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the Fish Market Restaurant in Old Town Alexandria

A friend has decided this is where he wants to eat for his b-day dinner...last time I was there (several years ago) I was not impressed. Anyone out there care to tell me I'm wrong so I can get my hopes up? If not, what decent on the menu?

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  1. It may not be superlative, but it's not awful, either.

    I remember some very good fried oysters. Spectacularly large beers help.

    Just hope it hasn't rained heavily upstream - I've seen the place flooded by the Potomac numerous times.

    1. Definitely try the hus puppies. I recall them being excellent.

      1. I don't care for the Fish Market either. Bistro Lafayette is very good at lunch; as is Restaurant Eve (lunch). Vermillion has some good reviews.

        1. Union Street Public house has better surf and turf (at least it isn't skunky, like what they peddle at Fish Market). Heck, I'd rather go to Portners and they're pretty weak except for brunch.

          3 Replies
          1. re: monkeyrotica

            Have to amend this. My last two trips to Union Street, the oysters were iodiney and measly. Ditto for Hank's Oyster Bar, except at twice the price. While I'm not a fan of the Fish Market, their oysters have been large, plump, and briney. When I can't make it to the Maine Avenue Fish Market for raw oysters, I come here.

            1. re: monkeyrotica

              In fact the ONLY reason to go there now is to enjoy the raw bar and the beer specials (depending when you go). I stopped going in 2008 or so as the food steadily went down hill even for my tastes. But theres no reason not to go just to sit at the bar and have a few oysters or clams or such. Even a bowl of chowder along with your schooner of beer (which has only slightly improved in terms of selection). From what I understand they do have some interesting game day specials as well if you are into hanging out in raw bars to watch your local football team play.

              1. re: Insidious Rex

                Agreed. You veer off the raw bar at your peril. Everything fried has been middling to barely edible to downright bad. FYI there are a number of excellent $1 an oyster happy hour deals in DC. The roasted ones at Acadiana are particularly tasty.


          2. It turned out to be not so bad- again, it was NOT my choice, so the goal was to just make the best of it. I wouldn't recommend it, but it could have been worse. When it's my birthday, there are plenty of other places to eat, but we can wait on that...

            1. I just thought I'd add to this... The large beer is called "The Schooner", and along with the hush puppies, is the only redeeming quality of the Fish Market. I thought the Gordon's Fisherman was going to come out of the back when I last went.

              I went a couple months ago, and never plan on returning. My Salmon was overcooked, and unless it's deep fried, I'd avoid it. I'd classify the place as upscale Long John Silvers.

              2 Replies
              1. re: microwave15

                Unless things have changed in the many years since I've eaten there, the schooner is filled with rather pedestrian beer.

                1. re: Jim Dorsch

                  exactly...but for a glass that large, a light beer is probably a good idea.

              2. I would add one more observation to this. I thought the spiced shrimp appetizer at the Fish Market was truly incredible (this was 2 years ago). The dipping sauce was basically butter with a bunch of spices including freshly crushed bay leaves, allspice, mustard seed, etc. It was so good I brought the extra home to see if I could reverse-engineer it (no luck on that ... but it WAS great on popcorn!)

                1. I agree with all of the posts, and although I haven't been to the Fish Market in many years, and don't have any plans to go, somehow I'm still glad it's there. When I first moved to the DC area in 1987, my office mates talked me into getting a softshell crab sandwich there -- never had a softshell before. Though horrified by the legs sticking out of the bun, it was good enough to get this Yankee hooked on softshells ever since. I also remember those schooners of mediocre beer becoming warm mediocre beer quickly.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: chesapeake72000

                    1987? You probably remember Buck Kelley & Ron Trotta in the piano bar. Great old times! Just my humble opinion, but both the food & the entertainment at the Fish Market have gone downhill for years.

                    1. re: CUTiger78

                      Went to the Fish Market's Anchor Bar Saturday night and got the Skipjack Oyster Tower: two dozen bluepoints and one dozen local oysters on the half shell for $60. All washed down with a schooner of Anchor Steam. As usual, the bluepoints were big, plump and briney. The locals were smaller, but still firm and tasty, which is more than I can say for my last two trips to Hank's.

                  2. The buffalo wings are worth a shot too. Very large and prepared well.