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San Diego - Seafood!!

I'm coming in from Boston over the new year, and want a great Pacific seafood dinner (not on actual new year's eve). I read that the Crab Catcher is good. Any other suggestions? No chains, please.


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  1. Before making Crab Catcher reservations, you may want to read this series of posts:



    1 Reply
    1. re: Ed Dibble

      Matches my experiences at the Crab Catcher: OK, nothing special, slightly overpriced, erratic service. Funny about the same bad table. I hate getting "Table L"...

    2. Hmmm. Coming from Boston to San Diego and you want a great seafood dinner? Wouldn't that be like me flying from San Diego to New England in search of a great burrito?

      So, what might you get here that Boston might not have? How about abalone? Top of the Market usually has it, but it's very expensive. Diver scallops are also excellent and are on the menu at a lot of places. The Fishery in Pacific Beach may be a departure for an East Coaster, what with the mixture of Japanese and Mexican influences on their menu. And I haven't been to Boston in years, but I suspect that sushi is more ubiquitous out here, so you might search this board for a list of the better sushi joints.

      As for El Crab Catcher, it has a lovely ocean view from its best tables, and the food is pretty good, but may not be worth the air fare from Boston (IMO). I'm sure others will have some more specific recs, but I'll just say I hope you have a great trip and as good a time in San Diego as I did in Boston. Welcome.
      . . . jim strain in san diego.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Jim Strain

        Just made my first trip to The Fishery last night. We were very happy with our food.

        Nice beer selection, too. Lots of good locals to choose from.

        1. re: Josh

          I also enjoyed The Fishery, my report on it is embedded in this post:


      2. I also like Top of the MArket.

        Others to look at:

        If you are willing to try a Chinese Spin on things, you might want to look at Emerald Seafood on Convoy Street. They prepare everything fresh from the tank.

        WE also enjoy PAcifica Del MAr.

        1. We ate at Top of the Market (the 2nd floor) on our last visit to SD. The seafood was delicious and well prepared. Service was a bit lacking, though (ie water, not checking frequently enough, asking for dessert menu), but other than that, the food was great.

          1. Crab catcher wasnt too great last time we went. I've heard of a lot of other places that are better. If I was in la jolla I would definitely go for georges although they dont specialise in seafood.

            1. These are all great ideas, thanks. Reasons I look for seafood are twofold: I want to eat out of the Pacific for a change and I don't eat land animals. Japanese is a phenomenal idea as I have plenty of Chinese to choose from here.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Malted Milk

                Sushi is one of San Diego's specialties. The uni from the coast here is some of the best in the world. If you are looking for good sushi, you might want to review the following set of posts:


                For Japanese in SD generally, probably the most reliable overview would be from Kirk's outstanding blog mmm-yoso. Here's a link to his discussion of Japanese restaurants:


                I should add that some of the places that Kirk discusses are not in San Diego though his blog is SD based.

                Good eating,


              2. The Fishery! That sounds exactly up my alley!! I am a huge fan of boat to table and being a true chowhound I prefer great product to fancy decor. Thank you!

                1 Reply
                1. re: Malted Milk

                  Then you should like the Fish Market. It's downstairs from Top of the Market, with the same fish, but less fancy preps. It's also a boat-to-table place. Note that they're a small, mostly CA chain with a fleet of boats--don't let that stop you.

                  If are willing to go about 35 miles north on I-5 to Carlsbad , that will take you to Fish House Vera Cruz, my all-time favorite fish house. Same deal--very fresh fish simply prepared. However, since they have 3 restaurants in the North County, you may consider that a chain also. Personally, I feel that a small chain is a plus when we're talking about fish restaurants, because it allows them the economy of scale to have their own boat(s), like the Fish Market does.

                2. crabcatcher's is great.
                  i've been there twice and i've suggested it to many others. Everyone has liked it alot.

                  i think that post that ed linked just didn't have a great experience

                  1. clayfu writes:

                    "i think that post that ed linked just didn't have a great experience"

                    There are a lot of people in addition to that post that have indicated that the CrabCatcher was a lukewarm at best experience for them, and I am on that list. I've never gotten bad food there, but I always left feeling that I spend about fifty bucks too much.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: RB Hound

                      i've had good food there on multiple occasions, we've also entertained a party of 15 there and everyone enjoyed it, my friend and his family ate there and enjoyed it.

                      from my personal experience and other people i know they've found it to be some of the better seafood in san diego.

                      i've tried hordes of San diego's "upper crust" eateries and one of the better choices in San Diego. Crabcatcher's actually isn't that expensive in comparison to the other places in san diego

                    2. Boston and Maine, top floor of Horton Plaza.

                      They have belly clams.

                      1. I really like the Fishery. Point Loma seafood is always good for lunch...

                        1 Reply
                        1. Belly clams are great, but I live 30 minutes from Ipswich. I asked my local friend in La Jolla about Crabcatcher and he said it isn't what I want. The Fish Market is a chain, I grew up eating at the one in Phoenix.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: MaltedMilk

                            Then Point Loma Seafood is the freshest Pacific you can get out here. The boats come into the dock at the back door. But no atmosphere...paper plates, carry it out to your table...and it closes at 6.
                            (Boston and Maine has the clams flown in from Boston daily...Husband grew up in Milton and likes Boston and Maine best, PLSF second best).

                          2. HAve you considered ROY's? IT is a Hawian Resteraunt. It is located in University City/La Jola.

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: normalheightsfoodie

                              Roy's is a chain and is owned by Outback Steakhouse.


                              1. re: Ed Dibble

                                With that aside, Roy's is still very good.

                                1. re: Ed Dibble

                                  It is only partially owned by Outback and partially owned by Roy himself and every chef is given the opportunity to "tweak" their own menus for each location (although certain staples are on every menu.) Roy's quality of fish is some of the best in town and I have never been disappointed by what I order. I especially love that you can (generally) choose any two mains and combine them into one main course. I find this useful if I am having trouble deciding. I generally go for some sort of butterfish/ahi tuna combo!

                                  1. re: jturtle

                                    I'm from Boston and have lived in SD for 10 years and there are no restaurants I've found that compare to what's available in Boston. If I were coming from Boston I would be greatly disappointed by the Fish House or Vera Cruz. I would suggest sushi Sushi Ota or perhaps trying Baja lobster that's unique to the area.

                                    1. re: jturtle

                                      Still sounds like a chain to me. I'd much rather support a small family owned restaurant.

                                2. Roy's may be decent, but it is still a chain and I have actually eaten there in Scottsdale. I wasn't too thrilled, but it wasn't gross either.
                                  Boston is great for restaurants no doubt, although I am really looking forward to Pacific fare!

                                  1. Fishery is not bad. But for really good seafood, forget San Diego or Boston; San Francisco or Seattle is your best bet.