BEHOLD! One of the best kept “secrets” and greatest “hidden” gems in the entire city of Los Angeles: The Albright. Located in the heart of some of LA’s most constant hustle and bustle, The Albright has been attached to the Santa Monica Pier like a barnacle since 1977 and has been serving some of the best fresh seafood in the city since. For 35 years what we know today as The Albright was actually called SM Pier Seafood and was run for many years by Have Ju Kim; these days her daughter Yunnie Kim Morena continues to uphold the family legacy and has recently breathed new life into this Santa Monica Pier mainstay.
Angelenos don’t typically gravitate towards ultra touristy hot spots. When it comes to entertaining ourselves, the more obscure and out-of-the-box the activity the more interest we have in it. Most of us have probably been to the Santa Monica Pier at least once and many of us can agree that once was enough, so when I’d heard one of the best seafood spots in the city happened to be located not near or around but ON the pier, feelings of slight anxiety began to sink in. I’ve walked by the Ocean Ave entrance on a warm summer day one too many times, and let’s just say (massive, blissfully unaware people with personal space problems) crowds make me sweat. But even as “anxious” as I was about walking the fictional plank, there was also something oddly appealing about wanting to give the Pier a second chance and hoping to experience it in a whole new way – especially if food and drinks would be thrown into the mix. Fortunately upon impending arrival I quickly discovered that you hardly have to walk down the dang pier a few feet before The Albright is one of the first etablishments you’ll come across. The crowds and selfie sticks seem to gather at the end, so a stress-free meal, outside, on the patio was and is completely attainable.
The Albright is casual “order at the counter” seafood, with plenty of both indoor and outdoor seating available. I came for dinner right around sunset and it was great to sit outside enjoy a little sun and salt air – a perfect setting for a perfect meal. There’s a few dishes that The Albright is known for and if you’re partial to any of them – do yourself a favor. One of my favorite popular dishes was their New England Clam Chowder in a sourdough bread bowl and take it from a sourdough snob/Bay Area bred girl: Boudine’s ain’t the only ones who know the power of a warm steamy sourdough bowl filled with warm hearty chowdah. Another “signature dish” that truly sets The Albright apart from the rest is their whole (cooked) crab or lobster. It’s crucial to note here that The Albright is one of the only establishments in LA who offer this kind of experience – the kind with a lot of cracking and pounding complete with bibs, buttery fingers, crabby hands, tiny forks n’ all. Whole crab/lobster and chowder aside, just about everything you’d hope to find on a seafood menu – fresh grilled fish, fish n’ chips, oysters, lobster and crab rolls, fish/shrimp tacos, you name it – is available at The Albright. And it’s all so. damn. good. – I would actually legitimately know, I ordered a good 1/2 of the menu as you can see.
The Albright is officially one of the best “hidden in plain sight” gems this city still has, so when you’re ready for a little adventure, a little “tourism” in your own town, and some of the best seafood LA’s got (with totally fair prices), you know where to go. It’s only a 35 year old business, which is about 135 years in LA years – no big deal.
The Albright | Santa Monica Pier
Monday thru Friday 12pm – close | Saturday + Sunday 11am – close