Today I returned to Mersea’s on Harford Pier in Avila Beach–Delish!
I had been craving a return to Mersea’s, where I have mostly had very tasty, reasonably-priced meals. Huge congrats to owner Chris Dorn, who’s parents founded Dorn’s Seafood in Morro Bay and Duckie’s Chowder House in Cayucos. I must say, Chris is doing a great job with his new project in Mersea’s, which he built with his wife and partner. After remodeling what was formerly Pete’s Pierside Cafe, near the Old Port Inn restaurant and fish shop, they created a spectacular new eatery with awesome views of the bay that’s usually filled with all manner of floating watercraft. And the kiddies love the many portholes along the floor allowing them fascinating looks at the lively sea beneath them!
The decor and views may be awesome but number one for me is finding food that makes me crave a return. They have managed to do that very well, for which I’m glad. This is anything but your kitschy, oceanside tourist trap. The food is rock solid and quite reasonably priced. It turns out the daily specials (only served weekdays) they serve are very popular, such as the excellent BLAT with large prawns I enjoyed so much on two previous occasions. I do enjoy the red Manhattan chowder, and today it was very tasty. I had a generously-filled cup, only $4.50 (the bowl is $7, and the bread bowl $9), and you can choose to add extra bacon and croutons for only .50 cents more. Even though it’s not obvious in my photo since I had already begun to dig in, the soup was loaded with clams, veggies, and potatoes, and just the right amount of bacon bits.
My KCF gym dining club pal Mark chose the fish tacos, thanks to a great recommendation by the bartender, Mike. He told us the cooks marinate the fish, which adds great flavor when it’s grilled. It was a very good dish, and such a generous serving, I was glad I ordered it, too.
Mark also ordered the onions rings, and they were delightfully addictive. I know because he graciously invited me to try one of the small ones–I loved it (oddly enough, onions rings aren’t necessarily my thing). It came with an excellent dipping sauce that was like Ranch, but we weren’t sure. All that mattered was that it tasted so good.
The batter (or breading) was perfectly thin and crispy, and the onions so sweet and succulent, we thought they must be Maui onions,what a deal at only $4, and well worth ordering.
We both really liked the duo of fish tacos, $7.75. Although it’s difficult to tell by this photo, this was a super generous dish with double corn tortillas each topped with grilled fish, cabbage, shredded Cheddar and jack cheese, and two salsas, with two marinated jalapeno peppers that were the perfect degree of spiciness. Plenty spicy for a gringo like me, but not a dangerous level. There is no better deal that I know of in any of our oceanfront communities!
While they offer patio seating at tables and bars along the pier, and tables inside, I prefer to sit at the bar in Mersea’s where there are also killer views. At the bar you get complete service which is very convenient. Otherwise you order at the hostess desk, pay, and they deliver your food. But you have to go to the bar to order your adult beverages before choosing your seat. Either way, I can promise you’ll enjoy your visit to this non-touristy destination for killer ocean views, good food, a full service bar, and very reasonable prices! Bon appetit!