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Tin Fish vs Sea Salt

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Forgetting single local location vs franchise, what are the major differences between the two?

Sea Salt has its many fans, though many detractors, as well. Long waits for food and less than clean eating area top the complaints.

Tin Fish hasn't been discussed as much here. Other than it being a franchise, I haven't read many negative comments on it.

For those of you who have been to both, which would you recommend based on food alone?

Assuming most people find the food comparable, I'd probably be inclined to try Tin Fish as the waits would be shorter. But if Sea Salt is heads above Tin Fish in terms of flavour and quality, I'll bite the bullet and wait in line.

And if I were to expand the criteria to include ease of dining (there's a chance I'll part of a group of 7 adults and 2 young children aged 1 and 3), which would be the ideal place to dine?

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  1. Are you looking just for seafood or are you looking for awesome concession shacks in parks? If the latter, don't forget Sandcastle and Bread and Pickle. :)

    ETA: and sorry I'm not directly answering your question, but I've not been to Tin Fish in about a million years, so it's hard for me to provide a fair comparison. No indoor seating at all at tin fish if that matters to you. If long wait times factor into ease of dining for you, then sea salt could be problematic. There is a newly-renovated (completed just this summer) at Minnehaha (where Sea Salt is) that one of the adults could take the kids to play at while you wait for your food if you plan ahead. Sea salt does have some big tables that are good for families if you can snag one. It's all first-come first serve. Sea Salt does have a (limited) kids menu.

    ~TDQ

    4 Replies
    1. re: The Dairy Queen

      I'm looking for seafood with a shack environment. I love fish shacks, and there aren't any around where I am.

      But I'll add Sandcastle and Bread and Pickle to my list, just in case we're at Sea Salt and the line is too long!

      I didn't realize Sea Salt had indoor seating. I assumed both Sea Salt and Tin Fish were outdoor only, so that's good to know. If it's raining, I think Sea Salt will win out.

      1. re: prasantrin

        Weird but true, but I love Sea Salt in the rain. In fact, when there's a big downpour I often think, "Oh, we should head to Sea Salt." With the big windows, you get to enjoy the rain without being in it. It's hardly ever crowded when it's raining.

        Only Sea Salt has oysters, I think. But, I'll bet that people with restricted diets or picky eaters might have a few more options at Tin Fish.

        ~TDQ

        1. re: The Dairy Queen

          They will have more options at Tin Fish. In fact, that advantage may be one their downfalls: the menu is so big that customers take a long time to place their orders. We waited well over an hour to order at Tin Fish one weekend. The line was long, but there were many fewer people than we'd see for the same amount of delay at Sea Salt. We had plenty of time to observe.

          The Tin Fish team appeared to go through the afternoon without any hurry at all. That shorter line moved ASTONISHINGLY slowly. My opinion is that they seemed to be managing the demands on the kitchen & the table space by letting people stand in line. Food was served & tables were cleared, but there was zero urgency or even recognition of the wait.

          For small children, there is nothing to do at Tin Fish to amuse them except look at the water. No music, no swing sets nearby, etc. The line queues up in full sun, too.

          The menu & the wait can tempt people to over-order. A taco at Tin Fish is a full meal even for hungry people: a taco & a salad seemed like a good idea until half of it got thrown out.

          1. re: KTFoley

            Thanks! If the wait will be long no matter where we go, then Sea Salt will be a better choice if the kids are there. I'll request that we go early, maybe even before opening so we can be first in line!

    2. Here's a 2012 citypages article comparing Tin Fish vs Sea Salt:

      http://blogs.citypages.com/food/2012/...

      2 Replies
      1. re: St3ve

        Tacos with ranch dressing and flour tortillas? Well, that settles it; Sea Salt it is!

        Thanks so much for the link!

        1. re: prasantrin

          Yeah, it is a kind of an impressionistic salad-like Minnesota version of a taco.

      2. Finally tried Sea Salt today, after a couple of years of having it on my list!

        I shared the fried scallop tacos and the strawberry walnut salad. Both were good, though they were not the best versions I've ever had. I wish the scallops had been larger, but the price was reasonable for what it was.

        I'd go back. It's a very prety park, too, and was a nice break during a hot day!