Amazing Seafood and Breathtaking Views: A review of Tom Ham’s Lighthouse @tomhams

tom ham's lighthouse

Big thanks to Tom Ham’s Lighthouse  for inviting me to review their restaurant.
All pictures are PoshJournal’s and opinions and viewpoints are based on our own experiences.

For your next visit to America’s Finest City I highly recommend that the first thing you do is follow these quick steps:

Step 1:  Take the 3 minute cab ride from the airport over to the San Diego Bay.

Step 2:  Grab a seat at Tom Ham’s Lighthouse and enjoy the sweeping views of downtown San Diego, Coronado Island and the glistening bay itself.

Step 3:  Order up some of their heavenly seafood and other extraordinary dishes.

Step 4:  Savor every bite.

And there you have it, four quick steps to pure bliss.

Tom Ham’s Lighthouse has been a landmark restaurant in San Diego for over 40 years.  You’ll know you’re at the right place as it is based in an actual lighthouse, nestled up against the bay in a jewel of a location.  The commanding  views are simply outstanding day or night, with the downtown skyline, bypassing sailboats and other bay activity to soothingly observe.  The restaurant takes full advantage of this setting with massive windows and an outdoor seating deck, and especially after their 2013 renovations there isn’t a bad seat in the house.

tom ham's lighthouse

We have been fans of the restaurant for many years, but noticed that since the remodeling took place the menu and food itself were both elevated to new heights.  Much of this is due to the restaurant seriously upping their game by hiring Executive Chef Kyle Kovar and an overall new crew that really modernized the food, which could best be described as Local Mediterranean.

tom ham's lighthouse

Chef Kyle broke away from his artistic craft to speak to us about their approach.  One thing he stressed is that they don’t base a dish off of the protein or the vegetable, but rather make the entire dish the focal point.  After eating at Tom Ham’s you’ll see this makes perfect sense as the tastes are well rounded and intelligent.  A cheese plate at another restaurant is just that, but at Tom Ham’s it is a triumph of flavors: sheep cheese, goat cheese, blue cheese, an amazing chutney, champagne mango liquid gel, fennel fronds and even a corn an scallion ash.

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He also spoke of the premium ingredients being locally sourced, from places such as Point Loma Farms for much of their organic fruits and vegetables.  The food that cannot be sourced locally have an equally impressive path. For example Chef Kyle spoke of the Peruvian scallops (on the shell) which are about as fresh as you can get.  Their texture and buttery taste are some of the best I’ve ever eaten.

tom ham's lighthouse

 

The rest of the seafood at Tom Ham’s is right on-par: delicious mussels from right up the coast in Carlsbad, huge Baja Tiger Shrimp, and the finest clams, oysters Maine lobster and Dungeness crab:

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A popular seafood dish is the Seared Wild Caught Salmon.  The presentation is simply beautiful with salmon skins, fennel saffron aioli, black garlic puree and asparagus.  The salmon rest atop an asparagus infused white grits with burrata cheese.

tom ham's lighthouse

Some may think they don’t like octopus, but have never tried it like this:

tom ham's lighthouse

Ahi Crudo: Citrus, California Olive Oil, Sea Salt

tom ham's lighthouse

Chef Kyle mentioned that it isn’t just their selection of the best seafood, but also their inspection process that sets them apart.  Their goal is to make sure every plate of every dish has the same excellent quality.  This is tough but necessary when working with seafood like oysters, which are extremely fickle.  At Tom Ham’s they check to make sure each is completely clean and has the perfect freshness.

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To be honest in all of my times going to Tom Ham’s Lighthouse I had only ordered seafood entrees.  I’m sure this is true of many customers, but I urge you to try out their Prime New York grass-fed steak, with a pepper mushroom sauce and mustard greens that are sautéed to perfection.  I enjoyed this so much, the combinations on the plate would be a tour de force for a fine steakhouse and really shows off the restaurant’s versatility.

tom ham's lighthouse
I love that Tom Ham’s has been family owned and managed ever since it opened in 1971.  We were fortunate enough to meet one of the General Managers, Andy Baumann, who is the grandson of the late Tom Ham.  Andy spoke with such pride in telling the story of his grandfather and that of the restaurant, then and now.  Andy’s personality shines and also sets the tone for the friendly service from the hostess to the servers, to those working behind the bar.  The atmosphere is anything but stuffy, and feels welcoming whether someone is there for a big anniversary or just for an impromptu get-together with friends.

A few other tidbits on Tom Ham’s:

–         A lot of places use chicken stock on some of their items. Tom Ham’s uses a superb fresh vegetable stock.

