Whether you’re only in town for a few days for your friend’s wedding or you’re an LA local eyeing that upcoming three-day weekend like it’s an untouched cheesecake, chances are you’ve got Malibu plans. And those plans involve the beach and finding some food to eat after the beach. It takes one jaunt up PCH to realize there’s no shortage of spots to choose from, so we’re going to make this very easy on you: when it comes to affordable fish by the water, Malibu Seafood should be towards the top of your list.
But wait, what about Nobu and its insane views? Or Malibu Farm’s overpriced salads that look great on Instagram? Or Neptune’s Net! We’re not here to knock those places–they are certainly still among the better dining options along Malibu’s 20 mile-long coastline. But we are here to tell you that Malibu Seafood is just so much better. Why? Because those other places get some things right. And Malibu Seafood gets everything right.
The food here is excellent. Deep-fried and served with French fries, steamed and thrown on a paper plate, or mixed up in a boiling pot of chowder–it doesn’t matter what you order or how it comes to the table, the seafood here is consistently top of the class. And if you’re wondering why, it probably has something to do with the fact that this seafood shack and marketplace is literally run by local fishermen. Our order usually involves the grilled snapper with rice and potato salad, the peel-your-own shrimp plate, or the fish and chips (with their ridiculous housemade tartar sauce). But you really can’t go wrong with anything. It’s all super fresh and well-priced considering you’re in the heart of Malibu.
And then there’s the atmosphere. This is hardly some diamond in the rough–Malibu Seafood has been around for over 45 years and is a bonafide PCH classic. The difference here is that you won’t find the obnoxious brochure tourists or Instagrammers you see swarming every other spot along the coast. You order your food with the grouchy cashier lady inside, go find a table on one of their three patios overlooking the ocean, and wait for your glorious food to arrive. It’s calm, laid-back, and one of the few places you’ll catch us eating seafood in Malibu. Or anywhere, actually.
An absolute must-order for the table. Even if you end up eating all of them yourself anyways.
This is perfect. Not only are the fries way better than you could ever imagine, but the deep-fried fish also makes all other deep-fried fish look like pure laziness. It’s fresh and flaky and not some over-the-top grease dump.
Have we had better clam chowder? Yes. Will we get this every time we come here? Yes.
Not in the mood for deep-fried heaven? Not a problem. The steamed peel-your-own shrimp are fantastic and prove that Malibu Seafood doesn’t need to dress up their food to make it taste good.
Another dish that doesn’t really need much more than a squeeze of lemon on top, the red snapper is another must-order. Plus, to get an entire fish (with two sides) in Malibu for $15 is straight robbery. Get the rice pilaf, coleslaw, or potato salad.
Don’t be alarmed by the name–this is calamari and fries. Like real calamari. And some of the best you’ll find in Los Angeles.