Having lived in San Diego for a majority of my life, I don’t visit the ocean as much as I should. While the thought of living far from any body of water is out of the question for me, the thought of having the ocean nearby is soothing. Just as long as I don’t have to go into the water.
For the first part of my life, I lived near Imperial Beach. It was “the place” to go after Tijuana drinking binges in college. And parking was always easy compared to the more popular beaches in San Diego County. But Imperial Beach also has its share of flack. After big rain storms, there was always a warning swimming due to ocean contamination due to Tijuana’s overflowing sewers. Not a pleasant idea but that’s the reality of being the most southern beach in San Diego.
During the drier seasons, Imperial Beach Pier is packed with people hoping to hook one of the many varieties of fish available: yellowtail, seabass, herring, etc. I’ve heard stories of people pulling in sharks.
For those of us less inclined to reel in their own fish, the very end of the pier is The Tin Fish.
There are two Tin Fish locations in San Diego. Aside from Imperial Beach which opened in 2000, the second location is in the heart of Gaslamp opened a year later in 2001. There is no denying the difference between the two locations: one serves the convention going tourists with views of the Petco Park and incoming trolleys while it’s southern counterpart is more homely. But the view? The ocean.
On any given day, people can view seals, dolphins right off the pier. Free entertainment while fishing and eating. The sea creatures must know something because the fish is fresh. Not fresh-off-the-pier-fresh, but still noticeable.
Several varieties of seafood plates are available as well as hamburgers. For the earlier risers raring to get the day’s catch, breakfast is also served. But the thing to get is their plates.
The shrimp and fish plates are both served with waffle fries and their coleslaw — actually the best coleslaw in the county in my humble opinion. It’s slightly sweetened as opposed to the vinegar-tinged variety at Point Loma Seafood.
Their plates are available either fried or grilled — a nice healthy option and both a little over $10. The basic fish plate with North Atlantic cod is served with 5-6 portions. Other fish options are halibut, salmon and swordfish the price creeping upward for each one.
The shrimp plate on the other hand, while delicious with it’s light bread coating is disappointing with only 8 pieces of shrimp, both medium-sized. It’s best just to stick to the fish plate or upgrade to a combo plate that includes shrimp if you must have it or have a hearty appetite.
But if you prefer to fish for yourself and eat it as fresh as possible, the pier does not permit open fires.
The Tin Fish
910 Seacoast Dr
Imperial Beach, CA 91932