Neptune’s Net

Review by: Maggie Rosenberg & Trevor Hagstrom

Just over the Ventura, CA county line from Malibu is Neptune’s Net — since 1958, a destination where surfers and motorcycle clubs come to drink beer and eat seafood. There are two different counters with separate menus. One serves fried and grilled food, the other only steamed and raw shellfish. Unless you’re watching your weight, we suggest you focus on the hot kitchen.

What to eat at Neptune’s Net

Neptune’s Net has a large menu of sandwiches, fish tacos, burgers and salads, but the baskets of fried fish served over French fries are what keep the bikers roaring in. People line up for golden fried fish with a panko crust. Of the options at the fryer, butterflied shrimp and calamari are the best. The shrimp meat is succulent within and fried as crunchy as a potato chip. The calamari has a different batter than the rest, flaky and tempura-like with large flecks of black pepper.

The fish to eat

Fried whitefish is recommended too. It has a noticeable beer flavor. Clam strips and fried scallops are average. The best way to go is to get the giant sampler and try everything over a mountain of fries along with a conspicuously tiny thimble full of coleslaw. The fries are medium cut and perfectly golden. Also included are rich creamy, almost sloppy, grilled crab cakes. These juicy cakes are better on the sandwiches than over fries.

Clam Chowder

New England clam chowder is very good, too; no trip to Neptune’s should be made without at least a bowl of it. A bread bowl full wouldn’t be a bad meal choice if you can resist getting something fried. The chowder is very thick, almost doughy with creamy roux. It features generous chunks of tender clams and potatoes that still have a nice bite to them, as they should.

Shrimp, crab, and lobster from the steamer

Over at the steamer, peel and eat shrimp are the popular thing to get, but if you’re celebrating, raw oysters and cracked crab claws are an appropriate match for the many beers on offer. They will steam a lobster for you as well. We find the steamed seafood here to be just average, whereas the fried food matches the rough and tumble crowd much better. The lines at the two counters usually reflect this preference.

Busy, but worth the wait!

Neptune’s Net is usually pretty full, but even at calm times the traffic comes in waves. Convoys of beach-goers or motorcycle clubs can take the place by storm and suddenly fill every table in the time it takes to refill your tartar sauce. It’s a convenient stop for Malibu beach trips, and a memorable lunch option for those driving the Pacific Coast Highway.

What To Eat

Seafood Sampler

Fish and Chips

Shrimp Basket

Steamed Sampler

Calimari Basket

Steamed Lobster

Peel n’ Eat Shrimp

Clam Chowder


Neptune’s Net Recipes


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