Boasting fresh sushi and an oyster bar overlooking an open kitchen, Ocean Room also offers fresh seafood including shellfish cooked to perfection using a kettle steaming technique. This is something that is rarely seen here on the west coast as it is a technique utilized more in the southern region of the United States, particularly Louisiana. Located in the center of Fifth Avenue in the heart of the Gaslamp Quarter in downtown San Diego, Ocean Room’s contemporary décor, friendly staff, and flavorful seafood creations - headed up by Chef Felix Frias - will be a sure bet to indulge in some of the freshest seafood that San Diego has to offer.Read More ...
It is a Tuesday evening in the Gaslamp Quarter and as I walk down the already busy streets of this historic neighborhood filled with an abundance of bars, restaurants, and shops, I finally arrive at my destination: Ocean Room. Established in 2006, Ocean Room sits in between two of its sister restaurants, La Fiesta and Chianti -- all three of which are owned by the Dining on Fifth Restaurant Group. Ocean Room specializes in fresh seafood with an emphasis on their sushi selections and an oyster bar. What also makes Ocean Room unique is that they use a special kettle cooking technique to steam their shellfish, something that is sparsely done here on the west coast as it is a more popular technique used in the South, particularly Louisiana. This is all carried out by the culinary talents of Executive Chef Felix Frias.
I notice the already fully occupied seating on the outside patio overlooking Fifth Avenue as my guest and I are greeted by the hostess. We opt to dine in the booths inside of the restaurant, all of which face the open presentation kitchen and the oyster bar. Here I can see Chef Felix hard at work preparing his mouth watering dishes. The contemporary dining room is decorated with hues of beiges, coppers, and blues. To the left of the dining room are the oversized booths all set to face the kitchen, and to the right you will find the oyster bar alongside the open kitchen and a fully stocked bar. Modern light fixtures hang throughout the restaurant, and an art piece resembling water cascades over the bar, as well as waves embossed in the glass behind the booths giving you the feel of being in an underwater cavern.
We are promptly greeted by the restaurant manager, Christian, who gives us some recommendations on Chef Felix’s specialties. After looking at the menu, we decide to start off with the popular Oyster Shooter. This is a fresh Glacier Oyster in a spicy sauce made up of ponzu, soy, and rice vinegar garnished with green onion and served in a shot glass. As I consume the tender oyster and the pungent liquor it is bathed in, I am instantly hit with the piquant Asian flavors. The oyster smoothly goes down my throat as I then feel the spice and freshness from the green onions. My appetite is now stimulated after that refreshing starter and I am ready for the next course.
I am sipping on my glass of White Haven Sauvignon Blanc when all of a sudden Chef Felix, with a big smile on his face, carries out a large platter and sets it down on our table. The plate is decorated with colorful pieces of fresh sashimi including hamachi, tuna, and salmon. It also has the famous Ocean Room Sushi Roll that includes shrimp tempura, crab, and cream cheese topped with eel, salmon, and avocado; it is presented in a floral arrangement alongside a mountain of pickled ginger and wasabi paste. The fresh fish pieces are tender and melt in my mouth, and the sushi roll is full of flavor. The avocado on the top of the roll is smooth and the richness of the cream cheese and the crunch of the tempura add many textures to the sushi, making it a fun and playful dish to follow up with.
Next we indulge in the Lobster Bisque. This is served in a bowl alongside a toasted crouton. As I dip my spoon into the thick bisque I notice that there are giant pieces of lobster meat concealed in the soup. The meat is tender and succulent and the soup itself is rich and creamy. The flavors from the lobster and the silkiness from the cream make this soup even more decadent. I can’t help but finish the whole bowl.
The next course is the famous Combo Steamer dish that Christian had recommended. This dish consists of mussels, clams, and shrimp kettle-steamed and served in a special broth of the liquid from the shellfish, white wine, heavy cream, and parmesan cheese. This is also served with fresh bread from the oven. I immediately notice how fragrant the steamers are and eagerly dip into the plate. I first taste a spoonful of the light broth. It is smooth and rich from the cream, and has a subtle salty bite from the parmesan cheese. It pairs expertly with the succulent shellfish. I release a piece of meat from a clam shell and dunk it into the broth. The meat is supply tender and juicy. The mussels are equally as tender and again pair nicely with the rich broth. I take a slice of the fresh bread and sop up the rest of the flavorful broth until there isn’t a drop left in the bowl.
We next have the pleasure of being served the Combo Roast dish, which is also a kettle-steamed dish; however, this is a different variation of the previous dish. It is a bowl of shrimp, crab meat, and oysters served in a thicker marinara sauce base alongside a big mound of tender white rice. This is a heartier version of a steamer plate, more resembling a stew or a Jambalaya. Fragrances of the ocean permeate my nostrils as I scoop a large piece of oyster onto my spoon. This is a hearty bite and the flavorful tomato base pairs nicely with the tender meat. There is crab meat mixed in throughout the Italian-inspired sauce and the plump shrimp are a delectable addition to the dish. There is a richness to the tomato sauce from the added cream that pairs well with a small squeeze of lemon cutting through the creaminess. The soft grains of white rice are fluffy and soak up the intense seafood flavors. This dish ends up being a favorite for me and my guest.
