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Good food for the fourth day

Spike Africa's seafood spot does it right in the Gaslamp

Fresh yellowtail, roasted tomatoes and artichokes, and broccoli slaw at Spike Africa's.
Fresh yellowtail, roasted tomatoes and artichokes, and broccoli slaw at Spike Africa's.
Place

Spike Africa's Fresh Fish Grill & Bar

411 Broadway, San Diego

You ever spend a few days with people who are showing you their city and all the hot spots in the tourist guide?

By the time the fourth day rolls around, if you’re lucky and they haven’t thrown you out like Benjamin Franklin once recommended, they may want to take you to seafood.

Spike Africa's in the Gaslamp
Spike Africa's interior

“There’s this place we go to," they'll say. "It’s not fancy, but we really like the food.”

And you end up having the best meal of the trip.

Spike Africa’s Fresh Fish Grill and Bar is like that.

Named after a 20th century sea captain-adventurer, Spike Africa’s is a nice-looking but unpretentious restaurant in the Gaslamp that serves high-quality seafood with a minimum amount of fuss.

Spike Africa's Sand Dancer margarita is made with El Jimador Blanco, tequila, apricot, lime juice and chipotle syrup.

Here’s the thing about seafood: the simpler the preparation, the more likely it is to be fresh.

Yeah, you can get battered fish, seafood pasta, salads and all that, but where Spike’s shines is the fresh fish. Served simply with a choice of sauces on the side.

When I was there, I tried the fresh yellowtail. It was a big piece for $24.75, including my choice of side (roasted artichokes and tomatoes) and a broccoli slaw with cranberries that was nicely zesty.

Grilled shrimp with rice and broccoli slaw at Spike Africa's.

The yellowtail is seared on the outside, but a little rare on the inside — nice! My waitress suggested the red pepper remoulade (which was the right choice), but let me try the balsamic brown butter and citrus butter sauces as well.

I went there with my son, and while they didn’t have grilled shrimp officially on the menu, they did accommodate him with a plate of five nicely-sized, nicely-grilled shrimp served on a bed of rice with the broccoli slaw.

Spike Africa's grilled Brussels sprouts with bacon, citrus butter, and golden raisins.

He was happy about the shrimp and the rice, but a little skeptical about the slaw.

“Hey, just try one bite,” I said.

He did.

“Hey, this is really good. I like the cranberries,” he said, before sucking down more of the Roy Rogers (Coke and grenadine) that I inexplicably let him order.

We were both fans of the Brussels sprouts appetizers as well. They were grilled with bacon and golden raisins and some of the citrus butter. I was also happy with the Sand Dancer margarita I ordered. It was made with El Jimador Blanco tequila, apricot, lime juice, and chipotle syrup, and had the right mix of sweet, salty and spicy.

Fresh yellowtail, roasted tomatoes and artichokes, and broccoli slaw at Spike Africa's.

I was pretty full and so was my son, which is a shame because there are a lot of other items I’d like to try in the future.

But summer’s coming and I’m sure we’ll have out-of-town guests so I can already predict the conversation around the fourth night.

“There’s this place we go to. It’s not fancy, but we really like the food.”

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Fresh yellowtail, roasted tomatoes and artichokes, and broccoli slaw at Spike Africa's.
Fresh yellowtail, roasted tomatoes and artichokes, and broccoli slaw at Spike Africa's.
Place

Spike Africa's Fresh Fish Grill & Bar

411 Broadway, San Diego

You ever spend a few days with people who are showing you their city and all the hot spots in the tourist guide?

By the time the fourth day rolls around, if you’re lucky and they haven’t thrown you out like Benjamin Franklin once recommended, they may want to take you to seafood.

Spike Africa's in the Gaslamp
Spike Africa's interior

“There’s this place we go to," they'll say. "It’s not fancy, but we really like the food.”

And you end up having the best meal of the trip.

Spike Africa’s Fresh Fish Grill and Bar is like that.

Named after a 20th century sea captain-adventurer, Spike Africa’s is a nice-looking but unpretentious restaurant in the Gaslamp that serves high-quality seafood with a minimum amount of fuss.

Spike Africa's Sand Dancer margarita is made with El Jimador Blanco, tequila, apricot, lime juice and chipotle syrup.

Here’s the thing about seafood: the simpler the preparation, the more likely it is to be fresh.

Yeah, you can get battered fish, seafood pasta, salads and all that, but where Spike’s shines is the fresh fish. Served simply with a choice of sauces on the side.

When I was there, I tried the fresh yellowtail. It was a big piece for $24.75, including my choice of side (roasted artichokes and tomatoes) and a broccoli slaw with cranberries that was nicely zesty.

Grilled shrimp with rice and broccoli slaw at Spike Africa's.

The yellowtail is seared on the outside, but a little rare on the inside — nice! My waitress suggested the red pepper remoulade (which was the right choice), but let me try the balsamic brown butter and citrus butter sauces as well.

I went there with my son, and while they didn’t have grilled shrimp officially on the menu, they did accommodate him with a plate of five nicely-sized, nicely-grilled shrimp served on a bed of rice with the broccoli slaw.

Spike Africa's grilled Brussels sprouts with bacon, citrus butter, and golden raisins.

He was happy about the shrimp and the rice, but a little skeptical about the slaw.

“Hey, just try one bite,” I said.

He did.

“Hey, this is really good. I like the cranberries,” he said, before sucking down more of the Roy Rogers (Coke and grenadine) that I inexplicably let him order.

We were both fans of the Brussels sprouts appetizers as well. They were grilled with bacon and golden raisins and some of the citrus butter. I was also happy with the Sand Dancer margarita I ordered. It was made with El Jimador Blanco tequila, apricot, lime juice, and chipotle syrup, and had the right mix of sweet, salty and spicy.

Fresh yellowtail, roasted tomatoes and artichokes, and broccoli slaw at Spike Africa's.

I was pretty full and so was my son, which is a shame because there are a lot of other items I’d like to try in the future.

But summer’s coming and I’m sure we’ll have out-of-town guests so I can already predict the conversation around the fourth night.

“There’s this place we go to. It’s not fancy, but we really like the food.”

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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