NewsdayTV's Elisa DiStefano joined Newsday food writer Andi Berlin at Mala Madre Taqueria in Westbury to talk about Long Island's best fish tacos. Credit: Randee Daddona; Newsday archive

As we head into summer's final days, the voices in our heads craving the last bites of favorite summertime foods seem to be getting louder. Ice cream, ceviche, lobster rolls, local corn, watermelon, frose, repeat! Lest we forget: the mighty fish taco. 

While you can find good fish tacos all year round, they're arguably better under the warm, watchful eyes of the sun, and when it's the local catch, accompanied by an icy beer or spicy margarita. The snap of a crispy, beer-battered cod filet, the hearty chew of blackened mahi mahi, the cool, red belly of ahi tuna, all hiding under various piles of sometimes tangy-sometimes spicy slaw, with a hit of lime — now that's the kind of meal we can really get behind. As we coast into September, sun-kissed and hungry, we offer up some spots where you can settle down, grab a few fish tacos and savor the last licks of Long Island's favorite season.

The blackened fish taco (and shrimp taco) at Tommy Tacos

821 New York Ave., Huntington

This Huntington taqueria — which recently added a full service bar — serves a simple blackened mahi mahi fish taco on your choice of flour or corn tortillas. Layered with cabbage and red onion slaw, with a hit of avocado-cilantro crema, the choice of the firmer mahi (instead of cod) ensures that the taco doesn't fall apart at first bite ($6.50). Pro tip: There's a solid blackened shrimp taco with a mango pico de gallo that also won our hearts. More info: 631-982-8022,

The shrimp taco at Tommy Tacos in Huntington.

The shrimp taco at Tommy Tacos in Huntington. Credit: Yvonne Albinowski

Crispy pescado taco at Ruta Oaxaca

30 E. Main St., Patchogue

With colorful toppings and streaking sauces, tacos are an art project at this upscale Mexican restaurant. And the fish tacos are some of the best it has, flash-seared rather than deep fried so the fish shines through. Set on housemade corn tortillas and finished with a sunset of funky pink coleslaw smacking of pineapple and guajillo chile, the crispy pescado is an edible masterpiece; $23 for three. More info: 631-569-2233,

The ahi tuna taco (and salmon teriyaki) taco at Dirty Taco

Locations in Wantagh, Rockville Centre, Woodbury, Patchogue, Smithtown and Port Washington

The section dedicated to fish tacos on Dirty Taco's menu runs from crispy calamari to classic Baja cod, but the ahi tuna and the salmon teriyaki tacos were the standouts. The ahi tuna, served rare, is laced with marinated cucumbers, radish and sesame. A hit of spice comes from the wasabi crema and spicy mayo combo on top: adjust accordingly. But it's lemongrass that complements the sweet teriyaki glaze on the salmon, which is finished with soy-ginger bean sprouts. Both run about $7. More info:

The ahi tuna taco, blackened salmon taco and salmon teriyaki taco at Dirty Taco...

The ahi tuna taco, blackened salmon taco and salmon teriyaki taco at Dirty Taco in Port Washington. Credit: Linda Rosier

The battered Baja taco at Hideaway

364 West Lake Dr., Montauk

Tucked away in Cove Marina, overlooking a bevy of docked boats, this Mexican oasis run by friends is quintessential Montauk: hidden (aka frequented by locals) and a great place to while away an hour on the water with a pescado taco in hand. Made from locally sourced fish and served with requisite cabbage, the harissa aioli gives this taco its signature twist. For those averse, there's a more traditional shrimp taco with guacamole and lime. Tacos are two for $18. More info: 631-668-8700,

Baja taco at Mala Madre

1610 Old Country Rd., Westbury

This year-old taqueria scores with a classic Baja-style that is restrained but flavorful. A generous finger of fried cod is topped with shredded cabbage, sliced radish and delicate sprigs of cilantro. This pretty assemblage sits atop a corn tortilla that has been drizzled with a piquant chipotle mayonnaise, $5.95. More info: 516-502-1277,

Baja tacos at Mala Madre in Westbury.

Baja tacos at Mala Madre in Westbury. Credit: Randee Daddona

Crispy codfish taco at Al Pastor

2168 Merrick Rd., Merrick

Barely 2 months old, Al Pastor brings a bit of taco tradition and innovation to Merrick. On the traditional side, tortillas are made from stone-ground corn by La Milpa De Rosa, a traditional manufacturer in the Hudson Valley. Chef-owner Henry Riviera innovates his fish taco by using a tempura batter on his cod. Graced with shredded lettuce and a stone-ground salsa, it achieves almost dainty proportions, $5. More info: 516-208-7879,

Fish taco at Right Coast Taqueria

Locations in Deer Park, Ronkonkoma and Mineola

The fish taco at this Long Island mini-chain is served on a flour tortilla, but still reverberates with the soul of corn, thanks to its crunchy crust of ground tortilla chips. Flaky Alaskan pollock stars in the role of fish here, ably supported by mango salsa, pico de gallo, shredded lettuce and dueling dressings of avocado ranch and lime crema, $4.75. More info:

The corn-tortilla crusted fish taco at Right Coast Taqueria in...

The corn-tortilla crusted fish taco at Right Coast Taqueria in Mineola. Credit: Newsday/Erica Marcus

The Montauk cod 'Baja Style' taco at eL Taco Bar 

62 Main St., Sag Harbor

At French restaurateur Laurent Tourondel's stylish Sag Harbor taqueria, fish tacos are delicate little bites of battered local fish. They arrive on housemade corn tortillas with a squiggle of cilantro crema, a scatter of jicama and crunchy red cabbage. They're over in two bites ... significantly smaller than the deep-fried fish tacos you'd find in Baja California. But the flawless execution and good product make up for the $9 price tag. There is also a $14 lobster taco on the menu, which feels like a steal in the Hamptons. More info: 631-899-4646,

The Baja crispy fish taco at Tacombi

1226 Old Country Rd., Westbury

The first Long Island location of NYC's Tacombi, in Westbury, masters the art of the beer-battered Baja fish taco, using sustainably sourced cod that hits the perfect balance of crispy on the outside-pillowy on the inside texture, $5.98. Topped with poblano mayo, pickled cabbage and pico de gallo, our advice is to order a few. Tacombi has a full bar with such classics as a Paloma, the watermelon-lime Sandia Santa and margaritas to wash it all down. If you're in a rush, try a to-go cocktail. More info: 516-216-9815,

A Baja fish taco at Tacombi in Westbury.

A Baja fish taco at Tacombi in Westbury. Credit: Newsday/Marie Elena Martinez

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