I really like expertly-made fish and chips. I travel almost continuously all over the world and in the least few decades have pretty much given up hope for truly good fish and chips. It's the sort of meal that those of us of a certain age take for granted, as a few decades ago you could pretty much count on good fish and chips just about everywhere with the same reliability of an acceptable hot dog.
Well, the discerning fish and chips buyer knows that assumption is long gone. Now, restaurants which create truly light and flaky fish and chips, not too oily, not too obviously pre-frozen, are few and far between. So, we go out of our way to find good fish and chips restaurants and to remember them.
My odyssey in search of "Fish" in Sausalito started when my son and I moved our sailboat from the San Francisco Bay area down to Mexico, largely to avoid sales taxes on the boat. Since we didn't want to kill ourselves during the delivery we stuck to day trips, hopping down the California coast every day only so far as we could cover in a day with plenty of time to anchor at the next port where we could sleep overnight. And, I should emphasize, go into town for dinner. Since every voyage should have a theme we decided that we would have fish and chips at each port to compare the best of California.
It turns out that the best of California in the fish and chips breed of restaurant is very good indeed, but by far the two best were "Fish" in Sausalito at the very beginning of our voyage and an unnamed, outdoor fish stand in Morro Bay about midway.
"Fish" is located at the edges of one of Sausalito's main marinas. I first visited it by dinghy when arriving in Sausalito by sailboat back in the day when I kept a sailboat on the bay. The restaurant features only fresh fish at absolutely stratospheric prices in what, other than the breathtaking prices, is a funky "whole foods" vibe full of "sustainable" fishing talk and other appropriately leftist nautical stylings. If you like Whole Foods you will love the vibe, perhaps even the "whole paycheck" part of it.
Seriously, though, I really like this place but then again I am more affluent then most. I find it difficult to recommend a dockside fish and chips place no matter how good it may be if the prices it charges are mainstream downtown San Francisco restaurant prices. I just don't think that the true vibe for even a very good dockside, casual fish place should include prices that would take the breath away even from a too-rich-too-care heiress.
Except for the Getty prices everything about "Fish" is casual and nice: a great view of the boats and active fuel dock, very casual atmosphere, bus your own dishes, way too long a wait to order and to get your meal, not enough places to sit, toilet around the corner of the next building and all that other genuine marine environment jazz. But, the food is superb, worth even the cheap annoyances such as portion-control oyster cracker packets with the chowder. The fish is really good. But, then again, be ready for those prices: You won't get away for under $25 a person or so and more if you order anything but an entree and an iced tea.
Note that there is practically no service since you serve yourself: line up to order and they will bring your entree to you but other than that it is all self-service. This is part of the ambiance and would be perfect and in-character but for the full service restaurant pricing.
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