Chef Felix kindly brings out a scoop of lemon sorbet for our next course to cleanse our palate before the final dish. This is served in a small bowl with a triangle shaped wafer cookie and mint garnish. The sorbet is cold and refreshing as it is an ideal balance of sweet and sour and does a great job at cutting through the rich feel of the dishes that we’ve had so far.
Finally we are served a dish that was highly recommended by not only Christian, but Chef Felix himself. It is the Chilean Sea Bass, topped with lobster smothered in a saffron sauce alongside fresh baby carrots and broccoli. As I pull my fork through the Chilean sea bass filet I instantly notice how masterfully cooked it is as it ever so gently flakes away from the filet. The bite is tender and has a mild flavor on its own, but holds up nicely to the fragrant and savory saffron sauce. The tender morsels of lobster are piled high on the sea bass filet, adding another level of decadence to the dish. The tender baby carrots and broccoli are steamed just right and add freshness to the overall dish.
With a full belly and a smile on my face, we say goodbye to Chef Felix and the friendly staff for the hospitality and the wonderful experience. With the uniqueness of techniques, the flavors of the sea, and the creative use of ingredients by Chef Felix, it is easy to see why Ocean Room is the go-to place for great seafood.
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the atmosphere and food was superb. the staff were more then nice and helpful. the cooks were amazing and fun to talk to. sit at the bar if you get a chance. the sushi melts in your mouth its so fresh and amazing!
Started at the bar waiting for a table on the patio area. The bartender was very friendly and accommodating. The food was very very good! My fiance and I ordered a cucumber salad and a couple sushi rolls and everything tasted fantastic. This place is great and the prices are pretty good for being downtown. Definitely would and will come back!
My daughter and I traveled to San Diego to look at colleges and dined out quite a few times during our stay. Of all the lunches or dinners we ate in restaurants, the one at the Ocean Room was by far the best. The shellfish was cooked to perfection. The wait staff were attentive. There was no wait. The meal was served at an appropriate pace and the value was excellent. Keep up the good work!
This was my first time dining here and I loved it! The food and service was great! They had really good martini's too. I would recommend arriving no later than around 7:00. It was quite crowded by the time we left.
A out-of-town friend was here on business, and I choose the Ocean Room based on comments read. We were not disappointed! I enjoyed all aspects of the restaurant. One of the waitresses was in training; the trainer and she were both great! I don't remember their names, but one looks like Lisa Kudrow from friends.
Ocean Room is an attractive restaurant, but one wall is open into the adjacent restaurant, which was loud and more sports bar-ish. The food was very good; our group had pan roasts, oysters, bisque, and salmon and everyone thought their meal was quite good. Several of us were disappointed that there were not more fresh fish options and more without sauces. The wine list is not extensive but was well-chosen and reasonably priced.
Too many servers attempting to serve water and checking on us every 2 minutes. Annoying trying to talk or eat and being interrupted. Our server told us the owner was there and they were nervous, so they over served...
We happened on the restaurant 4 years ago and were back in San Diego for business. This time we were able to make reservations online, a great improvement. My wife and I were seated very timely, the ambiance was sleek and attractive. The service and food were equal to many of the very high-end restaurant we have experienced in San Diego. We both dined on the seafood which was wonderfully fresh. The chef did a superb job of highlighting the best qualities of the food without drowning the fish in the sauces, which is so commonly done with lesser quality ingredients. The result was a wonderfully balance and enjoyable meal. BRAVO Thanks again for one our most pleasant dining experiences in San Diego.
Easy access, good menu selection and loved making reservations online. Bartender was pretty good!
good food, a little more on the expensive side, but the ambiance, location and service makes you forget about the price. Would definitely go back.
My linguine and clams were good but needed additional sauce. The clams were all sweet and tender. Others in my party had sushi and spoke very highly of it. I would return to this place and not be afraid to bring friends and clients. The prices were reasonable and the drinks generous.
The restaurant is close to the convention center and the hotels used by convention guests. We went there for a sushi meal. Given the location, the price was reasonable and the food very good to excellent.
Made my reservations online. Loved the website, loved the food. I thought I was going to a upscale restarauant , but lacked ambience . If you don't care about those things, then go for the food!
Our family loved food, sushi, Oster Rockefeller Awsome! Too bad waiter wasn't as good.
The food was good everything was fresh and the service was friendly. The price for the food was normal for sushi places.
Sushi and the oysters were great! We like sitting outside
Our service was marginal....but the food!
For the money the food is average and the menu was not that enticing, however if you are going just for drinks and appetizers then it is a bit expensive but alright.
I am not sure whether it was the Bouliabase (sp) or not, but I didnt feel that well that nite or the next day after eating it. I have never had that dish before, but the broth seemed weak, and I thought ths shell fish were dull if not tainted. Service was great, very nice greater and waitress.
We ate at the Ocean Room on Valentines Day. The restaurant started out pretty slow but business picked up later. We had very good service and the oysters we had were very good. We had a party of four and all had the steamers and pan roasts and shared. I enjoyed all the food but probably would not have the panroast if I were to return. We did not have the sushi so would do that next time. The Ocean Room had a pretty limited wine menu.
After reading all the reviews online, I thought this would be a great seafood dinner option. We were all disappointed. The service was terrible and slow. The waitress was smiling and polite but had us wait 10 minutes to get a menu, 10 more minutes to get the bread and drinks and so on. The food was average. Nothing amazing at all. Overall a very disappointing experience. I would not recommend it. There are many other good Seafood restaurant downtown. This one is not at the top of my list for sure.