure that quality customer service comes first above all.
“Our customers like that we’re consistent, authentic, inexpensive and casual,” he said. “And I love the connections that we’ve built over the years with all of the people that come in. It’s very special.”
Señor Fish is located at 618 Mission St. in South Pasadena. It is open Monday to Sunday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. For more information, call (626) 403-0145 or visit senorfish.com.
Señor Fish Spotlight appeared in the print edition of the South Pasadena Review on 12.27.19. Support Local Business.