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.

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Check out Giovanni’s Fish Market & Galley: giovannisfishmarket.com

1001 Front St
Morro Bay, CA 93442

See their Yelp reviews here!

 

Island Creek Oyster Bar – Boston, MA

Boston, Food Adventures
View from the bar.

View from the bar.

We love raw oysters on the half shell. In LA, we typically have oysters from British Columbia, Washington state, even locally in Northern and Central California. We were especially excited to try some East Coast oysters and what better place to go than Island Creek Oyster Bar? During this quick stop we tried 6 varieties – 5 farm and 1 wild. This swanky oyster bar served its own Island Creek variety of oysters, farmed just south of Boston at Duxbury Bay along with several other New England varieties and other areas.

Can you spot the wild variety?

Can you spot the wild variety?

Starting from the right of the lemon: Island Creek (Duxbury, MA), Rocky Nook (Kingston, MA), Ichabod Flat (Plymouth, MA), Big Rock (E Dennis, MA), WellFleet (WellFleet, MA), Wild Belon (Harpswell, ME).

The Island Creek variety was definitely the creamiest and sweetest of the 6. As we went around the tray clockwise, each variety was more briny and became increasingly more complex than the last. The Wild Belon was a slap in the face, standing completely out from the rest with its powerful mineral notes throughout. Luckily we finished with the Wild Belon which blew out our taste buds for the next 15 minutes. It’s quite the experience but not for the faint of oyster.

The Menu

The Raw Bar Menu

We enjoyed or brief hour or so at Island Creek Oyster Bar and could see ourselves frequenting this gem more often if we were Bostonians. If you’re dropping by Boston for a weekend or two, consider stopping by Island Creek Oyster Bar and try some of their local catches – you won’t be disappointed.

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Check out Island Creek Oyster Bar: www.islandcreekoysterbar.com

500 Commonwealth Ave
Boston, MA 02215

See their Yelp reviews here!