Marietta Fish Market
by Malika Harricharan
The Marietta Fish Market had a highly anticipated opening in Marietta in December 08. Started by the folks who brought you the Marietta Diner, there are obvious similarities between the two, most notably the enormous dessert portions. Seeing the throngs of diners since it opened, I thought I’d let them die down and work out any kinks before I visited the Marietta Fish Market.
So, it wasn’t until a recent June evening that I was able to sample the Marietta Fish Market. It is an oddity to have a restaurant offering valet service on a stretch of road mostly marked by fast food establishments, gas stations and outdated strip malls. There is some self-parking available, but by early evening (about 5 pm) most of it becomes valet territory. Driving by more times than I can count, and seeing the crowds at the Marietta Fish Market, it is apparent parking is a huge issue.
The most recent Father’s day found me there with my dad along with my brother and a couple others. My Dad refuses to go anywhere for dinner later than 5 pm. What is it with old people and eating early? To be fair, MFM was already starting to fill up at 4:30 when we arrived. Although I could tell the Marietta Fish Market is a big place, once inside I saw that they truly do have a huge amount of seating and a large waiting area: thank goodness because they need it.
Walking though to the dining area, I immediately noticed the display case of fresh seafood, reminiscent of another popular fish market in Atlanta. There are 4 dining areas: the bar area with high top tables, the outdoor patio, dining area with large booths for big parties and the second dining room with tables and chairs mostly accommodating groups of 4. Obviously expecting many more visitors than they could handle, they setup a couple large plastic tables and folding chairs on this Father’s Day.
I’m not sure why, but the hostess sat us at one of these “picnic-like” tables even though there were plenty of booths available when we arrived that could have much more comfortably sat our party of 5. I’m certain it can’t because the booths were reserved since they have a “no reservations” policy. So, 3 out of our party of 5 were seated.
They asked the names of the other 2 to join us, assuring they would bring them to our table when they arrived. But when our companions arrived and gave their name at the hostess stand, they didn’t make the connection, and were never brought to our table. It is always a shame when restaurants try to be a cut above by offering these perks only to drop the ball.
Although not overly impressed with the service by this point, I have to cut them some slack as it was a busy evening for them with it being Father’s Day. So, I overlooked this and was eagerly anticipating my dinner. Shortly after sitting down, our server brought us bread – a nice thick challah with a cream cheese spread. I loved the cream cheese but wish it was served on the side as it wasn’t evenly distributed on the bread.
Much like it’s sister restaurant, the Marietta Diner, the menu goes on and on and on….There’s so much to choose from, if you are like me, you’ll want to peruse the menu online before visiting the restaurant because in addition to the regular menu there are a list of daily specials to choose from as well.
We began with the zucchini fries and the Oysters Bienville. It is pretty apparent that the Marietta Fish Market doesn’t do anything in small portions. One appetizer would have been fine for our group of 5. The zucchini fries were terrific and the ranch dipping sauce was a nice touch. Please do yourself a favor and limit yourself to 1 appetizer. The oysters were ok, but I felt there was too much parm cheese and crumbs, which took away from the oysters. Having known that, I would have ordered the oysters on the half shell instead.
Moving on to mains: we all varied when it came to menu selection. As an aside, I really appreciated the fact that you can get a cup of their tasty soup with your meal – Seafood Bisque, Gumbo or Clam Chowder. So here goes:
Shrimp and Scallops Supreme
Daily Special: Grouper pasta with shrimp
While my dad loved his crab cakes, he is not as picky as I am. I tasted a small piece and thought they were decent but certainly not anything outstanding. The shrimp and scallops in my meal were huge and there were lots of them too – no skimping here. Part of the appeal to me was the addition of artichokes in the pasta. While I enjoyed it and then again and again as 2 more leftover meals, I thought it was a little too cream heavy. I didn’t taste the chicken tenders or grouper pasta but they were well-liked by our other companions.
Without a doubt, the star of the table was the Seafood Paella. While I’m not a fan of paella, this is one incredible dish. From the presentation to the generous portion of lobster, shrimp, scallops, mussels, it is very impressive. No wonder it was featured on The Food Network. Although the folks at Marietta Fish Market may not like this, this meal could easily be split between 3 or 4 people.
To be honest, I was getting rather full from the fries, oysters and soup by the time my meal arrived. The problem with seafood? Doggie bags and seafood don’t go well together. I ate as much as I could but still had plenty to take home. From the portion standpoint, it would be nice if there were half portions available. My brother who can definitely put a hurting on any buffet, still had to pack up most of his paella.
For the portion of food offered, the prices are extremely reasonable. Most entrees range from $17 to $20. But if you want to go for specials the the Seafood Paella, it will be more like $25, although well worth it. The quality is top notch too, very fresh.
I kept my eye on the servers and they were all busting their butts everywhere I looked. There was no slacking on this evening. By the time we were leaving, around 6:30 pm, the waiting area was packed with what must have been 40 -50 people. It was pretty noisy in the restaurant and most tables seat 4 to 6, so this is definitely not the place for a romantic date, but more a family atmosphere.
It is hard to see all those yummy cakes and pies and not order something. But just keep in mind, portions are huge. If you really want to try something smaller, I recommend the cannoli – small but still delicous!
MARIETTA FISH MARKET
3185 Canton Rd
Marietta, GA 30066
678 354 6416
About th Author: Malika Harricharan is a free lance writer and foodie, who has written her own food blog for the past three years. She was born in India and was adopted as a baby and grew up in New Jersey until her teens when she moved to East Cobba. She graduated from Pope High School in East Cobb and Kennesaw State University. She works in marketing and writes on dining and food as an avocation and a hobby.
WC welcomes Malika as one of our guest food columnists. Next month she will be writing an article on outdoor dining options in West Cobb and throughout Atlanta. You can read more of her light and refreshing foodie articles at www.atlanta_restaurantblog.com.
To read more reviews and articles by Malika Harricharan go to The Atlanta Restaurant Blog