Royal Fish House First Northern California Concept in San Jose

The interior of the King’s Fish House.

King’s Fish House

Update: King’s Fish House will reopen for al fresco dining this Friday at 4 p.m. (January 29).

With no al fresco dining in San Francisco and the Bay slated to resume next month, it’s time to get some new restaurants (those that unfortunately were fairly timed to open) on your radar. One such place is King’s Fish House in San Jose, the first Northern California concept from the renowned Southern California fish institution King’s Seafood Company.

The opening was already well received in October but had to be temporarily closed last month due to the increased Covid protocol. In anticipation of the reopening, let’s take a look at what diners can expect from this upscale seafood restaurant chain.

King’s Fish House in the Westfield Valley Fair Mall dining district in San Jose offers some of the freshest seafood as it’s sourced direct from King’s Seafood Distribution. The menu changes constantly, depending on the season, from California Spiny Lobster to Live Local Dungeness Crab. to a selection of oysters from their extensive tube bar, including 12 different types of oysters from the west and east coast; with freshly caught fish such as swordfish, New Zealand King Salmon and Wild Petrale Sole. The menu also features a variety of hand-cut sushi rolls, chilled shellfish platters, and starters, including pasta dishes, filet mignon, and more.

Fresh shellfish.

Fresh shellfish.

King’s Fish House

The King’s Fish House offers regional specialties such as Miso-Yaki Wild Chilean Seabass, fried with Bok Choy and Shimeji mushrooms and Macadamia Nut Crusted Wild Alaskan Halibut. San Jose’s exclusive products include the local Half Moon Bay Petrale sole with lemon butter and capers, as well as the grilled whole Rhode Island Black Bass.

The 7,400-square-foot space is in the newly renovated outdoor dining area at Westfield Valley Fair, just across from Bloomingdale’s. The chic space is adorned with hand-painted signs honoring the king’s favorite fisheries and suppliers. The dining room has two spectacular 300 gallon salt water tanks filled with live seafood from around the world.

Lobsters with pulled butter.

Lobsters with pulled butter.

King’s Fish House

And perfect for times like this, the spacious terrace is spacious and yet cozy. In addition, the restaurant itself is lined with floor-to-ceiling garage doors so that guests can enjoy an open-air experience throughout the room at any time of the year.

We chatted with Heath Bumgardner, Vice President of Operations, King’s Fish House, about the new opening, menu inspiration, Covid Pivots and much more. Here’s what he had to say.

King’s Fish House San Jose is the first Northern California concept of the renowned Southern California fish institution King’s Seafood? Why did King’s Fish House decide to expand to Northern California? Will it continue to expand?

We’ve been bringing so many products from Northern California to Southern California that we believed the region would truly appreciate our passion for high-quality seafood. We spent a lot of time in the area and found the restaurant scene consistently vibrant and strong.

And of course, the Bay Area is known for its seafood skills and offerings. We had been wanting to open a restaurant in the area for a long time, and the location at Westfield Valley Fair seemed to suit us very well. The feedback so far has been excellent, so we are optimistic about future expansions in the region.

How do you decide what to put on the menu and how often do you change what is known for its fresh and seasonal seafood?

The King’s Fish House is dedicated to seasonal seafood. That is why we update our menus several times a day. We are fortunate to work with a variety of aqua farms nearby and we can change our oyster list frequently. Depending on the conditions, our fishermen catch Dungeness crabs in Oregon, Washington, and California.

Wild-caught salmon.

Wild caught salmon.

King’s Fish House

When wild salmon is in season, we follow the fish from river to river to ensure the safety and future of their natural habitats. We also pride ourselves on serving California lobster and soft shell crab almost every year! Currently, our Pacific Swordfish is being caught in Southern California using innovative new technology that includes deep-seated buoy equipment to avoid bycatch and provide fishermen with a clean way to harvest this healthy west coast resource.

Another benefit of this location is the ability to work with smaller locally owned fisheries. That’s why we currently have Petrale Sole from Half Moon Bay on our menu.

Where do you get your seafood from? Is it local?

We source seafood from all over the world, but we’ve definitely put a lot of energy into local fishing. In fact, this San Jose restaurant is our only offering at King’s Fish House

Fresh Uni.

Fresh Uni.

King’s Fish House

Half Moon Bay Petrale sole as it is a local product and our fishermen are closely monitoring the stock to prevent overfishing.

What are some of the regional specialties of this place?

In addition to the local seafood offer, we also buy local products, dairy products and of course local draft beer. Some notable local things that come to mind are Laura Chenel Sonoma goat cheese; Point Reyes blue cheese; Castroville artichokes; local greens in our salads; and nine local draft beers.

Talk about the restaurant’s design, tanks, and unique space. What can guests expect when they eat?

We have already received an amazing response from our guests. We always strive to improve the dining experience, but our focus is on making sure guests can truly enjoy a seafood restaurant experience. We have spectacular saltwater tanks filled with live crustaceans, and our walls are adorned with dozens of different species of finfish – all labeled na

me and origin.

King's Fish House interior.

King’s Fish House interior.

King’s Fish House

Our copper bar was handcrafted from our brazier especially for this restaurant. In fact, most of the remarkable decor is unique and made to measure by a variety of artisans!

Was it a struggle to open up and stay open during the pandemic? How did you have to pan?

Sure, it was a challenge, but one that we chose. When it comes to food and hospitality, our passion for the restaurant business drives us. It’s been a challenging year, but our crew, guests and community have been great and supportive in all of this. We are confident that the tide will turn and we will come out on the other side stronger than ever.

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