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Mackerel in a tin on a board with a sliced baguette and pickled vegetables.
With some of the most comprehensive menus of tinned fish in the country, these L.A. restaurants and bars prove the trend is here to stay. Minerva mackerel at Bar Moruno.
(Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

The 12 best places to crack open tinned fish in L.A.

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Octopus in butter with lemon and dill. Mussels in spicy escabeche. Smoked sardines with heather and chamomile. The tinned fish of today goes far beyond Chicken of the Sea.

Canned seafood traces back to early 19th century France, when Nicola Alpert, known as the “father of canning,” introduced the concept as a way of preserving large amounts of food during the Napoleonic Wars. Affordable and utilitarian, canning quickly caught on across Europe, especially in the seafood-rich regions of Portugal and Spain. Conservas, as they’re called in the Iberian Peninsula, preserve fish in oils and sauces that bring out its natural textures and flavors, and are considered a delicacy.

“Over the pandemic, it became one of those foods that you could have in your pantry that was kind of a luxury,” said Kathy Sidell, owner of Saltie Girl, a seafood-focused restaurant with locations in London, Boston and West Hollywood that flaunts one of the longest tinned fish lists in the United States. “It changed the paradigm of how we think about tinned fish.”

New, women-led brands like Fishwife and Tiny Fish Co. emerged, shifting our assumptions around tinned fish with colorful, eye-catching cans stuffed with responsibly sourced seafood like smoked geoduck with black pepper and rainbow trout tenderloin.


“The good news about this fish is that it’s caught and tinned within two hours at the peak of the season,” Sidell said. “I really don’t think you’re getting fresher fish out of the fish market.”

Able to sit stable in your pantry for years, tinned fish is the perfect summertime snack. On miserably hot days, it’s a quick and refreshing treat, a welcome addition to any picnic spread or an easy potluck hack. Like most seafood, it’s easily paired with wine, especially white, natural and sparkling options. Whether you’re grocery shopping or dining out on the town, here are 12 L.A. restaurants, wine bars and markets that are stocked with tinned fish this summer. — Danielle Dorsey

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A tin of fish served with bread and pickled vegetables.
(Anne Fishbein)

Bar Moruno

Silver Lake Spanish $$
David Rosoff, one of L.A.’s guiding wine savants, started his own hospitality group in 2021 called Intent to Dine. Bar Moruno, its flagship restaurant, resides on the curve of Sunset Boulevard in Silver Lake next to Sunset Triangle Plaza. Chef Chris Feldmeier themes the menu loosely around Spanish bar food. Start the meal with one of half a dozen choices for seafood tins; the selection revolves but usually includes nicely punchy mackerel, sardines in tomato sauce and tiny squid packed in their ink. The staff sets up an elegant tableaux on a wooden platter with a hunk of bread, a smear of butter and pickles. A classic gin martini is ideal alongside; bar director Dave Kupchinsky makes a strong, dry exemplar. For an even broader selection to try at home, pop into the restaurant’s sibling market Rápido next door.
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Tinned fish, a jar of conservas and drinks on a table.


Silver Lake Mediterranean $$
Just in time for summer, Botanica, the Cal-Mediterranean restaurant and market in Silver Lake from Emily Fiffer and Heather Sperling, has launched a tinned fish happy hour from 4 to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Order mackerel in olive oil, salmon in Fly By Jing chili crisp or house-made conservas such as citrus-marinated feta and herb-marinated olives, all of which are served with salsa verde, house hot sauce, Dijon mustard, crackers and a baguette. Fish-friendly cocktails are also available, including a a vermouth spritz and a Gilda martini garnished with a Fishwife anchovy, plus natural wines by the glass. If you miss the happy hour, you can always pick up tins and all of the accompaniments in Botanica’s attached market.
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Mackerel in olive oil with a baguette, marinated olives and pickles.
(Danielle Dorsey / Los Angeles)


Sherman Oaks Wine Bars $$
Buvette is a true hole in the wall along Ventura Boulevard with a cozy patio and a couple of booths for two inside, plus a few seats at the bar. The food menu is short and snack-focused, with rotating conservas that might include spiced mackerel or tuna in olive oil, served with a Clark Street baguette, marinated olives and pickles. The wine list is lengthier, with a section devoted to unusual, hard-to-find wines and sparkling wine flights available. A weekday happy hour discounts wine by the glass to $7 for white, $8 for rosé, $9 for red and $10 for sparkling, plus $6 for mini charcuterie boards that the bar calls “adult Lunchables.”
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A shelf line with tinned fish.
(Lucas Kwan Peterson / Los Angeles Times)

