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San Diego Restaurant Reviews

   The Solana Beach Fish House & Fresh Seafood Market

By Jeanne Bellezzo

The Solana Beach Fish House may be challenge to find, but it’s well worth the effort. Tucked away in a back corner of the Solana Beach Plaza just off of Loma Santa Fe Drive, this casual, family-owned eatery is a true find for fish lovers.

Owners Saba and Balsam Kasto will celebrate the restaurant’s 10th anniversary this year, and their enthusiasm for providing reasonably priced home-cooked meals and friendly, personal service is still going strong.

Nearly everything on the menu contains a touch of Balsam’s own family recipes. Spices and sauces are all made from scratch, using only fresh herbs and ingredients.

Blackened and Cajun-style seasonings are original recipes. Even the creamy tartar and tangy cocktail sauces are homemade.

 




Whet your appetite with starters including ceviche, shrimp cocktails and poppers. Fried calamari strips, coated in Kostas’ own secret-recipe batter, was crunchy and moist. Chowder and cioppino are available in a bowl or sourdough round.

The mesquite char-grilled entrees offer a good selection of fish choices and seafood kabobs, and can be prepared blackened, Cajun-style or with a curry or garlic sauce. The grilled ahi was excellent, as was the boned, farm-raised Idaho trout with Kasto’s fresh dill cream sauce.

Portions are more than generous, served with warm sourdough rolls and three side dishes of your choice. The zucchini and carrot mix was perfectly cooked and well-seasoned, as were the red skin potatoes.

Black beans were fresh and nicely spiced. Other sides include rice pilaf, fries, cole slaw and fresh tomatoes. You won’t leave here hungry.

Seafood paella, served on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, is the Kastos’ specialty. This savory mix of saffron rice, shrimp, fish, mussels, clams and spicy sausage is fresh, aromatic and wonderful.

The menu also features an ample selection of sandwiches, both fried and char-grilled, as well as a crab cake sandwich and Cajun scallop burger. Fish-n-chip baskets are cooked in canola oil and include cod, shrimp, calamari or clam strips or a combo. Non-fish eaters are in luck with chicken, veggie and Philly steak options.

Grilled Mexican dishes offer a variety of burritos, tacos and quesadillas. If pasta is your thing, the Cajun shrimp linguini is a house favorite.

Heart-healthy diners take note: You’ll find a number of items approved by Healthy Dining in San Diego. Angel hair pasta with grilled shrimp or fish, grilled fish sandwiches and burritos and char-grilled ahi are popular choices.

By the way, everything at the Solana Beach Fish House is cooked to order. If you want paella without mussels or vegetables without seasoning, just say so. While you’re waiting, relax and enjoy the ambiance.

Walls covered in fishing nets, ropes, life preservers and shells create the laid-back mood of a cozy fishing shack. Be sure to check out the old black and white photos hanging on the walls – especially the shot of Clark Gable posing with some really big fish!

Outdoor seating is available on the small patio. There’s also a fresh seafood market within the restaurant.Prices are quite reasonable. Most items are less than $10, and entrees less than $15. Lunch specials, served from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., begin at $5.49 and include several fish sandwiches, breaded shrimp or scallop baskets, and a handful of Mexican seafood dishes. The blackened fish burrito, served with rice and beans, is a lunchtime favorite.


The restaurant is available for private parties up to 20 and offers catering.

The Solana Beach Fish House is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday –Thursday, and 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday. Busiest times are on Fridays and weekends, but reservations are not necessary. Plenty of parking is available in the Solana Beach Plaza parking lot. Take-out is available. Visa and MasterCard accepted.

 


                                                                                                                                                   Photos by John Leonffu

 

 

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