They have the same name, the same menu and both are on the second floor of a building near the water. But that’s where the similarity between the Brophy Bros. Clam Bar & Restaurant in Ventura and the one in Santa Barbara ends.
The original Brophy Brothers is in a commercial area at the marina in Santa Barbara, not at the tonier Stern’s Warf. It’s been there since 1986. It’s loud and crowded and has the feel of a down east restaurant on the New England coast.
The Ventura version is about five years old. It’s in the sleeker Ventura Harbor Village, surrounded by dozens of other restaurants, clothing stores, dive shops and offices. It’s quieter, less crowded and more polished.
But it’s the same great food at both places.
The clam chowder is a must to get the meal started. There are a handful of chicken, beef and sandwiches available, seven hot appetizers and six cold ones.
But those aren’t the reasons to stop in at Brophy Bros. This is a seafood restaurant. If you like shrimp, crab, clams, mussels, scallops, or calamari that’s where Brophy Bros. shines. The menu also offers halibut, sword fish, sea bass, salmon, ahi, and more.
For me Brophy Bros. is a place to order an array of appetizers and starters and share them around. After the clam chowder. Order up some peel and eat shrimp, a bowl of mussels, a plate of calamari, a couple of crab cakes, some baked clams and a helping of ceviche. Get some extra bread and share away.
Still hungry? The fish and chips always is an excellent choice. The breading is crisp and golden, with not even a hint of the oil in which it was fried.
Brophy Bros. is casual and friendly. The wait staff is young and efficient and the kitchen moves quickly. There’s a large patio for outdoor dining. It’s partially enclosed to shield against the breezes off the marina.