San Diego's Best Seafood Restaurants

Where to head for this coastal city's best catches

There's no shortage of high-quality, straight-from-the-ocean seafood in San Diego—so much so that when it comes to narrowing down the playing field of all things pescaterian, the selection can become a little tough to tackle. To help ensure your catch-of-the-day cravings go off without a hitch, we've culled together a list of the best options in town. From oysters to over-the-top splurges, ere are six to try, stat.

① Best Raw Bar: Ironside Fish & Oyster Bar

Well-heeled seafood lovers abound at this Little Italy fixture, where chef Jason McLeod spins out everything from crab cakes and mussels to whole Maine lobsters straight from the tank. Whatever you do, don't miss the raw bar, a daily-changing menu of peel-and-eat shrimp, ceviche and, of course, oysters. Opt for at least one round of the Ironside Select, an oyster exclusive to the restaurant, which McLeod grows out of Puget Sound.

② Best Sushi (with a View): Oceana Coastal Kitchen

Located at the Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa in Mission Beach, this restaurant has a lot going for it: views of Mission Bay, on-point service and seafood for days. Best to kick things off with some sushi and—better yet—to go with the togarashi-seared tuna roll, with crunchy tempura shrimp, crab and spicy garlic ponzu; and the diver scallop roll, with crab, zippy green Sriracha and cucumber.

③ Best Big-Ticket Splurge: The Marine Room

Chances are you won't forget this San Diego landmark, thanks to its dramatic on-the-surf location and dynamite sunset vistas. Chef Bernard Guillas has been attracting seafood enthusiasts to The Marine Room for more than 20 years, standing by his sustainable-sourcing philosophies and exacting pride in execution. Take, for example, the Maine diver scallop, a meaty mollusk topped with seared Hudson Valley foie gras and served alongside kumquats and kabocha mousseline.

④ Best Fish Tacos: Pacific Standard Coastal Kitchen

Comfort classics meet coastal cooking at this Little Italy restaurant, which serves up everything from braised short rib grilled cheese and fried chicken to roast beets and veggie sammies. Seafood is far from overlooked, though, and the fish tacos—a pile of crispy rockfish, poblano crema and pico de gallo—are just one piece of evidence. Pair 'em with the Oaxacan Old Fashioned, bartender Ryan Baldwin's smoky, smooth melding of Mezcal Vida, green Chartreuse, white cacao liqueur and orange bitters.

⑤ Best Seafood Paella: Sally's Fish House & Bar

Chef Jay Payne helms the coastal-inspired menu at this Marina District restaurant, where highlights range from straightforward oysters on the half shell to creative concoctions like lobster potpie and coconut curry mussels. For stronger appetites, it's all about the seafood paella: saffron rice topped with a medley of local lobster tails, shrimp, squid, clams, mussels and chorizo.

⑥ Best Fish Market: El Pescador Fish Market & Restaurant

Although this Del Mar fish market has come a long way since its inception (as a humble case operated by one man) in 1974, its commitment to high-quality seafood remains. Today, that takes the form of a wide variety of sautéed and chargrilled catches, from local yellowtail and thresher shark to Mexican octopus and Idaho rainbow trout.