We’re not exactly going out on a limb when we say that seafood is best eaten outdoors. And in Southern California, being able to sit near a beach with the breeze blowing through your hair, eating fish tacos, and watching the sunset is frankly one of the main reasons people come here in the first place. So, let’s lean into it. From old-school PCH seafood shacks to high-end Mexican seafood stalls in Downtown, here are 14 great places to eat seafood outside.
Not only does Dudley Market serve some of our favorite seafood in Los Angeles, but this neighborhood spot also has a fantastic location one block off the Venice boardwalk - which is exactly why we’re so excited about their new outdoor patio. If eating fresh-caught seafood while staring at the ocean isn’t on your Things I Enjoy In Life list, perhaps you need to reconsider some things. The menu changes daily based on what they caught, so just ask what’s good that day and you’ll be in great hands.
This Mexican spot on the southern tip of Inglewood, with a second location in Del Rey, serves fresh, fantastic seafood. You can’t go wrong with any of the citrus-y ceviches or aguachiles, but make sure the savory marlin tacos and whole grilled snook in an addictive salty house sauce hit the table as well. Both locations are now open with expansive back patios.
If you ever need a reminder of why you put up with LA’s traffic, more pollution than is good for you, and way too many people who think they can heal you with their hands, Malibu Seafood is it. All you need to do is jump in your car, cruise along PCH with your windows down, and end up at this eternally busy seafood shack. Get the squid and fries or the peel-your-own shrimp, sit at a table overlooking the ocean, and wonder why you’d live anywhere else.
Holbox is a tiny stall inside Mercado la Paloma and home to some of the best and most inventive seafood in LA - think ceviche tostadas, chile rellenos stuffed with yellowtail, and raw oysters by the dozen. That said, don’t you dare leave without getting an order of the scallop tacos - each one comes with four perfectly-seared scallops wrapped in a thick house-made corn tortilla before being topped with fennel, caramelized onions, and spicy chile sauce. Enjoy it all on the market’s large outdoor patio.
This upscale New England-style seafood restaurant in West Hollywood has always had a nice patio, but now it has a really nice patio. Taking advantage of a front parking lot usually reserved for valet, Connie & Ted’s new outdoor space includes tons of astroturf, string lights, and umbrellas at every table. The setting kind of feels like you’re in a park, and that’s ideal when there are crab cakes and lobster on the table.
This East Coast-style seafood shack is located behind the Country Mart and has an excellent front patio as well as a drive-thru option that debuted during quarantine. Their lobster rolls - which you can get with hot-drawn butter (Connecticut-style) or cold (Maine-style) with a bit of mayo - are some of the best in LA, and anything from their raw bar will be excellent.
Rappahonnock is a fantastic oyster and seafood bar in the Row DTLA development. The massive complex, which used to be the old American Apparel factory, has more outdoor space than it knows what to do with. This all-day restaurant has the best location in the whole place - it’s right at the main entrance, with an unobstructed view of a giant tree that looks like it came from the set of Avatar. We love the lobster rolls, the crispy oyster tacos topped with remoulade and vinegar-y slaw, and the raw oysters, which are flown in daily.
Silver Lake’s great oyster spot L&E is open for patio dining on their quiet corner of Silver Lake Blvd. They have an abbreviated menu that includes oyster po’boys and crab cakes sandwiches, plus fantastic mussels and fries that are great to have on the table all night for occasional dunking, along with their usual selection of excellent cocktails and wine. If you’re looking for a casual date spot on the Eastside, this is a great option. Open Wednesday through Sunday from 4-9pm, and they aren’t currently accepting reservations.
This classic seafood diner on the north end of Malibu is arguably the most popular pullover spot on the entire PCH. Is it the best seafood on the coast? Probably not. But there’s still something special about being surrounded by a sea of biker gangs and going to town on a clam chowder bread bowl - all while staring out at the pearly blue Pacific Ocean. Neptune’s is a bonafide landmark, and a great excuse to get out of LA for the day and soak up some of those sweet retro 1960’s California vibes.
Son of a Gun is the old reliable of the Animal/Jon & Vinny’s empire, and while no one really talks about it too much, it’s always there when you need it. Especially now with its new outdoor dining space, this Beverly Grove spot retains its casual, roadside seafood shack atmosphere, and is still relatively easy to get into. Order from every seafood section of the menu (we especially like the yellowfin tuna that comes draped over a ball of avocado), and also get at least one fried chicken sandwich for the table.
Quality Seafood is a massive, two-story restaurant on the Redondo Pier filled with tanks of live shellfish, lobsters, crabs, and fish. This is the kind of build-your-own meal we fully endorse, where you pick your seafood and decide whether you want it roasted, steamed, or fried. We love ordering the steamed Dungeness crab and fried calamari, and then finding a seat on one of their massive ocean-adjacent patios.
One of our favorite new spots of 2020, Found Oyster is back with a new outdoor space called “The Boat Deck,” which is essentially a patio they built out in front of their shop on Fountain in East Hollywood. Open Thursday through Sunday, the menu is filled with littlenecks and oysters on the half shell, steamers and fries, and more. You’ll definitely want to make a reservation beforehand.
Located in Manhattan Beach, Fishing With Dynamite serves some of our favorite seafood in the South Bay. From raw Peruvian scallops marinated in citrus to blue crab rolls and a key lime pie that has no business being as good as it is, FWD makes exactly what you want to eat while lounging in the sun on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Reservations are a must.
What do you get when you combine the fresh fish from Malibu Seafood and the retro vibes from over at Neptune’s? Reel Inn. The festive seafood shack right at the mouth of Topanga Canyon often gets overlooked by its two competitors, but that’s a mistake because Reel Inn has quality seafood at good prices - including the massive and massively excellent fish tacos topped with special Thousand Island-ish dressing - without all the manic tourists. The ocean-facing patio is where you want to be.