Saturday, February 4, 2023

Restaurant Review: Sea 180° lives up to the Hype

You know that new restaurant in I.B. that people keep talking about? That restaurant is Sea 180° Coastal Tavern, and the hype is justifiable. As a Coronado local, I dig Imperial Beach, but I do not find myself down there too often. I have a short list of reasons to go to Imperial Beach: the surf, the cheaper gas, Meijo Sushi, Don Ponchos, and a Stardust donut (if I get lucky). Now there’s a new reason to venture south on the strand.

Sea 180° has a lot going for it. Location is its best asset, sitting right on the sand maybe 30 yards from the shore break. The ocean view rivals that of our Hotel del, but Sea 180° caters to the budget crowd at $12-15 plate. The menu is surprisingly diverse: crab potstickers, duck “carnaditas”, empanadas, salads, ceviches, burgers, pasta, even pot pie. Though still partially under construction for a couple weeks, the restaurants setting was lovely. The floor is very open with big windows letting lots of natural light in. With fresh coloring, clean and simple room set-up, and non-stop surf films playing on the bar TV, the restaurant strikes a good balance. You know you can go in there, get good service and good-quality food, even if you walk in with flip flops and salty hair right from the beach.

The restaurant is still only a couple weeks old and, as such, has a few kinks to work out. Our server was professional and friendly, but so soft-spoken I could hardly hear him and it wasn’t even crowded. I tried to order their one pasta item, but they had already run out. My arugula and baby beets salad was delicious but slightly over-dressed and oily. I would prefer the food in general to be lighter and fresher. I ordered the smoked salmon sushi, but it wasn’t as chilled or as refreshing as I prefer, so it missed the mark for me. Several items I ordered were near perfection, though. I know you can’t go wrong with a french fry, but Sea 180° goes oh-so-right. Their “Brown Bag Herb Fries” were irresistible with a sweet garlic, parmesan, lime aioli. Every item on the dessert menu looks mouth-watering; the hazelnut tart topped with bruleed bananas and passion fruit curd was a brilliant mix of crunchy, sweet, and tangy (pictured below).

Overall, the food, the service, and the setting were very good. I was really won-over by their sustainability efforts. Their food is mostly sourced from local producers, Catalina Offshore Seafood, Suzie’s Farm, and Sweet Grass Dairy to name a few.

For a yummy sit-down lunch, this is a great place to go. Nothing on the lunch menu exceeds $16, and you will leave with a full belly. I look forward to going back to take advantage of their awesome happy hour menu (½ off small plates, specialty cocktails and wine!), as well as trying more of their lunch and dinner menu. Go check it out before summer comes and hotel tourists take all the tables!

Visit their Facebook page here.

800 Seacoast Drive
Imperial Beach, CA 91932
(619) 631-4949


Rosie Harris

Staff Writer Intern

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