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Bay Area Fish Shacks?

I'm going to be based in and around San Jose for the next month or so and I was doing some research into good eats. I came across a post referring to "west coast fish shacks" and was intrigued. However, I wasn't able to find many other specific mentions about them in other posts. Would anyone be able to shed some light on which fish shacks are worthwhile in the Bay Area? Also open to suggestions for crab/lobster/clam/other seafood shacks, and suggestions that are a day-trip away as well.

Thanks in advance!

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  1. I wouldn't bother. There aren't any "fish shacks" that I'd consider "destination" places from San Jose. In addition, lobsters and clams aren't local, and local crab is for all practical purposes out of season. A real local fish shack this time of year would mostly be featuring local flatfish (e.g., halibut, petrale sole, rex sole, sand dabs).

    1 Reply
    1. re: Ruth Lafler

      Although I agree in principle,

      The oyster shacks on tomales bay are probably the closest to what you're after. Long drive though.

      Santa Cruz might be the closest possible option to San Jose. I don't know of any fish places there - CS never seems to have that great food. I think they're discussed on another board.

      Barbera's Fish Trap in Princeton-by-the-sea gets good reviews. Maybe a little more like a restaurant than a shack, but reputed to have good local whatever.

      Jonathan's Fish and Chips is closer than either (menlo park), but is a soul-food-fried-catfish kind of place. I think they mostly traffic in frozen fish. Still tasty.

    2. Second on Barbara's Fish Trap.

      The Marshall Store for barbecued oysters. For some reason the place link doesn't come up in the search:

      http://www.chow.com/restaurants/1010/...

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      Barbara's Fish Trap
      281 Capistrano Rd, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019

      1. I'll disagree on Barbara's and raise you guys a Flying Fish Grill. Looks like a shack and total tourist trap from the highway but seafood is very good and reasonably priced (almost cheap to low moderate)...isn't that a shack? A few twists like rice bran oil and tempura batter but it works on the deep fried stuff, actually a real improvement.

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        Flying Fish Grill
        99 San Mateo Rd, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019

        1. if the obscure object of desire is a minimum frills place with very fresh ingredients, simply prepared, Fish in Sausalito might fit your requirement. if it's shack-style decor you seek, it would not suit--it's closer to a bright, modern cafe, but it's next to the water. to my taste, the food at Barbara's Fish Trap is decent but not worth a special trip.

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          Barbara's Fish Trap
          281 Capistrano Rd, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019

          2 Replies
          1. re: moto

            1 hr 10 mins from downtown San Jose.

            1. re: bbulkow

              And quite pricey. Do read up on this place before going.

          2. Not sure it's worth a day trip but Art's Crab Shak, Oakland.
            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6882...

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            Art's Crab Shak
            4031 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94611

            5 Replies
            1. re: wolfe

              Despite the name, Art's is more of a soul-food place, like JJ.

              Another sort of upscale take on a fish shack (like Fish! and Old Port) is Woodhouse.

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              Fish
              350 Harbor Dr, Sausalito, CA 94965

              Woodhouse Fish Company
              2073 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94114

              Woodhouse Fish Company
              1914 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA

              Art's Crab Shak
              4031 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94611

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                Please explain the difference between a crab shack and a soul food place.

                1. re: wolfe

                  I think mikeh h described a "fish shack" pretty well: a casual place on the coast where they serve fresh-off-the-boat seafood.

                  1. re: wolfe

                    There's certainly some overlap between the two, but your classic fish shack would be on the coast and would not have hush puppies, fried okra, catfish (or any fresh-water fish), wings, or collard greens, while it would be odd for a soul-food fish place's menu to be missing any of those items.

                    1. re: wolfe

                      it's like the Supreme Court justice said about knowing porn when he saw it, if you walked into Art's you'd know it isn't a fish shack. The neighborhood is basically the northern edge of Oakland's 'auto row', and the ambience would fit the archetype of a neighborhood bar and grill, if you didn't know that it's called Crab Shak.