Santa Monica Seafood
The Harrod’s of all things edible from the ocean has left its longtime location on Colorado Avenue and taken over an old Carl’s Jr. on Wilshire. Inside is the same luxe gallery of fish. By the front entrance, people clutching pagers wait for one of the six or so tables in the new restaurant. Café standards are the focus: steamed mussels and clams, chowders, grilled fish sandwiches, salads. The Dungeness crab Louie is a generous mound of crab flecked with crunchy cucumber and hearts of palm; the savory albacore tuna melt arrives on crisp toasted sourdough; the cioppino stars perfectly moist seafood in an aromatic broth. The oyster bar is worth a visit, if just for the kusshi from Washington State.
Best Sustainable Fish Market, August 2012
Trawled, line caught, responsibly farmed—it’s hard deciphering it all. We wish we could tell you there’s a non-wholesale market that makes shopping for planet-friendly fish simple. Whole Foods has the best sign-age—rating products green, yellow, or red depending on environmental impact—but the chain’s quality isn’t as high as that of our winner. Santa Monica Seafood is an official partner of Seafood for the Future, the Aquarium of the Pacific’s sustainability program (despite the fact that one store employee didn’t know the word sustainable). The enormous display case notes the provenance of each fish, though it’s up to you to know what that means (there are apps for that). Be confident: Most are satisfactory or better for the ecosystem. » 1000 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica.