Updated September 10th, 2021
If you told someone in 2013 that you just had dinner at Fishing With Dynamite, people might’ve assumed you traded a family heirloom for an 8pm reservation. FWD used to be one of the most popular restaurants in LA, with people driving from all over Southern California - or bee-lining it straight from LAX - in hopes of experiencing fresh seafood from this spot two blocks from the sea.
But that was a long time ago in the world of LA restaurants, and word-of-mouth buzz has moved on to newer spots. As for Fishing With Dynamite today though, this upscale Manhattan Beach restaurant has proven to be a longstanding place for consistently good seafood.
The most noticeable change here occurred in 2020, when FWD expanded into the street, in accordance with LA County’s al fresco dining program. Now, FWD’s famously small dining room (6-8 tables total) is accompanied by a front patio that’s quadrupled the restaurant’s overall capacity. There will always be a certain magic to slurping oysters and splitting crab rolls with your date while pressed up against the bar inside, but there’s equal joy in not having to wait two months for citrusy bay scallops and the best key lime pie in LA.
If anything, FWD is better now, simply because it’s easier to get into. Reservations are still necessary at night, but in the event you start fantasizing about their raw bar as you descend into LAX, you can simply hop into a car and show up, and have a good chance of feasting on some of the best seafood in the South Bay. And you won’t even have to bring a family heirloom along.
A great meal at Fishing With Dynamite is one that starts with the raw bar section. And in particular, the oysters and bay scallops. The oyster selection changes daily, so chat with your server about which ones are particularly good that day, and then load up on as many bay scallops as you can. They’re sweet and slightly salty, with a major punch from the citrusy marinade.
This isn’t our favorite ceviche tostada in the city, but it’s still delicious, and one we order every time we come. The shrimp are plump and plentiful, the tostada is crispy, and the diced pluot provides a sweet and tangy edge to every bite.
We like both the crab and shrimp roll at FWD, but since we tend to load up on shrimp-related items from the raw bar, the blue crab provides some nice variety midway through the meal. It costs $24, but know it’s quite large and easily shareable between two people. Most importantly, it comes with a massive pile of their thin, crispy fries.
This dish stands out amongst FWD’s other entrees. It’s essentially a creamy rice porridge with a mild, buttery flavor that’s elevated with briney bops of sweetness courtesy of the shrimp, crab, and uni mixed in. This is the kind of dish you’ll find us eating on those cloudy days when the sun clocked out early.
This key lime pie is one of the most famous desserts in the city. We’re here to tell you it still deserves your attention. With a graham cracker crust base that’s topped with flame-roasted mountain peaks of whipped Italian meringue, it’s a perfect slice of pie and one you’ll crave periodically for the rest of your life.