Anthony's Fish Grotto is already known for its quick, inexpensive fare, and throughout the last 60 years, it's also gained a decent rep for family and fine dining at its four locations. The Downtown venue, called Anthony's Fishette, is the coolest, because it offers the best of all worlds—you spend a pittance for fast service and a rich guy's view of San Diego Bay. Anthony's even has a line of retail products, including a spread, basting butter and clam chowder.
While that's quite an impressive pedigree, it pales against an insidious little public service that has nothing to do with the food. Sure, the Mixed Treasures plate is a fantastic value at $8.99, loopy with tasty fish, calamari, clams and shrimp (get the black beans on the side). And the cole slaw with pineapple dressing is as good as it is unusual; to boot, it'll lighten your load by a mere $2.25. The whole menu stacks up accordingly, and in no case will you spend more than $13.50 on your meal (that's the going rate for the eatery's gigantic seafood combo).
But even with that, the Anthony's peeps flaunt their mastery in the most important area of all: marketing. Check out the website, www.gofishanthonys.com, and click on the link marked “Games.” You'll find an electronic jigsaw puzzle and a stupid little test of skill with a bunch of marbles; both will drive you totally Cocoa Puffs the minute you begin to play and will hopelessly hook you for the next 58 years. It's an absolutely ingenious strategy, designed to make you keep Anthony's in mind, and it works to perfection. Remember that when you're soaking up the view at the Downtown location, 1360 North Harbor Drive at Ash Street, between 10 a.m. and 9 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. The number is 619-232-5103 if you want to phone something in ahead.
That's presuming, of course, that you've extracted your face from the computer screen.