DTLA Cheese Superette

Downtown L.A. Sandwich Shop $$
DTLA Cheese left its Grand Central Market digs in April to move into a space on the corner of 4th Street and South Broadway (while you’re there, check out their bar, Kippered, next door). This new iteration of their business, called DTLA Cheese Superette, has the cheeses you’d expect as well as a small produce section, prepared foods that include soups, salads and sandwiches, and a selection of shelf-stable goods that includes tinned fish.

The market is a good place to buy supplies to make your own board at home. Combine some Jose Gourmet stickleback in a tangy tomato-flavored sauce with a tin of Espinaler green olives stuffed with anchovy and you’re halfway there. Add some delicate, sweet Ines Rosales olive oil tortas as a little treat. You deserve a little treat.
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Conservas at Gasolina Cafe come with crackers or, for a $9 upcharge, bread and accompaniments.
(Lucas Kwan Peterson / Los Angeles Times)

Gasolina Cafe

Woodland Hills Spanish $$
Chef Sandra Cordero’s Gasolina Cafe in Woodland Hills is a good place to dip your toes into the oily world of conservas. The restaurant, charmingly decorated with motorcycle-related curios and bric-a-brac, offers a menu of more than 20 tinned fish to go with a selection of tapas, paellas and other items.

For $9 extra, customers can upgrade a tin of garlicky Patagonia mackerel or briny razor clams and have a complete platter, replete with bread and butter, crackers, pickles, peppers and other veggies. Try a tin of Conservas de Cambados octopus, with tender chunks of meat swimming in paprika-tinged olive oil. If that’s not your speed, a can of Ramón Peña sardines, positively packed with silvery-skinned flesh and a single padrón pepper, is as close to fail-safe as it comes.
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A tinned fish spread includes a baguette, crackers, pickled peppers and butter.
(Lucas Kwan Peterson / Los Angeles Times)


Downtown L.A. Tapas Wine Bars $$
Kippered, a cool and cozy bar just down the street from Grand Central Market, opened last year in the space formerly occupied by Bernadette’s. Lydia Clarke and Reed Herrick opened Kippered, in part, to showcase their love for the colorful art and design on tins of fish, as well as the briny goodness that comes inside. (One nice touch at Kippered is that they’ll include the packaging when they serve you a tin.)

Their tinned fish menu is extensive, with several dozen options spanning sardines, mackerel, cod, octopus, mollusks and more. One evening, I enjoyed the spice-infused collab between Fishwife and Fly By Jing — a smoked salmon with chili crisp — and a tin of Matiz mussels in oil and tart vinegar. Order your selections with olives, radishes and butter, or some of the cheeses and charcuterie on the menu. Outside of tinned fish, Kippered’s other focus is wine, available by the glass, bottle or in flights.
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A selection of tinned fish, crackers and butter.
(Jenn Harris / Los Angeles Times)

Lady & Larder

Santa Monica Grilled Cheese $$
Sisters and co-owners Sarah and Boo Simms may be known best for their beautiful platters of cheese and charcuterie, but their petite superette is routinely stocked with everything you might desire to build a tinned fish board too. There’s a sizable selection of Fishwife tins, including rainbow trout jerky gems, anchovies, smoked albacore tuna and the Fly By Jing collaboration tins of smoked salmon and Fly By Jing chili crisp. You’ll also find tins from Tiny Fish Co., Siesta Co. and Minnow. Regardless of the fish you choose, they’re all excellent on a Lady & Larder cracker spread with a generous amount of good butter. There’s plenty of natural wine too. And the staff is happy to make a recommendation to pair with your tinned fish, cheese or whatever else manages to make its way into your cart.
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A tin of octopus and a baguette
(Mariah Tauger/Los Angeles Times)


