The next day we focused on Cannery Row and again decided to make use of the coupons we had for freebies. By this time I’d learned that The Fish Hopper, another highly recommended restaurant by locals, was part of the same family of restaurants owned by the Shake family, so I figured we’d be in for some more great food. Naturally, we had to stop and sample some of their clam chowders before we went inside, and it was hands-down the best chowder of the weekend! We definitely knew we’d be having some for lunch and couldn’t wait to see what else The Fish Hopper had to offer.
We started off with steaming bowls of the clam chowder and some White Zinfandel because my mom wanted to toast to a fabulous mini-vacation. The chowder was thick, creamy, and packed with fresh clams, a welcome change from most clam chowders that feature the canned variety. It was also nice to partake of a clam chowder that wasn’t filled with potatoes, which is one of my biggest pet peeves about most restaurant chowders. The warm, fresh sourdough bread we were served was the perfect accompaniment to our soup and I would have been perfectly content leaving lunch at that.
Service-wise, our experience at this restaurant was the complete opposite of what we’d dealt with at Old Fisherman’s Grotto. Our server, Nicole, was probably one of the best servers I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. She practically oozed personality and made everyone in her section feel like they were her only guests. Though the food was equally good in each restaurant, having a server like Nicole would have made all the difference in the world had we had her serve us at Old Fisherman’s Grotto the night before. Alas, that was not the case, but I made sure to let The Fish Hopper’s GM know about our excellent service and wonderful food. After years on the front lines of the restaurant business, I know that compliments are few and far between compared to the complaints, so anytime I can let management know how well their restaurant is doing, I do so immediately.
Overall, both restaurants were wonderful, each with their own distinguishing features. The fact that they both offer seafood that is sustainably and humanely raised was just the icing on the cake for me since I’m always trying to find food that is good for me and for the rest of the planet within my very limited means. Sure, visiting these types of establishments can’t be done every day, but it’s good to know that there are places you can visit on your vacation that feature great food, good specials, and spread good karma by choosing the right foods to serve.