Giovanni’s Fish Market – Morro Bay, CA

Central Coast, Food Adventures

Oh, Morro Bay — this sleepy beach-side town in the Central Coast is one of our favorite weekend getaways. Though we often catch a fancy seafood feast at The Galley to celebrate a special occasion, we decided to keep it simple this time with a stop at Giovanni’s Fish Market and Galley. With a large menu filled with long lists of fried seafood (anything from halibut to calamari), raw and BBQ’d oysters topped with various sauces (including sriracha lime butter!), fish tacos, burgers, quesadillas, and chowder, Giovanni’s has something for everyone.

Giovanni's Fish Market and Galley

Giovanni’s Fish Market and Galley

After our first visit to Giovanni’s a few months ago, we knew to check around online for specials. After checking in on my Yelp! app, I was greeted with a pop-up that announced a free cup of clam chowder with any $10 purchase. Sweet! Creamy New England style clam chowder, chock full of clams and potato cubes and sprinkled with parsley and a dash of Old Bay, this soup is simply perfect on a cool breezy day. And to add to the small-town charm, it’s worth noting that Giovanni’s clam chowder won the Morro Bay annual chowder cook-off three years in a row!

New England Clam Chowder

New England Clam Chowder

Another item that was just as good as we remembered the first time — the garlic fries. Crispy, fried-to-order pommes frites topped with shredded parmesan, garlicky oil, and chopped parsley. Always served hot and fresh, these fries make for an excellent snack while enjoying the salty sea breeze. They are also a great accompaniment for strips of fried cod or halibut to create a more interesting order of fish & chips.

Garlic Fries

Garlic Fries

Fried food aside, a major part of Giovanni’s menu features oysters, served up raw on the half shell or barbecued and topped with one of an assortment of sauces. They source many of their oysters from Grassy Bar, a local family business with an oyster bed in neighboring Cayucos. I really enjoyed these Grassy Bars; their flavor was a great balance between briny and creamy. Delicious on their own or with a twist of lemon and a dab of Giovanni’s spicy cocktail sauce.

Grassy Bar Oysters on the Half Shell

Grassy Bar Oysters on the Half Shell

Like the sauce? Apparently you can purchase it in the market, along with smoked fish, salmon “candy,” and shark jerky.

Enjoy the view of Morro Rock

Enjoy the view of Morro Rock

The consistently long lines outside the ordering window here at Giovanni’s attests to their popularity and, after trying their food for ourselves, we think it’s well-deserved. Enjoy your meal in the patio area which offers an gorgeous view of Morro Bay’s iconic rock formation, or pack up your order to-go and walk or drive down to the beach surrounding the rock itself. Just be prepared to fight off hoards of persistent seagulls. They’re fearless. But if you survive them, at least you can explore the nearby tide pools!

The otter says, "Relax."

The otter says, “Relax.” I think I’ll call him Frankie.

Or take the first option. After a leisurely meal on the adjoining patio, go on a stroll through the town, take a deep breath, and just relax. Morro Bay is a wonderful place to escape the hustle and bustle of city life, and while you’re here, be sure to join the queue at Giovanni’s and try a few items off their extensive menu. Just be sure to order your own cup of chowder… you probably won’t want to share.


Check out Giovanni’s Fish Market & Galley:

1001 Front St
Morro Bay, CA 93442

See their Yelp reviews here!


Day Eight: San Francisco – The Codmother and Our Last Meal of 2011

Food Adventures, San Francisco

A short walk away from Fisherman’s Wharf, the Codmother is the an eye-catcher of a food truck with its noticeable pink-puckered lips of a cod. Once “inside”, you’ll meet the very friendly, British-accented owner, Suzanne who greets both regulars and tourist lookers alike.

We shared an order of the fish and chips not because we were skeptical but because we were planning to eat several more times at other places. The fish was great, fried in batter seasoned with salt and black pepper, a simple addition something a lot of fish and chip places tend to overlook. The fish was neither super moist that it melts in your mouth nor overcooked and dry but maintained just a firm enough texture expected from deep fried fish filets. Our only criticism is that the chips were just average and could use some more crunch to them – perhaps a thinner cut version or longer frying time.

Fish and Chips – seasoned with salt and pepper.

With a small menu, the Codmother is able to make whatever they offer taste very good.

We also got a free order of deep fried Oreos from a Yelp! check-in. Thumbs up already for having deep fried Oreos on the menu which is something you can only get either in a theme park or at a fair. The Oreos went into the fryer as sandwich cookies one would buy at the supermarket but emerged as a delicious piece of enveloped cookies and cream that is reminiscent of a tadpole emerging from the water (or rather vat of oil). The batter used for these tasted a lot better than those at a fair where it’s produced for the masses and the oil reused day after day for everything. Suzanne used only a specific deep fryer for just the Oreos so the deep-fried delights wouldn’t pick up the fishy flavor from the fish and potato-ey smell of the chips. These efforts may seem simple but makes a huge difference in keeping flavors separate from each other.

Looks like tadpoles don’t they? Yum!

The water is actually frying oil!


Check out The Codmother Fish and Chips:

2824 Jones St
San Francisco, CA 94133

See their Yelp reviews here.


We waited until the very last minute to book NYE dinner and that was a BAD idea. You would think we would know better but after having eating so much throughout the entire trip, we could barely think about more food nearing the end of our trip. Luckily we made a few calls and managed to find an open table at Le Charm, a quaint French bistro a few blocks from Market St. Although this was a semi-random find, it did not disappoint.

As expected, Le Charm was PACKED but we finally got seated at 9:45 pm, a little more than an hour before their closing.

Trust me the little suckers are hiding in there!

Continuing on with the  escargot in a parsley garlic butter in an escargot dish. It was delicious but so buttery. The escargot itself were soft with a slight crunch to them.

Duck Confit Traditional Cassoulet: White Beans, duck confit, lamb, garlic sausage, and Toulouse sausage and bacon.

We shared the duck confit traditional cassoulet which was very hearty and filling. Ultimately we didn’t end up finishing this dish because there was so many white beans in it. All the parts comprising of this dish, white beans, duck confit, lamb, garlic sausage, and Toulouse sausage and bacon all added different flavors. The sausages, however, were too salty.


Check out Le Charm French Bistro:

315 5th St
San Francisco, CA 94107

See their Yelp reviews here.