Credit: Timothy Kwon
Credit: Timothy Kwon

A Dive into the History of San Pedro Fish Market—an LA Staple Since 1956

A California Staple Since 1956 Is Now a California Powerhouse

What began in 1956 as Vista Seafood in a small corner store in the heart of San Pedro on Ninth and Meyler stands today as one of the largest and highest-grossing restaurants in California, and likely the nation—San Pedro Fish Market. An era of family traditions over the decades brings more change for the iconic fish market as it moves to yet another new spot. It’s interesting how history repeats itself, and so the story goes…

Mackey Ungaro put his son, Henry, and family friend Tommy Amalfitano in charge of selling fresh fish to locals from ice chests when they were just 15 years old. Amalfitano continues to be “The Boss” today, as characterized on their Award-Winning web series “Kings of Fi$H.”

Credit: San Pedro Fish Market

After a successful first few years, Mackey and Tommy moved the business from downtown to the LA Waterfront, taking over Norm’s Landing Fish Market, which they occupied and ran successfully from 1959 to 1981. 

Norm’s Landing in 1975 / Credit: San Pedro Fish Market

Norm’s Landing grew in popularity and became a local favorite for many who ventured into the Ports of Call. But it quickly became obvious that their 400-seat location was not going to contain the demand and required an upgrade. 

Bystanders at Norm’s Landing enjoying the scenery in 1965 / Credit: San Pedro Fish Market

As the city of San Pedro was being redeveloped in 1981, San Pedro Fish Market was working out of a temporary location until the new spot opened on Good Friday in 1982.

The move set the stage for what is known today as the San Pedro Fish Market and the “World Famous Shrimp Tray,” as Ungaro and Amalfitano began expanding the business by introducing new items like live crab, lobster and shrimp cocktail. 

San Pedro Fish Market’s World Famous Shrimp Tray. / Credit: San Pedro Fish Market

They also began smoking their own fish, which eventually became crucial to the San Pedro Fish Market experience. The demand for smoked seafood grew so quickly, they acquired Shamrock Seafoods in nearby Wilmington and converted it into a smoking facility as well as a wholesale distribution hub. Shamrock Seafoods exists today as San Pedro Fish Market Grille in Wilmington, and it continues to be a hub for all the fresh seafood, market fish and shrimp coming through the restaurant’s doors.

The family is grooming their fourth generation as they operate with seating capacity for more than 3,000 people and over 2.5 million customers annually. With this tremendous growth came four Guinness World Records and the honor of being named the No. 1 Seafood Restaurant in California along with a “Top 10 Most Instagrammed Restaurant” in the United States. 

Photo courtesy of San Pedro Fish Market’s World. / Credit: San Pedro Fish Market

To meet the increased demand, a second flagship location was opened in January 2020 on Alamitos Bay in Long Beach.

San Pedro Fish Market Long Beach. / Credit: San Pedro Fish Market

With the San Pedro Fish Market Long Beach location thriving and a new television series in development, the “Kings of Fi$H” are being uprooted yet again, but this time for growth potential of the new West Harbor redevelopment project slated for 2024. The expansion plans for the Waterfront project have been ongoing for years, and ground has officially been broken for what will be the new flagship location. San Pedro Fish Market’s existing spot will need to be torn down to make way for the redevelopment, and space is reserved nearby for what is being appropriately named, “San Pedro Fish Market – Landing.” This new temporary location is only a few hundred yards north of the existing one with the same amazing waterfront view and open-air planning.


San Pedro Fish Market
1190 Nagoya Way
San Pedro, CA 90731

6550 E Marina Dr
Long Beach, CA 90803

San Pedro Fish Market Grille – Wilmington
120 West G Street
Wilmington, CA 90744


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