5185 Clairemont Mesa Blvd., San Diego, CA, USA
www.laplayitaseafood.com/Men… - (858) 874-6484
La Playita San Diego Reviews
Mexico without all the Mexico Nov 19, 2008
The problem with going to Baja for the famous seafood is that it's not very good.
...What! no way! I had the greatest dinner of my life in Playa del something last summer...
No, you THINK it was really good, but you take away the fact that you were in a breezy beach cafe with 4 tequila shooters in you and you'll start remembering that the ingredients weren't very fresh, it was fried in old lard, the soup was like seawater.... Outside of taco carts, most Baja seafood is actually really bad.
The cure is to stay in San Diego and head to a horrible stripmall in Clairemont to a tiny seafood stand called La Playita!
Now this isn't a taco stand, no tacos or burritos or enchiladas or whatever the other places have, this is pure seafood. There are like 10 cocketes on the menu (seafood cocktails), 9 kinds of ceviche (raw fish "cooked" in lime juice), and 10 seafood soups. If you insist on a fish taco, the owner will pull out a little George Forman Grill from under the counter and grill you some of the fish from the ceviche, but you can tell that it pains him to do it....
The cockteles are the specialty there. The owner is an older guy who's obviously handled seafood for years. All the fresh oysters and fish and octopus and scallops and clams and shrimp and squid... are pulled from the refrigerator on crushed ice and are really fresh. Each cocktel is hand made by filling a tall malt glass with handfulls of the seafood you choose, mixed with onions and spicy tomato-seafood marinate, limes and lemons are squeezed in, and the ingredients are left to "cook" for a while. La Ultima is " Vuelve alla Vida (back to life) with raw scallops, fish and oyster with shrimp, octopus and squid. The result is pretty much like straining the contents of about a cubic mile of ocean and concentrating it into a 16oz glass. They're not cheap at $13, but I'd think that's what it costs to make one of the things.
It's kind of an adventure and takes forever, but if you like seafood it's worth it. Note that the staff doesn't speak English (there are little English phrases like "large or small", "thank you" and the numbers taped to the cash register to help them) and that the little paper cup of liquid that they hand you while you're waiting is delicious seafood broth left from boiling the shrimp. Try the soups and various shrimp specialty dishes too.
Part of the Travels in San Diego travel blog
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