Restaurant Review: OB Pho and Seafood

by on September 16, 2013 · 18 comments

in Culture, Ocean Beach, The Widder Curry

OB Pho n Seafood jc frontOB Pho and Seafood
4953 Newport Ave.
Ocean Beach, CA 92107|

 Hearing that “Ciao Bella”, the Italian restaurant that used to be on Newport Avenue in Ocean Beach, now housedOB Pho and Seafood”, I had to reread my review of Ciao Bella written many months ago;  I had mentioned that they were serving to a full house; the food was fair, but too expensive for what was being served. My final line was that I probably would not be back.

Today, after “corresponding” with a reader of my articles on the OB RAG for over a year, Eric called and suggested that we meet. In discussing where that might be I mentioned that I had driven by OB Pho today and wondered if it was open yet. We decided to meet in front of the restaurant and if it was, we would eat there.If not, we would walk to somewhere else and have a meal there.

OB Pho n Seafood jc inside

Inside. (All photos by Judi Curry)

The restaurant was open and it was a déjà vu moment when we crossed the threshold, for nothing had been changed. There was still the charming scenes painted on the wall that was there when it was the Italian restaurant.

We were greeted by both Danny and Leslie, a young lady that looked very familiar to me. Turns out that she is a twin; her sister works at the “Pirate’s Cove Tiki Port” – one of my favorite coffee places – , and she used to work at the “Pirate’s Cove” that was in the Apple Tree parking lot.

In talking to Danny, our waiter, he said that there were no plans right now to change anything. The menu is still in a state of flux and until it is settled they will leave things as they are.

The menu is very extensive, and Danny told us about the Maine lobster special, that was replete with salad and drinks. It cost $11.95. Fresh Maine lobster for $11.95! A bargain. It was such a bargain that neither Eric nor I ordered it.

OB Pho n Seafood jc lobstrInstead we started out with Spring Rolls ($4.95) that were fresh, packed with veggies and shrimp, and served with a nice peanut sauce.

We decided to split a Pho (beef noodle soup) and ordered the “Rare Steak” ($6.75) and the House Special Combo – (shrimp, pork, tofu, and rice, cucumbers, etc.) The cost was $9.95.

Everything was delightful; served hot; good flavors; and complimented by the plate of sprouts, noodles and jalapeno’s. (A word to the wise: Eric was not prepared for the degree of hotness from the jalapeno. They are spicy so be careful when eating them.)

OB Pho n Seafood jc saladWe each ordered the Pho tea, which was very tasty. There was a charge for the refill, but Leslie wasn’t aware of that until we placed the order. She came back to tell us and asked if we still wanted to have them. We both said yes. Danny offered Eric a third refill and told him the cost was on him. It tasted so good that Eric would have paid to have another refill.

When we first arrived at the restaurant at 6:30pm there was only one other table being served. By the time we left at 8:45pm the place was almost full. There seemed to be many people coming in and ordering take-out as well as people eating at the tables.

Our service was excellent; the food was wonderful, and there is no question that both Eric and I will return again – whether with others or together. Enjoy!

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Michele September 16, 2013 at 1:26 pm

Wait a minute!! The restaurant used to be “Ciao Bella”, the Italian restaurant , and is now “OB Pho and Seafood”……..and there are no plans to change anything about the menu??! Does that strike anybody else as funny?!!


hdiggler September 16, 2013 at 1:59 pm

with the OB Noodle House getting a second location where the god-awful Blue Parrot was.. how many pho/noodle/whatever places do we need? where the hot wings at??


Tyler September 16, 2013 at 4:45 pm

Noodle House has the best wings in OB…..


Dave Rice September 16, 2013 at 11:30 pm

Wait, what? The Parrot is finally dead? Been waiting for this day for years! Huzzah.


hdiggler September 17, 2013 at 4:30 pm

haha i literally cheered when i heard the news first. did not know about the wings at noodle house! i will certainly stop in there when they take over the parrot. the current location is just inconvenient and too busy for my liking.


judi September 17, 2013 at 4:33 pm

I didn’t know about the wings either. Somehow that is just not the kind of restaurant I associate with good wings. Will try them at their new place too.


Brian B September 21, 2013 at 11:41 am

Definitely check out the wings at Noodle House! A bit expensive (11.95 for a dozen I believe) but worth it. The first time I had them I thought they were decent, but then I found myself craving them over and over again!


judi September 21, 2013 at 1:24 pm

Thanks, Brian. Am anxious for the new restaurant to open. Maybe there won’t be the 2 hour wait there is now. But I will definitely try them out.


OB Mercy September 16, 2013 at 2:08 pm

I had heard that this is owned by OB Sushi, also on Newport a few doors down. Not being a big fan of that place, I’ve been hesitant to try this one. Glad to hear the pho is good. I’m still curious to hear what the rest of the menu is like. I’ll have to check it out.

Nice to have more fish choices in our little beach town. Oscars Mexican Seafood across from South Beach was just voted best fish tacos in SD by Ian Pike of The Reader and SD Magazine! And their fish is fresh, unlike South Beach tacos, which I will never understand them getting voted best fish tacos in the Beacon every year. Don’t any of their readers try new places?? TRY OSCARS!

