Having seen lines out the door for Fish 101 in the past, we decided to come for a 5pm dinner this Sunday night. Hey, I will be turning 50 in a few short weeks and 5pm doesn’t actually seem all that early to me anymore now that my bedtime is around 9pm. That’s what happens. You young whippersnappers will see.
Parking wasn’t easy on the 101, but we squeezed into a spot close by behind a blue VW just in front of a driveway. Sorry if that was your car. I really hope you were able to get out. Hubby noticed the cute couple walking ahead of us and said, “You know they are dating because he’s holding her hand. You know we’re married because I’m holding your crap.” I glanced over and saw what a good sport he was carrying my sweater, my purse and the lens cap so I could have full range of motion getting my first restaurant shot.
We were lucky getting a large table in the front patio for our group of 9 because even at 5pm it was starting to get crowded. There must be other folk rounding 50 here. You order at the walk up counter and then wait at the table for your food. The menu looked promising with many delicious sounding items.
Tracy started with an Arnold Palmer. They make their own lemonade here. If I drank tea this time of night I would be up until Thursday. Some people can handle an evening AP, others just can’t.
The food came out sporadically. Some ate while others didn’t. Then others ate while some were finished. Just the way it goes here.
Tracy ordered the Grilled Mahi-Mahi plate with fries and coleslaw. She ate silently and to herself finally announcing with a completely clean plate, “Excellent fish and best coleslaw I’ve ever had.” Yet there wasn’t even a morsel left for me to taste! She said it wasn’t the mayonnaisey kind, which is exactly why I would have liked it, but I won’t know until next time I go. I will need to watch her more closely next time. The quieter she is, the quicker my fork will have to be!
Hubby and some others got fish/shrimp tacos. Hubby said his grilled fish and shrimp were pretty good. Dave said his fried fish tacos were excellent. Personally, I’m a sucker for a do-it-yourself salsa bar. The little sides of accoutrements were nice but not the same as a full blown bar. The tacos at The Taco Stand will always win in my book.
Diane really loved her Grilled Fish Sandwich and we both thought the side cucumber salad was flavorful and yummo. She said she would drive back here all the way from UTC just to order this sandwich again.
Jen’s Market Salad with shrimp was large and beautiful.
Greg’s side of potatoes get points for having chimichurri but was too skimpy for a side costing $8. There should be twice as many potatoes on that plate if you ask me. There were so few, I felt bad even taking one to taste! They did look crispy and delicious.
Dana and I each ordered the Seafood Curry that was recommended to me when I was ordering at the counter. I asked if it was spicy and was told “No, not at all”. When I took my first bite I wasn’t sure I could handle the heat. It was borderline too spicy for a wimp like me, but I dealt with it like a champ. Then Dana said she was disappointed in the lack of heat in hers, so there you go. It really depends on how wussy you are. Some call it mild, I call it level 9. It was presented beautifully and I was happy to be able to choose brown rice over white. Was it the best curry I have ever had? No, but it was good. The veggies were perfectly cooked and the seafood was superb.
Rick ordered Fish and Chips. I didn’t try it, but I’m sure it was pretty good by the look of his cleaned plate. Fried fish and potatoes, how can that be bad?
Tracy ordered a Chocolate Crème Brulée for dessert. The crisp burnt layer mixed with the creamy custard tasted delicious but the chocolate on the bottom was too thin and cold. Not my favorite. I also thought it was a small serving.
Diane ordered a Tres Leches for the table. Again, it was too small. It was also too sweet and not creamy enough. Jen complained that she could only taste one leche. The only Tres Leches cake I’ve ever had is at Q’ero and I felt that I was cheating on it. I was embarrassed and ashamed at myself for straying. It won’t happen again.
I’ve heard that Fish 101 is a family owned, pillar of the community kind of place, much more than just mere restaurant. It was too busy for me to ask anyone about this when I was there, so I figured I could learn a few things on their website. Their website shows their menu (only a partial menu actually because most of the things we ordered weren’t on there), Instagram photos of amazing fish being caught and lots and lots of surfing photos. There’s also a section to purchase apparel. I figure they must have info on their home page about the kids they sponsor surfing, and about the fresh fish they catch, but all I could find in small letters was #fish101themovie. Desperate for more info I clicked on it and found a cool, yet strange, 38 minute movie, mostly on surfing. With some fishing and shots of the restaurant in there too. It shows Fish 101 mentoring “groms” through surfing, fishing and diving, but doesn’t really explain who these kids are or how they get chosen. Lots of surfing. I was left with questions and after 38 minutes of their movie, I was just done asking. But I can see that local surfers and fishermen love this place and the people behind it. I definitely got that.
Fish 101 is a very cute, totally Leucadian eatery with some of the freshest fish in town. It’s an upscale surfer’s hangout where most everyone is a regular. For our experience, we would give our food a 7.5/10. Everyone liked their meal, but no one thought it was the best they’ve had. The service was good, and the prices were only slightly elevated. We’ve seen much worse. The fish sandwich got the highest mark along with some of their sides like the coleslaw (from what I hear) and cucumber salad. The fish tacos and curry landed in the middle and the desserts finished at the bottom.
Would I come back to Fish 101? Sure I would if I were on the Leucadia side of town jonesing for seafood. With just a few minor tweaks, this place has all the bones to be amazing. But in this blogger’s opinion, the seafood at The Encinitas Fish Shop takes the tuna in this market. I held Hubby’s hand on the way back to the car, ’cause after 21 years of marriage this Thursday, I still want to be dating.
Join us in two weeks, May 12th (Mother’s Day) at 6pm at