The newest fish shack on Bodega Bay, The Birds Café, opened four months ago. It has the finest scenery of the casual eateries, complete with a patio overlooking the harbor, accessible via an ADA ramp. While warm and still when we visited, on most days one would need to bundle up to eat here, as there’s no indoor seating.
The menu has shifted a bit from what I’d read about on opening. No more burger or fried pies. Here’s what the menu looked like yesterday,
Artichoke fritters were a standout. Frilly, deep brown yet delicately crisp and non-greasy light batter clinging to quartered artichoke hearts were served up with a ranch dressing dipping sauce.
Clam chowder was, umm, “problematic”. Brought to our outdoor table with a cover on, I was taken aback by the caramel color when the soup was unmasked. Not much in the way of clams, the chowder had carrots and firm pieces of skin-on red potatoes. It also had some mealy bits of potato and a burnt note. The broken up pieces of carrot and potatoes and the stewy, tired flavors seemed like part of this batch had been reheated and stirred too often, as well as burning.
Folks at another table seemed happy with their fish and chips, made with Lagunitas IPA beer batter. The family that runs the place is lovely. But next time, I’d ask for a sample of the chowder before ordering.
The Birds Cafe
1407 Highway One
Bodega Bay, CA