By Katie Dillon
San Diego Local Expert
It’s no surprise that a city bordered by ocean excels at serving seafood. San Diego’s seafood restaurants vary radically in ambiance, price and versatility, but all have one thing in common: high quality fish. Dishes are minimally-prepared in order to showcase the freshly-caught seafood that is flown in daily or reeled in by local artisanal fishermen. Grilled, sauteed, seared, smoked, or raw–whichever you choose will send tastebuds over the edge.
Don’t let an unassuming, casual vibe fool you. Some of San Diego’s best seafood restaurants double as markets and seat a post-beach clientele, but are also critically acclaimed. For example, the uber-informal Blue Water Grill was highlighted on the famous Food Network show Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. On the other hand, upscale seafood restaurants such as Truluck’s or Eddie V’s, make perfect date nights with impeccable service and artistically-plated dishes. Specialty cocktails and award-winning wines pair seamlessly with your order. Craving oysters? Ask the staff, if you’re overwhelmed by the magnitude of varieties to choose from.
No time to dine-in? Hosting a party? Many of these restaurants, such as The Fishery, allow you to call in a to-go order. Their market also has an extensive catering menu including sushi platters, poached salmon, and more eliminating the need to cook for guests.
Where you go depends on what you’re in the mood for. Just remember that San Diego’s signature dish is the fish taco, so you must eat at least one during your stay.
Versatility and freshness set this seafood specialist apart. Combining a bountiful oyster bar with a fresh fish menu that changes daily, Oceanaire offers a changing selection that may include snapper, swordfish, grouper, mahi-mahi and blue marlin steak. Jumbo lump crab cakes and fish and chips are favorites as well. Savory sides range from sour cream and onion mashed potatoes to fried green tomatoes. The 1930’s decor and an adjoining cocktail bar add to the appeal of the restaurant’s large and lively dining room. Oceanaire has received numerous awards for being one of the best seafood restaurants in San Diego. Prices reflect the quality.