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Nov 4, 2008 12:02 AM

Lunch at Salinas Valley Fish House

My first visit a few years ago to Salinas Valley Fish House in Oldtown, the sister to Monterey Fish House, was pretty much a bust. We were in no hurry to return. However, recently my mom was hankering for a simple piece of grilled fish and we decided to give it try again for lunch.

Mom had the fish sandwich, and I ordered the calamari steak sandwich. These came with a choice of fries or salad. We had one of each and they were good enough. My calamari sandwich, shown below, was fine with very fresh garnishes of green leaf lettuce, ripe tomato slices, pepperoncini, and red onion, plus some mushy slices of black olive. The soft French roll was buttered and griddled to golden brown. With the breading on the calamari steak, the whole thing was on the dry side and needed more tartar sauce than I would normally add.

I think my mom’s fish sandwich, made with local rock fish (“red snapper”), fared better. Cooked just right and still juicy, it was a healthy size filet, served with the same ingredients.

Our total table for the two sandwich with tax and tip was $20. Service was quite attentive. We thought it was a good deal for such a pleasant room complete with white table cloths and napkins, and a fresh flower on the table.

Salinas Valley Fish House
172 Main St, Salinas, CA 93901

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  1. Sometimes it takes me awhile to get back to some restaurants. Even the ones I like. More than two years later, Mom and I popped in for lunch last month at Salinas Valley Fish House.

    In September 2010, Haven Bourque wrote about her experience in Salinas and regarding a place to eat dinner said, “Our options were slim and there were no vegetarian choices, no sustainably raised meats, few vegetables, and only unsustainable seafood. Maybe a few years from now a restaurant there will feature ALBA’s produce. We’d eat there together someday.” Sounds like no one told her about Salinas Valley Fish House.
    In the Belly of the Good Food Movement Beast: What We Ate For Lunch At ALBA

    Mom ordered the sand dabs, $13.95, including pasta in herbed cream sauce and sauteed veggies. Three tender filets, representing one and a half fish, were lightly breaded and turned in butter. Sweet, delicate, delicious.

    At lunch time, any of the seafood plates can be ordered as a half-portion for half the regular price. I went with a half size of local Monterey Bay salmon, $11.95, and asked for it grilled over red oak. Simple and perfectly cooked to show off the natural taste. Mom wanted to know why my fish was so little compared to hers, and I explained the half dealie. This was the perfect amount combined with her full size order of 'dabs for the two of us. Or if one adds salad or soup. The Monterey County Health Department has been encouraging restaurateurs to offer smaller portions as a way of combating the obesity epidemic. As one who eats out frequently, I appreciated having this option here.

    Salinas Valley Fish House
    172 Main St, Salinas, CA 93901