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Restaurants serving Dungeness crab?

Hey Hounders, I'm looking for a restaurant that's serving straight up Dungeness crab this time of year. Straight up boiled or steamed with butter and lemon no fancy preparation wanted or required. Special deals are appreciated. Also, real information, a lot of times people will say "well, Water Grill has seafood." and that's not really helpful. If you've actually been to the place lately and have seen or had the crab, THAT's helpful.

The area we're looking at is large, from Santa Monica to Downtown east to west, from Hollywood to Culver City north south. Thanks in advance.

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  1. Evidently this has been a terrible year for getting the crabs. Quality Seafood on the lower level of the Redondo Beach Pier complex has them fresh. They will cook them for you and then you can go over to one of the picnic tables (don't forget to bring some newspaper and crab crackers/hammer with you) and have at it. $13.99 a lb.


    1. Most of the chinese restaurants in the San Gabriel area prepare dungeness crab that way. A few good places to consider:

      Sea Harbor Restaurant in Rosemead, CA
      The King Palace Restaurant in Rosemead, CA
      Seafood Village Restaurant in Monterey Park, CA

      happy eating!

      1. I know of a live seafood store in Koreatown that sells live dungeness crabs. They can steam it for you or you can take it home and steam it yourself. They have tables there so you can eat there as well but youre surrounded by live seafood in tanks so home might be better.
        They dont have a name in english but they are on Olympic in between Wilton and Crenshaw right across from Wienerschnitzel.

        1. I know what you mean... like the crab you can get at Fisherman's Wharf -- even the tourists cant ruin the joy. Freshly steamed cold cracked crab is one of life's pure joys (well, for everyone but the crab).

          Believe me, I've looked far and wide in LA. Sometimes the Grill on the Alley or Musso's have it-- They were both influenced by San Francisco's Tadich Grill, where you can walk in, order sourdough and cracked crab, and boom, heaven. There is NOTHING like that in LA, but Musso's comes close when they have crab.

          I know you don't want to hear this, but the best substitute is to go to santa monica seafood or whole foods when the crab is in season and buy, take it home with a loaf of sourdough and an anchor steam, and DIY.

          2 Replies
          1. re: spaniel27

            Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the crab at Fisherman's Wharf are already dead and they're just reheating them in those boiling cauldrons.

            Check out Captain Kidd's in Redondo Beach. They got tanks of different crabs including Dungeness, sourdough bread and clam chowder. Plus a great view and free parking.

            1. re: monku

              Pacific Fish Center is better than Captain Kidd's. Both on the same pier.

              Pacific Fish Center & Restaurant
              131 Fishermans Wharf, Redondo Beach, CA 90277

              Captain Kidd's
              1550 S Harbor Blvd, Anaheim, CA 92802

          2. i've been getting it at Fish King in Glendale, already cooked in the shell, in it's entirety. You may want to call ahead b/c they don't always have it cooked but this weekend they had a bunch of them. I don't recall the price- maybe $13 a lb? but it was amazing and great fun to do at home. they also sell the tools there. if you don't want to splurge on the tools, they'll crack and clean it for you.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Clyde

              Last weekend I saw live Dungeness crab at Ranch 99 in Monterey Park for $3.99/lb.

            2. An older post, but I'll bite...

              Pacific Fish Center, on the Redondo Beach Pier, is your best bet.

              Live, hot, steamed Dungeness crabs, served with a hammer, bib, and newspaper. And kimchi (it's Korean-owned). No frills, not high-end (though it can get a bit pricey if you order lots of crab)... Damn good. AND they leave the crab roe IN!

              Other live critters steamed, too (my favorite are the giant prawn AKA botan ebi)...

              1. Without a doubt, I recommend that you go to the Redondo Beach Pier for Dungeness crab. Where you go once you get there depends upon how you want it prepared and with what you want to accompany it.

                If you want a traditional American style preparation, go to Quality Seafood. They offer the largest selection and the highest quality in the area, perhaps in all of SoCal. Make your own selections from live seafood tanks filled with over 50 types of crab, lobsters, oysters, clams, mussels, sea urchin, other mollusks, fish and shrimp. They will prepare it for you while you wait. Their signature method of crab preparation is simple - live, whole and steamed inside a plastic bag. This method retains more of the original crab essence than does boiling. Lay out the supplied newspaper and make a mess on the umbrella-covered stone tables as you bang away at dismembering your crab with one of the provided wooden mallets.

                Quality Seafood
                130 S. International Boardwalk
                Redondo Beach, CA 90277
                (310) 372-6408

                If you fancy a Korean style presentation, including boiled crab, rice, kim chee and maeuntang (spicy seafood soup) along with Korean beers (Hite, OB) and soju, then go to Pacific Fish Center. It is the most popular of the Korean style seafood houses on the pier. Please be aware that you will generally pay more at PFC, or other Korean-owned venues, than at Quality Seafood. In return, you do receive a higher level of attention and service from the wait staff. I should also mention that, on several occasions through the years, I have found the leg meat in PFC’s crabs to be somewhat emaciated. I have never experienced this during more visits to Quality Seafood. Seasonal anomalies, perhaps? This usually occurs with crab caught during rainy or stormy weather or when they have been tanked for an extended period of time. Forgivable but not forgotten.

                Pacific Fish Center
                131 Fisherman’s Wharf
                Redondo Beach, CA 90277
                (310) 374-8420

                For a number of years, I dined almost exclusively at PFC but have yet to return in the years since re-discovering Quality Seafood where I first ate with my parents almost a half-century ago. I currently have no plans (or need) to return to return to PFC for crab, lobster or other live crustaceans and mollusks. God knows, I get my fill of wonderful Korean food elsewhere (^_^). When I go to the Redondo Beach Pier, it is for live seafood, primarily Dungeness crab, in its purest and most unadulterated form – steamed, with butter and an ocean view.

                Quality Seafood
                130 International Boardwalk, Redondo Beach, CA

                Pacific Fish Center & Restaurant
                131 Fishermans Wharf, Redondo Beach, CA 90277

                1. Wherever you go don't fall for the pre-cooked crab BS. They sit around for a day or more and the meat is mushy.
                  You're spending $20+ for a crab it better be freshly cooked.