You’re craving seafood for dinner, but we’ll bet the last thing on your mind is, I’ve gotta have some sardines. Try to keep an open palate, though, because these flavorful fish are now popping up on menus all over town.
Union in Pasadena offers freshly pickled sardines, sourced from Santa Barbara’s Wild Local Seafood, alongside Rancho Gordo beans, citrus and herbs in a traditional Italian scapece, or marinade dish ($30). At the new Playa Provisions, garlic-and-pepper-fried calamari are served alongside Manila clams, crispy baby sardines and spicy tartar sauce ($14). At wine-centric strip-mall restaurant Saint Martha, Mediterranean sardines are paired with green goddess dressing, trout roe and greens ($20).
These are all yummy, but our favorite sardine score is also the simplest. At Acabar, the can o’ sardines ($15) comes with charred rustic bread, shaved fennel salad, radishes, herbs and dipping oils. It’s the perfect app to enjoy with friends around a table, so everyone can customize each mouthful of the salty goodness.
Union, 37 E. Union St., Pasadena; 646-795-5841 or unionpasadena.com. Playa Provisions, 119 Culver Blvd., Playa del Rey; 310-683-5019. Saint Martha, 740 S. Western Ave.; 213-387-2300 or saintmartharestaurant.com. Acabar, 1510 N. Stanley Ave.; 323-876-1400 or acabar-la.com