Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >
Feb 1, 2013 08:17 PM

Bodega Bay: Fishetarian Fish Market, Fisherman’s Cove Deli & Bait, Chowder Day

Saturday’s clear blue skies set the stage for another fantastic Chowder Day fundraiser. I had a chance to try 11 of the 13 entries. One sold out just ahead of us, and another was a no-show.

The votes have been tallied and Spud Point continued its streak, first place again for the eighth year in a row. After last year’s mini-brouhaha “chowder-gate” demanding more transparency in the voting, this go-round the second and third place winners were also revealed, Sandpiper and Tides Wharf, respectively. And Fishetarian landed best new competitor.

This time I had three friends along and we all felt that Spud Point had some stiff competition. Two joined me in picking Fishetarian as first place, and another felt Sandpiper was on top. All of the chowder entries were quite good, not a clunker among them.

Unlike previous years, all entries were white clam chowder. No red, no corn chowder, no mixed seafood or salmon this time. I also noticed a ramp up in use of herbs, perhaps a move toward simulating the herb-heavy style of Spud Point Crab. My notes, points, and rankings are shown in this photo of my ballot before I turned it in.

Besides Fishetarian, another newcomer that has also been open for less than a year is Fisherman’s Cove Deli and Bait. Located next to Spud Point Crab, it features organic ingredients and hormone free meats. The chowder was lovely, and I’ll be returning to try a more complete meal from Fishetarian and Fisherman’s Cove.

The photos below are the view of the marina from Sandpiper’s enclosed dining deck, Fishetarian (next to the Lucas Wharf), Fisherman’s Cove marquee, and Bodega Head as seen from the Duck Club’s lounge, our last stop to beer down and kick back after chowder tasting,

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Yesterday, after hiking Bodega Head (spectacular views!) at Sonoma Coast State Beach, we headed to Fishetarian Fish Market. Menu on their blackboard is a bit expanded compared to the website.

    Been craving some fish & chips, Fishetarian solved that problem. Three good sized pieces of cod came out golden brown, crispy without a hint of grease. Came with tartar sauce and vinegar was also on the table. Chips were crispy and stayed that way throughout the meal.
    DW had the prawns and chips which she thoroughly enjoyed. I'm not a big fan of fried prawns so will pass judgement.

    Crab cakes, crab sandwiches and clam chowder looked wonderful being served to other tables. Several items to try here. Owner and staff very friendly and patient as we looked things over trying to decide what to order.

    Great place to visit after hiking, heck it's a great place to eat anytime :)
    Currently open Friday-Sunday but we were that starting in June Fishetarian will be open Thursday-Monday.

    10 Replies
    1. re: tom246

      Thanks so much for the positive report! I had a really good feeling about the place and glad to hear it performed. That venue has been home to several other fish shacks over the years that I've been visiting Bodega Bay. They've all been better than the more well-known neighbor, but none seem to last very long. I hope the Fishetarian folks can make a go of it. They offer sustainable seafood.

      1. re: tom246

        Is there seating at Fishetarian?

        Is it located where Google Maps shows 599 Highway 1 South Bodega Bay, CA? That is, a very short distance south of North Harbour Way.

        Did it take the place of Dee's Bayside Deli (if so, good riddance)?

        1. re: Malcolm Ruthven

          Fishetarian has indoor and outdoor seating. Picnic bench-like, IIRC. It's next to Lucas Wharf (which is ID'd on google maps) and just north of Smith Brothers Rd, so google messed up on this one.

          (And you'd think the biz would notice that the google map inserted on its own website is wrong.)

          1. re: Malcolm Ruthven

            For your edited-in second question, it replaced Island Style deli that was quite good. Yes, that's the same space that housed Dee's and other fish shacks before that.

            1. re: Melanie Wong

              I missed Island Style deli completely. I guess that shows now often I get to Bodega Bay. I'll try to do better...

              1. re: Malcolm Ruthven

                I'm not out there that often either. Might have been something in between Island Style and Dee's.

                I hope someone checks out Fisherman's Cove, next to Spud Point Crab. It has outdoor seating, nothing I recall inside.

                1. re: Melanie Wong

                  I haven't been able to find any information about Fisherman's Cove. Do you know when they're open?

                  1. re: Malcolm Ruthven

                    Fisherman's Cove Deli's website lists these hours:

                    6:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Mon - Thur
                    6:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. Fri - Sun
                    (Hours vary in season or storm)​


                    You should probably call to confirm hours. Since it's a working bait shop, it keeps fishermen's hours.

                    It has a couple smokers outside. They told me to come back to try the barbeque.

                    1. re: Melanie Wong

                      Thanks. Google didn't find that website for me.

                      That Salmon Bisque is talking to me. Also, their online menu doesn't mention Clam Chowder.

                      1. re: Malcolm Ruthven

                        Should mention that salmon bisque was not on the menu board when I was at Fisherman's Cove yesterday. There's now seating inside.

