Tangaroa Fish Market and Raw Bar brings another casual, neighborhood spot to the Mar Vista - Culver City corridor on Washington Boulevard.
Culver City's Washington Boulevard corridor continues to expand their restaurant options, and I continue to be a very satisfied eater. This is the area with A Frame, Hatchet Hall, Fin, and Gravlax to name a few. Tangaroa Fish Market and Bar opened about a year and a half ago and I haven't had a chance to go until just last month.
Tangaroa is a very casual spot. There's a small patio on 2 sides and a tight dining room with an open kitchen and large bar. I had made a reservation, but with the metal tables packed closely together, my friend and I opted to sit at the half domed bar. The crowd was friendly and chatty, and there was definitely a nice neighborhood vibe about the place.
As the name suggests, Tangaroa Fish Market and Raw Bar serves a seafood-centric menu. The owner and a lot of the fish come from New Zealand. There's a long list of oysters that are displayed on a chalkboard over the kitchen. You can just pop in to get some fresh seafood to-go, or stay for a sit down lunch or dinner.
The owner and staff are very friendly and usually behind the bar, in the kitchen and running around to the tables. Needless to say, service can be a bit "relaxed." I was catching up with a friend, so not in a hurry, but when over a half hour had passed and we hadn't seen our main courses, we inquired and learned it "got lost." They were cooked and sent out immediately.
There are crab cakes, calamari and poke on the starter menu. We began with the Peruvian mountain ceviche, a spicy avocado white fish mix that will please your palate, but have you reaching for a fast drink afterwards to quell the fire.
The tuna poke is more mild with a sesame - ginger focus. Both are good and $14 each.
I had the seared ahi tuna salad ($19). Large pieces of tuna were drizzled with a red mustard vinaigrette, next to mixed greens, avocado and orange. It was definitely enough for a satisfying meal.
There's scampi, salmon, fish 'n chips, tacos and lobster. My friend had the seared scallops, which were excellent ($29). Corn chorizo succotash accompanied the scallops, along with a swirl of creamy carrot puree.
Most mains are $20 - $30, which might be more than you want to pay for a casual, neighborhood seafood spot with relaxed service. Or it might be just what you're looking for on a night out in Culver City.
Tangaroa Fish Market and Raw Bar
12604 W. Washington Boulevard, Culver City