My favorite bar in San Diego is actually housed inside a seafood restaurant – of all places. I’ve never been a BIG seafood person, but I do like me some lobster or crab legs, and I eat a lot of fish (okay, maybe I’m a seafood person.) Osetra Fishhouse on 5th Avenue in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter is by far the best seafood restaurant I’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing. From the impeccable and beautifully presented dishes to the handcrafted cocktails and friendly, personal service, Osetra is phenomenal.
Before I delve into the food, let me first elaborate why I love their bar: to start, the bar manager Marcelo is amazing. He can whip up the perfect craft cocktail for you with just one detail – “I like gin” – or the most high-maintenance, vaguest of specifications (the first time I visited, I told him I wanted something “not too sweet but not too dry, strong but with good flavor, but not like her drink. Know what I mean?” He did. And I fell in love with their St. Petersburg cocktail.)
They have a ton of top-shelf spirits, including the exclusive Louis XIII cognac (1 oz. will run you a measly $170.)
But the piece de resistance – for the restaurant in general, not just the bar – is the 3-story wine tower with “wine angels” who scale it to retrieve bottles of wine for you – no, seriously! (It just so happens to be the only 3-story wine tower in all of California.) It’s a trip watching these angels when “they’re flying.”
Fun fact: Osetra is named after one of the finest and most prestigious types of black caviar available. (“Osetra” is translated from Russian as “sturgeon”.) Also, the beautiful building in which it’s housed used to be San Diego’s First National Bank (like, over 100 years ago!) The bank’s money safes in the basement are now used as Osetra’s wine cellars. That’s what I call trendy, knowwhatImean?
And the best part…Osetra doesn’t just serve fish. They serve handmade pastas and rare, unique cuts of beef like Australian and Japanese wagyu beef – both byproducts of their sister restaurants, Greystone Steakhouse and Osteria Panevino.
But enough rambling. Now that you know all about the restaurant, it’s time for the fun stuff – FOOD PICS. I had the pleasure of attending a hosted dinner at Osetra last week (I attended Panevino’s in July) and as expected, it was incredible. Read on and salivate, my friends.
Served with egg whites, egg yolk, chives, shallots, capers, and creme fraiche (my first time trying caviar – delish!)
Served with mignonette & cocktail sauces
Lobster meat with celery aioli, avocado, tomato, red onion, mango salsa, and a tempura lobster claw
Served with garbanzo beans, potato, leeks, citrus emulsion, and pesto aioli
Homemade Maine lobster ravioli in a creamy pink vodka sauce with a touch of pesto
Tender, flaky fish in a pomegranate reduction with fennel risotto and grilled asparagus
Stuffed with spinach, shrimp, crab, fresh herbs, chipotle mango coulis and served over ratatouille mashed potatoes
Australian Wagyu Beef
Grade A8 from Greg Norman Farm
An assortment of Chef-selected desserts, including New York cheesecake, flourless chocolate cake, and tiramisu.
This was my favorite.
No, this was.
The next time you’re in San Diego’s Gaslamp, be sure to visit Osetra Fishhouse. Tell Karina and Marcelo I sent you.
904 5th Ave
San Diego, CA 92101
*Open daily from 4pm to midnight