TJ Oyster Bar
Locals love TJ Oyster Bar for its laid back, unpretentious vibe and great selection of seafood. Oysters come on the half-shell, fried, in cocktails, and in tacos, but prices and selection vary slightly between locations, so check the shop’s website for all the details. The 4410 Bonita Road location has the best selection of oyster varieties and serving options, plus it serves beer, wine, and cocktails. A half-dozen ranges from $16-$20 and a dozen goes for $28-$39.
How to book: Seating is on a first-come basis.
South Bay’s oldie but goodie has slowly increased the prices over the years for its basic fish taco, but it still ranks high on best bang for buck based on size and taste. The price of $3.25 per taco crammed with chunky fried filets topped with tomato, mayo, and cabbage means you can order your fill without breaking the bank. For a dollar or so more, you can get grilled fish, mahi mahi, salmon, or smoked tuna tacos.
Seafood, notably raw and marinated in citrus juice, is the house specialty at TJ Oyster Bar’s three locations. In the best tradition of Baja, ceviches and aguachiles are piled onto tostadas or served cocktail-style. Fried fish, smoked tuna, garlic shrimp, octopus, and stingray are great choices for tacos, and larger entrees like Whole Fish Empapelado (steamed in parchment paper) and burritos are available. Wash it all down with a margarita, mojito, or michelada, or a cold can or bottle from their beer list.
How to book: Indoor seating is on a first-come basis and varies by location. For takeout, call your location or order in person.