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Central Coast Living: Giovanni’s Fish Market serves local crab from tank-to-table

Posted at 8:00 AM, Feb 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-21 10:46:20-05

Along the embarcadero in Morro Bay,  Giovanni’s Fish Market is serving up local seafood just like they have been for over 40 years.

Giovanni DeGarimore is the second generation of Giovannis to run the market.

“It brings me a lot of pleasure and happiness to do something that the community thinks is cool and that I enjoying doing,” DeGarimore said. “And supporting our local fisherman is super important to me.”

Inside the market, shoppers pick out dinner from the glass cases and watch live lobster crawl around in their bubbling tank.

However, it’s outside in the salty ocean air where the main attraction lies – the crab tank.

“This is our crab tank,” DeGarimore pointed out. “This is where all the magic happens here at Giovanni’s Fish Market. Lots of local Dungeness crab happening right now, this time of year.”

The tank is filled with dozens of scuttling crabs that were harvested from Central Coast waters by local fisherman.

“They are fun little creatures. A lot of people don’t realize [crabs] actually have hair on them,” DeGarimore said.

Jaleecia Lopez and her family were in Morro Bay visiting from Hanford. It’s a family tradition for them to stop by Giovanni’s Fish Market and order their favorite seafood fare from the walk-up restaurant window.

Jaleecia’s recommendations: “The fish and chips and the crab.”

People who order crab get a full crab-tank-to-table experience with their purchase.

A Giovanni’s Fish Market employee will help you pick a crab from the tank. They then walk it over to the giant, brick-encased pot of boiling water.

“We always think it’s important to humanely kill our crabs so we give them a nice whack on the belly. That kills them,” DeGarimore said. “And into the big hot tub in the sky, they go.”

After 20 minutes in the pot, the crab comes out pink and ready to eat. The restaurant cracks the shell for you and serves the crab with hot-drawn butter and lemon.

DeGarimore says Morro Bay’s cooler off-season make right now a great time for locals to visit the seaside town.

“Just bringing the family over to do something different, to see what nature has to offer us and eat some good food,” he said. “Morro Bay is just one of those cool little towns where there are a million little things to do.”

“It’s just a good a good atmosphere,” said Jaleecia’s mother, Leticia Lopez. “Of course, it’s fun to visit Morro Bay, walk the pier and have some good food.”

Giovanni’s Fish Market also provides a great backdrop for your next social media post. The clamshell “angel wings” are a popular place to pose for a photo. If you visit and take a picture, share it with #beonksby!

Giovanni’s Fish Market ships fresh seafood overnight to anywhere in the United States.