With a large portion of Orange County lying along the Pacific Ocean, many individually owned seafood restaurants offer large menus with an excellent, tasty variety of seafood. Some menus lean more toward the elegant, but the majority remain very casual, keeping with the laid-back California lifestyle. Check out the best of what OC has to offer in the seafood department.
Cannons Seafood Grill
34344 Street of the Green Lantern
Dana Point, CA 92629
Cannons originally opened in 1972, with a change of ownership in 2004, and is today one of the top restaurants in Orange County. In 2011, it won the OpenTable Diners Choice Award for the most scenic restaurant for its placement on the cliffs high above Dana Point Harbor, with unparalleled views of the Southern California coastline and Pacific Ocean. Diners on the oceanfront terrace have the chance to enjoy one of southern California’s most spectacular sunsets and delicious dishes. The char-grilled fresh mahi mahi topped with mushrooms and served with garlic mashed potatoes or the jumbo sea scallops over linguini tossed with sautéed shiitake mushrooms and asparagus in a lobster sauce are both priced at $24.95 and are worth every delicious bite. Visit here to see all of the other exceptional seafood dishes.
3010 Lafayette Road
Newport Beach, CA 92663
This waterfront restaurant on Newport Harbor serves lunch on an outdoor patio and dinner within the historic structure where lighting comes from fixtures in the shapes of jelly fish, starfish and other sea creatures. Upstairs is the sushi bar with a selection of bites made from tuna, salmon, yellow tail and albacore. Having lunch? Try the delicious New England lobster roll with creamy lobster salad served on a warm brioche roll with parmesan or the crab cake starter plate with mango-coconut sauce and papaya ginger salsa. The dinner menu includes one definite standout: Jack’s Bouillabaisse served with king crab, shrimp, mussels and clams in a tomato saffron sauce.
OC Fish n Chip
2094 Tustin St, Suite C-1
Orange, CA 92865
The OC Fish n Chip just recently opened on April 13th. Although new, you’d think the cooks have been preparing these dishes for years with numerous combinations for varied tastes. The PoBoy sandwiches are made with either shrimp, clam or oyster and are very tasty. Menu prices start at $3 for one piece of fish and one side, perfect for a light lunch meal. But if feeling a bit hungrier, order the best of the mini shrimp that comes with two dozen fresh, hand-battered shrimp for only $6. Other seafood offerings include calamari rings, clam strips and scallops. Give this spot a try and see which combination works best for you.
The Seafood Shack
7681 Westminster Blvd
Westminster, CA 92863
This is a mom-and-pop operation with plenty of choices including fresh tilapia fish, crab, clams and snails. Do you have an urge to slurp down some oysters? If so, order raw and cooked oysters sold by the dozen, or go with a variety of four different kinds of oysters for $20. If you prefer to keep it simple, the shrimp in garlic butter sauce is a sure bet. The crawfish is among the tastier options of seafood, and when combined with an order of french bread for dipping into the sauce, makes for the perfect combination. Order the delicious cold house tea to wash it all down.
630 Lido Park Drive
Newport Beach, CA 92663
The Bluewater Grill has a lively nautical decor, where one can park their boat at the dock and dine on the outdoor patio or inside with its high wood ceilings, leather booths and brass accents. The menu is traditional New England fare combined with California-style dishes. The Grill serves fresh fish, shrimp, oysters, clams and mussels, obtained mostly from North American waters. The large appetizer list includes prawn and shrimp cocktails as well calamari fritters and crab cakes. Soups, chowder and lobster bisque are available before the dinner choices and make for great starters. However, if looking for the real deal, go for the beer battered fish and chips, Australian lobster tails or farm raised Mississippi catfish.
Mona Graham is a freelance writer, writing for Examiner.com. Mona has lived in Orange County since 1958 and has a great familiarity with the area. Her hobbies are travelling, writing and photography. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.