No need to travel the world to satisfy your taste buds; Escape Fish Bar’s food philosophy is, We offer an escape without having to leave town. Indeed, Escape Fish Bar is unlike any other San Diego seafood restaurant. Inspired by a family trip to Pudget Sound, the owners strive to bring you a different kind of seafood experience. The menu is a collaboration between Canadian celebrity chef Kunal Ghose, who brings you the fascinating seafood flavors of the Pacific Northwest, and international chef Ivoreno Brigitha, who serves up influences of Central America and Asia. The result is an escape from the ordinary where even the most discerning palates may be surprised.
Escape Fish Bar will never be accused of being pretentious. They let their incredible food speak for itself in this casual and unassuming restaurant located on 5th Avenue between G and F Streets in the heart of the Gaslamp Quarter. When you step inside Escape Fish Bar from the small front patio, you’ll feel like you’ve exchanged the urban vibe of the Gaslamp Quarter for an Alaskan cabin in the woods. Knotty pine covers the walls, a painted concrete floor is worn from thousands of visits and repeat visits, and a giant shiny swordfish hangs on one side of the small dining room. It says Alaskan fishing village, hometown friendliness, and rustic dependability. This is where you come casually dressed, meet your closest friends, and share the most incredible meal in recent memory.
You’ll want to start with tapas at Escape Fish Bar. Try the Panko Shrimp Corn Rice Cakes or Tempura Pickles with a spicy double horseradish tartar sauce, spicy fresh fish Ceviche, or tender Buttermilk Sambal Calamari. You won’t find just any old fries at Escape either; the Kennebec twice cooked fries have a subtle nutty taste and a firm texture, served with a red curry ketchup. Kennebec fries do double duty as also a great side to the half-pound jalapeno Escape Burger with cheese entrée.
You’ll will want to come back again and again to make sure you’ve tried everything on this unique menu. Just the array of available fresh fish alone is astounding, but what they do with it is where the magic begins. Try one of their signature Escape Tacones, which are Japanese-style seafood tacos. They take grilled flour tortillas and wrap one of nine seafood choices, either grilled or tempura-style, together with roasted pumpkin seed slaw, lime pickled jicama and onions, daikon radish sprouts, and smoked chili avocado sauce. Tacones are served with rice, potato salad, or slaw on the side.
Escape Fish Bar does not have a full bar, but they serve local handcrafted beers by draft or bottle, as well as a wide selection of wines by the glass. Pair the Thai Seafood Salad featuring shrimp and Alaskan white fish on rice noodles, mixed greens and mango, and spicy lime coconut milk dressing with a glass of your favorite wine, or enjoy Tempura Fish and Chips with a local craft beer. This restaurant racks up five-star reviews on a regular basis on Yelp; you just can’t go wrong here, no matter what menu selection you make.
Escape Fish Bar is a come as you are restaurant, so if you’re exploring the Gaslamp Quarter and need a comfortable place to be wowed for lunch, this is it. Although it does not specifically cater to children, this welcoming restaurant is family-owned and family-friendly. There is street parking, but no parking lot or valet service. Horton Plaza has public parking a block away. They provide a place to lock up your bike, if that’s how you arrive. There is also a small, but comfortable covered sidewalk patio that is great for people watching while you dine. Escape Fish Bar is open daily. Even though the atmosphere is casual, high-quality cuts of ultra-fresh fish professionally prepared with gourmet ingredients are reflected in their moderate prices. Their signature Tacones with choice of Pollock, Alaskan Cod, Mahi Mahi, Albacore, Wild Alaskan Salmon, Mango Shrimp, locally caught Halibut, Ahi, and Yellowtail start at $14 and are subject to market price changes.
Just a block behind Escape Fish Bar is Westfield Horton Plaza. Not only will you find some of the best San Diego shopping in this uniquely styled outdoor mall, but you will also find some great entertainment. United Artists Horton Plaza has eight theater screens, so you’re sure to find your favorite movie. Take in one of the San Diego Repertory’s provocative and often award-winning plays at the Lyceum Theater, or get your laughs at the Madhouse Comedy Club. Just walking the Gaslamp Quarter is an experience in itself. You are also within walking distance of the San Diego Convention Center and nearby Seaport Village, and don’t forget the San Diego Padres play at Petco Park just two blocks from 5th Avenue and K Street.