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Tunaville is the place for fresh — or aged — local catch

Fishermen owned market can sell you smoked oysters in a can, or thresher shark sausage

A seafood market beside the marinas of Shelter Island
A seafood market beside the marinas of Shelter Island

A beautiful walk offers reason enough to visit Shelter Island, when the skies are blue, and the boats gleam white in their berths. But, knowing some of those boats have recently been out to sea, pulling fish from the water, wouldn’t it be better to head home with some seafood?

Place

Tunaville Market and Grocery

4904 N Harbor Dr., Suite 102, San Diego


We enjoy the pleasant walk, for sure, but really we’re exploring the bay side of Point Loma today because we do want to buy some tasty, local catch. Sitting above one of those marinas is the recently opened Tunaville Market and Grocery, established to sell that, and more.


Owned and operated by active and retired local fishermen


The shop was opened by current and retired fishermen, including San Diego’s best-known edible fish expert, Tommy Gomes, a longtime local seafood advocate and star of the Outdoor Channel television show The Fishmonger. And though the place offers a world of canned seafood delicacies such as Norwegian sea herring, Spanish octopus, and salmon from the Faroe Islands, I was most curious to look inside the glass case at Tunaville to find something from local waters.


So, obviously, I tried the sausage.


As expected, that case features the likes of opah, thresher shark, and big eye tuna. I would never be surprised to find rockfish, halibut, yellowtail, or striped bass filets. And though it gives me a laugh, I would feel left out if I didn’t spot a “tommyhawk” swordfish. Named for Gomes, this unique cut of fish is a take-off of the internet-famous ribeye tomahawk, easy to recognize thanks to a prominent, protruding rib bone.


The "Tommyhawk" swordfish steak
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Sponsored


As terrific as any of these straight-off-the-boat options may be, I’m instantly taken by the array of fish sausages, including a hot Italian sausage made of thresher shark, and a Portuguese linguica sausage made of bigeye (each $18/lb). It’s my good fortune that Tunaville offers free samples, meaning I’m allowed to try each of the cured morsels, ultimately deciding to leave with a couple thresher linguicas that I will grill later. And questioning whether I ever need to risk the cholesterol of pork sausage again.


Samples of the bigeye linguica and thresher shark spicy Italian sausages


The generous sampling policy also helps me choose from a surprising variety of prepared deli dishes as well. For example, the several types of tuna salad ($8.50/lb), including the greenish jalapeño, and an “Aztecan” style with corn and chipotle. I’ll go home with some of the Italian: mixed with diced veggies and chickpeas. But also with a couple of the most alluring deli counter offerings: ceviches ($20/lb) — we go home with mango rockfish ceviche, and another made with octopus and olives.


Octopus and mango rockfish ceviche, and Italian tuna salad


Had that been everything, none of the above would have left me wanting more. However, there was a clear top pick in my Tunaville haul: dry aged tuna. Priced at $7.70/lb, it’s some of that same local bigeye, but aged to what I have to assume is perfection. Peek into a couple of the coolers placed around the counter shop, and you’ll see gutted fish slowly aging, giving up a little bit of moisture and drawing out heaps more flavor. I would give the sushi-grade tuna a quick soy and ginger marinade, and an even quicker sear, and the delectable fish would make me look like a seasoned chef in front of my wife.



Fresh from the boat seafood may still be what lures me back to Tunaville on the regular. But after this first shopping trip, it’s tough to imagine leaving without something aged and cured in my bag, packed in ice in case we’d like to stroll for another hour.

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A seafood market beside the marinas of Shelter Island
A seafood market beside the marinas of Shelter Island

A beautiful walk offers reason enough to visit Shelter Island, when the skies are blue, and the boats gleam white in their berths. But, knowing some of those boats have recently been out to sea, pulling fish from the water, wouldn’t it be better to head home with some seafood?

Place

Tunaville Market and Grocery

4904 N Harbor Dr., Suite 102, San Diego


We enjoy the pleasant walk, for sure, but really we’re exploring the bay side of Point Loma today because we do want to buy some tasty, local catch. Sitting above one of those marinas is the recently opened Tunaville Market and Grocery, established to sell that, and more.


Owned and operated by active and retired local fishermen


The shop was opened by current and retired fishermen, including San Diego’s best-known edible fish expert, Tommy Gomes, a longtime local seafood advocate and star of the Outdoor Channel television show The Fishmonger. And though the place offers a world of canned seafood delicacies such as Norwegian sea herring, Spanish octopus, and salmon from the Faroe Islands, I was most curious to look inside the glass case at Tunaville to find something from local waters.


So, obviously, I tried the sausage.


As expected, that case features the likes of opah, thresher shark, and big eye tuna. I would never be surprised to find rockfish, halibut, yellowtail, or striped bass filets. And though it gives me a laugh, I would feel left out if I didn’t spot a “tommyhawk” swordfish. Named for Gomes, this unique cut of fish is a take-off of the internet-famous ribeye tomahawk, easy to recognize thanks to a prominent, protruding rib bone.


The "Tommyhawk" swordfish steak
Sponsored
Sponsored


As terrific as any of these straight-off-the-boat options may be, I’m instantly taken by the array of fish sausages, including a hot Italian sausage made of thresher shark, and a Portuguese linguica sausage made of bigeye (each $18/lb). It’s my good fortune that Tunaville offers free samples, meaning I’m allowed to try each of the cured morsels, ultimately deciding to leave with a couple thresher linguicas that I will grill later. And questioning whether I ever need to risk the cholesterol of pork sausage again.


Samples of the bigeye linguica and thresher shark spicy Italian sausages


The generous sampling policy also helps me choose from a surprising variety of prepared deli dishes as well. For example, the several types of tuna salad ($8.50/lb), including the greenish jalapeño, and an “Aztecan” style with corn and chipotle. I’ll go home with some of the Italian: mixed with diced veggies and chickpeas. But also with a couple of the most alluring deli counter offerings: ceviches ($20/lb) — we go home with mango rockfish ceviche, and another made with octopus and olives.


Octopus and mango rockfish ceviche, and Italian tuna salad


Had that been everything, none of the above would have left me wanting more. However, there was a clear top pick in my Tunaville haul: dry aged tuna. Priced at $7.70/lb, it’s some of that same local bigeye, but aged to what I have to assume is perfection. Peek into a couple of the coolers placed around the counter shop, and you’ll see gutted fish slowly aging, giving up a little bit of moisture and drawing out heaps more flavor. I would give the sushi-grade tuna a quick soy and ginger marinade, and an even quicker sear, and the delectable fish would make me look like a seasoned chef in front of my wife.



Fresh from the boat seafood may still be what lures me back to Tunaville on the regular. But after this first shopping trip, it’s tough to imagine leaving without something aged and cured in my bag, packed in ice in case we’d like to stroll for another hour.

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