The place wasn't hard to find. We were quite familiar with the Moss Landing area, having been going to the beach there quite a few times already. We never thought that a few miles down from the beach was where a few restaurants were located. Phil's location is not really very strategic compare to like The Whole Enchilada that was by Hwy 1.
From yelp, I knew that we have to order at the counter and then our order will be delivered to the table. It wasn't hard to figure out where to order because there was a long line for that. While queing up I saw there were a bunch of pics of one particular dog, or I assume one dog though I saw on one pic there were at least 5 of similar looking black Scottish Terrier. Anyhow, the line moved pretty fast. We paid for our order and hubby found a table while I went to get our water. Yup..you have to get your own water/soda. The server will only bring your order to your table. If you want more bread, there's a counter where you grab your own bread. So in a way it feels like a fast food place.
The food. The cioppino was abundant. We ordered it on bowl instead of bread bowl. There were lots of seafood in it. Fish, bay scallop (for some reason, watching the show I was believing that we were going to get sea scallop), crab legs, decent size prawn, a few huge mussel, a few clams. They were all good. I did find the crab a bit salty instead of its natural flavor. I wonder whether they were presalted. It's a bit too salty for my taste. First few spoonfulls, hubby found it a bit bland so he insisted on spicing it up. After a few spoons of tabasco added to it, he finally declared it good. I agreed. I think a bit more chilli flakes could make it better.
The squid & chips was nothing special. I was expecting it to be fresher, but it didn't give a good impression. Squid was rubbery and tasteless. Dipping sauce was ranch and cocktail sauce which according to hubby was not as good as just plain old ketchup. For the price, I expected better of the dish, but it didn't happen. I think in the end the cioppino had the best value. I happened to look at our neighbor who ordered his fish & chips, and it didn't look appetizing either. If we go back, I would try another dish and probably stay away from the deep fried. I have a feeling they reserve the not so fresh seafood for deep frying because it will cover the smell.
Phil's Fish Market & Eatery
7600 Sandholdt Rd
Moss Landing, CA 95039