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THE UNKNOWN CRITIC
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA
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OCEAN BEACH PIER CAFE
A Review By The Unknown Critic
The Ocean Beach Pier is the second largest pier on the west coast and is purported to be the longest "concrete" pier in existence in the world.
The pier itself was officially christened and opened on July 2, 1966 and is among one of San Diego's most visited landmarks.
On the pier stands a unique restaurant, about 200 yards out over the Pacific Ocean, with windows on three sides, it offers an incredible panoramic view of the beautiful Pacific Ocean and the surrounding coastal areas.
The Ocean Beach Pier Cafe is a nautical themed restaurant, with walls adorned with various types of nautical decor and dining tables made of heavy wood planks that bear extremely heavy coats of old and chipping varnish, are reminiscent of a vintage ships wood planking. Unlike the pier itself which is made of concrete, the floor of the restaurant is made of thick wood planks that sometimes creak and groan if a larger wave crashes underneath, on the piers pylons below.
It is a City of San Diego owned building that was built in 1966 for use as a concessions area and is currently leased to Charles and Shannon Fisher, who have operated the business there since 1993.
The Cafe is a fairly small space, yet not at all cramped and has a rustic homely feel to it. It kind of reminds me of a place a captain and his crewmates might have stopped at while in port, to grab some grub and a pint or two of brew a hundred or so years ago, if you can picture that.
Food orders can be made inside the restaurant or outside at the to go window, whichever you prefer.
Indoor diners seat themselves, just pick your own table and relax. You will notice right away that every table has lovely fresh cut flowers on them.
The lobster tacos we ordered consisted of fresh sauteed lobster with a cabbage slaw and a nice fresh tasting Pico de Gallo. They were then garnished with a cream sauce that I am embarassed to say kind of threw me off my game a bit trying to figure out if this sauce was the traditional Mexican version of crema or not? And the crowing touch, a small amount of cilantro and sliced orange and lime.A very good meal, just not enough of it and I craved more.
Fish and chips are a favorite of the locals here and came highly recomended by the chef, who we spoke to earlier in the week, so naturally we had to check those out as well.The fish and chips were excellent, yet I believe the fish was slightly heavy on batter.
But the best part came after we had ordered our burgers......They were fresh, juicy and quite delicious. I believe they were some of the best beach area burgers I have tasted in a while.
And while the fries were good, they were slightly overcooked, having been browned on the outside just slightly too much for my own personal taste, yet my two dining companions that day loved them just the way they were.
The service was pleasant, extremely prompt and very courteous on our two visits here. On each visit we were checked on a couple of times and our drinks refilled promptly.
Highlights: Great views, great people watching area, a bait and tackle shop on the pier and the very close proximity to the tide pools,which start right at the entrance of the pier.Handicapped Facilities: Handicapped accessible cafe, restrooms and parking lot . Public access ramp from the parking lot located near the piers entrance.
Downside: Public Restroom facilities. Lots of folks on the pier using these restrooms everyday and can at times be terribly dirty.
It is a long walk to the cafe from the parking lot area and then back again, so it could cause an issue for those with medical conditions.
I thoroughly enjoyed myself here. The incredible view of the ocean and coast from this vantage point is hard to beat and while the food is not exactly 5 star stellar, it's good, reasonably priced and overall quite satisfying. It is certainly a very laid back, casual and relaxing atmosphere.
Ocean Beach Pier Cafe
5091 Niagara Avenue
San Diego, CA 92107
That's my opinion, What's yours?