|Urban Dining With|
an Ocean View
There are two restaurants within walking from our home base:
The Galley at the Chula Vista Marina is the place for casual dining. Prices are not outrageous and in general the food is good, the ambiance outstanding and the service relaxed. They also have live music on the weekends. Our first night here we walk over for their Thursday night all you can eat fish and chips for $8.99. The servings are generous and we can’t even finish the first plate. Although not knock your socks off great, it’s decent for the price and we actually order the fish and chips for lunch a few weeks later. We go back a few more times for lunch and breakfast. Their Burgers are quite tasty, breakfast fare is pretty much the usual, ham, eggs, French toast, canned Corned beef hash. For us this is convenience as opposed to fine dining.
The South Bay Fish and Grill offers more upscale dining a short walk south along the marina from the Galley. Our first stop there we enjoy afternoon cocktails and appetizers. Their SBF&G Platter of: Kung Pao Calamari, Ceviche and Crab Cake is outstanding and the martini’s pretty much perfect. Our server is attentive but not overly so. Based on our lovely afternoon experience we return another time for dinner. This time, our server is harried and forgetful. We are intrigued by some of the menu items and order the Calamari Rellenos, (a calamari steak stuffed with crab, cheese and pasilla chili.) Although the calamari is tender, there is so little flavor in this dish we can’t help but feel a bit disappointed.
The Fish Market on the waterfront next to the USS Midway offers up and down dining. Up is fine and down is more casual far. There is also a retail counter to purchase fresh seafood to cook at home. The Top of the Market upstairs changes the menu daily based on what their boat brings in. Views from the glass-enclosed patio are stunning and we enjoy a sunset dinner after a day playing tourist. The oyster bar offers a multitude of bivalve varieties including our favorite Kusshi. We start with a half dozen of these on the half shell, an order of their Oysters Rockefeller and a couple of Manhattans. For our main course, Chris orders a wonderful Ink Linguini With Sea Scallops & Prawns sweet peppers, baby shiitake mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, spinach, and Parmesan cream sauce. (This is super yummy!) I opt for the Oregon Dungeness-Crab Cioppino, with Clams, Mussels, Prawns, Fish, Scallops, and Linguini. (Generous portion of crab but heavy on the mussels. It’s really good but the best Cioppino IMO is still found sat Phil’s in Moss Landing, CA.) Portions are generous and we have leftovers for multiple meals back at Dimples. We finish with Tawny port, a Brule trio and a Russian Cream fruit concoction. Our server is prompt and friendly. All in all it’s perfectly wonderful meal in a beautiful location.
We go back for lunch a few weeks later. Kusshi oysters are not on this day’s menu so we opt for the Paradise Cove variety. (Good but not quite Kusshi.) Their New England Clam Chowder is thick but not pasty and loaded with clams and just enough potatoes. The Trio of Smoked Fish appetizer falls short – the crostini are stale but the toppings excellent. The Fish and Chips are really good, the fish is thick, juicy, lightly battered and fried to perfection. Their Steamed clams in a light white wine garlic and butter sauce exceptional. Desert is a disappointing key lime pie. On our way out we stop at the retail counter and pick up smoked salmon and Albacore that we continue to enjoy in the following weeks.
A couple of other notable restaurants:
The Family House of Pancakes in Chula Vista makes some of the best classic breakfasts in town. All portions are huge and most patrons leave with Styrofoam containers of leftovers.
Hankering for local Mexican fare we check the urban spoon ratings and dine at El Patio, in Chula Vista. The food is good but where’s the spice? Maybe out taste buds still have a New Mexico sensibility?
We’ll we’re here until April… and there is still so much to see and do…