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“A "Must-go" Tradition in Carlsbad” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Harbor Fish Cafe

Harbor Fish Cafe
Ranked #27 of 335 Restaurants in Carlsbad
Cuisines: American, Seafood
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Local cuisine, View, Kids, Child-friendly, Cheap Eats
Dining options: Dinner, After-hours, Lunch, Outdoor Seating, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Takeout, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible
Anaheim, California
Level Contributor
123 reviews
98 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
“A "Must-go" Tradition in Carlsbad”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 September 2013

We've been coming to Carlsbad now for 30+ years and, with all the great restaurants in Carlsbad, I must admit, we don't visit all our favorites every time we come -- EXCEPT FOR ONE -- Harbor Fish Cafe. How can you beat their view of the sunset coupled with the best fish & chips on the planet! Throw in a couple of beers and you have THE perfect beach-side experience!

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
Thank Jim C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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363 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    123
    125
    82
    21
    12
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Austin, TX
Level Contributor
202 reviews
107 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 68 helpful votes
“Fish tacos very overrated in Trip Advisor”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 September 2013

The sauce was tasteless, the grilled fish only so-so. If it's a good fish taco, why do they have to add cheese? The price was way too high. That said, my wife liked the fish and chips. Still,I don't recommend.

  • Visited September 2013
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank iataan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
denver
Level Contributor
55 reviews
32 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
“Good fried seafood by the sea”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 September 2013

My travelling companion loves this place. They do some table service at the little very casual tables of this restaurant. This is a super casual, beach restaurant, but the fried fish and shrimp are good! For fried seafood, it's definitely a bit pricey, but it's become a tradition for us over the years. The fried clams are chewy and not the best of all of the different food they serve. The shrimp cocktail was quite good, and the fried fish is the reason people come here.

Visited August 2013
Helpful?
Thank theslant
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Idyllwild, California
Level Contributor
123 reviews
79 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
“Don't go by without stopping!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 September 2013

I don't like fish, but I got the fish dipped in a light batter and it was fantastic. I don't like beer either but they make their own and it was great too. This place was started by a commercial fisherman. They make their own tarter sauce, cocktail sauce and cole slaw. You get a great ocean view and it is casual. The prices arn't bad for all you get.

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank Going4fun
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Phoenix, Arizona
Level Contributor
23 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“The clam strips reminded me of being back home in Boston”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 September 2013

I'm a girl who grew up in coastal Massachusetts and moved to Phoenix, AZ in 2011. Trying to find a really good plate of clam strips in the desert is about as easy as tracking down amazing authentic Mexican food in Boston. Very hard to find.

So while on our anniversary trip to SoCal, my husband and I decided to drive up the coast from our hotel in Chula Vista to find a hole-in-the-wall type place for fried clam strips. Harbor Fish Cafe did not disappoint me in the least!

I had the clam strip plate with fries, my husband got the combo plate with the clam strips and a piece of battered fried fish. The clams chewed easily like buttery goodness (this is tough to achieve, the cook has to prepare them just right so they don't wind up like a rubber band). The breading was light and flavorful and the homemade tartar sauce was definitely worth trying – not too tangy but light and a good compliment to the breading. I got an extra container so I'd have some to take home with my leftovers.

The surprising highlight of the meal was the home brew that the Harbor Fish Cafe produces locally. It wasn't too hoppy; more along the lines of a light wheat beer. Perfect and light, not heavy at all, and it complimented the food really nicely. I was just upset we couldn't get a six-pack to take home.

We got there early (about 5:00) and the place filled up quickly so get there early for a good table. There weren't ocean views from our side of the dining area but the beach is right behind the place and a short 100 or so stairs down. Perfect spot for catching sunset and a tasty meal that really reminded me of being back home.

  • Visited September 2013
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank Jenn F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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