Phil’s Fish Market & Eatery

by | May 18, 2010 | Main Dishes, Restaurant Overviews, Travel

We had a Calhoun family wedding to attend in Monterey last weekend, so we spent the night with our friend Marcella in Watsonville. We were surrounded by rich farmland full of raspberries, strawberries, artichokes and of course, the Pacific Ocean, which makes it all possible. As usual, eating is high on our list of priorities, so we headed South to Moss Landing to join her daughter Freyja and her three redheaded granddaughters for lunch.

Had I been driving by myself, I probably would have driven right past Phil’s Fish Market & Eatery, located in an industrial neighborhood, half of the building looks like an unassuming warehouse. But once inside, there’s no doubt about it, this is one wonderful fish shack! You stand in line to place your order off of a huge board with all of their specials, and dozens of tables lined up with large servings of fish, fish, and more fish! Their tagline is “Experience a never ending variety of fresh fish, caught locally and flown in daily from all over the world.”

So we did our best to try as much as possible in one sitting: clam chowder, salad, garlic bread, grilled artichoke (I’m in search of a good recipe, grilled a couple last week but didn’t taste like Phil’s, now I’m on a mission to perfect it), fried shrimp with fries and chicken nuggets for the girls,

incredibly delicious halibut fish and chips with coleslaw, grilled halibut and a dirty martini for the mother of three!

It’s a great place for kids (as you can see by the ice cream) and loud people like me, the place is bustling and you fit right in! We chose to sit outside on top of the sand dune overlooking the ocean so we could bring the dog with us, another beautiful day eating on the water (even though the dreary summer fog was in), a great day was had by all.

After we had ordered, we found out that Phil had been challenged to a Cioppino Throwdown by Bobby Flay, and won! Next time, we’re ordering Cioppino!

Throwdown video #1Throwdown video #2Throwdown video #3

Monday morning as we were watching the Food network over coffee, Tyler Florence just so happened to be cooking an Ultimate Fish Shack menu with Clam Chowder, link below, and a Halibut Sammie, perfect timing.

East Coast Clam Chowder

West Coast Filet O’ Fish Sammie


  • 1 whole tail piece fresh halibut (1 1/4 inches thick, by about 1 foot long)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup mayonnaise, store-bought
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 handful fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 handful fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 handful chives, finely chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 foot long sourdough baguette
  • 1 cup lightly packed hydroponic arugula (leafy variety, with stems)
  • 1 ripe avocado, cut in thick slices
  • 1 beefsteak tomato, cut in thick slices
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Put a large sheet tray in oven and heat it for 1/2 hour.

Begin by patting the halibut fillet dry. If you have a tail end piece cut the fillet down the middle so you can invert the 2 pieces next to each other to form a nice rectangular shape that matches the bread. Set up a breading station with flour, beaten egg and milk, and bread crumbs in separate containers. Season with salt and pepper. Dip each fillet into the flour, egg mixture, and then panko. Set aside on a tray at room temperature to let the coating set.

Pull out sheet tray from oven, add a 2-count of oil and transfer breaded fish to tray. Sprinkle with olive oil. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Combine lemon herb mayonnaise ingredients in a bowl and blend until well combined. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Split the baguette in half horizontally. Open it up and toast it in a hot oven until just warmed through. Smear each half with lemon herb mayonnaise and stack up arugula, tomato and avocado on 1 half. Top with crispy panko fish fillets and top with the other half of bread. Skewer in 2 places and cut across the middle. Serve with more lemon-herb mayonnaise on the side.

Ahoy! nancy