As much as I love Rancho Mirage and the entire Palm Springs Valley, you know I have been known to escape to the cooler coast now and then. When I’m anywhere near San Clemente (midway between Los Angeles and San Diego in Orange County), I make it a point to have lunch and/or dinner at The Fisherman’s Restaurant & Bar located seaside by the San Clemente Pier. Enjoying its fresh catches of the day right there above the sandy beach, gazing out at the surfers below, I’ve often wished we had a local outpost of this two-restaurant chain, which originated in Seattle long ago.

Well, my wish has been granted with The Fisherman’s Restaurant & Bar’s third location dropping anchor in Rancho Mirage where The Crab Pot once simmered. The space (avec patio) is large and inviting—capable of accommodating the large crowds of visitors and locals who are flocking like seagulls to this latest primo place for fresh seafood.

And when I say “fresh,” I mean “fresh”! The menu—printed daily—features varying specials that are never frozen. Think rare Cajun Ahi…Easter Scallops…Atlantic Salmon…Idaho Trout…Baja California Sea Bass or Swordfish…and Hawaiian Ono…all served with choice of rice or potato and vegetables.

As far as appetizers go, there are Manila Clams or Penn Cove Mediterranean Mussels (both from Washington State)…East Coast Oysters from James River, Virginia…or one of the tastiest Clam Chowders you will ever eat.

One of the best ways to make it a truly memorable meal is to indulge in the Fisherman’s Feast, which provides four courses for two of more: a bucket of clams, chowder, green salad, and your choice of main course. There’s Salmon, Halibut, Crab, Clam, or the Feast of the Day, which was Swordfish on the night I visited.

Of course, if someone in your party isn’t into seafood, there are plenty of other delectable items to choose from. That said, the fish really is the star attraction here. Lunch is served from 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. daily, with happy hour (and its awesome specials) taking place at the bar from 2:00 to 6:00 p.m. Dinner is served Sunday through Thursday from 4:00 to 9:00 p.m., and until 9:30 on Friday and Saturday.

I’ll still find my way to the coast on occasion, but I can’t tell you how happy I am to be able to treat myself to a Fisherman’s meal whenever work or play keeps me in the desert. Finally, I can hear—and taste!—the ocean in Rancho Mirage.

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