Alternative to Pt. Loma Seafoods
I absolutely love the ahi, sea bass, and halibut at Pt Loma seafoods. Every Wednesday I make a new creative challenging fish entree to go with Top Chef and have been purchasing the fish at Pt Loma Seafoods, but I can't get out of there for less than $25-$30 for 2 good pieces. Anybody have a good alternative? Also anyone getting creative for Top Chef tonight?
Catalina Offshore is a great option, especially if you are willing to buy a kilogram or more at a time. These are the guys that supply many sushi and seafood restaurants in town. They sometimes have live uni (sea urchins) available.
If you are willing to get more challenging than ahi, sea bass and halibut, you should also try the Asian seafood markets. If you can learn to enjoy oily fish like mackerel, the meaty taste of catfish, or learn to recognize the names of dozens of fish lacking standard English names, you will often save money and help the environment. Mackerel, fresh-water fish and other cheap options like squid are in no danger of being overfished, are low in mercury and heavy metals, and may be better for your health.
Good prices and great selection are available at Vien Dong in Linda Vista and 99 Ranch in Kearny Mesa. Lucky Seafoods up in Miramar and World Foods Market on El Cajon in Mid-City are also good options, though I have not visited them as recently.
For a start, try some Japanese recipes for Saba or Aji (two types of Mackerel); even very pretty fillets should cost no more than $5 in a nice Japanese market, and whole "saba" is sometimes on sale for as little as $2.00 / lb. It may be good for your health, and it is certainly a more sustainable choice than "sea bass", both for the environment and for your pocketbook.
99 Ranch Market
7330 Clairemont Mesa Blvd, San Diego, CA
Vien Dong Market
6937 Linda Vista Rd, San Diego, CA
World Food Supermarket
5245 El Cajon Blvd, San Diego, CA
9326 Mira Mesa Blvd, San Diego, CA
A very good point.
The OP (and others) might find this databse helpful, which is a list of fish as they are called in Japanese as well as in a few other languages.
I often pull this up on my blackberry while at 99 Ranch Market so I can figure out what I am buying.
I second Bluewater grill.
As for Windmill farms, imo the fish isn't in the same category as Point Loma or Blue Water. Those places are straight-from-the-days-catch type of fish markets. Windmill farms is a grocery store along the lines of Henrys/Sprouts/Boneys. Fresh, but not fishery fresh.
Sure, it's great for buying to make a casual meal. But, I think that if you're looking for fresh fish, you do get what you pay for.
Ah, but for fish that is still very good and very edible at one-third the price of PLS, Bluewater, Whole Foods or Catalina Offshore, Windmill Farms is a pretty viable option.
Last week you could have gotten pretty respectable escolar for $3.89 a pound and salmon for about $5.00 a pound, both of which sure beat the $18-25/lb prices typical of the other places. Is Windmill Farms fish fresh off the boat? Nope, nor is there as big a selection. Is it budget friendly? Yep. If you're stuck in the dreaded East County there really aren't a whole lot of options, and with gas at $4.20 a gallon or better it's also more economical than driving to the beach for fish.
Rhetorical question warning...
So what's the difference between the fish (that may be been previously frozen on a boat at sea) at Windmill Farms and the fresh fish at some of the local Asian markets that's being held in overcrowded tanks with cloudy, murky, dirty water?
Check out Catalina Offshore Products. They are a wholesaler that will sell retail to walkins if you call ahead (you can also order from their website). Fish is as fresh or fresher than Pt Loma Seafoods (I've watched them cut my fish straight out of the ice in the box it was shipped in).
If you have one closeby, Fresh and Easy has good yellowfin and ahi tuna and scallops, and their prices are pretty cheap. They also have tilapia and a couple of other varieties I haven't tried. I also really like the fresh fish selection at Nijiya in Clairemont. Hamachi, yellowtail, etc. great for sashimi.
I'll second Windmill Farms and also send you to Blue Water Grill on India St. a couple of doors down from El Indio. Their fish is a dollar or two less per pound than PLS and just as good. They've got 21/25 shrimps for $13.95/lb. and a pound of shrimp will go a long way and are quite versatile. I bought some locally caught halibut there on Saturday that was in the $12-13/lb range as opposed to the Alaskan halibut that was $21.95/lb. Their local snapper/rock fish is usually also a pretty good buy.