Santa Monica's 4 favorite spots to splurge on seafood

Photo: The Lobster/Yelp

Got a hankering for seafood?

Hoodline crunched the numbers to find the best high-end seafood restaurants in Santa Monica, using both Yelp data and our own secret sauce to produce a ranked list of where to venture next time you're on the hunt for fresh oysters or lobster with drawn butter.

1. The Lobster

Photo: The Lobster/Yelp

Topping the list is The Lobster, a popular destination overlooking the Santa Monica Pier that offers breathtaking views from its glass-walled dining room. Located at 1602 Ocean Ave., the restaurant is the most popular high-end seafood spot in Santa Monica, boasting four stars out of 1,932 reviews on Yelp.

The Lobster says its roots go back nearly a century, with the current owners opening the doors to the latest incarnation in 1999. On the menu, start off with the steamed black mussels, charred octopus or oysters. For the entrees, look for steamed Alaskan golden king crab, butter-poached lobster and seared crab cakes with avocado puree and wild arugula.

2. Water Grill-Santa Monica

Photo: Duy D./Yelp

Next up is Water Grill-Santa Monica, situated at 1401 Ocean Ave. With four stars out of 1,330 reviews on Yelp, the spot to score seafood has proven to be a local favorite for those looking to indulge. Following the longtime success of the Water Grill's downtown L.A. location, the Santa Monica outpost debuted in 2013 just two blocks north of the pier with a full bar and sweeping ocean views.

Water Grill offers an extensive list of raw options, from Eastern and Pacific oysters to sea scallops and bigeye tuna. For dinner, try the wild Ecuadorian mahi-mahi, a stew of Dungeness crab, jumbo shrimp and fresh fish, or a whole fish that's been grilled over charcoal or roasted in the oven.

3. Melisse

Photo: Shirley K./Yelp

Santa Monica's Melisse, located at 1104 Wilshire Blvd., is another top choice, with Yelpers giving the fancy French spot, which offers seafood and more, four stars out of 1,151 reviews.

Helmed by two-star Michelin chef Josiah Citrin, the restaurant features artful creations in an elegant space. Select from four-, seven- or 10-course menus that range from $135-$195. Options include egg caviar, lobster Bolognese, black truffle risotto and the chef's selection of fish.

4. Cassia

Photo: David C./Yelp

Head downtown to check out Cassia, located at 1314 Seventh St., which has earned four stars out of 805 reviews on Yelp. The dining area has a casually sophisticated vibe and features a full bar and extensive drink list. With the kitchen led by popular L.A. chef and co-owner Bryant Ng, the Southeast Asian-inspired restaurant says it strikes "a unique balance of soulful, ancestral cuisine and a California sensibility."

Standout seafood options include the Vietnamese "sunbathing" prawns with Fresno chiles and hot sauce, grilled lobster with shallots and Asian basil, and the black cod served over Chinese romaine, lychee relish and an herb salad.
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