A Mariscos Las Islitas in Van Nuys!!!

IMG_0405My husband, McKay, and I take throw-a-dart-on-the-map kinds of weekend trips and on one of my birthdays, we decided to adventure. It was either Bakersfield or Santa Barbara and, for some reason, Bakersfield just called to us. Anyway, fast forward a few hours of finding nothing to do and already having a hotel room booked, we asked the woman at the front desk where we might grab some dinner. She recommended a bunch of chain restaurants (Olive Garden, Cheesecake Factory, etc) found herself discovering what our furled brows and lackluster faces looked like. We, then, asked her where we might get good local Mexican food (and then I added, “I could eat some seafood”), she said, “Well, there’s this place I like, but it’s not in a great neighborhood – it looks kind of dangerous”. PERFECT. After some convincing, she gave us directions on how to get there and off we went.
We arrived to a crowded room of festive people in festive chairs and a loud Mariachi band (at this point, I should mention that my husband, a caucasian, and myself, a Filipino, were the only non-Latino folks at the joint so either we were really self-conscious or they were really all kind of staring at us?) A friendly host seated us, followed by another friendly server. I ordered garlic fish, he ordered lime fish (we only found out that it was lime fish last week – all this time, we thought it was LEMON fish!). I think we stopped talking to each other for about 15 minutes while we each savored our bites (and I stole a few bites of his dish). YUMMMM!!!
IMG_0403A few months later, we drove back for lunch and brought some friends with us… Everyone (except me) ordered the same dish – LIME FISH. It was delicious, of course – we only wished it was closer to where we lived.
I ran google searches on this place and the only ones I could find were even further away – Fresno and somewhere just outside Las Vegas. We could not justify the trip, not knowing if they would have said Lime Fish on the menu.
Well, I was giving a colleague a ride to the DMV in Van Nuys the other day and when I pulled out of the parking lot, I decided to look for a place to eat. At first glance I saw a pupusas place and across the street a sign that said “Mariscos”. I made a mental note of the Mariscos place and decided to try the pupusas place. When I started towards the pupusa place, I noticed that the words below “Mariscos” said “Las Islitas”!!! I was so excited that I ended up driving there instead!
I walked in and asked, was met by Elvira who told me that both restaurants are owned by brothers! There are a few restaurants, all owned by the same family (brothers and cousins) and they all have the same basic menu items and each restaurant has its special dishes – luckily, the lime fish is a staple – YAYY!!! I stayed for the salmon (knowing I had to come back later in the evening). It was very heavily seasoned and tastes and comes with a perfect serving of rice and beans (as most their dishes do) – a perfect combination for your palette.
DSC04701Later that evening, I had McKay blindfold himself while I took to him there and surprised him. Of course he ordered Lime Fish and I got a chance to order Mojarra Frita with Garlic Sauce. YUM! See his clean plate?
A word of warning: The lime fish is pretty intensely SOUR. I recommended the Bakersfield place to some friends who tried it and their taste buds were just insulted with the intensity. It’s not for the weak of taste buds, for sure. Neither is the Mojarra Frita – the garlic sauce is basically minced garlic cloves mixed with salt and smeared on top of the fish. It’s very intensely garlic.
Anyway, I’m extremely excited to know that there is one just about 20 minutes from my house! (I just don’t know if we’ll be going to Bakersfield again now that we know this is here)

Mariscos Las Islitas, Van Nuys
14867 Vanowen St. Van Nuys, CA 91405
(corner of Kester and Vanowen)
(818) 902-0644

3 Responses to “A Mariscos Las Islitas in Van Nuys!!!”

  1. 1 cksbar
    20090325 at 21:05

    what a great way of deciding where to go!!!! you`ve inspired me to do the same……..

  2. 2 Kat
    20090328 at 16:17

    There’s a similar place right on the corner of my street. Have to check the name but, I wonder?
    So, when do we get a playdate, hmmm?

  3. 3 Crystal
    20090331 at 05:42

    Ooooh… I want to go!

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