Highland Park Spanish $$$
At Teresa Montaño’s neighborhood beacon in Highland Park, she punctuates her Spanish-focused menu with succinct choices of three or four conservas: Selections have recently included yellowfin tuna belly, squid in olive oil, mussels in sharp escabeche and tiny, mild sardines. Tinned seafood here feels like an innate part of a spread of charcuterie, cheeses, orange-scented olives and garlicky pan con tomate that comprise a first round of snacks or a light dinner at the bar. Expect a broader selection of conservas at Montaño’s forthcoming Otoño Mercat, which she envisions as an event space as well as a market.
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Tinned sardines with toasted country bread, a bowl of butter, lemon and a pickled chile.
(Betty Hallock / Los Angeles Times)

Propaganda Wine Bar

Downtown L.A. Italian Tapas Wine Bars $$
Propaganda — the downtown “Italian tapas” and wine bar — has a menu of nearly a dozen options for tinned fish from Spain and Portugal. Propaganda’s specialty might be pinsa Romana — the name pinsa refers to the way the dough is hand-pressed, differentiating it from pizza — but the selection of sardines, scallops, mackerel, razor clams, mussels, spiced calamari and more caters to conservas fans. (It’s worth ordering a pinsa too.) Tinned seafood arrives on a platter with a stack of toasted country bread, a bowl of soft butter, a wedge of lemon and pickled chiles. Owners Claudio Villani and Yan Wong have built a neighborhood following with their list of natural and biodynamic wines, so maybe order that bottle of fun vino frizzante (such as the Spuma rosato from Denny Bini) to go with those anchovies.
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Tinned fish at Rapido market in Silver Lake, which stocks several brands and varieties from Portugal and Spain.
(Betty Hallock / Los Angeles Times)


Silver Lake Wine Shop Tinned Fish $$
The sidewalk sign in front of Rápido pretty much says it all: “Come 4 the Fish + Wine, Stay 4 the Vibes.” The tiny Silver Lake market is stocked with tins and bottles by restaurant veteran and wine maestro David Rosoff, who also owns and operates Bar Moruno next door. Razor clams in brine and small-production cod in a tomatoy broth from the Portuguese brands Ati Manel and ABC+, respectively, sit next to Espinaler classics such as baby sardines and white tuna belly in olive oil. Prices range from $8 to $24 per tin. You could grab a limited-edition tin of albacore that arrives at the bay of the Cantabrian Sea in northern Spain, where it’s canned by Alalunga, buy a loaf of Jyan Isaac bread (available on the weekends; it’s Clark Street baguettes on the weekdays) and a puck of beurre de baratte from the refrigerated case, along with a bottle of house Rápido Dolcetto, and you’re golden. The staff can set you up at one of the couple of high-top tables outside for an impromptu patio picnic.
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Four tins of seafood on a platter.
(Oscar Mendoza / For The Times)

Saltie Girl

West Hollywood Seafood $$$
The West Hollywood location of Saltie Girl — which is a spinoff of the original restaurant in Boston, with a third outpost in London — charged into the local conservas arena late in 2022. Its tinned seafood menu presents more than 100 options divided into 17 categories of fish and shellfish. It’s overwhelming in the best sense, with the per-tin prices stretching from the teens to more than $60 for a splurge on delicate grilled branzino. Choose a straightforward benchmark like sardines in olive oil or silvery needlefish; they taste ideal slightly mashed into buttered bread with a sprinkle of salt and maybe a dollop of piquillo pepper relish, all of which are part of the presentation. Couple it with a more distinctly flavored contrast: smoked oysters, Norwegian mussels marinated in dill and fennel, hake in salsa verde, white anchovies in roasted garlic or umami-packed brined razor clams. The restaurant’s warm lobster roll, lobster spaghetti and moules frites have their own appeal, but with a martini or a shochu-gin-cucumber cocktail at the bar, tins could constitute the whole meal.
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A tin of fish on a platter with herbed toast, a half-moon of brie, lemon wedges and green olives.
(Danielle Dorsey / Los Angeles Times)

The Jolly Oyster

Culver City Seafood $$
The specialty at the Jolly Oyster is in the name, but the stand inside Culver City’s Citizen Public Market also offers an assortment of tinned fish at market price, in addition to other seafood dishes you won’t find at the Ventura or Sunday Smorgasburg locations. Order local labels like Fishwife with French-style accouterments including toasted Bub and Grandma’s bread, triple crème brie, anchovy-stuffed olives and lemon, or classic fixings with the same bread, cultured butter, giardiniera, radishes, and lemon. Wines are available by the glass and bottle for pairing, including a decent selection of orange and natural wines, as well as sake and beer options.
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