sea180 coastal tavern / imperial beach

Last week my oldest friend, Sarah, was back in town for a little visit. The amazing thing about old friends is that the moment you see each other, even if you haven’t seen nor talked to them in a year, you just pick up right where you left off. It’s immediately comfortable and familiar again like you haven’t been apart at all. The only thing is that later you miss them more! 

Sarah, her husband and kiddos were staying in Imperial Beach so I drove down to have dinner with Sarah. She was staying about a block away from SEA180 Coastal Tavern, a place I’d been wanting to hit up for awhile. We commented on how fancy the hotel looked in Imperial Beach, considering Sarah grew up here and there was never anything this fancy looking in IB back in the day. 

When we got into the restaurant, one of Sarah’s old friends from high school was a hostess there and they got to chat for a bit. It’s always funny how small places feel when you run into people.


It was Tuesday evening and after looking over the menu, we saw they had this Tuesday Date Night special for $39 (per couple). You get a bottle of wine, a salad to split and three plates to share. We decided this would be the best deal for us, even though I stated I wouldn’t drink much of the wine (truth). 

Strawberry Iced Tea - SEA180 Coastal Tavern

[strawberry iced tea]

I had about a 1/4 of a glass of wine (I’m a wuss) and also ordered this delicious strawberry iced tea to quench my thirst that evening. It was just a bit fruity and unsweetened, which is how I like it. 

Ceviche Salad - SEA180 Coastal Tavern

[susie’s farm ceviche salad]

Sarah choose the Ceviche Salad for us to share. I mostly just ate the greenery since I didn’t care too much for the pickled veggies, but I did try a carrot out of curiosity. The pickling flavor was quite light – it was more like “pickled lite” and so it was more tolerable for me but I still didn’t eat anymore of them. There was a roasted shallot vinaigrette that came with this which was very light – I almost couldn’t even taste it. 

Fried Goat Cheese - SEA180 Coastal Tavern

[fried goat cheese]

Our waitress asked if we wanted to add on these goat cheese medallions to our salad (for an extra charge of $5). She forgot to get them topped on the salad and we ended up getting them separately, which was fine by me. The goat cheese was tangy and gooey and perfectly delicious with the light outer coating. I loved these! 

Black Mussels with Chorizo - SEA180 Coastal Tavern

[black mussels with chorizo]

Sarah’s not really into mussels but she was willing to try these (I think she ate one… haha). The broth used for the mussels had chorizo, lager beer, thai red curry, and leeks. 

Mussel broth - SEA180 Coastal Tavern

The broth was really delicious with the mix of flavors. It was a teeny bit spicy and I loved soaking up the broth with the bread while eating the yummy mussels. I ate about half of these on my own and took the rest home. 

3 Cheese Mac n Cheese - SEA180 Coastal Tavern

[three cheese macaroni and cheese]

We also decided on the macaroni and cheese, which is made with fontina, brie and Parmesan with black truffle oil. They use campanelle (“bellflowers” or little bells) for the pasta here. I really liked their version of macaroni and cheese. The sauce was a little thinner but it coated the pasta well and there was additional melted cheese on top. As you mixed and twirled your fork in you could get more sauce, but it was almost more like a creamy pasta dish then the traditional mac n cheese that I’m used to (which can get heavy). It tasted a little lighter and the black truffle was merely hinted at and gave a little background flavor to the dish. Very good! 

Flatbread - SEA180 Coastal Tavern

[chef’s special flatbread]

You must forgive me because I cannot for the life of me remember what the meat on this flatbread was… but I do remember that it had pine nuts and pomegranate seeds and that the flatbread was quite tasty. I think (THINK) it is a pulled pork or some kind of pork. Doesn’t it look porky to you? It looks porky to me! The pine nuts gave the flatbread a nice buttery crunch and the pomegranate gave a touch of sweetness. It was one of their special daily flatbreads and we really enjoyed the mingling flavors here. 

brownie special - SEA180 Coastal Tavern

[cocoa nib cake]

Sarah’s friend told our waitress it was our birthday (to be fair, Sarah’s was a couple of weeks before and mine is in a few weeks…. so it’s kind of true) so we got a little complimentary cocoa nib cake to celebrate. We decided it would be our “anniversary” dessert since we first met in grade school about…. oh… 26 years ago (!!) in late September . The chocolate cake was topped with a delicious ganache and cocoa nibs that added a little bit of crunch. The whipped cream almost looks like ice cream! 

