“As soon as I get home, all I want to eat is seafood.”
Me too, Q! Me too.
One of the benefits of Southern California living (other than the weather, of course) is access to deliciously fresh seafood. And as a lover of crab and shrimp and lobster (oh my!), I supremely enjoyed compiling (and taste testing) for this roundup. So when you next visit SoCal—or if you are living here and looking for a new seafood joint—check out some of these options. You won’t regret it.
Crustacean Restaurant, Beverly Hills
Crustacean is one of my all-time favorites in the seafood game. I have written on Crustacean before, but the long and skinny of it is that the garlic noodles and cracked crab are not to be missed!
The restaurant was featured on “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” and with good reason. The signature whole crab—which you can get either “cracked” in the shell or out of the shell—is a garlicky, flavorful feast. The seasoning on the crab is the secret of the An Family and is only made in the secret kitchen, a restricted area inside the main kitchen.
The kicker: pairing the crab with the Garlic Noodles. Crustacean uses a sweet garlic that perfectly compliments the peppery seasoning of the crab.
In all the times I have been to this Beverly Hills hotspot, I have literally never had another entrée at Crustacean. I don’t see the point (if it ain’t broke don’t fix it). But if you are interested in awesome appetizers, the Shrimp Toast and Sweet & Spicy Chicken Meatballs are top notch. And for cocktails, the White Sangria is light and summery, but my personal favorite is The Beverly.
There is seriously no crab and no garlic noodle that has topped Crustacean for me. While it’s not cheap, a meal there makes you happy. Whether you opt for the cracked crab or the crab out the shell, the taste makes you forget about the work you are doing to get to that tender crabmeat.
Son of a Gun Restaurant, Los Angeles
When on the quest for delish seafood, the name Son of a Gun kept coming up in my inquiries. So I had to check it out. And I am glad I did.
My friend and I visited the nautical-themed restaurant and ordered almost two handfuls of menu items with the intent of sharing, per the server’s suggestion.
There were so many delicious seafood items. Be sure to try Son of a Gun’s super unique take on the Lobster Roll. The meat was sweet and tender and the bun was buttery and flaky. It made for a perfect lobster roll. Another classic, the Peel and Eat Shrimp with Old Bay seasoning, was a huge portion and very well seasoned.
But apart from the seafood, the signature item was… the Fried Chicken Sandwich! This massive sandwich (that we had to split) featured spicy BBQ pickle slaw and a rooster sauce. The chicken was moist and the batter was crispy. Even after splitting it, it was a huge sandwich. And paired with Kennebec French fries made for a perfect meal. We clearly had no room for dessert.
Killer Shrimp, Hermosa Beach and Marina del Rey
How have I missed this place all my life? Seriously. A decade in SoCal and I just discovered this place. Epic fail on my part.
Killer Shrimp is just that: killer. Located in Marina del Rey and Hermosa Beach, this restaurant’s seafood is super fresh and the dishes are super big. And this made me super happy.
The signature dish is the Killer Shrimp in the “Killer” broth. The spicy broth is simmered for 10 hours and when you order, the seafood is cooked in the broth fresh. And of course, Killer Shrimp throws in a generous portion of French bread so you can sop up the broth with your seafood.
I ordered the Killer Shrimp, Crab & Lobster and added some noodles to the mix. It made for one of the most decadent steampots I have ever had. And the broth was the perfect level of spiciness. And when you take your leftovers they put everything in a big plastic Tupperware container to preserve your broth and give you a healthy bag of French bread to go for your dipping pleasure. Pure decadence.
Lure Fish House, Camarillo, Ventura, Westlake Village
Lure Fish House is one of my old favorites. I have driven much out of the way (typically Camarillo) for their fresh fish and amazing appetizers.
My personal seafood faves are the crab cakes, which are served with a cilantro corn slaw on top, and the Lobster Spinach Dip (enough said, right!), served with little pieces of garlic crostini. And while I am not an oyster eater, I have heard that their oyster bar is top notch.
For entrées, I typically get the Fish & Shrimp (and Chips) Combo, Lure’s take on the classic English dish. But last time I went I tried Sally’s Sand Dabs. Sand Dabs are part of the flounder family, and Lure preps them with a panko crust and a lemon caper sauce. The dish was tender and just flaked at the touch of the fork. The caper sauce was lemony and buttery and they serve extra on the side. I will definitely be having this specialty again.
Enterprise Fish Co.
Last time I went to Santa Barbara, I ran across a little, red-brick-front restaurant on State Street called Enterprise Fish Co. So we stopped in for some seafood.
I had the clam chowder that was quite savory and tasty. But the main course stole the show. I ordered the Mesquite Grilled Seafood Caesar Salad. Expecting a lunch-sized salad, I was blown out of the water. The salad was so huge it barely fit on the plate. It was overflowing with Dungeness crab, lump lobster meat, and grilled shrimp skewers. The lettuce alone (two whole heads of Romaine lettuce) was overwhelming! But the salad was absolutely delicious, even though I had to leave most of it behind due to sheer volume. This is definitely not a spot to miss in Santa Barbara and they also have a Santa Monica location to explore.
Moonshadows is the perfect evening dinner spot. Insider tip: Make sure to request the back room (preferably by the windows) for an amazing sunset view.
But on to the seafood, I haven’t had anything bad at Moonshadows. Malibu is the perfect backdrop to this oceanfront restaurant. For appetizers, try the calamari and crab cakes. You won’t be disappointed.
For dinner, I have had amazing seafood pasta that is regularly a special. But if you are interested in something a little lighter, my new fave is the Sweet Maine Lobster Caesar Salad. Huge chunks of sweet Maine lobster and do you see that applewood smoked bacon… yum (you know how much I love bacon).
Oh yeah, and there’s that sunset.
I’d love to hear your opinions. Where did I miss? Share your SoCal seafood faves. Who knows, I may have to check them out.