Aside from our 400 days of sunshine a year, the biggest pull to LA is undoubtedly the ocean. The idea of waking up deliciously hungover in a backyard hammock, strolling to the water with a husked coconut of antioxidants and a straw and picking up today’s lunch your neighborhood poet/fisherman is a dream that’s been passed down for generations.
But the reality is, that’s not a reality. Most of us live miles and miles from the beach because we either can’t afford it, we work in Burbank, or simply wouldn’t be caught dead having a good time in Santa Monica. The ocean is close, but it might as well be on another planet.
For anyone living in Central LA though, say hello to Cape Seafood - the fresh fish market of your coastal dreams. Located in that one mixed-user on Fairfax that everybody goes to because there’s free parking and Commissary Coffee, Cape Seafood isn’t immediately going to jump out at you. The space isn’t large and it’s definitely not a restaurant - it’s a neighborhood market. But a market that happens to have some of the freshest seafood in town and run by LA’s finest restaurant - Providence.
But let’s be clear, Cape Seafood is extremely accessible. You can stroll in after work, survey the day’s offerings, and snag a pound or two for tonight’s at-home feast. There’s a tiny retail area full of house made sauces and spreads you’ll take advantage of and also a bottle of gourmet olive oil you’ll grab because you’re out. The sheer amount of (sometimes unfamiliar) seafood can be overwhelming to first-timers, but fear not. The vibe at Cape Seafood is relaxed and the people behind the counter know their sh*t and are there to make sure you leave with the meal you want.
Not in the mood to cook tonight? Walk straight to the counter instead and order off their blackboard menu. Here you’ll find everything from salmon sandwiches to fresh gazpacho. The menu changes daily, so don’t get too attached to any one thing. Just know whatever’s available is going to be phenomenal. But if you happen to hear their lobster roll or salmon and bagel are up on the board, stop what you’re doing and go - they’re among the best in town.
You’ll hear some people complain that Cape Seafood is expensive, but just usher them kindly into the real world. This is a high-end fish market with some of LA’s best seafood, and that simply comes at (a very worth it) price.
And a price we’ll pay to make our LA beach dream a reality.
No, LA is not NYC, but this is the best salmon on a bagel in town, and that’s still saying something. The smoked salmon is fresh and perfect, and the Clark Street Bread Bagel isn’t too shabby either.
You thought the lobster roll thing was over? Guess again. Out of left field, Cape Seafood delivers one that rivals any in town. Get back on that lobster train.
They don’t have this on the board often, but when they do - get it. It’s entirely different than the lox, and it all starts with that house made dill spread on the bottom. GIVE IT ALL TO US.
Adjacent to the fresh fish is a salad/sides section that is not to be overlooked. Our favorite is undoubtedly the Thai Shrimp Salad. The shrimp are huge and delicious, and the thai sauce mixed in has a solid kick.
Connie and Ted’s down the block provides Cape with all their daily soup and chowder selections. Smart move, because those guys know their way around a bowl of soup. And there’s nothing better on a steaming hot day than a cup of that squid gazpacho.