After a somewhat disappointing hike around Cape Perpetua (Thor's Well wasn't being very impressive even at high tide, and the youngest member of our entourage tripped on a downhill trail and shredded both her knees), we dropped Miss Golden Rule back at the hotel to relax and listen to the Ocean. Meanwhile, her kid and I went in search of sustenance. After a quick stop at Walgreens for first aid supplies, of course. Across the Yaquina Bay Bridge from Newport is a little unincorporated area known as South Beach, which is where you can find the South Beach Fish Market. Don't kill yourself plugging it into your GPS, the signage makes it very hard to miss.
The Market has a little something for everyone. It's connected to a convenience store where you can get the usual overpriced beer, cigarettes, soda, condoms, chips, single serving beef sticks, etc. The fish market, while small, is very well stocked. Whether you're in the mood for fresh seafood, smoked seafood, seafood cocktails, canned seafood, gift baskets, whatever, they've got you covered.
Most importantly, for my purposes at least, they also have a deli setup running. You can get anything from a simple batch of fish and chips to a whole Dungeness crab, which they steam out in front of the store. How's that for advertising?
I didn't feel like cracking and digging, and chowder wasn't grabbing me at the moment, so fried it would be.
Interestingly enough, the place has a kid's fish and chips option, which is half the size of a normal order. What kind it is, I'm not terribly sure. They don't just have a generic fish and chips. They have sea bass, ling cod, albacore, halibut, and king salmon. It didn't really matter, the kid liked it whatever it was.
Because I'm me, I ordered the Captain's Platter, which is the most expensive of the non-crab options. It comes with two chunks of halibut, two prawns, two oysters, and two scallops.
Let's just get it out of the way: this is NOT health food. Everything save for the fries was battered, and of course all of it was fried. That being said, everything was absolutely delicious. The halibut was flaky, the scallops tender, the oysters succulent, and the prawns were bigger than I would have expected. Even the fries, which were of the previously frozen crinkle cut variety, were perfectly golden and crispy. You'll get tarter and/or cocktail sauce, depending on what your order. There are also conveniently located bottles of malt vinegar and ketchup.
It took a few trips to Newport to find my groove when it comes to seafood. I've had some overpriced and underwhelming meals. South Beach Fish Market is definitely one I recommend, as long as you can handle the grease. This is the kind of stuff that would go great with a beer (I wonder if you can grab one from next door if you're eating in), but it's pretty damned good for an impromptu picnic on one of the benches outside as well. They have surprisingly generous hours which they aren't great about publicizing, so you should probably call in advance because they might change depending on the time of year.
Food: Fresh and delicious.
Value: You wouldn't think seafood would cost so much, especially at the Coast. Worth it, though.
Service: Counter service, but everyone was friendly during the ninety seconds I dealt with them.
Atmosphere: It's a seafood market/convenience store and deli. Light years away from the tourist spots at the Bayfront or Nye Beach. This is the kind of place locals eat, and of course those of us who do our homework.
Final Grade: B+