All in all we felt this was a really great dinner for a great price. Sarah drank most of the wine while I stuck with my iced tea but for the price you get plenty of food for two people to share. 


As we walked down the street back to my car and Sarah’s home-away-from-home, I spotted this cool little sign made in the fence with old rags. Peace and love! 

It was a really fun night catching up with my old friend. If we had been able to get there earlier I’m sure we would have seen a spectacular sunset, but it was already too dark to see the ocean by the time we got there (maybe next time).

* Link Love! (Which I forgot to do originally, I blame my lack of sleep):
– Faye wrote about the Yelp event there from last spring
– Darlene did a little roundup earlier this year for Zagat about SEA180
– I also found an article about SEA180 from Diary of a Mad Hungry Woman
– And finally CC’s post about a few desserts from SEA180

SEA180 Coastal Tavern
800 Seacoast Dr
Imperial Beach, CA

Sea 180° Coastal Tavern on Urbanspoon

12 thoughts on “sea180 coastal tavern / imperial beach

  1. Oooh that flatbread looks yummy – and it looks porky to me, too! The date night deal looks great! I’ll have to drag – ahem, bring – S here sometime, hehe.

    1. Hi Jinxi – I think it’s porky! They don’t have this on their regular menu and I didn’t remember to write it down. Oh well. Yes, you must politely tell him that you have to eat here, hehe!

    1. Hi Cathy – It was a very nice meal and the date night special made it even better. It was a nice way to try a few of their offerings. I really enjoyed it.

  2. Awww I can imagine little Mary from way back when lol. Those lifetime friendships are precious.

    I love mussels. Love dipping in toasted bread in the broth. Yum! I can’t really see that well on this screen, but is that bull’s blood on your flat bread? Do you actually eat that or take it off? It has no taste but makes things Purdy. It’s been something I used a lot, but once it leaves the kitchen, I wonder if most people take it off. I would assume that they do. I usually do. My former boss used to put that thing on EVERYTHING (savory)! It’s pretty pricy too.

    1. Hi Miss Kim – Yes, they are precious! 🙂

      I had to look up what bull’s blood is! But from looking at other photos of it, it sure does look like bull’s blood (what a weird name). We actually ate it, I didn’t know what it was. I figured if they put it on my flatbread they meant me to eat it. I don’t remember it having a particular taste or flavor either.

  3. The only way to make goat cheese even better is to fry it!! Everything at this place looks quite good, I think they had a Yelp event there I wanted to go to once but forgot to RSVP for. Fancy-ish but still yummy food 🙂

    1. Hi J.S. – Yessss, fry the cheese and then give it to me! I lubs it! They did have a Yelp event, I remember Faye went to it and it made me curious about this place again (I think that was over the summer).

  4. I like how you tried the carrot outta curiosity. Like it’s a live cricket or insect or something. Dumb carrots.

    It’s funny b/c I can’t handle mussels either. Is there a particular reason your friend can’t eat them as well? I love clams and oysters but can’t stomach the taste of mussels.

    My friend and I would totally work the free bday dessert too 🙂 It’s cool you guys had a chance to meet up and have a nice meal.

    1. Hi Faye! Well… I knew it was a PICKLED carrot. So that makes it different and stuff 🙂
      I don’t think my friend likes the texture. She said she tried a clam once and spit it out and was afraid the same thing would happen with the mussels (it didn’t). Free birthday dessert is fabulous. I hope magically free desserts appear for my birthday.

  5. What a great post especially since you spent In the company of a dear friend. Yes, IB has certainly changed a lot!

    I liked seeing that special menu. Maybe Bert and I can go there to try it out. Most of the choices are things I would like except for goat cheese. That’s great you got a comped dessert too. Ha ha, we saw that PAZ y Amor design on the fence just a few days ago….

    1. Hi CC – Yes, IB has changed a lot, especially that area down by the beach. They also had the Restaurant Week menu available but the Date Night special was better since we shared everything and still managed to have leftovers. I got a kick out of that “paz y amor” sign, especially when I saw it was just colored rags. Very cool.

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