It’s really hard to find a new favorite thing, when you’ve got a really good old favorite thing to compare it to.
For me, one of those things is fish & chips.
I remember as a kid, my sister and I would pile into the car and my parents would take us on a quick drive from our house in Reynoldsburg to a nearby Arthur Treacher’s Fish & Chips restaurant. I can still remember the smell of hushpuppies and malt vinegar, every time we would go. It was heavenly. It was my favorite.
Ever since the mid-1980’s, when we moved away from that area, I guess I have been looking for a new favorite fish and chips place. I’ve tasted fried fish from several casual dining restaurants, and it’s just not the same. I’ve tried other fast food fish chains, and while I’ve pretty much learned to settle for them, I’ve never been truly satisfied.
I have seen Marino’s Seafood Fish & Chips in Grandview many times, but have always passed by while working, or on my way to some other place when I hadn’t the time to stop. So recently – as if fate were giving me a belated Christmas gift – I just so happened to be driving up W. 5th Ave with my dad, and we decided to stop in for a fish & chips meal together. Just like the old days.
Marino’s Seafood Fish & Chips has been serving fried fish in Central Ohio for over 25 years, particularly in Grandview and Northwest Columbus. When we arrived, I was surprised to see how remarkably similar their dining room still was to the old Arthur Treacher’s stores I remembered from years past. Honestly, it looked like I had just stepped back into 1985, which…trust me, WASN’T a bad thing. The old, overhead glow-letter menu board, the dark wood tones, the tiny booths…it was great. The dining room was spotlessly clean and I was happy to see a smiling face behind the counter, ready to take our order as soon as we arrived. One of the store’s owners, Rosie, chatted with me about Marino’s history and location, as we waited on our lunch.
Dear ol’ Dad & I both ordered the Fish & Chips platter ($6.60), which came with Marino’s award-winning fish & chips (‘ya don’t say), two hushpuppies, and our choice of cole slaw or macaroni salad. Their fish is lightly battered and deep-fried “Calabash” style, and the chips were thick-cut, fresh, and hot. Just take a look at this basket of beautiful, golden deliciousness and tell me you don’t want some right now! This is the amazing result you achieve when you use fresh oil and know exactly what temperature to cook at. It was impressive, indeed.
Their fish was absolutely delicious. It was piping hot, it was tender and flaky, and it was obvious that it was super fresh. The meat was thick, white, and had no “fishy smell” whatsoever. The batter was crispy and had wonderful flavor, and was not…I repeat, NOT overly greasy. In fact, I commented to my dad several times during our meal that I couldn’t believe that there was no grease left behind at all by the fish, the chips or the hushpuppies. It was incredible. And as an added bonus, Marino’s keeps a full bottle of malt vinegar at each table!! No little plastic packets here. Go ahead, pour it on!!
We opted for their homemade cole slaw as our side. It was creamy, cold (the way it should be…I hate warm slaw), and very fresh as well.
Also included in our meal were two of the most delicious hushpuppies I think I’ve ever eaten. Like the fish, they were not overly greasy. They were light, extra sweet, crunchy on the outside and soft and fresh on the inside. Give me a plate of about twenty of these dudes and I’m good.
After we ate, we noticed a sign on the wall for Marino’s All-you-can-eat special. Now, I’m not sure how many fish planks I can put away, but after tasting their food, I’m looking forward to returning and finding out. But you don’t have to just order traditional fish and chips here. The menu consists of many seafood favorites like clams, shrimp, and crab, but they also offer many specialties, such as Mediterranean Baked Fish, Poached Fish, their award-winning Fried Smelts, and their famous homemade, thick Fish Chowder.
I have to be honest and say that part of the reason I loved this place was that it’s like a throwback in time for me, to a time when life was simple and good. But the other part, and probably the part that’s more important to you, is the fresh, delicious food that they offer, their friendly staff and their comfortable atmosphere. I was really impressed with Marino’s Seafood Fish & Chips.
And I think finally, after 30 years, I’ve found my new favorite fish & chips.
Marino’s Seafood Fish & Chips is located at 1216 West 5th Avenue, Columbus, OH 43212 (Map). They’re open Monday – Friday, 10:30 AM – 9:00 PM, and Saturday, 11:00 AM – 9:00 PM. For more info, visit their website, or check them out on Facebook or Twitter.