I’m still a fan of ‘The Pho Place” behind Phil’s BBQ and love their Asian ribs there too. OB Noodle house is great, but now way too crowded now with having been on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Nice to hear they’re opening a new one at the old Blue Parrot across from Raglan.

And you were probably smart NOT to try the lobster for $11.95. That’s how much it is at The Boathouse and that is the worst lobster I have ever had. I went with this large group, and most had never had lobster before and they were wondering if this is what it is usually like. I felt it my duty to tell everyone there that this is NOT what lobster is supposed to taste like! Good Maine lobster flown in several times a week should be at least $25, and certainly upwards of that. The best ones are going to be in the $50 range.

Judi, if you’re in North County, you MUST try Lobster West. It’s new and they serve fresh Main Lobster rolls, along with crab and shrimp rolls too. SOOOOO good! Their lobster bisque is also very tasty with chunks of lobster in it. Great prices also. Lobster roll by itself is only $12.95, compared to Studio Diner in Kearny Mesa, which charges upwards of $22! Big chunks of claw meat with only a hint of mayo, on a toasted hot dog roll, the way they serve it on the east coast. Lobster West flies in Maine lobster daily. The owner Kim is from New Jersey and is a very sweet lady too. Tiny place with only few tables inside and outside. My son (and new grandson) lives in Encinitas, so I get a chance to go there more often than I would normally.


judi September 16, 2013 at 3:00 pm

Thanks for the North County hint, Mercy. Really miss the New England lobster rolls.

My editor-dude hasn’t published my review of “Oscars” yet, but it was a tremendous disappointment last week. We had to fight off the flies; the place appeared dirty, and I gave it rave reviews when it was the “Newport Avenue Yacht Club.” The staff was great; and the food was good, but the cleanest part of the restaurant was the bathroom.

Curious if the “Blue Parrot” will have the same menu as the Noodle House.

Danny, our waiter, used to work at the OB Sushi and it is the same owner. It’s been awhile since I was there, but I think you will like the new place. Who said that if one is good, two is better? (Try three!)

And Michele – the decor is the same as the Italian place; the food is different. It is fun to think you are eating Vietnamese food while floating down the canal!


OB Mercy September 16, 2013 at 4:36 pm

Flies are bad ALL over OB right now. From Raglan to Daybreak Cafe, we’ve been fighting them off. If it’s dirty, that doesn’t help. I think Oscar’s need to be told if the place is dirty. That will turn people off to eating there and I think it’s really good food. Just the free broth with the fish in it is killer.

I think you misunderstood me about the Blue Parrot. That’s gone. OB Noodle house now owns it and it WILL be the same exact menu, their owner, Steve Yeng said. I’ve heard it will be called OB Noodle House By The Pier.


judi September 16, 2013 at 4:53 pm

John wasn’t there the night I was there. I would have mentioned it to him. But it just didn’t feel right; look right.

I knew the Blue Parrot was now OB Noodle House ownership. If it is the same menu there’s no reason to go there, unless it is less noisy. I would hope that there would be some variations. His mother told me that many of the recipes used are ones from her own mother.

These were fruit flies, Mercy. And they were on everything. One didn’t put a piece of food in their mouth unless they made sure there were no flies on it. A good pest control service should be able to take care of the problem, AND they needed to empty their trash. I hope that my editor-dude publishes the review tomorrow.


OB Mercy September 16, 2013 at 7:16 pm

God I hate those fruit flies! I’ve been fighting them here at my house all summer and I keep things pretty damn clean! Glass of very sweet cheap wine, they go in and drown, it’s great!

The reason to go to the “other” Noodle House, is it is now a 2 hour wait to get into the old one because of being on the Food Network, you know, Hodad’s Syndrome? And it HAS to be less noisy then the original one!

Tyler, right? Those are the best wings I’ve ever had! And now I know why they are $12. Judi is right, it’s his Mom’s recipe, but oh wow, what a process to make them! Totally worth it.


GeekinOB September 16, 2013 at 2:34 pm

I miss Gus’. :( Those gyro plates were so good, and their roast beef was out of this world. We even had them cater a small-scale party (<50) and it was great. What ever happened to them?


GeekinOB September 17, 2013 at 11:12 am

THEO’s!!! I meant Theo’s, not Gus’. Dang. Fingers outrunning brain!


Jon September 17, 2013 at 7:20 am

My wife and I have eaten at this new place. The food was indeed very tasty. Although the 2 times we’ve tried them, we’ve been the only people in there which is a little awkward. I’ve always thought the miniature Venice scene was hokey, and looks like a carnival ride. Also, the worst decision the old place ever made was closing in that outdoor patio from the Theos days. That was just dumb. Who closes in an outdoor patio at the beach?? Anyway, I wish these guys luck. The owner and staff were sweet. Food was excellent. They just need to make it their own, and get more people in there.


Bob April 17, 2014 at 8:47 pm

Closed by SD Health Dept for rat infestation…. Gross


judi curry April 17, 2014 at 8:56 pm

Thanks, Bob. Had heard rumors and was going to check it out this week.


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