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

Cooler weather just an opening for Pelly's clam chowder

Northwest oysters, local fish, and a sourdough bread bowl in Carlsbad

A sourdough bread bowl filled with Pelly's clam chowder
A sourdough bread bowl filled with Pelly's clam chowder

San Diego saw a hint of autumn weather over the weekend, opening a short window to enjoy the sorts of things we haven’t been able to enjoy during this endless summer of heat waves. Like an afternoon hot tub session. Or wearing a sweater. Or, in my case, eating a large bowl of clam chowder.

Place

Pelly's Fish Market & Cafe

7110 Avenida Encinas, Carlsbad

There are soups I might eat when it’s warm out, but it seems crazy to commit to a creamy helping of Boston clam chowder when the temperature tops 80. With sunshine taking a break, I took the opportunity to head toward Carlsbad, and some of the best clam chowder in Southern California, made at Pelly's Fish Market and Café.

It was my first time visiting since the more than thirty year old fish market since its 2018 remodel. It had remained closed for most of that year due to a fire, leaving the south end of Carlsbad without its usual source of local seafood.

A half dozen Phantom Creek oysters

The place looks good — clean and welcoming — though it’s lost some character, as its walls are no longer covered in fishing photos. But the cases out front still shine with fresh fish and shellfish — which on this day included delicious Phantom Creek oysters from the Pacific northwest. A half dozen on the half shell for $15 made a terrific start.

Pelly’s does the usual San Diego fish market thing, serving your choice of fish on sandwiches, in salads, or marinaded and grilled on plates. You’ll find fish tacos, fish and chips, occasional fried fish specials, and delectable sashimi.

Pelly's Fish Market & Cafe was remodeled after a 2018 fire.

But it’s also long been loved for its clam chowder, and that’s what my appetite had its eyes on. For 12 bucks, I got it served in a sourdough bread bowl. Technically, my carboard tub of soup was served beside an empty bread bowl, so I could constantly refill it. Meanwhile, the portion cut out of the sourdough loaf, in carving it into a bowl, had repurposed as buttered toast points, perfect for sopping up those first warming bites of chowder.

I could go for more or larger bits of clam in this mild chowder (which is often the case), but otherwise I offer no complaints. It’s thick, the potatoes are tender, and it tastes cleanly of the ocean, without having to rely on adding little bits of bacon for flavor (as some chowder makers do).

A shopping center fish market with courtyard dining

Though situated within a large shopping center, roughly between a Ralph’s and a Rite Aid, Pelly’s benefits from a fair amount of shaded outdoor space. Anyone passing through this courtyard on this afternoon bore witness to my dismantling of that bread bowl as I tore into its chewy crust to get at every last drop of chowder within. That’s a tiny bit embarrassing, but the only thing that could stop me from doing it again is another heat wave.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

A postmodern eclectic

Hemisphere, Darius Degher, Dead Rock West, Sandollar, Adam Gnade
Next Article

La Jolla Symphony's amateurs reach high

June performance of Mahler's Resurrection may be our only chance to hear it live
A sourdough bread bowl filled with Pelly's clam chowder
A sourdough bread bowl filled with Pelly's clam chowder

San Diego saw a hint of autumn weather over the weekend, opening a short window to enjoy the sorts of things we haven’t been able to enjoy during this endless summer of heat waves. Like an afternoon hot tub session. Or wearing a sweater. Or, in my case, eating a large bowl of clam chowder.

Place

Pelly's Fish Market & Cafe

7110 Avenida Encinas, Carlsbad

There are soups I might eat when it’s warm out, but it seems crazy to commit to a creamy helping of Boston clam chowder when the temperature tops 80. With sunshine taking a break, I took the opportunity to head toward Carlsbad, and some of the best clam chowder in Southern California, made at Pelly's Fish Market and Café.

It was my first time visiting since the more than thirty year old fish market since its 2018 remodel. It had remained closed for most of that year due to a fire, leaving the south end of Carlsbad without its usual source of local seafood.

A half dozen Phantom Creek oysters

The place looks good — clean and welcoming — though it’s lost some character, as its walls are no longer covered in fishing photos. But the cases out front still shine with fresh fish and shellfish — which on this day included delicious Phantom Creek oysters from the Pacific northwest. A half dozen on the half shell for $15 made a terrific start.

Pelly’s does the usual San Diego fish market thing, serving your choice of fish on sandwiches, in salads, or marinaded and grilled on plates. You’ll find fish tacos, fish and chips, occasional fried fish specials, and delectable sashimi.

Pelly's Fish Market & Cafe was remodeled after a 2018 fire.

But it’s also long been loved for its clam chowder, and that’s what my appetite had its eyes on. For 12 bucks, I got it served in a sourdough bread bowl. Technically, my carboard tub of soup was served beside an empty bread bowl, so I could constantly refill it. Meanwhile, the portion cut out of the sourdough loaf, in carving it into a bowl, had repurposed as buttered toast points, perfect for sopping up those first warming bites of chowder.

I could go for more or larger bits of clam in this mild chowder (which is often the case), but otherwise I offer no complaints. It’s thick, the potatoes are tender, and it tastes cleanly of the ocean, without having to rely on adding little bits of bacon for flavor (as some chowder makers do).

A shopping center fish market with courtyard dining

Though situated within a large shopping center, roughly between a Ralph’s and a Rite Aid, Pelly’s benefits from a fair amount of shaded outdoor space. Anyone passing through this courtyard on this afternoon bore witness to my dismantling of that bread bowl as I tore into its chewy crust to get at every last drop of chowder within. That’s a tiny bit embarrassing, but the only thing that could stop me from doing it again is another heat wave.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

The four levels of retro Christmas

Embrace the absolutely terrifying yuletide traditions of medieval Europe
Next Article

Steph Richards’ super scents make Supersense

“Listen to the music and let the smells wash over you.”
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
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
Close