There are some restaurant locations that are so stunning that, really, the quality of the food is almost secondary. Luckily, happy hour at the beachside Pacific Beach institution World Famous does not require that extent of sacrifice. World Famous is known for their stellar happy hour specials (each day comes with its own particular discount), and I was particularly intrigued when a friend mentioned that Wednesday’s star was $1.75 lobster tacos.
In the guise of celebrating a dear friend’s departure from San Diego, I was able to convince our group of friends to trek down to the beach for sunset views and bottomless lobster tacos (well, sort of, but at $1.75 a piece it is hard to imagine that we could eat so many that the cost would become prohibitive). Straddling the fuzzy border between the Pacific and Mission Beach communities, it was not the most easily accessible weeknight dinner destination, but the tacos and cocktails easily made up for any discomfort sitting in traffic.
The drinks menu was extensive, filled with traditional favorites and bartender specialties. However, due to the dramatic discount on the tacos (they are normally about $5), there are not additional happy hour bar specials. This actually turns out to be a rather important point to keep in mind, as drinks go from $7-10, the bar tab stacks up much faster than you may think based on taco consumption alone.
The restaurant is divided between the formal dining room where locally caught seafood is served to well dressed patrons occupying window tables, with only a thin pane of glass separating them from the cool ocean breeze, and the more rambunctious bar area, where all of us happy hour revelers are corralled. Bar seating is first come, first serve and after about 6pm competition to snag a table (especially for a largish group) can get fierce. We grabbed the last one and settled in for the feast.
Tacos started coming – 2, 3, even 4 at a time (some eyes were definitely bigger than stomachs). Each corn tortilla was topped with an entire tail of a slip-tailed lobster, breaded and fried, cabbage, tomatoes, a thin layer of sour cream and cheese. The breading on the lobster was a bit heavy for such a tender, mild-flavored meat; however, the lobster itself was abundant and moist within its starchy shell. Each table featured a bottle of house-made roasted tomato salsa that we slugged onto each taco with abandon; the sharp, vinegary tang cut right through the residual heft of the occasional bite heavy on extra breading and tortilla.
Not unexpectedly, there was not a lot of choices on the bar menu for the vegetarian in our group, but she seemed more than happy to dive into their guacamole and chips while we were shoving tacos at our faces. The very fresh pico de gallo and chunky guacamole certainly were worth their full asking price.
After far too many tacos (my final count was four!) and another round of tasty beverages (those are serranos in my drink) we were all very content with our new happy hour discovery. Perhaps not the best seafood taco I have ever had, but the view, price (18 tacos for $31.50 total), drinks and the company made it a great (and definitely repeatable) mid-week break. To top it off, a long walk along the beach boardwalk watching the moon rise over the waves would be the perfect way to digest and, as happy hour goes until 11pm, maybe even create room for one more.