Before I moved to San Diego, I was here over Valentine’s Day and planned a day of fun and adventure by the bay. I spent a wonderful morning on a whale watching cruise and then after we came back to the pier, I decided to take a stroll toward Seaport Village. As I was walking along the harbor, I stumbled upon the Kissing Sailor (also known as the “Unconditional Surrender”) statue located next to the USS Midway. My heart melted on the spot seeing this iconic sculpture and I just knew I was “home” even if I didn’t live here yet.
I always wondered about the restaurant right next to this statue, and though it took many years, I’ve finally come full circle back to this very spot. The lower level of this building is home to The Fish Market, and upstairs is a more fine-dining space called Top of the Market.
On the day of my first visit to The Fish Market, we made it just in time to enjoy the most breathtaking sunset with cotton candy skies and the sound of taps playing from the Navy base across the bay.
The Fish Market offers more than just a traditional restaurant by including a sushi bar and a retail counter where you can buy and take home San Diego’s freshest catch. I’ve heard great feedback about their sushi, so I’m excited to come back to try that.
I’m always on the hunt for a good happy hour, and The Fish Market’s happy hour menu has a little bit of everything. My guest and I ordered the Ginger Lime Prawns, Cheesy Garlic Bread, and the Pacific Crab Cakes to share while we sat in awe of the stunning sunset. Happy hour isn’t happy without cocktails, so we ordered the vibrantly pink Watermelon Cooler (which is non-alcoholic, so I added Vodka!), and the Cider Mule with vanilla and ginger flavors reminiscent of autumn.
Happy hour at The Fish Market is great and their outdoor patios have all the best views, but it was time to move upstairs to Top of the Market for the Alaskan King Crab Legs that I dreamt about eating all day! Per the suggestion of our amazing server Michael, we started with the Ahi Tuna Crudo appetizer that was inspired by chef’s recent visit to Thailand. He added an Asian flair to the dish and you can taste the freshness of the tuna. It’s a starter that I’d order again and again!
Growing up our parents told us not to play with our food, but I couldn’t wait to crack into my crab legs, douse them with a squeeze of lemon, and dunk that tender crab into a bowl of melted butter. (I’m salivating all over again!) If you thought the prawns we had earlier looked amazing, check out the size of these prawns with linguine. Those bad boys were huge and packed a punch with a Calabrian Chile infusion.
By the time I’ve had drinks, starters, and the main course, dessert is usually out of the question. But after descriptions of sweet treats filled the air, I was quickly hooked (haha, SEA what I did there?) with the Chocolate Hazelnut Bar and I couldn’t say no, but I knew I’d only be able to eat a bite so I packed it to go. It was soo yummy that the remains of this incredible chocolate dessert were devoured within five minutes of walking through my front door. What I liked most about this layered dessert was that it wasn’t overly rich like most chocolate on chocolate desserts. Also, the different textures kept this dessert light and instantly addicting. I’ve been craving another taste of this since my last!
I love places with a great view, especially by the water, because it brings me so much peace and serenity. But, I was also really excited to go back and try more wine recommendations from Ericka Bravo, the Wine Director with Top of the Market. If you’ve ever been stumped on what to pair with your meal, she’s your gal and on my follow up happy hour visit, she set me up with a Rosé flight that complemented my cheese board perfectly. I consider myself to be a cheese board snob (shown here), and I get really excited to discover unique additions. In this case, it was the dehydrated honeycomb. I find it very hard to describe; it’s probably nothing like what you’d expect, but it’s a bit sweet and salty and pairs well with fruits and cheeses.
I had the chance to sit down with Jeremy Loomis, Executive Chef for Top of the Market, to get some insight into the future of the restaurant. He joined Top of the Market last May after working at Herb and Wood in Little Italy under San Diego restaurateur Brian Malarkey. Chef Loomis is eager to roll out a new spring menu featuring California-centric products and some new dishes for this seafood forward restaurant.
Last but not least, if you’re even mildly interested in architecture and cool restaurant features, I wanted to show you the outdoor fire table and the amazing revolving door at Top of the Market. You just don’t see doors like this anymore, so it gave me some nostalgic feelings for an old-school attribute.
Amazing views, amazing food, and amazing service…sign me up! The Fish Market and Top of the Market are two new favorites in my book! What are you most excited to check out at these locations? Drop me a comment and let me know!
Until next time, happy eating!