When you think of great L.A. food, how far down the list is seafood? With the ocean right there, is it just too obvious? Or maybe you’re here for the tacos, or just what’s buzziest on the scene these days. Our recommendation: make seafood part of your trip here at one (or two) of these spots. Just remember, proximity to the sea does not guarantee quality seafood, so stay away from the piers. Herewith, your guide to some of the best seafood spots in Los Angeles.
This seafood market is a destination, and not just because it will take a drive through Malibu to get there. The views of the beach across Pacific Coast Highway are worth it, plus the people-watching while you eat—Neptune’s Net is popular biker spot, and on windy days the beach is the place to be if you’re a kitesurfer. But back to the fish fare. There are two sides at the market: the restaurant side and the seafood side. The restaurant side has a fantastic selection of beer, plus some of the freshest fish and chips, fish tacos, and chowder out there. The seafood side is where you can pick up fresh fish or order from the live bar, plus fresh sourdough bread, corn on the cob, and more chowder. Did we mention the chowder?
42505 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, CA 90265
Broad Street Oyster Company
While we’re in the neighborhood, let’s talk about Broad Street Oyster Company. The Malibu hot spot is technically a roving seafood pop-up that shows its face at places like Tabula Rasa bar and the Sunday food extravaganza known as Smorgasburg. It’s currently got its stakes in a semi-permanent spot in Malibu. Get there while you still can, and make sure to get the razor clams.
23359 CA-1 #3874A, Malibu, CA 90265
Santa Monica Seafood
Whatever you order at Santa Monica Seafood, there’s a good chance a chef at one of the city’s best restaurants elsewhere will be serving that very same dish at their own spot. What does that mean for you? You’ll be eating top quality, super delicious seafood here. This traditional seafood market sends its catch all over the city to top kitchens, but you can order it prepared in their own market cafe. It’s a go-to if you’re in the market for the rare stuff. Or, if you just want a fresh filet, skip the reviews and research—simply order whatever the fishmongers recommend.
1000 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401
L.A. can take East Coast tacos any day, but when it comes to traditional New England seafood classics like lobster rolls and chowder, we throw up our hands in surrender and head to Prawn Coastal at Grand Central Market. The menu covers all the fish-focused basics: you’ve got fried baskets (fish & chips, shrimp & chips, oysters & chips), sandwiches (crab salad roll, Thai lobster roll, fried shrimp and oyster roll), and signatures (Seattle fish stew, steamed mussels, shrimp butter boil). Chef Mark Peel, previously of such tony establishments as Spago and Chez Panisse, opened Prawn on the promise to deliver high-quality seafood that’s accessible for all. Consider it kept.
317 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90013
Connie & Ted’s
Do you like biscuits and gravy? Love lobster? Dig oysters? At Connie & Ted’s, order them both with abandon, at once, on one plate, before noon on weekends. The light-filled restaurant is great for dinner, but it’s warm and cheerful and loud (in a good way) on the weekends. Head here for brunch. We recommend warming up with Connie’s Cinnamon Roll and several cups of Rhode Island Coffee Milk.
8171 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood, CA 90046
Son of a Gun
When two of L.A.’s best chefs open a restaurant dedicated to seafood, it just has to be good. From top to bottom, Son of a Gun is just that: good. Come for the thoughtful menu full of interesting curve balls (i.e. Santa Barbara uni and burrata), kitschy-yet-tasteful nautical decor, and a mix of classic and signature cocktails done well. Son of a Gun stays effortlessly cool and casual without understating how good the food is. Case in point: this is almost blasphemous to say about a seafood restaurant, but it is essential that someone in your party orders the fried chicken sandwich.
8370 W 3rd St., Los Angeles, CA 90048
Photo courtesy of Hoan Vo