By Matt Claborn

Just what you’d expect from a first-rate restaurant of this caliber, Pacifica Seafood Restaurant delivers the most incredible dining experience.

From the moment you step onto the second floor overlooking El Paseo, tasteful elegance leads you up the stairs to the entrance of Pacifica. Quickly greeted and asked if we had a reservation, I let the hostess know we had a made one for 7:45pm that evening. I should also mention that online, through their website, they make it very simple and easy to book an evening for any occasion. We opted for the outdoor seating, seeing as it was a perfect 75 degrees out that night. Wasting no time, we ordered up some tasty drinks and decided that the Sea Bass Ceviche was going to work for starters. Pacifica offers an array of mouth-watering signature cocktails, full bar options and extensive wine list sure to quench any and all diners’ specific thirst. Happy hour is from 3pm – 6:30pm daily, all night on Wednesdays and Sundays. The restaurant also offers half and full portioned plates to accommodate anyone’s wallet or appetite size.

Our server asked if we were there celebrating any occasion, I answered, “Not really, just getting out for some alone time since we had our first child.” She then insisted that it was an occasion and swiftly brought back Bacon Wrapped Medjool Dates, compliments of the chef. Let me say that I am not the biggest fan of dates however these were nothing short of phenomenal. The local Coachella Valley medjool dates are prepared with extremely thought out ingredients on the plate. Delicately encased in apple wood smoked bacon, these dates are then placed upon a silky beurre blanc and sprinkled with aged goat cheese, blue cheese crumbles, toasted almonds, and finally a thin wisp of balsamic for an astounding touch of acidity.

Up next we dug deep into the freshest and most satisfying ceviche that has ever graced my palette. Piled high on the plate, chunks of fresh, delicate sea bass, married lusciously with tomato, onion, cilantro, all drenched with a bright lime juice. The vivid green hue of a superbly sliced avocado was adorned atop the mixture. As simple as this dish is, Pacifica showcases the meaning of “less is more” in some situations, and boy do they know how to execute.

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On to the main course, I opted for the sautéed Atlantic Diver Sea Scallops and my better half with the Pan-Seared Chilean Sea Bass. At first glance it’s hard to miss the attention to detail Pacifica’s kitchen staff pays to the plate. Scallops with the most wondrous sear are strategically placed alongside Brussels sprouts, cauliflower mash and a buttery beurre blanc. Now the cauliflower mash is somewhat of a newer item on menus these days, obviously a much healthier version of mashed potatoes. After my first taste, I can easily say any doubts of my plate missing a russet went right out the window. The cauliflower mash is packed with garlic, butter and the perfect seasoning; I’d challenge anyone to discern the difference between them and “the real deal”. A true, much less guilty pleasure to enjoy.

The Pan-Seared Chilean Sea Bass was nothing short of a culinary delight. The building blocks to this plate start with a light and fluffy ginger rice, bok choy, green curry-coconut sauce, topped with a honey-soy glaze and sesame seeds. Of course, the sea bass was executed with precision on the cooking side of things. Again, I was amazed at the finely tuned thought process that goes into every dish prepared at Pacifica Restaurant.

Comfortably satiated, we decided to skip dessert and head back to pick up our little one, as we imagined the grandparents might be the ones getting on the fussy side at this point.

All in all if you’re looking for a top notch dining experience, out of this world wait staff and food you’ll be wishing you hadn’t finished, just so you could take some home for a midnight snack, Pacifica Seafood Restaurant is a Coachella Valley gem I urge you not to sleep (with the fishes) on.

PACIFICA SEAFOOD RESTAURANT – 73-505 EL PASEO – PALM DESERT – 760-674-8666

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