Fish like you won’t believe!…Phil’s Fish Market, Moss Landing, CA

My wife and I were visiting our older son and his family in Sunnyvale last weekend, and, on Friday they took us to Moss Landing, a wetlands/wharf/inlet mélange on the coast highway about fifteen miles north of Monterey,  It’s home to several marine research centers, a hotel or two, several hundred fishing vessels, and a few restaurants.  It began its modern life as a whaling port sometime in the 19th century, and its general look is somewhere between funky and unkempt depending, I suppose, on the generation of the viewer.   I wish we’d had more time to explore its many curiosities, but our destination was Phil’s Fish Market and Eatery, an altogether remarkable restaurant and fish market.

Oh the Oysters!

Oh the Oysters!

The road to it is not very well marked, parking is sparse at best, its look is as funky and unkempt as that of Moss Landing itself, and lines of customers can be long … but … the menu offerings go on and on and every one of them features fish and seafood so fresh they can only have come from those Moss Landing fishing boats within the last couple of hours or so.   You grab a menu from a stack of them that awaits you as you enter, decide what you want to eat as you stand in line reading that menu or one of the many blackboards offering still more daily specials, give your order to the person at the cash register, pay up, and take your table number to wherever you’re going to sit and await the arrival of whatever you ordered.  For starters I ordered a special the of four large Pacific oysters gently poached in a Champagne and cream sauce.  It was little short of glorious, as were my fresh halibut tacos to follow.  What is truly dispiriting is that there are so many other dishes on that menu you just have to try but cannot  … portion sizes are beyond generous and you have only one stomach. Oh,  Phil’s is famous for its Cioppino and, if you call ahead by a hour or so, you can bring your own pot and have them fill it to take home.  I believe that Phil’s Cioppino bested Bobby Flay’s in his one-season TV show “Bobby Flay’s Throwdown.” 

Halibut Tacos!

Halibut Tacos!


There’s a bar there for beer and wine with your meal or anything else you have in mind, and the adjacent fish market is but another adventure in freshness.  Yes, this place is out of the way, but, if any eatery ever deserved to be known as a “destination” restaurant, this is it.

A local trick: when you get to Phil’s, have one of your party decide what to eat while still in line, and then nail down a table while the rest of you make your way toward the cash register.  However long the wait … just wait.


Oscar’s Mexican Seafood – Pacific Beach / San Diego, CA – Memorial Day Weekend

On Saturday, Barb and I headed down to San Diego to visit our son Dustin…yep, that big handsome guy on our home page, and the Glass family representative of the food kingdom in San Diego.  We were thrilled to find out that he and his roommate John had made plans to drive us from Northpark to Pacific Beach to hit a little Mexican seafood taco stand known as Oscar’s.

For those of you who’ve been to this mecca, enjoy the memories.  For those of you that haven’t, simply drool on the photos and plan your trip – it’s well worth it.

Oscar’s is first and foremost a taco stand.  The only place to sit is out in front on a long bench with a bar/type table.


The Fisherman’s Torta

Step up to the counter and order.  We had five people, so we ordered lots.  If you’re prepared to chow down on the finest seafood sandwich on the planet, then order the Fisherman’s Torta – filled with Spicy Shrimp, Scallops, Grilled & Smoked Fish, Cabbage, Onion, Tomato, Cilantro and Avocado.  Yes – it is as good as you are imagining it to be right now!


The Octopus Taco!

As far as the tacos – order up a few.  Our table had a sampling of shrimp, fish, octopus and steak.  The fish taco was stuffed with sea bass and so fresh and delicious.  The shrimp was good as well.  But the octopus taco was really something unique – very tender, smoky, chewy – just perfect!  The tortillas were fresh, thick and filled with yellow corn.  They have several salsas to squeeze on – all of which are hot and good.

There are three (3) locations in all, although this PB location is sort of traditional.  Go, stand in line, bring cash (no CC accepted) and a big appetite.  This was a real treat and I will be back for another Torta soon!  Thanks John and Dustin for opening our eyes to something quite special.

EASTER EGG: if you walk back through a small storage hallway behind the soda machine, you’ll find a large picnic table behind the restaurant!  Dustin and John call it the VIP room!  It was a great place to sit and eat – and the chef even brought us some cups of fish stock/soup to drink before the meal, AND delivered us the food.  If you go, check out the VIP room!