The Fish Market – How Fresh Is Fresh?

| October 4, 2011 | 0 Comments

Roast crab makes a great meal and presentation.

Diners in San Diego have a culinary advantage over diners in cities in our country’s interior — our oceanside location. Not only can we enjoy spectacular ocean views but we can savor the freshest of fresh fish. We eat where the fish live. We’re so close they could practically jump onto one’s plate.

“How fresh is fresh?” The video on the website of The Fish Market Seafood Market & Restaurant raises the question. After all, such restaurants all over the country can have fish flown in daily. But still….it takes time to catch, sell, package and ship. The Fish Market Seafood Market & Restaurant has a great advantage. It has its own ships plying the waves, trolling the oceans, hauling in the shark, tuna and more to bring to diners’ plates. Now….that’s FRESH!
The Fish Market Seafood Market & Restaurant has two locations. The smaller location, in Del Mar, is convenient to the race track, fair grounds and freeways. The larger location, at the edge of downtown, is adjacent to the Midway museum aircraft carrier, next to the statue of the sailor kissing the girl whose skirts flare up in the breeze, down the long driveway from the moving memorial tablets honoring our military. There is valet parking service at lunch and dinner or guests can park at the many meters that dot the large driveway.

There are six restaurants in the small chain, all located within California. The San Diego location opened in 1989 and has now delighted customers for 22 years. The reason, the fish is truly fresh and some of the tastiest around.
The lengthy menu is printed daily. After all, who knows what the fishermen will find trapped in their nets? The listings are fish…fish…fish! Chicken and steak are on the menu but really……That’s like going to an ice cream stand for a sandwich. Even the pasta comes with seafood.

Food dishes are listed on one side of the long page; wine, cocktails and beer are detailed on the back. The wine list is small but has a nice range of moderately priced choices. The specialty cocktails are interesting, especially the Market Martini. A few of those can enhance any dining experience.

The restaurant consists of a number of dining rooms, a bar and an actual market where one may buy fish to take home. The décor is fairly simple, not to detract from the amazing views of the water, ships and Coronado through the large, plate glass windows. The building juts out over the water and, as the waves move languidly back and forth, one can have the experience of being adrift on the sea. One of the nicest times to dine is at sunset, to watch the orb fall into the water.

Chowder is served in both New England (red) and Manhattan (white) styles. Sashimi and sushi are both available as starters. The sushi sampler offers a variety of sushi tastes. Seafood cocktails such as Canadian Bay Shrimp or Sea of Cortez prawn are also great appetizers. An oyster bar offers a world-wide variety with a choice of sauces. Steamed shellfish can either introduce a meal or become on. Specialty appetizers include outstanding crabcakes and calamari fritte with a tangy cocktail sauce that lights up the palate.

If one likes smoked fish, the restaurant smokes its own, including albacore, salmon and trout. The sampler is the perfect way to enjoy.

The entrees are really the ticket to pleasure, though. Although the menu changes daily, snapper, seabass, halibut and shark were on the long list along with wahoo and albacore. Entrees are served grilled on mesquite or on a skewer. I enjoyed greatly the grilled wahoo (Hawaiian ono), a moist and tasty fish that has the texture and consistency of grilled chicken.

Prices at The Fish Market Seafood Market & Restaurant are surprisingly moderate, given the quality of the food and the terrific ambiance. It is a very popular restaurant and was crowded, even on a mid-week night.
The Fish Market Seafood Market & Restaurant is located at 750 No Harbor Drive in San Diego. The Del Mar location is at 640 Via De La Valle. Call 619-232-3474 for information, happy hours and directions.

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