Late Lunch Special: Oysters at Santa Monica Seafood

Oysters, you may or may not know, make a fine pick-me-up during a day of multi-stop provisioning. The casual café side of Costa Mesa’s Santa Monica Seafood, so conveniently located near liquor Mecca Hi-Time, one of the aforementioned stops, is a perfect place to regroup. An oyster sampler ($14) with the six available varieties represented seemed the way to go—add in a glass of albariño ($11), pretty good sourdough with excellent butter, and we were sufficiently fortified to finish our list, resolving to return for happy hour when oysters are just $2. Happy hour’s 2 to 5 p.m. every day but Saturday; single oysters are $3.50 to $3.75 on the regular menu. Non-oyster note: Squid aficionados should not miss the superlative calamari ($9; $7 during happy hour), perfectly fried and tender, with a light, sandy-textured, really well-seasoned coating.

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