750 North Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA
$$ to $$$
The Fish Market, situated in an amazing spot on San Diego’s Bay, has all the markings of a tourist trap. It is in an iconic location, right next to the USS Midway, and benefits from plenty of foot traffic.
That’s on the surface; deep down, they seem to take their food seriously. The prices aren’t horrific and, unlike most touristy seafood places, they don’t just dump it all in a fryer. They’re actually using fresh seafood and taste-forward preparations.
They’ve got a huge menu with selections from their sushi bar (and how could a fresh fish place not have sushi), oyster bar, and main menu.
When you enter, you’ll be greeted by a small but very diverse fish market in the left corner, and all 12+ choices appear on the menu under the mesquite grilled entrée options. In fact, The Fish Market boasts having their own fleet of fishing boats, guaranteeing at least a few local options of whatever was biting that morning.
If visiting, just plan to be there a while, as my quick visit to the bar ended up taking almost 1.5 hours due to slow service.
Looking for a snack-sized sample, I ordered the SUSHI SAMPLER ($15.75). It really wasn’t a bad deal considering the amount of sashimi that was included. The PACIFIC AHI tuna sashimi was of such a great quality it almost melts in your mouth– nearly like a buttery consistency. Not very fishy tasting either, just a superb quality. The JAPENSE HAMACHI sashimi was a much lighter taste, but equally delicious. Served chilled, it was very refreshing. Also on the plate were 2 large pieces of SPICY TUNA ROLL and 2 pieces of a CALIFORNIA ROLL. Although the rolls were good, and much more filling than the sashimi, it didn’t stand much of a chance to the simplicity of the fresh Pacific Ahi tuna.
Intrigued by their fish which is smoked at their own fishery, I dove into the SMOKED PACIFIC ALBACORE ($9.25). I was much less impressed with this than the sushi. While it was a very nice sized portion of fish for the price, it was just too salty. Their few large chunks that I had still had a bit of skin on with a very nice smoky flavor — but it was almost immediately overpowered by the salt. It came with a creamy tartar sauce which also left a lot to be desired and didn’t do too much to cut the saltiness of the fish. I found it to be way too salty to eat and had to give up after about half.
BOTTOM LINE: If you’re ok dining at a tourist trap, then give this San Diegan staple a shot. Just remember, they have fresh fish which is meant to be enjoyed raw or simply grilled, so skip all of the rich or salty preparations.