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Eat + Drink
Fresh fish tacos shine at Santa Monica Seafood Cafe
Randall Lichner Photo
by Randall Lichner
Issue 169 - 09/20/2018
When most people think of fish tacos, they think about the Mexican cantina, or fast food joint down the street, they don't generally think about Santa Monica Seafood Cafe, with locations in Santa Monica and Costa Mesa. The Santa Monica Seafood Cafe offers a variety of hot and cold seafood dishes for dine-in and take-out, an oyster bar, as well as a fish counter stocked with a wide selection of seafood to prepare at home.

Santa Monica Seafood got it's start in 1898, when John Deluca decided to go fishing from the Port of San Pedro to support his family. The company was officially founded in 1939 when it moved to the Santa Monica Pier and began selling fish to restaurants and pier visitors. Santa Monica Seafood has remained a family owned business for four generations, continuing to flourish, selling the largest selections of fresh fish, live shellfish and frozen seafood in the Southwestern United States.

We visited the Costa Mesa location for lunch, which has been open since 1997. I dined on the Fish Tacos, priced at $16 on the menu which gave a choice of three tacos: grilled Mahi, fried Baja-style, or sautéed shrimp. I selected one of each to sample their variety. All were delicious, but my hands-down favorite was the grilled Mahi Tuna. The only down-side to my lunch was that environmentally conscious Santa Monica Seafood Cafe is already using paper straws for beverages, which start to disintegrate the minute you stick it in your drink. Other than that, I'd recommend stopping in to the cafe for a delicious meal or oysters.

Santa Monica Seafood Cafe is located at 154 East 17th Street, Costa Mesa CA 92627. The market opens at 9:00 am and the cafe opens at 11:00 am daily. Both are open until 8:00 pm on weekdays and 9:00 pm on the weekends. Visit the Santa Monica Seafood Cafe website for more information, recipes and market specials.

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