Restaurant Review: TJ Oyster is an upscale restaurant that doesn’t need any selling. Get there early or make reservations because this place, like it’s counterpart one block away Romesco, is packed. Selling the freshest of seafood, this place also has great cocktails and a seafaring atmosphere.
A Little Slice Of History
According to their story, around 1980, Juanito came to the city of Tijuana–from who knows where–and set up a seafood stand in the area known as Colonia Cacho. He sold ceviche tostadas and fish tacos and he found great success. However, the authorities asked him to lease a decent place, so they jumped the border and opened TJ Oyster Bar in Bonita. Here, business boomed and they expanded their menu with all sorts of Mexican style fast-food seafood.
TJ Oyster has a very large eclectic menu for the Mexican palette. They’ve got tacos, burritos, tostadas and pescadilla tortas. They serve your popular tuna and salmon dishes. They’ve also got octopus and stingray on the menu along with the must-try “Diabla Ceviche”.
The Oysters, Of Course
How can you not have oysters when you dine here? They’re divine. Very fresh. Their authentic Sangria pairs well. So do their Micheladas, currently all the rage throughout the South Bay. For those who don’t know, a Michelada is beer with tomato juice, lime and a kind of Old Bay spice (called Tajin) around the edges of the glass. TJ Oyster has also made the Chelada, which includes all of the above, plus their secret house sauce.
Their bar area is slick and they have a great list of white & red wines as well as cocktails. Make sure to check their Happy hours that are from Tuesday to Thursday from 3-6pm. When we were there, the special was the seasonal Chocolata Clams.They were also advertising smoked tuna fries, fish ceviche, fish achiote, fish chicharron and Rock & Cucaracha Shrimp!
Their signature dish is the Empapelado: Fish fillet served with your choice of seafood on top, bell pepper, onion, tomato, olives, banana peppers, and melted cheese all cooked in its own juices. (Preparation time is 15-20 minutes, so have some great cocktails to drink down while you wait.)
Address: 4226 Bonita Road, Bonita AND they’ve become so popular, they’ve opened up a new location at 601 East Palomar Street in Chula Vista.
Prices: Prices are middle to high range, since it’s seafood. The Empapelado is $17.00 and a dozen Baja oysters are $21.00. Expect main meal to be anywhere from $12.00-17.00.