Cool Eats in San Diego: Seafood
1. OCEANAIRE SEAFOOD ROOM – GASLAMP $$$$
The dining room at Oceanaire is swanky, comfy and elegant at the same time. A little reminiscent of the art deco era with an old fashioned ocean liner feeling. The dining room is upstairs, where you will find the lighting soft with shades of dark blue and lots of clean white surround. Oceanaire fills up fast so reservations are definitely recommended. We don’t want you to miss this amazing seafood dinner stop in the Gaslamp.
The seafood at Oceanaire is flown in daily and is prepared so you are in a mouthwatering savory haven. The menu is updated and printed daily, so you can always have something different, extremely fresh and creative. All entrees do come a la carte so you will want to pick from a good choice of sides to accompany your meal. You won’t need much with you tasty entrée.
For starters, you must have the crab cakes and we will repeat, you must have the crab cakes! The Chesapeake style crab cakes are rich, tender and flaky with large chunks of crab. They may be just the best crab cakes ever make anywhere. They also have a nice red chili rock shrimp appetizer.
Some of our favorites, the Kid Dynamite which is blue crab on cod or the Sole stuffed with brie cheese and blue crab with lemon beurre blanc. It is delicious. Whatever you have at Oceanaire you will not be disappointed. They will make sure, and they do care. The staff are very helpful and attentive from seating to departure. All aboard.
Now with all that said they also have an awesome happy hour from 5-6pm weekdays only. Get there early or you’ll not get to enjoy it – the bar fills up within 10 minutes of the clock hitting 5. How about great drinks and $1 happy hour oysters that are always available?
Parking is hard to find since it is Downtown, but use the optional Valet service, recommended.
Located at 400 J Street. (619) 858-2277
2. THE FISHERY – PACIFIC BEACH $$$
The Fishery is very clean and classy. A great place to go for lunch or dinner. It is sit down with table service with china and glass. The atmosphere is nice white tablecloth, a lot of wood, and not your typical hustle and bustle fish market. The staff is attentive without being over fussy and sincerely care about your dining experience.
We love the ceviche appetizer or the calamari for starters. They make a wonderful fish soup. You should also try the macadamia nut crusted halibut. It’s fantastic. Other winners are the mahi-mahi with kobocha squash, green beans, and an almond vinaigrette or the south of the border style spiny lobster with drawn butter, tortillas, rice and beans.
For lunch try the grilled swordfish sandwich on ciabatta bread with a chipotle-lime marinade and slices of tomato & avocado. They also make a good tuna melt. Try the shrimp tacos or the halibut and chips(not greasy). They also serve some limited sushi items as well. Finish it off with the chocolate soufflé. Yum!
Located at 5040 Cass Street between Loring & Opal Streets. (858) 272-9985
3. BLUE WATER SEAFOOD MARKET & GRILLE – OLD TOWN $$
This place has fresh fish, grilled to order and is simply fish heaven. Blue Water gets PACKED at lunch. Most times you order without having a place to sit. Get there for an early lunch and be prepared to wait a bit, regardless. The front of the restaurant is a fish market and counter set up. While you are waiting in line you will salivate looking at the quality of fish on hand. The atmosphere at Blue Water is casual cape cod’ish except for the wall of fame, featuring photos of the locals, friend and family’s fishing adventures off the west coast and into Mexico. World beat music plays throughout. The tables are white plastic and match the plastic knives and forks. There is a nice small outdoor patio as well with vines growing up the fencing and the sunlight filtering through. Nothing fancy, just great seafood about as fresh as you can get without catching it yourself.
Here’s how it works. First you choose your species of fish. Then pick a marinade – lemon butter, lemon garlic butter, blackened, chipoltle or terriyaki. Lastly – choose how you want it served. On a sandwich with a boleo roll or a salad with choice of dressings or a plate with jasmine rice and a salad. All ordering is done at the counter and brought to your table.
The sandwiches are warm when they reach you, and we mean in a good way. The blackened red snapper sandwich is savory and simply dressed allowing the flavor of the fish to shine. The marinades are great, especially the lemon garlic butter, light and so good. We recommend adding avocado to any sandwich.The clam chowder and the cioppino are very good. By the cup, bowl or quart.
Blue Water is just fun. The staff is very attentive and systematic. Be prepared for a line, but certainly worth the wait. Recommend for lunch or an early casual dinner only.
Located in old town at 3667 India St between San Diego Ave & Winder Street. (619) 497-0914
4. EL PESCADOR – LA JOLLA $$
Cool Stuff San Diego Favorite
El Pescador is a good spot for lunch. Casual, casual for this place. The staff is the laid back surfer types serving up some great fresh seafood. To complete the description, it is plastic wear and paper plates informal. The place is small with a half dozen tables, and gets super busy. It is first and foremost a market that is also serving seafood from a counter from 11-8pm. We recommend this place for lunch and take your food to the beach and eat picnic style. El Pescador has been a staple in La Jolla since 1974. With all that said the seafood is delicious and absolutely fresh as can be.
They offer hot char-grilled and sauteed seafood items, such as fish sandwiches, seafood salads or try the sashimi plate for starters.(It basically melts in your mouth). Other plates come with rice and salad with the fish on the side. Highly suggest the Salmon Sandwich with avocado or the Mahi Mahi sandwich. They come on a french roll that is packed with a special sauce and lots of fresh greens. It is all packed between the buns and is messy.
627 Pearl Street. (858) 456-2526
5. POINT LOMA SEAFOOD $$
Grab and go or watch out for the seagulls as you sit dockside. Casual, informal lunch spot. The last of our 3 lunch spots in that order, and all three are markets as well. Inside nothing fancy at all. Lobster tanks and large surround counters to order from. There is 6-7 people at the counter taking orders in no methodical order except yelling “next” and there can be a line up 5-10 deep in each line. A bit of cattle herding set up and they don’t seem to care. The fish is fresh though, straight off the boats.
Simple fish sandwiches(lightly deep fired), shrimp, scallop or crab sandwiches on fresh sourdough. Also try the chowder or the fresh shucked oysters. They do have a great smoked fish selection.
There is a large open air seating area, but very picnic style. Everything served on plastic or paper plates with a tray. If you want a fairly cheap, good lunch for the family this is the place for you and the kids. The added value is that it is on the water. Watch the boats come in. Our con here is cash only.
There is a parking lot to the right of the restaurant with limited space but hey, it’s free.
Located in Point Loma at 2805 Emerson Street at Scott. (619) 223-1109