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“A Near-Perfect Dinner Which Turned Sour” 2 of 5 stars
Review of Sea Chest Oyster Bar

Sea Chest Oyster Bar
6216 Moonstone Beach Dr, Cambria, CA 93428-1804
(805) 927-4514
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Ranked #3 of 44 Restaurants in Cambria
Price range: $23 - $30
Cuisines: Seafood
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Restaurant details
Good for: Local cuisine, Special occasions, Scenic view
Dining options: Dinner, Late Night, Dessert
Lafayette, California
Top Contributor
130 reviews 130 reviews
83 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 71 cities Reviews in 71 cities
104 helpful votes 104 helpful votes
“A Near-Perfect Dinner Which Turned Sour”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed November 6, 2012

We had eaten here several years ago on a Monday night and were the only customers in the place. We got decent treatment and food so we decided to go back on this, our next overnight visit to Cambria. It was an exceptionally busy Sunday evening when my wife went in to check on availability of tables for a little later in the evening. The host was very accommodating and, though they do not take reservations, took our name and promised priority seating when we returned an hour and a half later. He was good to his word and gave us an excellent table in the front of the restaurant with only a tiny wait.

Our server and the busser were both extraordinarily pleasant despite the very crowded restaurant. We both chose the fresh mahi mahi. Dinners there come with soup or salad and my wife opted for the salad while I chose the clam chowder. Both starters were brought to us right away and we began eating. About a third of the way through our server came back and told us that they only had one mahi mahi left. My wife insisted I have it and chose the steamed clams as her fall-back position. She noted that the only size she saw on the menu was as an appetizer but that is typically plenty for her (especially considering the killer lunch we had that day at Paradise Cove in Malibu). And, it has never been her habit to order a salad when ordering steamed clams or mussels.

The steamers were excellent but my mahi mahi was just slightly undercooked which detracted from my enjoyment. The portion size was large and the quality good, however. We declined the dessert option and asked for the check. This was when it went bad. The handwritten check showed the charge for my wife’s wine, a $7.00 entry for the salad, my wife’s steamers, and my fish. Clearly, in our minds, there should not have been a charge for the salad. I pointed out to our server the salad had been brought to us (and eaten) in anticipation of a fish plate which they were unable to produce after it was ordered. Unfortunately, instead of being gracious about it our server turned a little petulant. She was observed by my wife to be doing some adjustments to the bill and then heading off to consult with someone. We can only guess it was for approval. When the handwritten check was returned to us we could see it had been altered using some kind of liquid paper or correction fluid. The salad charge had been removed and so had the cloak for friendliness which had covered our server until that point. It left us with a bad taste in our mouths and we shall find an alternative the next time we’re in Cambria.

  • Visited November 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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632 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Turkish first
  • Any
English first
Stuart, Florida
Top Contributor
101 reviews 101 reviews
44 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
56 helpful votes 56 helpful votes
“Killer Seafood!! Best in the area...”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 5, 2012

BUT, get there early as they fill up quick and dont take reservations. It is worth the wait and the view of the Pacific is awesome!!!!

Visited June 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Orcutt, California
Top Contributor
96 reviews 96 reviews
64 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
40 helpful votes 40 helpful votes
“Always a must for great seafood & lively atmosphere”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 5, 2012

They really do serve the best scallops or scallops and shrimp a la Sea Chest, loaded with garlic, mushrooms, wine sauce and more. The side dishes are cooked to perfection and if it's too crowded for a table, eat at the bar and watch them cook! Don't forget the best garlic bread you can smell from up & down Moonstone Drive.
It is only open 5:30-9:00 PM so get over and get a table or put your name on the list; cash only, ATM on premises.

Visited October 2012
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San Diego, California
Top Contributor
78 reviews 78 reviews
35 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 53 cities Reviews in 53 cities
47 helpful votes 47 helpful votes
“Great bar setting”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 5, 2012

Eat at the bar - the cooks add to the ambiance ! The swordfish
(local) was excellent. No credit cards allowed, nor reservations,
only cash, and only opens at 5:00pm.

Visited October 2012
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Los Angeles, California
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Outstanding seafood, great oyster bar!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 5, 2012

We always sit at the oyster bar, appetizers are fabulous, calamari strips, oysters Rockefellar, clans cassino, great clalm chowder and a super pasta with either shrimp or scallops, love it all. They open at 5:30, and people line up before that, drinking wine. Fun atmosphere!

Visited September 2012
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