–         There is a ton of free parking.

–          Tom Ham’s is a sought after location for weddings and other gatherings.  They have indoor and outdoor reception areas, all with the same pristine food and views.

–          The bar has over 30 craft beers on tap, including many from San Diego’s flourishing breweries.

A lot of travelers take a taxi to Tom Ham’s Lighthouse immediately before or after a flight.  I’m guessing those that stop by the restaurant after flying into San Diego make it a point to also pay a visit on their way out.  What a perfect way to round out a vacation.

Tom Ham’s Lighthouse
2150 Harbor Island Drive
San Diego, CA 92101

 Want to be featured on PoshJournal? Email me via poshjournal@gmail.com

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72 Comments

  • Reply
    Robin (Masshole Mommy)
    Nov 24, 2015 at 10:54 pm

    This food all looks so amazing. I love seafood, especially scallops and crab. I am dying for some now!

    • Reply
      poshjournaladmin
      Nov 26, 2015 at 7:43 am

      Me too, I can always go for seafood! I bet you’ve had some great seafood up in Mass.

  • Reply
    Stacie @ Divine Lifestyle
    Nov 24, 2015 at 11:08 pm

    That sounds like a fantastic restaurant. I love the atmosphere, and that seafood looks amazing.

  • Reply
    jmanandmillerbug
    Nov 24, 2015 at 11:30 pm

    Wow that place looks like it was taste out of this world. The view, the food and the classy atmosphere sounds like a match made in heaven.

    • Reply
      poshjournaladmin
      Nov 26, 2015 at 8:04 am

      It’s amazing there, they really hit on all points that you mentioned.

  • Reply
    Annemarie LeBlanc
    Nov 25, 2015 at 12:46 am

    This place would be heaven to my hubby! He loves seafood, specially lobster and scallops. Thanks for sharing your experience. It really makes me want to go there right now.

    • Reply
      poshjournaladmin
      Nov 26, 2015 at 7:55 am

      Has he ever had scallops on the shell? I hadn’t before a couple of years ago. If you’re ever out in San Diego make sure to take him there!

  • Reply
    Liz Mays
    Nov 25, 2015 at 1:22 am

    I would definitely have to stop here with my daughter. Everything looks delicious and it’s presented beautifully.

  • Reply
    Nancy (@spiffykerms)
    Nov 25, 2015 at 2:44 am

    Holy smokes, all your photos of the food are absolutely breathtaking! I went to a seafood spot for the first time, early this spring. Except a little drive from San Diego (though not TOO far – since it was in San Francisco). It was freakin’ phenomenal. Lol.

  • Reply
    Elizabeth O.
    Nov 25, 2015 at 9:43 am

    The plating is so beautiful and I would love to experience the food for myself! It looks really awesome and Chef Kyle looks very dedicated.

  • Reply
    MyTeenGuide
    Nov 25, 2015 at 10:05 am

    All the foods were beautiful plated and they look delicious, too. It sounds like a great place to dine.

  • Reply
    Terri Ramsey Beavers
    Nov 25, 2015 at 12:59 pm

    Everything looks so pretty, except the octopus. I don’t think I could ever try that although I know some who things it’s yummy.

    • Reply
      poshjournaladmin
      Nov 26, 2015 at 8:01 am

      Same with my mom, she will never try that one. I took her there once and she ate tons of scallops and crab while I ate octopus and fish.. everyone went home happy 🙂

  • Reply
    Fashionable Librarian
    Nov 25, 2015 at 2:17 pm

    What a beautiful view….the photos bring out the colors…so lively…thanks for sharing this

    • Reply
      poshjournaladmin
      Nov 26, 2015 at 7:57 am

      Thanks, we tried really hard to take pictures that would do the food justice.. it all looked amazing.

  • Reply
    Crystal McWhirter-Lopez
    Nov 25, 2015 at 3:02 pm

    Oh my goodness! This looks like a breathtaking place! I love seafood options like this and really enjoy the richness of a restaurant like this!

    • Reply
      poshjournaladmin
      Nov 26, 2015 at 7:53 am

      I agree, I think breathtaking is the perfect word for Tom Ham’s Lighthouse!

  • Reply
    Melissa
    Nov 25, 2015 at 3:52 pm

    I would love to head out there right now. What a beautiful view while eating and tasty looking food. I want some right now!

    • Reply
      poshjournaladmin
      Nov 26, 2015 at 7:51 am

      One of the best views in the city!

