Howdy all. Today a little review of a place that my wife and I ate at when in Merimbula earlier this year, the Aquarium Restaurant. We didn’t eat out much whilst we were there, we had an apartment so we cooked and ate there most nights bar two. We tried a sort of RSL club on one night, which was pretty decent, but we also tried out what we were told was the best restaurant in town, the ‘Aquarium’ Restaurant.
In all fairness to Merimbula, it’s not a place to recommend for those who like fine dining really. Personally, I’m pretty easy when it comes to dining myself, not a huge fan of ‘fine dining’ – although I wouldn’t say ‘no’ if someone else was paying LOL. But honestly with the advent of Masterchef and the word ‘plating’, which kids I assure you we had never heard twenty years ago, well it’s all a bit ‘meh’ in my mind. Which is probably why I much prefer a good pub meal!
Anyways, sorry for my patented little rants, because ‘The Aquarium Restaurant’ in Merimbula is not really ‘fine dining’, but it is a notch up from your standard pub far, a notch or two up I should say. It’s perched on a point away from the main part of town and the road to it was undergoing roadworks when we were there so it took time to get there. Not sure if you can get there by bus, you would probably need a 10-15 minute walk from the main road.
The location though is great, and afterwards the sun setting behind Merimbula was really pretty despite the clouds. It’s also the most popular place to eat in town so that must say something, I booked a couple of days in advance if not three, and they could only fit us in on the early seating – they had a couple of sessions to maximise how many could eat there, so we had to be out by 8pm I think it was. So it was a 6pm table for two. The popularity of the place must say something about the quality of the food.
We sat down. The space is not really a fine dining space, it’s far more relaxed but that’s par for the course when you are talking about regional Australia and it’s very comfortable with big open windows so you can appreciate the view and the location. It’s quite an open space too and there seemed to be plenty of tables, so they get plenty of customers in.
After the meal I actually spoke to the owner who was saying that it was really hard to get staff at the moment, and right now not just Australia but I suspect worldwide there is an issue with staffing hospitality amongst many industries. That seemed evident as there simply weren’t that many waiting staff, they certainly could have done with a few more. However, the owner was very friendly and warm and that’s a big advantage of eating out in regional Australia, people are friendly and genuine.
The menu, as you might expect, heavily favoured seafood which is not my bag. Luckily I was able to choose a steak, and my wife chose the crumbed squid as well as prawns. All dishes tasted really good, I was very happy with the way my steak was cooked and my wife enjoyed her meal too. The only downside was that they arrived a little lukewarm, and I can only put that down to the lack of wait staff, which led to meals waiting to be brought out for longer than is ideal. But the food was, apart from that issue, excellent.
The place certainly filled up whilst we were there and was very noisy, and by the time we were finish, shortly after 7pm I think, there wasn’t a free table in the place. The popularity was confirmed. The owner let us check out the aquarium for free, and it was filled with a lot of colourful fish and kinda cool, but really only took up five minutes and wasn’t anything mind blowing. But a cool idea I guess to combine the aquarium (which is underneath the restaurant) with dining I guess. I don’t think any of the fish in the aquarium end up on plates in the restaurant, they are a little more exotic!
All in all, I think if you are staying in Merimbula you should try the Aquarium Restaurant, as it’s unique and the food was certainly good. We couldn’t get into the lunchtime sitting, but if you can I would opt for that as the sun will be out and the views will be better. Although the sunset was nice also!
Thanks for popping by today! Wherever you are in the world, stay safe, and May the Journey Never End!