The Sage Publication is the student news site of Sage Creek High School in Carlsbad, CA

The Sage

The Sage Publication is the student news site of Sage Creek High School in Carlsbad, CA

The Sage

The Sage Publication is the student news site of Sage Creek High School in Carlsbad, CA

The Sage

A Carlsbad Classic: Harbor Fish Cafe

Grand openings and new restaurants are always fun and exciting to try. However, some of the classic eateries continue to not only stand the test of time but continue to make Carlsbad unique. Harbor Fish Cafe may look like a little hole-in-the-wall place but has managed to stay open through many years of adversity. 

For over 55 years, Harbor Fish Cafe has been serving the community with homemade fish n’ chips and clam chowder. A family-owned business, full of daily fishing trips and homemade cooking all made fresh daily, turned into something amazing that has become a landmark for the beaches at Carlsbad.

The menu located in front of the store describes the food items customers can eat while they wait to be seated. The description of the time the sunset adds a cozy feeling and a good vibe to the restaurant. (Photo By Leah Ertel)

The first Harbor Fish Seafood Market originally opened in 1967. In 1981, Harbor Fish Cafe opened up in sunny Carlsbad at 3179 Carlsbad Blvd, which at one time used to be a gas station during the 1930s.

The Harbor Fish Cafe was all started by Doug Mcwha along with his son Carl, who commercially fished for many years while his daughters Diana and Sue ran the Seafood Market. Sally, one of Doug’s daughters, was able to develop her famous tartar, cocktail sauces and homemade coleslaw. This kickstarted the beginning of the cafe with the beautiful beach views and the food that is always homemade daily.

Fast forward to the present day, Harbor Fish Cafe is doing as well as ever. With a beautiful ocean view, great service and mouth-watering food, the cafe remains in stable business as they serve the people of Carlsbad along with hungry tourists. 

The citizens of Carlsbad have nothing but good things to say about Harbor Fish Cafe. Customers and even the waiters explain how much they have enjoyed eating and working by the beach.

Two tourists from out of town in Minnesota were eating and enjoying the view.

“[We] are from Minnesota and never have been here before,” Sandi said. “We were looking for some fish n’ chips and a good view.”

The second tourist traveling along with Sandi chimed in as well.

“The French fries were good, the view is good, and it has a great vibe,” Lois said.

A fried fish sits next to french fries with the dipping sauces of cocktail sauce and Harbor Fish Cafe’s famous tartar sauce. Fried fish is the most famous dish people chose to eat along with the tartar sauce being invented by the founder’s daughter. (Photo By Leah Ertel)

The second customers were a couple who drove all the way from Las Vegas, Nevada to eat at Harbor Fish Cafe.

“We have eaten here before and the location is always busy,” Barbara said. “The food is always fresh, the service is good and the fried food is not overly fried.”

A waiter in college who has worked here for six months had nothing but good things to say.

“The Jumbo Shrimp is the best plate because it’s good and we hand bread it ourselves,” Jake said. “The place is special because location is the main thing and it’s a really simple menu which people can grasp. It’s family-friendly and a relaxing atmosphere.”

The menu has a wide variety of options that delight people of all ages. Overall, Harbor Fish Cafe is famous for its appetizer of clam Chowder and its meal of Fish n’ chips. Their drinks are refreshing as well, perfect after a long beach day or going out to hang with friends.

The cafe opens at 11 a.m. every day and closes at sundown at 7:30 p.m, except for Tuesdays in which it stays closed all day. Harbor Fish Cafe hopes to stay in business as long as it can as it continues to delight customers with its famous fish n’ chips and many more seafood delicacies for many years to come.

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