OB Restaurant Review : Nicks at the Pier

by on November 20, 2012 · 7 comments

in Culture, Ocean Beach, The Widder Curry

 Nicks at the Pier
5083 Santa Monica Ave.
San Diego, CA 92107
619 222-7437 (PIER)

One of the benefits of “on-line dating” is the variety of places to meet in San Diego. I probably could regale you with experiences on this particular date – he supported Romney and Bilbray – and, of course, I supported Obama and Peters. None the less, this is not about personalities but about the restaurant.

It probably has been over 4 years since I ate at Nicks at the Pier. And, as I recall the reason we did not go back was because it wasn’t very good. We frequented Shades, Thee BungalowQuiggs, and the Belgian Lion. Neither Thee Bungalow, Quiggs nor the Belgian Lion are there anymore, so when Byron asked me to join him for dinner at Nicks, I was glad to go.

The interior has not changed much since I was there last. In fact, it really hasn’t changed much since it was Quiggs. But what has changed was the food. It was truly delicious, and the vegetables that came with the “Chef’s Special” were some of the best I have had in a restaurant for years.

We started out with drinks; a gin martini for him; “Absolute” on the rocks for me. Byron wanted a twist and some onions and the waitress was not sure that onions were available. A waiter was walking behind her and informed her that they were available. His drink came with the twist and 3 onions on a tooth pick. I did not ask for olives with my drink, but as Byron was in no rush to order, I asked the waitress for some olives, and she brought me three of them.

I have to say that I practically froze in the first few minutes we were at the restaurant. I mentioned it to Byron and he said that he did not feel the draft. We changed places and I no longer felt the AC. I did not mention the chill to the waitress, since by changing positions the vent must have only been facing one way. Still, it took a few long minutes to feel the circulation back in my fingers.

When looking at the menu, Byron stated that he was surprised to see oysters on the menu because he didn’t remember them before, but he decided to order a dozen on the half shell for his entrée. They cost $22.95 and although tasty, they were small and the two I had still had bits of shell embedded in the oyster. The sauce that came with it was nothing special; a ketchup, horse-radish, lemon sauce that complimented the oysters.

I ordered one of the two evening specials – the mahi; it  was very tasty, cooked well, and on the plate were the vegetables I referred to earlier, and mashed potatoes that were also quite tasty. I have no idea how much this special was, because it was marked “Market Value” and Byron would not let me pay for my meal. (He did, however, allow me to leave a tip of $10, so I imagine the meal must have been in the $60-70 category.)

Our wait person was efficient – frequently asked if we wanted anything else. I hope that we tipped her enough.

All in all, the meal was very good. I would have been more comfortable if the menu had prices on it for all the entrees, but I could have asked the waitress if I really had to know the cost. Byron kept telling me that the price didn’t matter – it always matters to me – and my first choice, the halibut, was not available that evening.

Will I be back? Yes. But only for a special occasion. With most of the appetizers running from $12 to $23; the salads averaging about $8; the seafood entrees averaging $18; the seafood and pasta combinations about $16 or so – it is a little too expensive for my limited income to go often. They do have meat entrees; sandwiches, and a menu for children.

I don’t think you would be unhappy with the menu nor the taste of the food at Nick’s at the Pier.

Now…do you want to hear about my conversations with Byron? No, I thought not.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Frank J November 20, 2012 at 4:01 pm

I believe that Nick’s (both locales) has been sold.


judi Curry November 20, 2012 at 4:37 pm

Maybe that is the reason it was so much better than the last time.


Debbie November 20, 2012 at 5:50 pm

Love….these restaurant reviews! Keep’em coming :-)

If you think about it…mention if there are TV’s, background music or entertainment. These things are good to know. I like restaurants with no TV’s :-)

I heard something interesting on a TV show….that specials are usually offered when a restaurant needs to get rid of something….like when the fish is getting old. Can anyone comment on this?



judi Curry November 20, 2012 at 5:58 pm

Thanks, Debbie,
I agree with you – I don’t like the TV’s and the noise either.
I heard on the news yesterday that even some of the reviews on YELP are not honest. In fact, some of the owners of establishments are advertising on CRAIG’S LIST for good reviews and then rewarding the reviewers.

BTW – no televisions at Nicks, BUT next door, adjoining the building, is live music. It did not interfere with the ambiance of the restaurant.


Goatskull November 20, 2012 at 6:41 pm

Last time I was there was about 4 years ago and I wasn’t impressed, but perhaps I will give it another go.


unWASHEdWalmaRtthONG November 20, 2012 at 6:56 pm

I just happened to have lunch at Shades today. I had the Wisdom Vegie Pannini. The portabellos were just right because sometimes in some places they just remind me of a giant squid tentacle. Beautiful day & good respite.


Jane November 29, 2012 at 2:34 pm

We ate at Nick’s on Thanksgiving — ordering the “Thanksgiving Buffet” for $27. The view, as always, was breathtaking. The turkey and prime rib were good. Not so much for anything else. The “stuffing” was dried up toasted bread crumbs (no seasonings, broth, celery, onion, giblets, chestnuts, oysters, sausage — in other words, horrid). The “gravy” was like kindergarten paste, and tasteless, as were the potatoes. The pie was from the remainder shelf at Von’s. Although I left hungry, it was stress-free and I didn’t have to clean up.


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