Best Seafood Restaurants in Central California

Scallop salad with dried tomatoes

The Best Seafood Restaurants
in Central California

Finding the best seafood restaurants is not that hard since Central California sits on the edge of the Pacific Ocean.

Click here to skip ahead to our recommendations.

There are many choices, but we did say best, didn’t we? So, we’ll get started with a few of our favorites which you will enjoy…

One of the nice things about Central California is that there are commercial fishing fleets that work out of Avila Beach, Morro Bay and Monterey. That means fresh seafood.Morro Bay fishing boat
If you’re visiting here from the east coast or elsewhere, it’s best to realize that there is a different lineup of seafood here.

Admittedly, there are some species here that don’t quite compare to east coast varieties, though some Californians might disagree. I’m willing to concede the point, however, since I’ve been to the east coast many times and have developed a great fondness for Maryland blue crab, Chesapeake Bay oysters and Massachusetts fried clams. You just can’t find anything here that tastes better than those.

BUT, there are varieties here that you won’t find anywhere else and are wonderful. So, here’s the first tip for the best seafood in Central California – and it’s not about any restaurant:

If you see sand dabs anywhere on the menu – order them. Just do it.

Sand dabs are a flatfish, related to halibut and flounder, but much smaller. They aren’t that popular, but it has nothing to do with how they taste.

If a restaurant has them on the menu, they most likely know how to cook them. Anywhere we’ve ordered them, they’ve ALWAYS been great.

They have a very mild, sweet, buttery flavor. Our favorite.

Our Recommendations for Best Seafood Restaurants in Central California:

(not in any particular order)

Avila Beach
Olde Port Inn
At the end of the Harford pier (Avila Beach Drive).

Very good food – on a recent visit I had the Warm Greek Salad which is fresh rock cod sauteed and served over a bed of fresh spinach with oregano, basil, tomatoes, black olives with sherry.

Tasty and worth the visit.My wife had the Harpooner which is scallops, prawns and fresh fish grilled with ranchero and beurre blanc sauces.

Morro Bay
Windows on the Water
699 Embarcadero, Ste. 7 (2nd level of building, take elevator or stairs in center courtyard of Marina Square)

Excellent, sophisticated and very, very good.

We’ve never been disappointed here and they have sand dabs! Great for a romantic dinner overlooking Morro Bay.

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