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Fish and chips with dogs and ducks

Anthony's La Mesa Grotto proves a pleasant lunch spot.

Not a bad backdrop for an enjoyable family lunch.
Not a bad backdrop for an enjoyable family lunch.
Place

Anthony's Fish Grotto

1360 N. Harbor Drive, San Diego

Place

Anthony's Fish Grotto

9530 Murray Drive, La Mesa

I usually think of Anthony's Fish Grotto as a touristy spot — a nice harbor view restaurant dishing out seafood near the Star of India. But it turns out there's also a La Mesa location, and how many tourists spend any time in La Mesa?

The grotto adds a little quirk, but the dog entrance is to the right.

Whatever the clientele, this East County branch of the 60-year-old Anthony's family actually has a lot going for it. For one thing, it takes the "grotto" concept literally, with the restaurant's storefront designed to resemble the entrance to a cave in the wild. Weirdly cool.

More engaging is the view. This Anthony's has no harbor to bank on, so instead it offers a lovely little duck pond about a half-acre in size. A fountain springing from the surface keeps it from being entirely serene, but I'd say the place definitely has a calming effect. On humans at least. Dogs might think otherwise.

Ducks made this my dog's favorite of all the restaurants I've taken her to.

These ducks have some cojones.

I walked Loki through a side gate to access terrific patio seating, some of which runs alongside a low fence overlooking the water. The hostess led us to a table right beside the pond, and furnished her with a water dish. I perused the menu while my pup barked through the fence to rouse some ducks paddling lazily near shore.

Typically, my dog prefers to lie down and rest while I eat a meal. This day, she kept vigilant watch over the waterfowl, so close yet so out of reach. She did quiet down after the first flurry of barks, but if your dog can't stand to see birds without sounding a long and loud alarm, this could prove a frustrating dining experience.

Anthony's is generous enough to offer a small-gated dog run to the rear of the patio seating — really more of a square patch of grass equipped with a poop bag dispenser. I took Loki in for a look, but she just wanted to be closer to the ducks.

Fish & Chips with iced tea. Fried food is not the way to go here.

While she sniffed after the birds, I grabbed some fish'n'chips, with a side of steamed vegetables, which happened to be asparagus that day. The boneless beer-battered cod strips succeeded as finger food, though they really leaned heavily on tartar sauce for flavor. With lunches running anywhere from $10 to $15, I'd say it's worth the price of admission for fresh seafood in a lovely environment, and the chance to live like a tourist in your own backyard.

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Not a bad backdrop for an enjoyable family lunch.
Not a bad backdrop for an enjoyable family lunch.
Place

Anthony's Fish Grotto

1360 N. Harbor Drive, San Diego

Place

Anthony's Fish Grotto

9530 Murray Drive, La Mesa

I usually think of Anthony's Fish Grotto as a touristy spot — a nice harbor view restaurant dishing out seafood near the Star of India. But it turns out there's also a La Mesa location, and how many tourists spend any time in La Mesa?

The grotto adds a little quirk, but the dog entrance is to the right.

Whatever the clientele, this East County branch of the 60-year-old Anthony's family actually has a lot going for it. For one thing, it takes the "grotto" concept literally, with the restaurant's storefront designed to resemble the entrance to a cave in the wild. Weirdly cool.

More engaging is the view. This Anthony's has no harbor to bank on, so instead it offers a lovely little duck pond about a half-acre in size. A fountain springing from the surface keeps it from being entirely serene, but I'd say the place definitely has a calming effect. On humans at least. Dogs might think otherwise.

Ducks made this my dog's favorite of all the restaurants I've taken her to.

These ducks have some cojones.

I walked Loki through a side gate to access terrific patio seating, some of which runs alongside a low fence overlooking the water. The hostess led us to a table right beside the pond, and furnished her with a water dish. I perused the menu while my pup barked through the fence to rouse some ducks paddling lazily near shore.

Typically, my dog prefers to lie down and rest while I eat a meal. This day, she kept vigilant watch over the waterfowl, so close yet so out of reach. She did quiet down after the first flurry of barks, but if your dog can't stand to see birds without sounding a long and loud alarm, this could prove a frustrating dining experience.

Anthony's is generous enough to offer a small-gated dog run to the rear of the patio seating — really more of a square patch of grass equipped with a poop bag dispenser. I took Loki in for a look, but she just wanted to be closer to the ducks.

Fish & Chips with iced tea. Fried food is not the way to go here.

While she sniffed after the birds, I grabbed some fish'n'chips, with a side of steamed vegetables, which happened to be asparagus that day. The boneless beer-battered cod strips succeeded as finger food, though they really leaned heavily on tartar sauce for flavor. With lunches running anywhere from $10 to $15, I'd say it's worth the price of admission for fresh seafood in a lovely environment, and the chance to live like a tourist in your own backyard.

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Comments
1

My husband and I just discovered the La Mesa location. Wonderful food, lovely atmosphere, great staff - my new favorite place!!!

April 1, 2014

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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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