Any place in Ventura specializing in fish and chips is at an extreme disadvantage when it comes to food reviews. That is because this city is home to Andria’s Seafood, arguably the best restaurant in the county and indisputably the greatest slinger of deep-fried sea creatures and french fries for miles. Any other place attempting to cover the same niche is going to be held to Andria’s standard, and that is not an easy one to live up to.

Seaward Fish & Chips, however, comes about as close as any nongourmet seafood restaurant is going to get. Located in the center of Pierpont’s main drag, it is a neighborhood eatery in the truest sense of the term, with prices far more affordable than its well-established competitor. At Andria’s, it costs almost $10 for a nine-piece order of basic fish and chips, and, while mouthwatering, it makes quite a dent in the wallet to eat there regularly. (I should know: When The Reporter’s office was located in Ventura Harbor Village, I ate there every other day. By the time my next paycheck came in, I was on the verge of panhandling. No joke.)

Here, $7 will get you three pieces of cod on a bed of fries and, while that may not sound like a lot, wait until you get a load of the sizes of these fish. It’s literally like three whole cods dipped in boiling oil. And that’ll leave you with enough cash to also claim a bowl of clam chowder, which makes a brilliant addendum to the fish and chips, as opposed to its own separate meal.

Now, the taste does not quite excite to the level of Andria’s: The cod was not as succulent, and the chowder was soupier. But there were a few things I preferred about Seaward over Andria’s. One was the atmosphere. The building is much smaller, but it has a close-knit community vibe you don’t get at that other place, which is spread out, loud, crowded and impersonal.

Also, there aren’t any seagulls wandering around inside. This sounds like a joke, but I’m serious. Because Andria’s has an open air patio, birds are always traipsing through the main dining hall. It’s not that they peck at you or anything, but who wants to stare at a disease-ridden seagull that just finished dumpster diving while eating? Especially when you’re eating the same kind of food. I don’t want to be reminded that I’m not that far removed from this lower species of animal, thank you.

So, to recap, the food at Seaward Fish & Chips isn’t as good as Andria’s, but considered on its own, it’s pretty good; it is a better place to sit and eat; and I am distantly related to the common seagull.