        2. You couldn't have picked nicer weather for a hike out there, that's for sure!

          Your rpt sounds mouthwatering. We just came back from a full week in Sonoma/Mendocino, eating our way up and down Hwy 101. I was already thinking next time we need to stay in Bodega for a couple of days to be able to check out more than just a single lunch or a lonely dinner, without having to drive back and forth from Petaluma or Sebastopol, where we usually stay.

          4 Replies
          1. re: jaiko

            have you posted on your week's culinary adventures in sonoma/mendocino?

            1. re: sundeck sue

              My reviews are (eventually) always posted on Yelp; OpenTable if used, and often TripAdvisor.

              We're retired and travel 6-10x/yr. Every trip generates so many reviews, it takes me hours on each one. Our recent return dinner at Brix in Napa, for example, ended up a six-page single-spaced review.

              Full reviews are only posted to my private blogsite. After I create the reviews, I have to post and organize them on my blogsite, then summarize them in different lengths for posting narratives on other websites.

              I simply don't have time to treat Chowhound separately. There are a couple of restaurateurs who had no trouble ID'ing me after reading my Yelp reviews. I have a distinctive style of writing and definite food biases.

              It's just that usually one has to wait a couple of months before I catch up with all the different places to post. We're the kind of people for whom retirement has made us busier, not less so.

              1. re: jaiko

                thanks. what moniker do you use with Yelp ? do you link to your blog on your Yelp reviews ?

            2. re: jaiko

              Very good idea to stay a couple nights in Bodega Bay. Sebastopol and Petaluma are just far enough, plus the roads are just winding enough to be a pain.
              Especially after a nice dinner and a glass of wine.

              Quite a nice selection of restaurants in the general area.

            3. We tried Spud Point Crab Company today. Had the crab salad and clam chowder. Both were excellent. I always wish that Swan Oyster Depot had decent clam chowder, something like this! And then we tried the fish and chips at Fishetarian, which were also terrific. Crispy coating, well cooked and good rustic fries. Quite slow, but they were mobbed at 12:30 on Saturday.

              2 Replies
              1. re: michaelw

                Excellent! You picked a gorgeous day to head to the coast, more sun than usual in summer.

                I haven't had them yet, but read that the f&c at Fishetarian are breaded with panko crumbs, so extra crispy.

                P.S. Welcome to the board!

              2. Yesterday was my chance to return to Fishetarian with a friend. We shared a two-piece order of fish and chips and a side of cole slaw.

                Fish and chips, $11 – Wow! No kidding the f&c is great here. Panko-crusted, two big pieces of fresh local rock fish, and even though slightly more done than I’d like, still plenty moist and delicious with a crisp, light breading. Seasoned just right too. The skin-on fries are made from fresh spuds and have deep, deep potato flavor. Quite crispy with tender middles, I suspect that they’re twice-fried. And I loved the tartar sauce, not sweet at all and very complex with a note of horseradish. Besides the ketchup, malt vinegar, and Tabasco in the condiment caddy, Fishetarian has my favorite bottled hot sauce, Cholula, too.

                Slaw, $2 – Julienne of red and green cabbage with some carrot and onion too plus tender bits of kale in a fruity, unsweet vinegar and no mayo. Some black sesame seeds in there too. An “aspirational slaw”, as my friend put it, we both thought it was tasty and liked it very much. This is a no-brainer to order at this price.

                Pinotho recommended the fresh wild salmon in the case, . I asked for salmon heads and belly trim, but none were available. I was advised to call ahead next time and the owner will save some for me.

                Fishetarian will be switching to Fall hours soon (open Friday, Saturday and Sunday only), but not certain exactly when yet.

                * * * * *
                Our other stops of the day,

                Fisherman’s Cove Deli and Bait Shop

                Spud Point Crab Company

                The Birds Café

                And, the another place for a quick seafood bite that I've enjoyed in the past,

                The Boat House

                3 Replies
                1. re: Melanie Wong

                  Much to my chagrin Chowder Day sold out before 11:45am. The volunteer said it was the first time they've sold out.

                  1. re: Pius Avocado III

                    Oh no! I usually get there well before 11am, and will make a note to self to arrive even earlier next time. Besides not getting a ticket, some of the places start to run out of chowder later in the day.

                    Did you find other good things to eat out on the coast?

                    1. re: Melanie Wong

                      I had been primed by the spectacular weather and an article in the Press-Democrat to arrive early; our plan was to arrive before 10:30, but we were waylaid by circumstance. We quelled the chowder need that had been built up with a bowl of mediocre chowder at the Tides Inn, salvaged by the beautiful view from their deck. The throngs of folks sharing our situation in the parking lot led us to return inland.

                      We decided to sate our curiosity about the Graton Casino, intending to try the Tony's outpost, but upon assessing the scene decided we'd owe ourselves a raincheck for a visit to the SF location and got burgers at The Habit. The burgers were quite good for the style, and we appreciated that they offer a teri-pineapple burger.