Tangaroa Restaurant

Review by: Marlene Steinberg

Living in Marina del Rey for over 30 years, I’ve always wondered why we didn’t have a good array of seafood restaurants. Now, that is not the case!

Inconspicuously located on the corner of a major street close to Marina del Rey is a building I pass by every day.  All I saw on the front of it was Tangaroa.  I nNever thought twice that it might be a restaurant until I noticed people inside … eating.

I saw an advertisement for it in our local newspaper and had to check it out. What a surprise when I entered: it also is a fresh seafood market, as well as a raw bar.

Behind the counter and bar is a huge chalkboard listing all the fresh fish for the day.  There were maybe 50 different types of oysters on the chalkboard with check-marks next to the oysters of the day.  I could choose from among about ten different kinds.

We sat down at one of the many tables and our waitress let us know that we were there during happy hour. She also told us that a lot of the items on the menu are specialties of New Zealand and Australia.  They had a full bar but it was just water for me.  She asked if I wanted plain or sparkling.  I chose sparkling not giving a thought that it might be bottled and from New Zealand. What a treat!  It didn’t need ice because it was served in its own special stainless steel glass to keep it cold.

After we looked over the menu, our waitress let us know that a few items were offered as appetizers during happy hour. Perfect! That meant I got to try several different dishes. Oysters were $2 each.

I asked the waitress about fresh sea urchin. She assured me that I would love it, that they crack the sea urchin and serve it as it comes right out of the shell. However, she also told me that they were out of it. Phew!

We chose a tuna ceviche made with the chef’s choice from a few different types of tuna available. We also shared a seared-tuna-topped salad, peel and eat rock shrimp from Australia, and an Australian cheese platter. I had to have a couple oysters and I told the waitress to let the chef choose for me.

The ceviche was simply the best I’ve ever had. Next time it will be a full order for me. I don’t think I’ve ever had such fresh fish!

As we were eating, the man behind the fish counter kept coming over and asking us how we liked what we were eating. I asked the waitress if he was the owner. “No, he’s the fish monger.”

The rock shrimp looked different from the shrimp I’m used to, with a taste reminiscent of lobster. The cheese plate included perfectly sized samples of a soft cheese, a hard cheese and a blue. It came with a salami, strawberries, and what I think was an orange marmalade and crackers. I missed asking the waitress exactly what cheeses we were eating.

When we were done eating, “my” fish monger came over with a gift of freshly-caught (off the shores of New Zealand) salmon sashimi. I normally don’t care for salmon sashimi but this was just delicious. There was no doubt that it was freshly caught.

I never did have my oysters. After we had ordered the ceviche and salad, the waitress thought I had cancelled them. Now, I must go back for oysters! As if I need an excuse!

What To Eat

Tuna Ceviche

Peel and Eat Shrimp

Green salad with a seared tuna option

Cheese Sampler

Taste of the Salmon Sashimi

Australian Sparkling Water


Tangaroa Restaurant Recipes


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