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“Good food but expensive”
Review of Salinas Valley Fish House - CLOSED

Salinas Valley Fish House
Cuisines: Seafood
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic, Business meetings, Child-friendly, Bar Scene, Local cuisine, Groups
Dining options: Lunch, Dinner, Reservations
San Rafael, California
Level Contributor
46 reviews
22 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“Good food but expensive”
Reviewed 20 September 2011

We tried this place on our second night in Salinas. It was about 8 pm on Saturday night and it was pretty deserted n Old Town. There were 6 other diners and a few people at the bar when we arrived. About 15 minutes after we sat down they brought in the street sign and looked like they were going to close. Two more couples came after they took the signs in and they told them they were closing but they could be seated. Not exactly the attitude you'd expect from a place that was slow to begin with
.
We started with a ceasar salad with bay shrimp and a cup of chowder. The salad had plenty of shrimp and was good. The chowder was ok. The water we were served had an odd taste that spilled over into their food.

My wife had the wild salmon (vs. the farm raised which is the usual which is wierd for a place next to some really good fishing). I had blackend snapper (we don't have red snapper on the west coast so I guess any rockfish is considered "snapper"). It was spiced nicely but I should have known "snapper" doesn't hold up to grilling like some fish so it fell apart as i was eating it. It was still pretty good. We had two cocktails apiece, appetizers and two entrees and it was close to $100. Next time we'll find something out of "old town" and probably good food for a better value.

  • Visited September 2011
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
2 Thank Sandinmytoes60
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

29 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Los Angeles, California
Level Contributor
9 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“A very pleasant surprise"”
Reviewed 2 September 2011

Despite its wondrously agricultural heritage, Salinas is not a hot spot for foodies. But that doesn't mean you can't get a great meal.

We picked Salinas Valley Fish House because of its ratings on TripAdvisor and its location in Old Town Salinas. It's in a beautiful old building with high ceilings and a mezzanine for diners who aren't afraid of heights. And it's ideally situated to capture tourists, with the Steinbeck Center a short block away.

While the menu gives an idea of the cuisine, you'll want to order one of the specials. The list varies from day to day and is so long it could (and perhaps should) be printed up each day. Our remarkable young server recited them all easily and answered questions about a couple.

We started with salads -- I had a spinach with a honey dressing while my wife had mixed greens. They were both a bit odd, with sliced olives, an onion wedge and such on the side of the plate. Both were very fresh and appropriately sized.

For the entree, my wife had an excellent sea bass while I chose the local sand dabs. Your fish can be cooked in several ways of your choice. My sand dabs were very lightly breaded, sauteed and served in a nice picatta sauce. My wife's sea bass had the oak grill treatment and was outstanding. Entrees come with a generous portion of steamed vegetables and pasta (with substitutions available).

I was delighted with the draft 1066 Pale Ale I ordered at random from the menu (only $4.50). It was so superb I searched the Web the next day and found it is available only in the Monterey Bay area, where it is now called "English Ales Pale Ale." A pity. I'll be sure to search it out when I'm next in the area.

Being from L.A., we were delighted that the total tab was only $60! Back home, such good seafood would go for at least 30% more. That gave us room to give our server a very well-deserved large tip.

It's not posh, not elegant and rather workaday, but Salinas Valley Fish House is well worth a visit.

  • Visited August 2011
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
2 Thank derogers31
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Zurich, Switzerland
Level Contributor
12 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Good Food -- good service”
Reviewed 25 August 2011

We went there to have dinner with our family.
It was a Thursday evening, not a lot of people around.
The restaurant is really confortable and we had really good food (pasta for some of us and mainly fish for the others).
The service was really friendly.
We had also some life music. Would go back immediately.

  • Visited July 2011
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Pupp_11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Napa, California
Level Contributor
11 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“A wonderul restaurant surprise in Salinas,Ca.!”
Reviewed 1 August 2011

After touring the entertaining, and insightful John Steinbeck Museum, in Salinas,Ca. my Darling Judy and I decided to have lunch somewhere close by the Museum, after a brief stroll around "Old Town" Salinas we happened upon the "Salinas Valley Fish House" and what a great surprise it was! The food was very good and the portions were plentiful; Judy and I recommend the shrimp cocktail, and the fresh "sand dabs"(a local favorite) It should be noted that, the fish that is offered on the menu is for the most part caught that day and in the near-by coast waters of Monterey,Ca. which of course enhances the flavor!! The service was prompt, friendly, and knowledgeable of the menu. The atmospher is comfortable but nothing out of the norm, that is UNTIL, you take time out to look at the photographs that are on the walls of the restaurant. The photographs provide a wonderful connection to the early days of the great Salinas valley( can you say:"John Steinbeck") as well as(very importantly) "Tony" the managers Family!! Tony is most affable and most willing to accomdate your dinning needs/wishes. As a side note for you movie buffs, across the street from the restaurant is the building that was used as a "bank" in the most entertaining movie "Bandits"(B.Wiilis,B.Thornton,C.Blanchett)...Will Judy and I be back? YES!! Will we recommend the "Sallinas Valley Fish House"? YES!!

  • Visited July 2011
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Stonewall4evr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Jose, California
2 reviews
“Outstanding! Not too expensive, great atmosphere!”
Reviewed 25 September 2010

What a find. Great food. Enjoyed meeting the locals who were there in numbers. Very popular with the local folks. My wife and I had martinis before dinner and found they know how to make the drink. I had a fantastic mushroom ravioli dish and she had the clam linguini. The service was just find with us we left there very pleased. Highly recommend this place.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Transjy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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