Since it’s that time of year again when the blistering sun comes out and nobody can resist that urge to get outside, we decided to pay a visit to one of our old friends, Pajo’s!
This fish and chips shack has been here for the longest time ever, proving to be one of the more popular locations in this area. They are very family-friendly as they have many picnic tables and benches for larger crowds of people. Furthermore, it just so happened that the Richmond Maritime Festival was taking place at the Steveston Wharf when we went. Finding a parking spot was every man (or woman) for themselves! We constantly missed chances at parking, and obviously we weren’t going to pay $10 for the special parking lot for a 1 hr lunch. The key is patience, and pure luck. Both proved useful as we found a spot after half an hour of patrolling the area, only costing us $6 for 2 hrs of parking.
To buy and get your food, you have to walk down a ramp, which means strollers and wheelchairs are happily accepted. Of course, Pajo’s specialty is to set you in the ocean-kind-of-feel while you eat your meal to complete the experience. However, I don’t absolutely adore the murky green water that surrounds the place or the seagulls/birds that fly around the eating benches. It’s a decent touch and I won’t bag too much on it. For us, we went back up the ramp to the picnic tables.
Out of curiosity, I peeked through the ordering window ( which is not what you see in the picture, by the way, this is the pick-up window) and checked out their working “environment”. It looked fine until I saw the floor and discovered that it was pretty gross. There were fries and garbage lingering around. Maybe it wasn’t a good day for them?
The menu gives you a good variety of items to choose from in the rare case that you don’t want fish. Let’s face it; when you come to a place with “fish and chips” in the name, you’re there to try their fish, not their burgers. They give you a choice between cod, salmon, and halibut , as well as child, small, and large sizes. If it’s your first time, the One of Each Fish and Chips will give you a sense of which fish is to your liking. Drinks are separately sold, but tartar sauce is provided (that’s what they were scooping from the white bucket in the previous image).
For us four people, we ordered a Large Halibut Fish and Chips ($14.99) and a Large Salmon Fish and Chips ($12.99). We also got two large pops ($2.09 each). The orange, yam-tempura- looking one was the salmon and the other was the halibut.
First, let’s talk salmon. Unfortunately, the salmon was slightly overcooked. Nevertheless, Pajo’s is a family place and obviously they’re just trying to be safe for the children. No matter. The batter that they used to fry it was actually not that bad! Even though the batter didn’t stick well to the fish, I still liked the taste. Next came the halibut. Honestly, I enjoyed this more than the salmon, particularly because the texture of the meat was more enjoyable. I have no complaints for the halibut. As for the tartar sauce, it wasn’t as thick as we hoped it would be. Came out of a giant bucket. Not much was used for me but it’s there for the fish if you don’t mind all the oil.
Oh right, there were fries too. Wait, I mean chips. Anyways, they were skin-on chips and were quite bland by themselves. Eventually, we sprinkled some of the seasoning salt from the pickup window and it tasted a lot better. If you’re not a big fan of chips, you can opt for Small Fish Only (1 1/2 pieces of fish).
This ended up costing around $36 for us four, which meant roughly $9 person. Cheap? Not exactly but with these kinds of specialties, you’re expected to dish out that much anyways (sometimes even more). I personally enjoyed the experience, it’s not often you get to, or should, eat this kind of food.
So after we finished our lunch, we headed out to the Fisherman’s Wharf where you can get some great deals on seafood, mostly fish. Just be wary. Always ask how fresh it is before buying.
We ended up buying some shrimp for that night’s dinner here. Unfortunately, only after we prepared it at home did we realize that it was starting to go bad. Not like rotting bad, but the texture of the meat after it was cooked became really starchy. Sigh…at least it was still edible.