Best Fish Tacos St. Louis 2012 - The Royale
The Royale has won respect for many things: its elegant Kentucky Derby parties, its cocktails and pleasant back patio. But the kitchen holds a secret known to regular patrons: The fish tacos are lip-smackin' scrumptious. The catfish fillets are crispified in a golden tortilla-chip breading that's seasoned with cumin, which leaves a pleasant smokiness to mingle with a creamy chipotle aioli. Cabbage and pico de gallo counterbalance all this rich weight with freshness, and everything's held in place with a double wrap of flour tortillas. Your entrée includes a side; we recommend the two-tone bean salad, which you can savor on its own or drop into your tacos. Which is not to imply that you'll feel protein-deficient: The catfish on your plate is a more-than-ample portion. It's farm-raised in Mississippi, though Royale owner Steve Smith says he's on the hunt for a local provider. Smith also confirms that we're not the only aficionados of his fish tacos: "Some customers referred to it the other day as 'crack,'" he says with a laugh. Which makes us addicts.