These days, lots of San Diego restaurants serve fresh-caught, sustainable seafood, but not many go the extra league to catch their own fish.
Bluewater Grill, which opened Monday in Carlsbad Village, is the latest outlet for a restaurant company founded 20 years ago in Newport Beach by longtime friends and fishing buddies Richard Staunton and Jimmy Ulcickas.
Their company owns a harpoon fishing boat, the Pilikia, which is harbored in San Diego. From June to October, they catch swordfish around the Channel Islands that is served at all Bluewater locations.
The Carlsbad store is No. 8 in a chain that includes locations in Coronado, Temecula and Catalina. A ninth restaurant will debut in January in Santa Barbara.
Bluewater is known for serving up to 40 kinds of seasonal and sustainable seafood, with lunch and dinner menus that change frequently to highlight the day’s fresh catch.
“If it isn’t the freshest possible, we won’t put it on the menu,” Ulcickas said. “That has been our philosophy since day one, and we’ll continue that commitment to the freshest fish, ingredients and cooking techniques in Carlsbad.”
Bluewater officials spent nearly a year renovating the Carlsbad location, which formerly housed the Fish House Vera Cruz. The remodeled interior now includes a full-service retail fish counter, which is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.
The Carlsbad restaurant menu is overseen by chef Art Garcia, who joined the Bluewater company in 2014 to open the Temecula location. Before that, he spent 12 years with Fish House Vera Cruz.
The restaurant’s managing partner and general manager is Giorgio Tegami, a 30-year restaurant veteran who was born in Milan, Italy, and has lived in Carlsbad for many years. He joined the company from the Il Fornaio restaurant company, where he helped open the Coronado, Irvine and Carmel-by-the-Sea locations.
The new restaurant offers a weekday small plates menu of $4, $6 and $8 drink and appetizer specials and a healthy children’s menu. It also offers a year-round calendar of seasonal seafood specials and monthly tasting events (on the second Tuesday of each month) that pair seafood with wines, beers and sakes. Happy hour is offered in the lounge from 3 to 6 p.m. Sundays-Thursdays. Weekend brunch service will be added soon.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays;. 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Fridays; 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturdays; 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays. Fish market hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.
Where: 417 Carlsbad Village Dr., Carlsbad