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“Very good”

Santa Monica Seafood
Ranked #10 of 573 Restaurants in Costa Mesa
Price range: US$14 - US$32
Cuisines: Seafood
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Restaurant details
Good for: Local cuisine
Dining options: Outdoor Seating
Reviewed October 22, 2017 via mobile

We came for a late lunch, close parking and no wait for a table. The waitress was very friendly. Waited too long for bread, but it was very good dipped in oil and balsamic. Husband's lobster/shrimp burger was good, sweet potato fries were excellent. I had crab bisque which is only served on weekends, it was excellent. My side Caesar salad was big, but the dressing, though good, had a lot of vinegar, which made it less of a Caesar and more of a vinaigrette. Overall, the quality was very good and we will come back. The seafood market looked to be top quality, but as you would expect, pricey.

Date of visit: October 2017
Thank Shilosgarden
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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18 - 22 of 145 reviews

Reviewed October 4, 2017

Of course we know there is an amazing selection of fresh fish. And we know that the cafe serves some of these same fish in the most delicious way. But how many of us knew that there is a fantastic happy hour, currently Monday to Friday. There is some talk of the happy hour being extended to the weekend too but we were happy to have happy hour during the week.
Delicious calamari and delicious ceviche. Great wines too. We are coming back!

Date of visit: October 2017
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Thank AnitaNewportBch
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed October 3, 2017

I remember dining at their Santa Monica location decades ago and being impressed with how great everything tasted. I just recently discovered they opened another one in Costa Mesa a few years ago. After a Sunday matinee movie, we drove to have dinner but were concerned that they close at 8:00, and might be turned away with only a few diners present and a half hour till closing. Well talk about a nice welcome, please sit down, table of choice, smiles, smiles, smiles. Clean decor, what-no fishy smell, so liking the atmosphere.

Our pleasant waitress, Ashley, set the tone by assuring us that not to rush, relax and enjoy. She explained the specials, then promptly brought our beverages, bread with oil and balsamic on a plate. I ordered the Scottish salmon and substituted the red roasted potatoes instead of the rice pilaf. My lady friend had the fish and chips. We both started with the smaller sized portion of the New England Clam Chowder. It is not a "cup" but a nice sized bowl. It is thick, creamy, and chocked full of everything good. Lot's of tender clams, traditional veggies, and not too salty. Pretty much a meal in itself. The menu is not extensive, yet every item begs to be sampled.

I oh so love it when my salmon is perfectly cooked. The nice thick slab delicately flaked to revealed a natural savory flavor. The basil marinated tomatoes did not overpower. Nicely paired with long green beans, good portioning with the red roasted potatoes. Great execution in the kitchen, Chef !! I can't wait to try the Halibut next. Her fish and chips delighted on all levels. Alaskan Cod is a premium choice, light and crispy batter,(ie. not heavy and soggy). Not to forget the pie'ce de r'esistance, their SMS tarter sauce is like no other. The vinegary tart rich flavor complements any deep fried seafood, or can salvage less flavorful entrees. It is just that good. it is available for purchase at the market to take home.

Too full for desert, we committed to return soon. We appreciated Ashley's genuine and friendly demeanor, her ability to balance attentiveness without ever being intrusive to our conversation made us feel welcomed and never rushed. Spot on with refills, as the smallish beverage glasses tend to keep waitstaff ever vigilant. Gliding effortlessly to the other tables she was serving, incuding one outside on the patio, I never saw her miss a queue, or ignore the area by starting early on her side work given the late hour. A total pro-5 stars young lady.

The cafe space, both indoor and outside patio are really small, a small cozy oyster bar is in the corner. I don't see how any really large parties might be accommodated, as they do not take reservations. I recommend you call ahead for say 10 or more.
The "happy hour (3:00-6:00/Mon-Fri) board" has some tempting offerings, both food and drink. The men's restroom was spotlessly clean, they have three (M/W/AG), all are handicap accessible. Parking is a breeze with a very good sized lot.

If you go to their excellent website, make sure you lookup the correct location's menu, as the selections do vary a bit. For some reason prices do for the same items- Why?? Examples: Crab Louie Salad; 2$ more at Costa Mesa, IPA Ballast Point Sculpin bottle; $1more at CM, yet Stella Artois draft is $1 less at CM. Typo?? Happy Hour menu has different hours and listings. Very impressed by their pledge for fishing sustainability, and how they go about acquiring the highest quality and food safety standards for their customers. You must read the amazing turn of century immigrant story of this legendary family owned seafood business's humble beginnings. Bravo!!

I guess I may just have to venture up to Santa Monica, as the King Crab Bisque is NOT on the soup menu at Costa Mesa. I will be pleading my case next visit.

Date of visit: October 2017
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Thank maitaimike2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed October 1, 2017

The selections are amazing and fresh, Fresh, FRESH!

We live in Puerto Vallarta Mexico and on the Olympic Peninsula... places where fish is expected. And as a boy, I remember living on Balboa Island and going with my dad to the Peninsula to retrieve fish for dinner off of the back of the fishermen's dories. But that was a long time ago. And, a selection of fresh fish is hard to find in a California restaurant these days.

This restaurant is guaranteed to have something to your tastes, and they also sell fresh seafood for you to take home, too.

To top our lunch off, our waitress, Eunice Price, was simply outstanding! ! !

Date of visit: August 2017
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Thank Michael F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed July 11, 2017

Best place and best fish in US. If you are in Los Angeles must go in Costa Mesa and test this restaurant !

Date of visit: July 2017
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Thank Micky1971
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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