Seafare Inn - Whittier CA - Restaurant Review, Menu/Prices
I first discovered the Seafare Inn approximately 5 years ago via an enthusiastic recommendation from a close friend. For some inexplicable reason, we always seem to end up engaged in friendly discussions related to my insatiable appetite for fresh East Coast seafood which can be very difficult if not impossible to find in Southern California. My continuous quest had led me to uncover at least 3 or 4 restaurants in the Orange County area that entice diners by serving a mouth watering variety of fresh New England delicacies, the 'Seafare Inn' is included and noted within the pages of my personal list of elites.
Established in 1961 and located in a bustling area of Whittier California just to the west of Beach Blvd., The Seafare Inn serves a large selection of what the name imply's, seafood. A quaint restaurant that prepares several traditional dishes and also specializes in healthy choices for their loyal clientele.
From outside looking at the exterior facade, the modest sized restaurant is more reminiscent of a large home which was conveniently converted to a dining establishment, but don't let that fool you, once you indulge by tasting the food, a genuine sense of highly competent culinary preparation will be apparent. The exterior is indeed very unassuming and consists of an attractive yet low key garden of date palms accentuated by other indigenous enhancing landscape shrubs. This basic yet exotic feeling Southern California touch coupled with the inclusion of a prominent hand crafted stone facade fountain situated at the entrance and complete the visual scene. A squared bench layout for a relaxing rest as you wait to be seated is conveniently located adjacent to the front entrance so missing your anticipated call to the table is unlikely.
There are no tables outside but what the Seafare lacks in facilitating 'Piazza' style dining, it more than makes up for with seamless parking and hassle free access. The lot easily accommodates full dining capacity with room to spare. The "Seafare Inn" is a restaurant which would be considered by the majority of patrons as a "No Frills", down home 'Food Focused' experience from beginning to end. Nothing fancy, just great cuisine and service.
- I arrived at 11:35 a.m. on a Friday just ahead of the "Lunch Crowd" which allowed me ample time to take some pristine photos before it got busy -
An extra added bonus was to find easy and seamless access to and from the restaurant parking lot. There are approximately 5 or 6 reserved spaces designated for the disabled which are located at the front side of the building, efficient planning which provides an almost effortless transition for the handicapped. The restaurant is located right on Whittier Blvd. and there's a traffic light at the main lot entrance so congestion even at the busiest time of the day, is virtually non existent.
- Parking is free so there's no need for validation -
The interior is just as modest if not more so than the exterior. It appears as if the owners made a well thought out, conscious business decision from the very beginning to allocate a bulk of profit and investment dollars toward importing fresh seafood from various vendors, ensuring quality, and providing the best possible cuisine at the best possible price verses creating an extravagant or elegant atmosphere. The exterior mat at the floor entrance articulates a brief, simple phrase, " Welcome Aboard", so the seaside or casual nautical motif flows from the very beginning of your experience and resonates throughout the entire establishment from the moment you enter. If a good quality lunch or dinner is top priority at the expense of flashy chandeliers or genuine silver plated utensils, I don't think you'll be disappointed.
If you're looking for a place to hang out at the bar, have a few drinks, get a little raucous, and watch the big game on a 52 inch Hi Def LCD, this is probably not the place for you. The Seafare Inn maintains a very low key and mundane existence which is primarily focused on providing a "Cuisine" experience and is definitely not a restaurant which is conducive to a loud, boisterous, overly enthusiastic sports discussion or spirit filled debate. The Seafare does serve alcoholic beverages but there is no bar, and the vast majority of regular customers seem to be in their golden years so they obviously prefer a more laid back and subdued environment. When I'm interested in a high energy, feisty Monday Night Football type of night out, I usually find an establishment which is more suited to accommodate my desires, and there are more than enough diverse environments to fulfill my request here in Orange County. But when I'm craving a plate of exquisite shellfish or lightly battered fish fillet, I head out to the Seafare.
With a name like the 'Seafare Inn' we immediately envision a menu containing a banquet of ocean delights, "Fruita Di Mare" so to speak, and such is the case with one of Whittier's best kept secrets. As you walk in the front door there's a chalk board located right above the register annotating the "Lunch & Dinner Specials". Fresh catches of the day are listed from top to bottom and the choices are usually abundant and appealing.
The Starter & Entrée section is adequate and the selections consist of mainly fish & shellfish dishes. Both deep sea & fresh water choices are available, from Halibut to Cod and Catfish to trout, there's something for every taste unless of course an extraordinary, exotic dish is a preference. A welcomed highlight of the Seafare is the reasonably priced "Lunch" menu which typically includes several popular entrees which in some cases are so inexpensive, you almost feel guilty about paying such a negligible price for such a healthy portion. I had the Fillet of Sole Lunch last time I visited and for a mere $7.25, I received 2 nice sized lightly battered fillets, a small side of rice pilaf, sliced tomatoes, and a small bread basket accentuated with miniature bran muffins. Very reasonable indeed.
Shell food delicacies are usually available upon request however, in the same tradition of necessity as most other seafood restaurants found all over the world, some selections ebb and flow with the season and tides. Oysters, Whole Clams, Calamari, and the Grand Daddy of them all, Maine Lobster at market price can all be found here. A small but nice selection of spirits, and one of the only establishments I know of that still serves an ice cold Raspberry Iced Tea Snapple as a non-carbonated alternative.
Simply put, great food at a reasonable price.
After experiencing this fine establishment on several different occasions at various times and days, I would not hesitate to recommend the "Seafare Inn" to anyone who enjoys a good fish or shellfish meal prepared in the traditional style. it's also one of the very few restaurants in Southern California that still offers whole Ipswich Clams served either steamed or fried, a niche' which desperately needs to be catered to and if you're originally from the East Coast Region of the United States, finding local fare of this caliber is almost the equivalent of hitting a moderate sized lottery jackpot, maybe a million or less, well, almost. All the fare which I've personally indulged in, including the oysters and clams, were fresh to the taste and can be prepared either raw, steamed, or fried according to preference.
All considerations evaluated, the food is good and the prices very reasonable especially for the lunch entrees which range from approximately $7.00 to $12.00 for Fillet of Sole, Halibut, Shrimp, Scallops, Catfish, or a generous portion of Salmon. Notwithstanding exceptions for truly exotic preferences, just about any kind of traditional "Sea Fare" can be found and prepared to taste, here, at the Seafare Inn situated at the upscale vicinity of Whittier California.
As previously touched upon, although the food would certainly appeal to just about every demographic, I was pleasantly surprised to find the vast majority of customers were senior citizens and beyond, at least that was the case when I visited on several different occasions. For better or worse, I'm accustomed to, and have become comfortably acclimated to a much higher decibel level dining experience, and just about every other restaurant I frequent provides this and then some. But here at the Seafare, where the fancy bar and HD TV to accommodate the raucous sports fan are virtually non-existent, the laid back, serene atmospheric feel to the restaurant can be a refreshing change of pace.
- Some menu selections are seasonal so I always call in advance to verify availability of certain delicacies such as Main Lobster & Ipswich Clams - See below for RATING -
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Address & Hours:
16363 E. Whittier Blvd.
Whittier, Ca 90630
Tue - Sun: 11:30am to 9:00pm ( Closed Mondays )
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