Los Angeles: The Absolute Best Seafood Restaurants in SoCal

When it comes to great seafood restaurants, Los Angeles leads the way. With its miles of beaches and views of the ocean from every inland high-rise building, it's no wonder that Angelenos love their crustaceans, molluscs, fish and roe – and are willing to travel to find the best. Ironically, much of the seafood served up here is imported from places like Alaska, Maine, and beyond (think New Zealand), for while there's a lot of water in plain sight, not that much is pulled from our local (often polluted) waters. But the quality found in the local eateries is top notch, particularly in the high-end restaurants like the famed Water Grill (both the newer outpost in Santa Monica and the original downtown) or Chef Thomas Keller's Bouchon in Beverly Hills. And there's nothing like sitting down at the Santa Monica Seafood Cafe, a part of the renowned Santa Monica Seafood Market, which has been supplying fresh seafood to restaurants and consumers since 1939. That's also a place to learn about responsibly sourced seafood and sustainability, for they work with the Monterey Bay Aquarium using their Seafood Watch system to indicate the fish and crustaceans that are the best choices, caught or farmed with the least amount of impact on the environment. Happily, many of L.A.'s top restaurants buy their fish here, and are conscious of choosing the best alternatives for their diners.

Playa Del Rey
Playa Provisions
Photo courtesy of Playa Provisions ©RyanTanaka2014

The sleepy little beach town of Playa del Rey has been awakened by the husband-and-wife culinary team of Brooke Wiliamson (a "Top Chef" runner up) and Nick Roberts, whose Playa Provisions four-in-one restaurant complex is drawing crowds....  Read More

With its roots firmly entrenched in New England, Connie and Ted's is as close to a true blue East Coast crab shack as you can find in California. Their menu is simple, extensive, and straight forward, offering all the dishes of the sea, starting...  Read More

Nobu Malibu
Photo courtesy of Nobu Malibu photo by Henry Hargreaves

Los Angeles is where it all began for Nobu Matsuhisa, the acknowledged king of Japanese cuisine, who now has high-end eateries all over the world. His first restaurant, Matsuhisa, is a tiny place on La Cienega Boulevard; Nobu Los Angeles is...  Read More

Bouchon - Beverly Hills
Photo courtesy of Wendy O'Dea

Top tocque Thomas Keller made his name with the French Laundry in the Napa Valley, but here in L.A., you can sample his fine dining at Bouchon Beverly Hills. It's a classic French bistro, with a lively ambiance, an extensive wine list (with only...  Read More

Kincaid's Redondo Beach
Photo courtesy of Jenny Peters

Overlooking the Pacific Ocean on Redondo Beach Pier, Kincaid's has the perfect setting for a seafood feast. Sit out on the patio and listen to the waves crash in while you sample their signature Seafood Etouffee. That's a down-home delight,...  Read More

Manhattan Beach
Fishing with Dynamite
Photo courtesy of Fishing with Dynamite

You'll find some of Southern California's best seafood at Fishing with Dynamite, Chef David LeFevre's tiny jewelbox eatery in Manhattan Beach. With seating for only 35 guests, getting a table can be tough; but the food is definitely worth the...  Read More

Photo courtesy of Crustacean Restaurant

Chef Helene An's huge Dungeness crab roasted in secret spices may just be the best single seafood dish in Los Angeles. That secret recipe is so closely guarded that she's even got a secret kitchen-within-the-kitchen where she prepares that...  Read More

Santa Monica Seafood Cafe

This renowned seafood market and restaurant, a local landmark since 1939, has earned a well-deserved reputation as "the cathedral of seafood." A family-owned business with a history dating back to nineteenth-century Italy, Santa Monica Seafood...  Read More

Water Grill Santa Monica

Like its older sibling of the same name in downtown L.A., the Water Grill in Santa Monica is a seafood lover's paradise. Huge towers of raw and chilled shellfish are par for the course, served up in a large convivial space dominated by wood and...  Read More


Meet Jenny Peters

Jenny Peters – aka Jet Set Jen – is a Los Angeles-based freelance journalist, editor and party columnist specializing in travel, entertainment, film, food, wine, fashion and the other good...  More About Jenny

comments powered by Disqus

Build your own lists that you can easily reference or share stories with your friends.

Login ×

Forgot login/password?
Don't have an account? Create Your Account!

Enter your username or email in the box below and click
"Remind Me".

Remind Me ×
Create Account ×
Create Account ×

Already have an account?

Add to List ×
Save ×

Go to Lists Close Window ×