  • Reply
    yonca
    Nov 25, 2015 at 4:05 pm

    I love seafood. Everything looks tasty and mouthwatering here.

    • Reply
      poshjournaladmin
      Nov 25, 2015 at 8:40 pm

      I love seafood too!

  • Reply
    Mandie
    Nov 25, 2015 at 5:38 pm

    I would eat seafood every day if I could. If I’m ever in the area I am definitely going there. It looks amazing!

    • Reply
      poshjournaladmin
      Nov 26, 2015 at 7:54 am

      Haha, me too Mandie. 🙂

  • Reply
    Ricci
    Nov 25, 2015 at 6:02 pm

    You are right, those are some gorgeous views, a gorgeous restaurant, and some super yummy looking food!! Now I’m hungry! LOL!

    • Reply
      poshjournaladmin
      Nov 25, 2015 at 8:40 pm

      exactly! Hope you’ll visit the restaurant soon

  • Reply
    Rosey
    Nov 25, 2015 at 6:26 pm

    You sold me at the cheese plate. I’d love to visit and try the food.

    • Reply
      poshjournaladmin
      Nov 25, 2015 at 8:39 pm

      yes the cheese plat is extraordinary

  • Reply
    Ann Bacciaglia
    Nov 25, 2015 at 7:14 pm

    The food at Tom Ham’s Lighthouse looks so delicious. I will have to try it the next time i am in the area.

    • Reply
      poshjournaladmin
      Nov 25, 2015 at 8:39 pm

      you will love this restaurant

  • Reply
    lisa
    Nov 25, 2015 at 9:07 pm

    I don’t eat seafood often, but this looks so good. If I’m ever in the area, I will have to check it out.

    • Reply
      poshjournaladmin
      Nov 26, 2015 at 7:50 am

      Yes do, and if you’re a steak eater theirs is to-die for 🙂

  • Reply
    Chubskulit Rose
    Nov 25, 2015 at 9:52 pm

    These are my kind of food. Bioth daughter and U love seafood so we wil be at home on this place.

  • Reply
    platypus6
    Nov 25, 2015 at 10:18 pm

    I’d love to eat there. The salmon looked amazing!

    • Reply
      poshjournaladmin
      Nov 26, 2015 at 7:49 am

      That salmon was amazing. I didn’t want to eat it as it looked like a piece of art!

  • Reply
    Wood Arts Universe
    Nov 26, 2015 at 12:32 am

    I’m not a fan of seafood that much but would love to try other dish from them. I’m sure there’s a lot to choose from.

    • Reply
      poshjournaladmin
      Nov 26, 2015 at 7:47 am

      When I was there one of the employees said that their wife or girlfriend was vegan and eats there all of the time! I need to go back and showcase more of their non-seafood dishes.

  • Reply
    Katherine G
    Nov 26, 2015 at 2:15 am

    This food looks so delicious! Makes me want to find a way to San Diego so that I can try it.

    • Reply
      poshjournaladmin
      Nov 26, 2015 at 7:45 am

      Yes, I hope you make it out to San Diego for some amazing food.

  • Reply
    Angie@chasingmyhalo
    Nov 26, 2015 at 4:12 am

    That food and presentation look incredible! Adding it to my list now!

    • Reply
      poshjournaladmin
      Nov 26, 2015 at 7:44 am

      Yes, they definitely take pride in their work there at Tom Ham’s Lighthouse. Thanks for adding it to your list!

  • Reply
    michelle
    Nov 26, 2015 at 6:01 am

    the presentation of the food is amazing love it

  • Reply
    Polen
    Nov 26, 2015 at 6:33 am

    looks yummy. I love seafoods!

  • Reply
    Ana De Jesus
    Nov 26, 2015 at 9:21 am

    I don’t eat seafood as I am a vegetarian but this looks divine. Well presented too!

  • Reply
    victoria
    Nov 26, 2015 at 9:29 am

    Looks like a fantastic restaurant. I love all the foods.

  • Reply
    Arcee Miranda
    Nov 26, 2015 at 10:00 am

    The food is speaking for itself! your photos are very vivid and I am hungry now. Wish to visit that kind of restaurant soon.

  • Reply
    Miranda (Myrabev)
    Nov 26, 2015 at 12:07 pm

    This is some delicious looking seafood, I definitely will check out this restaurant when I am back in the states.

  • Reply
    Sophie O'Reilly
    Nov 26, 2015 at 1:06 pm

    There are so many places in America that I want to visit. The Prime New York grass-fed steak just looks so yummy!

