DHAKA'S SEAFOOD SCENE
The saying goes "maach e bhaat e Bangali", but the irony is that there are not that many restaurants in Dhaka serving seafood exclusively. While it's true that all restaurants have fish options, when it comes to relying solely on fish, we can't name too many ventures. As part of our Seafood Festival special, here is a review of some seafood places in town that have made their mark.
The pioneer seafood restaurant in Dhaka, Saltz has maintained its reputation for fresh and tasty seafood for over a decade. Not only that, it has established itself as a true high quality restaurant, while other places during the same time span have suffered inconsistency and deteriorating quality.
As you enter the restaurant, you will immediately be greeted by the nautical themed décor. You can choose from indoor or outdoor seating, and experience an impressive variety of seafood dishes on the menu. The Chef's Special Soup is a classic favourite; other dishes guests love are lobster thermidor, shrimp cocktail and the seafood platter.
Saltz definitely wins in terms of variety of seafood available in Dhaka, and loyal customers keep going back because they maintain their high standards. A drawback is that the price is quite high, but the fans think the higher prices are worth it, especially when you compare Saltz to other restaurants that charge similar prices. Main seafood dishes range from Tk 500 to Tk 2000 (for lobster). The average price of a main dish would be around Tk 800.
Visit Saltz at: 8 Gulshan Avenue (North Gulshan)
TBW FISH AND CHIPS
For those of us who like our food fast and easy, food carts are the perfect solution. Good news is, now you can get a quick fix of fish without any of the hassle of restaurants or picking out the dreaded fish bones.
TBW Fish and Chips is a new food cart that serves, yes you guessed it, fish and chips. You will get deep fried white fish fillets, potato fries and tartar sauce for Tk 220. The fish batter contains some spicy flavours to cater to the local tastes. Customers think that what you get is definitely worth the money, and many have appreciated the fact that this cart has stuck to just one dish on the menu, leading to a consistency of taste.
Some people have remarked that their tartar sauce could be better. Overall, TBW Fish and Chips has provided a refreshing change to cart hoppers. There's nothing like hot, freshly fried fish and chips!
Visit TBW Fish and Chips at: Road 6, Block C, Banani (they are also in some areas of Gulshan near Pink City but because the location isn't fixed we advise you to check out their Facebook page)
AND A FEW OTHER LITTLE MENTIONS
There are a few restaurants that don't serve seafood exclusively, but they deserve some points for their deliciously fishy dishes. The steamed fish with garlic and lemon at Soi 71 and Thai Emerald is a Thai staple that is simple, fresh and mouthwatering.
A hot bowl of prawn red curry at Time Out is comfort food at an affordable price. Luam's has a few spicy squid dishes that definitely hit the spot. Japanese food enthusiasts are crazy about the fresh, imported sashimi they find at Izumi. Mermaid Gallery Café have some St Martin's lobster specials that sound promising. And a lot of people are loving the prawn dishes at newly launched Coentro. Now that we've got you drooling, maybe it's time to give all the red meat a break and give some treasures from underwater a try?
It's true that there's nothing like fresh out of the water fish that's grilled on stakes by the beach, or fried and drizzled with lemon, with the waves resounding in a steady hum and seagulls trying to steal a few bites. But since the nearest sea is quite far away, we have to make do with what we have… which is still a lot, because Bangladesh being a nation of rivers means that we have a huge range of fish to choose from.
Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed
Food prepared by Mermaid Beach Resort, Cox’s Bazar