Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > California >
Jan 8, 2002 07:59 PM

"American" seafood houses in San Diego?

  • f

Whenever anyone asks for seafood recommendations in San Francisco, I reply Chinese with live fish tanks. Now the shoe is on the other foot (to coin a phrase): I'd like to find a Western (as opposed to Asian) style place with reliable, local or nearby seafood in San Diego. Is it as difficult there as it can be here in SF (e.g., the Wharf is pretty bad and many old-time places can lack certain modern items many of us have become accustomed to, like good, fresh sides, interesting desserts, etc., never mind much charm)?


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Well, it's been a while but as a young Chowster Mom took me to Anthony's a lot. I'm not sure if the one in La Jolla is still open (if it is the decor could not possibly have remained the same, but boy how I looooved that huge fishtank in the entryway), but I'm pretty sure Anthony's Star of the Sea downtown still is.

    You can always count on the Fish House in Solana Beach; I don't "get it" but everyone I know loves the place. They do retail some great fresh fish and shellfish. I don't know if you'd count it as a proper seafood houses, but I like Pacifica's in Del Mar.

    8 Replies
    1. re: Lisa Bee

      The Fish Market in Del Mar or downtown is good american food, but not particularly innovative.
      I really like the Fishery, in Pacific Beach. It's also a fish market and restaurant, and has fresh good food. This time last year they had local lobster served "Baja style," with beans and tortillas. I've never been disappointed there.
      You can find a menu here:

      1. re: Dumpling
        Dwight Priddy

        Don't know if it is still there, but Qwigs in Ocean Beach was extremely good. Great fresh fish and steaks also. Good view of the ocean from this second floor restaurant. Kind of pricey though.

        1. re: Dwight Priddy

          Grateful for all the suggestions.

          Do any of these places require or even take reservations?

          1. re: Fine
            Andy Abramson

            If you make it up to Carlsbad, in Northern San Diego County, the best place for fresh fish is Pellys. It's a tiny, divey, hole in the wall, with real fishermen running the place for years. In addition to the retail operation, they have a few tables in the back, and an outdoor patio. It's just west of I-5 off of Poinsettia exit in the Ralphs shopping center and is as good as it gets anywhere. When I first arrived in San Diego ten years ago it was suggested to me by the then chef of Pirets. Many of the local chefs I now know all swear it's the best in town, and I agree, if for no other reason that everything is very fresh.


            1. re: Andy Abramson

              Thanks for the tip on Pelly's! What do they have that you recommend? Is the fish market good too? Do they have any east coast seafood?

              1. re: buddha
                Andy Abramson

                East coast style seafood is at Nugents in Del Mar.

            2. re: Fine
              Dwight Priddy

              The last time we were in San Diego, Qwiggs didn't require reservations.

        2. re: Lisa Bee

          For the Chowhound Synonym Dictionary:

          Anthony's = Tourist Trap

        3. I have heard that King's Fish House is very good.
          Blue Point Coastal Cuisine is excellent


          2 Replies
          1. re: buddha
            David Naimark

            I am curious about your opinion on Blue Point--What do you like to eat there?

            I've been there several times and thought it was kind of a cool atmosphere (lots of San Diego local celebrities were there) but I didn't think the food was very good. Maybe I didn't know what to order.


            1. re: David Naimark

              I have ordered pretty tame stuff there. As you know most restaurants do have inconsistencies, maybe you got the chef when he was in a bad mood? I have had the oysters on the half shell, whole maine lobster, fillet mignon and shrimp, rack of lamb, and maybe the scallops once before.

          2. Fishery in Pacific Beach is best as far as great fish at a reasonable price. I don't understand why more people on this board don't mention it. Lots to choose from on the menu, from simple grilled & fried fish to more extensive preparations. Best fish'n'chips ever as far as I'm concerned (they do a light panko-type coating of halibut). Darn good soft shell crab in season. Also, don't miss the chowders (both red "fish" and white "clam" compare favorably with anything I've had on the east coast). So far only the sushi was dissapointing (fish good, rice not so good). They do have a market, and if its open, they'll sometimes let you pick fish out of the cooler and cook it for you (they fried some giant sea scallops for me on a recent visit). I've never had a bad meal there, and the service is above-average. No reservations as far as I know. Ok wine list.