  • Reply
    livingoffloveandcoffee
    Nov 26, 2015 at 1:59 pm

    This looks soooo good! I had delicious seafood out in NYC, I think I need to check out the west coast seafood.

  • Reply
    Nicole Escat
    Nov 26, 2015 at 2:40 pm

    These are all looks so yummy and delicious.

  • Reply
    NPC
    Nov 26, 2015 at 2:46 pm

    Wow, amazing pictures! My husband would be in heaven with all of the seafood.

  • Reply
    ODDree ANYwhere
    Nov 26, 2015 at 3:17 pm

    that food almost looks to good to eat!

  • Reply
    Tiffany (@thedwellingtree)
    Nov 26, 2015 at 4:20 pm

    Your photography is so stunning! I love the lighting. That food looks seriously amazing. Yum!

  • Reply
    Jaime Nicole
    Nov 26, 2015 at 4:38 pm

    Wow that seafood tower looks AMAZING! And the location looks like it can’t be beat!

  • Reply
    Shann Eva
    Nov 26, 2015 at 5:29 pm

    Wow. The food looks amazing. Beautiful restaurant too.

  • Reply
    Shaylee Field
    Nov 26, 2015 at 7:24 pm

    Wow! Although I’m allergic to shellfish, I’m sure this is delicious! I’d love to try the fish 🙂

  • Reply
    Candice
    Nov 26, 2015 at 10:12 pm

    Your pictures are amazing… It makes me want to go there so much. Never been to San Diego but it was on the plan for our next trip to the states. I will definitely be taking your advice because it just looks magical and relaxing… wish I was there now!

  • Reply
    Heather
    Nov 27, 2015 at 4:48 am

    Seems like such an amazing place to eat! The food looks spectacular and the dining looks like “fine” dining. I’ll have to look this place up the next time I’m in San Diego.

  • Reply
    joshuainfantado
    Nov 27, 2015 at 5:08 am

    That looks like a very fine restaurant. The many choices and amenities make it really a great place to try.

  • Reply
    Franc Ramon
    Nov 27, 2015 at 9:52 am

    I would love to have a meal there with the seaside view. The seafood also looks really delicious and really presented well.

  • Reply
    Jennifer Pilgrim (@jenn_pilgrim)
    Nov 27, 2015 at 11:16 pm

    I am eating here next time I visit San Diego!! Stunning photography and food styling. Yum!

  • Reply
    Onica {Mommy Factor}
    Nov 28, 2015 at 12:56 am

    The food looks so yummy. I’m going to try eating there very soon.

  • Reply
    Wood Arts Universe
    Nov 28, 2015 at 1:48 am

    Good food and a good place? What more can you ask when you’re around Coronado Island? It’s so beautiful!

  • Reply
    Kiana Abram (KiaNaturally)
    Nov 28, 2015 at 6:36 am

    I love exploring San Diego whenever I visit so this is definitely on the list for the next time I visit. The presentation and the food itself looks amazing and it seems as though they put a lot of thought and consideration into the preparation of the food.

  • Reply
    Onica (MommyFactor)
    Nov 28, 2015 at 1:58 am

    How great that its only a few minutes away from the airport. This looks like a great place to enjoy a seafood meal.

  • Reply
    chbernard
    Nov 29, 2015 at 2:55 pm

    I absolutely love seafood! The food looks amazing as does the atmosphere! I’d love to be able to go one day!

  • Reply
    Adriana
    Nov 29, 2015 at 8:17 pm

    Wow your presentation of this is amazing!! Love it!

  • Reply
    Tiffany (@thedwellingtree)
    Nov 30, 2015 at 8:20 am

    I want to eat here so bad! The food looks like art- so beautiful!

  • Reply
    CourtneyLynne
    Nov 30, 2015 at 12:50 pm

    Ummmm so wish this place was closer!!!!! Everything looks amaizngly delicious!!!! Yum 🙂

  • Reply
    OhlalaLexie
    Dec 1, 2015 at 10:02 pm

    wow that all looks so incredibly delicious! Would love to try!

  • Reply
    Jason Young
    Dec 2, 2015 at 1:56 am

    What a great look place and food. Must check it out.

  • Reply
    Renee
    Dec 3, 2015 at 9:54 am

    OMG my mouth is watering! I would love to try this place out just wish it wasn’t so far! My cousins live in San Diego and next time I visit I’m sure I can have them take me!

  • Reply
    Jessica Beal Harlow
    Dec 4, 2015 at 11:46 am

    This is a destination eatery! The views are amazing, but the food looks just as incredible. I love mussels and scallops…and that they try to source their food locally as much as possible.

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