I’m always on the lookout for places where people with stretched budgets can get non-fast food. The City Fish in Cupertino, the new location from the original offshoot in downtown San Jose, offers not only an array of familiar, tastily prepared food, but also some amazing bargains.  Owner Danny Zubizarreta, who also owns Muchos! taqueria in downtown San Jose, has a Cupertino connection having once attended De Anza College.

Next to a Subway in a strip mall near 85 and Stevens Creek, the restaurant feels like an airy, low-key bar. Fish motifs and a quiet TV hang on the textured walls. Sconces and clay floors set it above a fast food joint, which is more the feel of the original location. We got my preferred seating: a booth. A friendly young man immediately greeted us and brought menus. The iced tea, unsweetened and pleasantly floral, was the first unique touch.

Their specialty here is tempura seafood, so we selected oysters, scallops, prawns and cod. The scallops were succulent, the prawns fresh and light, and the oysters were cooked to exacting standards. The cod was nearly a foot long. Our meals arrived on massive combo platters ($13.95 and $14.95) with sides of fries or cole slaw, which came crisp and fresh, not sugary or loaded with mayonnaise ($1.95). The homemade fries were served on fresh shredded cabbage—another nice touch.

I chose an unusual side: basil tomatoes and halved cherry tomatoes, not roasted, but marinated. They were tasty and healthy. Clam chowder ($3.95), another favorite, arrived in a bowl-cup with big chunks of clam, not over-salted, the polar opposite of Campbell’s.

My companions loved the moist, rich crab cake ($4.50). If we could eat all day and all night, we would have tried one of the sandwiches, salads, linguini with nine possible variations or the New York steak (a mere $19.95). Mahi-mahi, swordfish and much more round out the menu, which I plan to try again. (Note: The menu on Yelp is less comprehensive and more expensive than the physical one in Cupertino.)

We were completely stuffed, but seeing that both apple pie and cheesecake were only $2.50, I loosened my belt a notch. The cheesecake was yummy with a dense, buttery bottom, similar to what my bottom might be if I eat it on the regular. Regrettably, I could not try the apple pie. This time.

The City Fish 
21678 Stevens Creek Blvd.
Cupertino. 408.320.1434.