Sunday, November 8, 2009


Good food in a chic atmosphere, that's what I'll think of when I remember Aquarium. And I'm sure I'll be back! I was browsing Daytona seafood restaurants on when I mentioned Aquarium. My friend had been there and said a quick "yes!" So off we went.

The first thing I noticed was the atmosphere, and this is what made a good dining experience a lot better. The place looks like an aquarium. Glad and bar tops and even bathroom sinks and floor are aquamarine-lit lucite. There are several large aquariums, also lit. There's even a "bubble-wall," a tower of bubbling water or whatever that's lit with aquamarine lights. Very cool. 

We chose to eat indoors, though they have a huge patio area right on the Halifax River (Intracoastal Waterway) right by a marina (they even had live music out there and a scattering of people). Since it was dark out, we could not see much but this would be a nice setting in the daylight, right on the river. 

Our host quickly seated us and took drink orders. We opened the curiously thick and heavy menus only to find that they were backlit with the same aquamarine light--a very nice touch. And very cool. 

We started off with the Shrimp Pizza, shrimp, tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil on a type of bread. It was pretty good. Not great, but good. The flavors were good though I'd have liked to have seen a bit more bubbling and browning of the cheese. Still, it was tasty and we cleaned it up.

For the main course my friend had the Extra Large Fried Fish Sandwich. It was indeed extra large: the bun was laid open and one large piece of lightly fried fish covered both part of the bun--and them some. The fish was cooked well and it was served with a tasty tartar sauce. There was perhaps more bun than was needed, but it was still a tasty sandwich. The fries that accompanied it were a bit of a disappointment. They were large crinkle-cut fries, but tasted more like they were out of a bag from the supermarket frozen foods section, and then had been allowed to sit just a bit too long. They weren't terrible, the just weren't great fries.

I ordered a side salad and the Shrimp Dinner. The side salad was good, a typical side salad. Fresh and tasty, it hit the spot. But the real hit of the meal for me was the twelve good-size, butterflied, breaded and fried shrimp. They were excellent. Lightly fried, and not overcooked, the breading was crisp and crunchy but did not take away from the flavor and texture of the shrimp. To be blunt, they were cooked perfectly. So often I find overcooked shrimp--these were just right! Of course, with shrimp cooked perfectly, you have to eat them quickly before they overcook just from standing. That was not a problem. And, they did not need nor deserve any cocktail sauce. I did try the cocktail sauce and found it too sweet and with not enough horseradish for my taste. I did ask for and receive some extra horseradish sauce, but it could not overcome the over-sweetness of the cocktail sauce. Still, it was a minor point--the shrimp were that great all alone. There were some mixed veggies to go-with--squash, zucchini, and onions, that were also delicious. This was truly a very good meal in a very nice atmosphere.

I see another review on that complains about the nightclub-like atmosphere, but I loved this place. Yes, it has several bars. Yes it has that nightclub feel. But that's because they also are a late-night hangout, I'm told. It would be a fun place to meet up with friends for a late night drink, definitely.

Our total bill which included one appetizer, an iced tea, two glasses of beer, the two entrees with the added side salad, was $48. It seemed a fair price for the very good food and great atmosphere. Our server was attentive for the most part (forgot the iced tea refill once) and pleasant and competent, as were the other staff. It's a very cool place and I recommend it. I know I'll be back. I'd love to try it for lunch, to sit outside on the river on a pleasant day. I know I'll be back, assuredly!
Aquarium on Urbanspoon


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