Somewhere along the spectrum between omnivore and vegan lies the land of the pescatarian. Seafood eaters may find today’s current obsession with crispy pork belly, gourmet burgers and Southern fried chicken sandwiches a bit frustrating, but a number of restaurants have placed a strong focus on outstanding seafood dishes. Here are a few you should visit for a taste of the day’s catch.
Son of a Gun
8370 West 3rd Street
Los Angeles, CA 90048
Son of a Gun’s seafood-forward menu features a few dishes that often turn into favorites after the first visit. Popular plates include the lobster roll with lemon aioli, shrimp toast sandwich with sriracha mayonnaise and linguine with clams and uni aglio-olio. The dinner menu also features hamachi collar with heirloom beans and crisped red onions, octopus salad with chiles and steamed clams with crème fraîche and sofrito. The chefs behind this Mid-City West eatery serve some of the best seafood around town.
Fishing with Dynamite
1148 Manhattan Avenue
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
Fishing with Dynamite frequently rotates its offering of seafood selections, so be sure to pop in often to see what’s on the menu from time to time. There’s an impressive raw bar menu, including substantial platters to satisfy a table of friends. What’s really good? The Maryland blue crab cakes, grilled octopus with cranberry beans and rockfish and shrimp ceviche are stand out items that can’t be missed. Two new entrées include ling cod with kabocha squash, chestnuts and pea tendrils and grilled Hawaiian ono with Japanese eggplant and pine nut gremolata. It’s no doubt that FwD is one of the South Bay’s must-visit locations for classic and creative seafood dishes.
5955 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90038
Providence is a big-spending pescatarian’s dream with its array of elevated comfort food and sophisticated entrées. Although the menus here change quite often, one dish is always available: The Ugly Bunch. A smoked crème fraîche panna cotta topped with an assortment of seafood such as abalone, geoduck, and sea urchin, it’s a must order. Previous menus have included clam fritters with yuzu kosho mayonnaise, striped bass with braised matsutakes and baby turnips, lobster with eggplant, smoked sesame and chayote greens, and sashimi tuna with finger limes and cucumber. Treat yourself to a remarkable meal that will be worth every penny.
7465 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90046
Maré, the patio restaurant “hidden” behind the entrance to Greenspan’s Grilled Cheese, invites you to one of its tables for a seafood lover’s dream. The menu, which changes often, has previously featured dishes such as crab and uni risotto, yellowtail crudo with brussels sprouts and cod fritters with a spicy pepper sauce. Fried smelt with a roasted lemon sauce and radicchio, whole branzino with fig pomegranate sauce and build-your-own, brothy shellfish bowls are always up for grabs. Enjoy an evening on the patio with a table full of plates you’re encouraged to share with others or welcome to eat all by yourself.
3115 Pico Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Pay a visit to Valentino, and you can enjoy a table full of seafood-focused dishes that adhere to authentic Italian recipes. Start with a few antipasti perfect for sharing. The crudo di pesce is a Sicilian-style preparation with citrus and olive brine, and there’s shrimp with cannellini beans, shrimp-stuffed calamari and a Maine lobster and farro salad. If you’re hungry for more, grilled wild salmon with lemon butter and spaghetti with clams and pepperoncini are also available. Valentino’s Mediterranean dishes and cooking methods reflect the restaurant’s fresh take on Italian seafood platters.
1314 7th Street
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Cassia’s Southeast Asian-inspired menu is a mash-up of traditional flavors and Californian influence. Beef and pork are big players on the menu, but there’s the seafood options may pique your interest. If bivalves are your thing, order from the raw bar section, which includes oysters with lime-black pepper mignonette and sambal cocktail sauce. The current menu features snow crab claws with tomato and almond sauce, cereal scallops with hazelnuts and salted egg yolks and grilled lobster with basil and pistachio butter. Slurp up a bowl of the authentic laksa, a spicy, coconut milk-based soup studded with a mix of shellfish, shrimp and fish. This seafood soup is perfect for a chilly evening.
Captain Kidd’s Fish Market and Restaurant
209 North Harbor Drive
Redondo Beach, CA 90277
Captain Kidd’s combines old school flair, a casual atmosphere and classic seafood dishes that would appeal to any pescatarian with a penchant for casual, waterside fare. Design a combination plate, snag an entrée from the traditional or daily specials menu or enjoy freshly steamed shellfish. New England and Manhattan-style chowders, seafood kabobs, fried clam strips, peel-and-eat shrimp and soft shell crabs, plus choose-your-own fresh fish and shellfish are just a few of the menu’s offerings.
544 S. Grand Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90071
Water Grill is one of this city’s best restaurants for a variety of seafood dishes. The impressive raw bar offers a full menu page of chilled options for a couple of people or a big party to share. Make sure to try the seafood fritters with pickled peppers and romesco, jumbo shrimp bánh mì or the sea scallops with cauliflower two ways, pickled raisins and brown butter. The crudo sampler, with wild tahitian bigeye tuna, wild eastern sea scallops, farmed faroe islands atlantic salmon, is also a popular pick. Whether you’re there for lunch or dinner, create your own oven roasted or charcoal grilled entrée based on the day’s fresh, whole fish.
Tipple & Brine
14633 Ventura Boulevard
Sherman Oaks, CA 91403
Tipple & Brine revamped its menu, and there are a number of pescatarian-friendly dishes on the list to seriously consider. Toss back a few oyster shooters to start, then try the charred octopus with cherry tomatoes and saba, sea urchin toast with avocado mousse or beet cured hamachi with pickled plum and smoked oyster mayonnaise. Larger platters include sea bass with snap peas, prosciutto and grapefruit gastrique and swordfish with zucchini, poblano peppers and red wine sauce. Don’t forget about those $1 oysters on Mondays from 5p to close and Tuesday through Friday from 5-7p.