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Jun 15, 2008 11:31 PM

San Diego Fish/Seafood Help

I am going to visit San Diego, more specifically the Claremont area and I want to take my dad out for a really good fish dinner. Driving is not a problem. As for price, sadly I am poor and would ask for suggestions to more casual and inexpensive places. I really appreciate the help and hope I can get some good responses!


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  1. Perhaps I'm not the best to take on this question, as my fish preferences clearly leans towards Japanese preparations, but for American fish preparations my clear favorite is Fish House Vera Cruz. They have two locations, the original one in Carlsbad (coastal North County), and a second operation in San Marcos (inland North County).

    They operate their own boats, (or at least used to - my information is not up to date), as well as operate a fresh fish counter at both locations. They also smoke their own fish, which both in terms of quality and in terms of price is the best I've had anywhere else in the County.

    I often hear the Fish Market chain recommended, but I have never liked their fish, which invariably comes to your table dried out from their cooking process. Mesquite wood broiling doesn't mean much to me if the results are a dried lump of protein, no matter that it started as a fresh, wild, and line-caught fish. That has never happened to me at FHVC; it has always arrived moist, tender, succulent, and delicious.

    Fish House Vera Cruz
    417 Carlsbad Village Dr, Carlsbad, CA 92008

    2 Replies
    1. re: cgfan

      I had a really nice piece of Sea Bass at the downtown Fish Market (the upstairs area), not dried out at all.

      1. re: Josh

        Josh: I'm glad to hear that notwithstanding my experiences, that their kitchen can dish out a good one too! However since my experiences have led me to not trust their fish cookery, I have explored their other items and did find their cioppino for two to be a real consistent winner. (And quite a mouthful as well - be ready for leftovers!)

    2. Here are a couple with retail fish counters and fresh food. I've found the service a bit better at Bay Park.

      Blue Water Grill
      3667 India St
      incredibly, these guys seem still not to have a website, but maybe I'm just missing it

      1 Reply
      1. re: sandshark

        I agree that both these places are very good, reasonably priced and in the area. Bay Park has table service while at Blue Water you order at the counter and they bring it out to you. The Tin Fish downtown by Petco Park is very good also but avoid it if there is a Padre game.

      2. I'd actually suggest considering a Mariscos place, they're usually not quite as expensive, but are very tasty. I just had a really nice grilled fish dish at Mariscos German in Logan Heights. Two of us ate for $35, including tip. It's a bit of a drive from Clairemont though.

        Another place you might consider is Tajima, on Convoy St. They have a few good fish dishes that are quite reasonable. I used to get the salt-grilled Mackerel there all the time, and it's around $9. Comes w/miso, rice, daikon, and a delicious seaweed salad. They also have many nice small plate preparations.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Josh

          Tajima also does a really, really good miso glazed black cod....yum!

        2. Awesome this sounds good so far. I have to say though that I really wouldn't know what to order or how to order fish at a fresh market. I was thinking more of a restaurant with menus. HAHA... yea im super clueless :D

          4 Replies
          1. re: katie_ladie

            Anthony's is kind of the San Diego standard (the Star of the Sea Room downtown used to be *the* place decades ago)(men had to wear or rent a jacket to eat there) and there is an Anthony's Sea Grille on Clairmont Mesa and 805 (SE corner) which is less expensive, less fancy, but still has both grilled as well as the original fried items in a casual setting (you walk up, order and pay and they bring the food to your table). If your dad has lived here, he most likely has gone to Anthony's at least once and most likely really liked the food.


            1. re: Cathy

              yes we have actually been to Anthony's and will go there again if we can't find something new on here :D

              1. re: katie_ladie

                For that kind of casual, order at the counter, ambiance, I much prefer Blue Water Grille (off India near El Indio) to Anthony's Sea Grille. Bay Park Seafood is also a nice casual, relatively inexpensive place with table service. The Fishery in Pacific Beach is also a good choice for that kind of casual seafood setting. The Little Fish Market in Mission Valley is a decent, casual place as well. King's is OK, it's a bit more expensive than all of the above, IIRC.

                Of all of those, I think I'd recommend Bay Park since it's a nice little neighborhood place that has table service and it's convenient to Clairemont (just off Morena near Clairemont Drive) and isn't a pain to park at (as Blue Water is).

          2. I'm not sure what your definition of "poor" is, but I like to think I'm in the same boat for now. :-)

            Anyway, Kings Fish House in Mission Valley has some decent price fish. Mostly $15-18. I've always found it just fine for budget dining w/family.

            Also, Terra in Hillcrest has a few good fish dishes. I haven't been there in a while but generally priced same as above.

            I forgot to mention, I was going for close to Clairemont.

            Both have websites if you Google them.