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Living so close to the ocean, we're lucky to have fresh seafood within easy reach. Pacific Beach Fish Shop (or PB Fish Shop) provides both a local seafood market as well as a spot to grub on delicious fish. We arrived on a Saturday morning when they opened so there weren't any lines... at least not yet! PB Fish Shop even has its own parking lot to the west but that fills up even faster than the restaurant during the lunch rush hour!
I love the colorful chalkboard menu with pictures of the fish! What's even better is that they describe the tastes so picking one is hopefully a little easier. Most of these seafood options are available year round but they sub in specials here and there.
Here's the currently available selection of seafood at the shop. Those are nice cuts!
PB Fish Shop caters to a wide variety of palates since you can customize your order. The general process is to pick out your fish, your marinade, then the style of preparation (taco, salad, sandwich, plate). The prices for each fish and style combination is listed on the menu so there are no surprises. In addition there's other fish dishes such as crab cake, clam chowder and ceviche. Guests place their order at the counter (just past the fish display) then take a number and a seat anywhere within the restaurant or patio area. There's also craft beers on tap available to enjoy with your meal.
Local Halibut Sandwich with Fish Shop Seasoning
It was a tough decision but we decided on the halibut sandwich with the fish shop seasoning! The fish was everything we could have wanted, perfectly cooked, flakey, and lightly seasoned. Despite being tucked between two slices of bread, the flavors shone through, which made us happy campers. For the sides, we selected half onion rings and half fries, both freshly fried and piping hot.
Spicy El Dorado Taco
The tacos here are hefty in size! Our favorite was the Spicy El Dorado, mahi mahi encased by a fluffy flour tortilla (choice of corn also available). Even though it looked quite saucy, we could still taste the amazing fish flavors. The zesty avocado sauce and the slight kick of sriracha sauce did their jobs just fine. As another option, the TKO Taco is quite famous, winning several taco awards over the last couple of years so we'd recommended that one also.
The lobster here only comes in the form of a taco so we gave it a shot. We thought the plump lobster meat had a nice squishy chew to it with the simple garlic butter marinade. It did taste a bit plain after munching on the Spicy El Dorado taco moments before!
Fish Shop Lumpia and Ahi Poke
The lumpia and ahi poke were said to be popular so those were next. This lumpia version had crunchy fried shells stuffed with bits of fish and shredded vegetables and pre-cut into halves for sharing. The chili sauce was too pungent so we decided to scrap both it and the dry jasmine rice that accompanied the lumpia. As for the ahi poke, the fish was more on the mushy side but did have a nice hint of sesame oil taste to it and creaminess from the avocado. I've never had a version that sat on a bed of silky seaweed salad but a fan like myself wouldn't complain! We also ran out of chips since the mound was plentiful.
Fish Shop Chowder - classic clam with smoked andouille sausage
Clam chowder at a fish restaurant? Let's do it! The basic clam chowder recipe was infused with extra meaty flavor from the sausages though it could have packed a little more content into the milkier stew.
We were sitting outside on the patio which gave us a nice view of the giant marlin hanging near the entrance. The atmosphere was casual as our feet swung freely on the bar height chairs but the breeze rustled our napkins away, requiring us to hold down the fort with spare cups, plates or utensils! The servers zipped by like busy bees but still dropped by once in a while to check on guests.
After overstuffing ourselves just the day before at The Taco Stand, we opted to skip dessert so that we wouldn't waddle out post-buffet style. The first two fish items were some of the best we'd had in a while so will be ordered again if we don't spring for a new fish and flavor! There's also a Fish Shop location in Encinitas so north county folks aren't left out either!
Disclaimer: We were invited to dine here and our food was complimentary. We were not otherwise compensated and all opinions stated are our own.
Pacific Beach Fish Shop
1775 Garnet Ave
San Diego CA 92109