Since we go to school on a beautiful campus right by the ocean, it would be a shame to never dine at a seafood restaurant on Stearns Wharf. Santa Barbara Shellfish Company sits right on the end of Stearns Wharf and provides customers with a casual spot to enjoy ocean views and munch on fresh and well-prepared seafood.

When you get to the restaurant, you’re already immersed in the beachy atmosphere with the ocean breeze and smell of seafood. I arrived with my friend around lunchtime and there was a waitlist to be seated, but it moved really quickly, as we were seated in less than 10 minutes. Although the interior of the restaurant is quite small, the coziness of the space gives it a more personal tone that is true to Santa Barbara culture. We were seated at the bar and given menus immediately, which had a really nice array of seafood options including unique local ingredients such as Santa Barbara rock crab, uni and abalone.

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My friend and I opted to share the crab sandwich and shrimp ceviche. The sandwich was served on sourdough bread with coleslaw and onion rings on the side and the shrimp ceviche was served with a side of warm tortilla chips. The portions were huge and great for sharing, and they did not skimp on the meat at all. The crab salad in the sandwich was extremely refreshing and the crispy onion rings created a nice balance of flavors. Although this dish looked very simple, it definitely packed a punch. 

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The shrimp ceviche was also another very refreshing dish with its tangy flavors. There wasn’t anything super special about it, but I appreciated that it was simply a satisfying appetizer. The ingredients were obviously very fresh and everything in the ceviche was evenly coated with the lime juice and pico de gallo. 

This was the perfect amount to share, as my friend and I both felt satisfied and not too full for a walk on the beach afterwards. This was my second time visiting Santa Barbara Shellfish Company and it did not disappoint. I appreciate how consistent the quality of their seafood was between my two visits and I think what really makes this restaurant stand out from the other seafood options in Santa Barbara is that you know you’re getting quality food at a fair price.


Winnie Lam
Winnie Lam serves as the 2020-2021 On The Menu Editor. She has an unhealthy obsession with Trader Joe's and she loves all things matcha.