Seafood Restaurants in South Pasadena

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Big-time food critics don?t usually write about fast-casual joints, saving their words instead for Michelin-starred spots with white tablecloths. But they've made a telling exception for Se?or Fish, a Mexican-seafood outfit launched by siblings Enrique and Alicia Ramirez in 1988. Soon after the restaurant opened, writers from publications such as the Los Angeles Times began to praise the Ramirez's fish tacos, which were inspired by those sold along the beaches of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Crowds began flocking to Se?or Fish's tiny Highland Park kiosk, hungering for the ocean-fresh fish and handmade tortillas they?d read about in the papers.

Three decades later, diners are still flocking to Se?or Fish, which has evolved into five popular locations throughout LA. Enrique and Alicia remain deeply involved in the restaurants' daily operations. We talked with Enrique about the highlights of his iconic eatery.

On Finding Fame: ?[In 1988], a top reviewer from the Los Angeles Times reviewed us. Once we got that review, tons of people started reviewing us?Molly O'Neill, a food critic in New York City, did a story on us on the front page of the food section in The New York Times. Afterwards, when people were on vacation [from New York] and came to eat, they?d mention it.?

On the Scallop Taco: "Not too many people have ever had a scallop in a taco. It?s kind of a novelty. We use 10-20 scallops, which means there are 10-20 per pound, so it?s kind of jumbo scallop. And all of our seafood is wild?free-range from the ocean?as opposed to farmed."

On Guadalajara-Style Carnitas: "Our carnitas are traditional to Guadalajara, where our family is from. We make it every day and use good-quality, expensive protein."

618 Mission St
South Pasadena,
CA
US

Big-time food critics don?t usually write about fast-casual joints, saving their words instead for Michelin-starred spots with white tablecloths. But they've made a telling exception for Se?or Fish, a Mexican-seafood outfit launched by siblings Enrique and Alicia Ramirez in 1988. Soon after the restaurant opened, writers from publications such as the Los Angeles Times began to praise the Ramirez's fish tacos, which were inspired by those sold along the beaches of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Crowds began flocking to Se?or Fish's tiny Highland Park kiosk, hungering for the ocean-fresh fish and handmade tortillas they?d read about in the papers.

Three decades later, diners are still flocking to Se?or Fish, which has evolved into five popular locations throughout LA. Enrique and Alicia remain deeply involved in the restaurants' daily operations. We talked with Enrique about the highlights of his iconic eatery.

On Finding Fame: ?[In 1988], a top reviewer from the Los Angeles Times reviewed us. Once we got that review, tons of people started reviewing us?Molly O'Neill, a food critic in New York City, did a story on us on the front page of the food section in The New York Times. Afterwards, when people were on vacation [from New York] and came to eat, they?d mention it.?

On the Scallop Taco: "Not too many people have ever had a scallop in a taco. It?s kind of a novelty. We use 10-20 scallops, which means there are 10-20 per pound, so it?s kind of jumbo scallop. And all of our seafood is wild?free-range from the ocean?as opposed to farmed."

On Guadalajara-Style Carnitas: "Our carnitas are traditional to Guadalajara, where our family is from. We make it every day and use good-quality, expensive protein."

115 W Main St
Alhambra,
CA
US

Nestled in the building that previously housed renowned restaurant Ponchito, which drew celebrities and even former president Ronald Reagan, Mission 261 is steeped in culinary tradition and a history of lavish entertainment. The restaurant continues that legacy, regaling diners with extravagant performances by the Dancing Fire Dance Company. The dancers dazzle eyes with Tahitian, hula, samba, and LED Glow performances dressed in Vegas-show-style garb, and conclude the evening with a glowing LED-light finale. During these grand displays, guests feast on a Hawaiian buffet of coconut shrimp, huli-huli chicken, and fire-roasted kalua pig.

Though the chefs experiment with Hawaiian cuisine, their specialty is a menu of finely crafted Cantonese delicacies. Dim sum and tea fill out the lunch menu, followed by entrees such as bird's nest soup and braised abalone with oyster sauce at dinnertime. Diners can also opt for traditional Chinese favorites including kung pao chicken, Peking-style pork chops, and sauteed scallops with chili peppers.

Their dining room is as expansive as their menu, with a series of banquet rooms and an outdoor patio?marked by dramatic architecture and photo-ready d?cor?that host up to 800 diners. This makes Mission 261 a go-to choice for those planning a wedding, family reunion, or impromptu chariot race.

261 S Mission Dr
San Gabriel,
CA
US

Food critic Jonathan Gold advises approaching Wang Xing Ji’s crab and pork buns “cautiously, as if an undiffused bomb.” Seasoned patrons will understand and heed his advice––though the dumplings’ steaming contents are tasty, it’s best not to bite until the near-boiling juices cool.

140 W Valley Blvd
San Gabriel,
CA
US

Sure, it has some other tasty options—crab, shrimp, steak—but you'd be remiss to walk out of Newport Tan Cang Seafood without trying the house-specialty lobster. But this isn't your everyday butter-drizzled crustacean: the hefty pile of deep-fried lobster meat comes dressed with black pepper, scallions, and chilies.

518 W Las Tunas Dr
San Gabriel,
CA
US

Elite Restaurant might seem like strictly dim sum and seafood at first, but regulars know that the real specialty is the egg custard tarts. Crispy on the outside with a not-too-sweet crust, the custard has inspired a cult following, according to LA Weekly.

700 S Atlantic Blvd
Monterey Park,
CA
US