Angler's Not My Choice
As a girl with little money and parents who love to dine out, I often find myself eating with them on a Friday night. And I often have to twist arms to get to go to place I want (cough cough: Paco’s Tacos or Hide Sushi). Well, last Friday I was unable to twist the arm that feeds me. My step dad headed out towards Marina Del Rey hoping to take us to CPK or Souplantation (God forbid) or Nichols. I wasn’t in the mood for any of these establishments and begged to be taken to a waterfront-dining establishment. Being a good step dad, he obliged. The choices down at Fisherman’s Village—the waterfront “restaurant row” of Marina Del Rey—are sparse; there’s Shanghai Red’s, El Torrito, some Italian place, and Angler’s Choice, a seafood restaurant. Being a seafood lover and being a person of logic (a seafood restaurant by the sea should have great, fresh seafood), my mom and I voted “Angler’s Choice! Angler’s Choice!” And, unfortunately so it was.
We walked through the doors to find the restaurant dead empty-- mind you this is a Friday at 7:00 pm, great restaurants are usually jumping at this time. There were two waiters who were very nice and ecstatic to see us. We were their “second customers of the night!” I should’ve known when they said this that something was terribly amiss, but I was in the mood for seafood and tried to remain optimistic. They eagerly got out menus and escorted us to a table. We felt a bit uneasy given the restaurant’s ghost-like atmosphere, but we felt bad for the waiters and decided to stay.
The restaurant has that dingy old fish house feel and drop dead gorgeous views of the Marina. It is the view that is the main attraction of the place, and decidedly what we paid big bucks for. Unfortunately though, not even the gorgeous view could make up for the overall dining experience.
The menu is indeed full of seafood, but not quite all the choices I was hoping for. I hoped for perhaps crab cakes, clam or (gasp) lobster rolls, or possibly a seafood salad. What I was offered was fried shrimp and calamari, shrimp cocktail, chowder, fish and chips, and charbroiled fish. Okay these choices are not shabby, but they weren’t as vast as I thought a seafood place should offer; just think of all the great choices offered at Neptune’s Net or Gladstone’s and you’ll agree Angler’s choices are lacking. And what’s more, everything was seriously expensive (entrees $25, appetizers $12.95). For these prices we could’ve had a sushi feast or eaten at some place fancy-schmancy in Beverly Hills.
We decided to each get clam chowder ($6.95), a shrimp cocktail ($12.95) and split an order of fried calamari rings ($12.95). The clam chowder was 100% from a can. I've eaten my fair share of homemade and canned clam chowders, and I promise you my palette can taste the difference. The clams had that un-fresh fishy taste, and the soup was tainted with a tinny tinge. Seriously, how dare a place charge near seven dollars for a canned soup?? The cocktail was decent: six medium sized shrimps, fresh and firm, with cocktail sauce. It was fine but it wasn't special. They weren't jumbo shrimps, there weren't shrimps a plenty, and the cocktail sauce was average. This brings me to the calamari, which was tender but so heavily breaded you could hardly taste the calamari's natural sweetness. Not horrible, but not delicious and definitely not worth the money.
I also forgot to mention the drinks situation. I ordered lemonade, which came to me in a dirty, goopy glass. Although the waiter was very nice about exchanging it, and I understand this type of thing happens at the best of places, it still grossed me out. Then on top of that I found out soft drinks are non-refillable. Yes, they will charge you another few bucks for a second glass of coke or lemonade, which they have on tap. Ridiculous!
Perhaps it is unfair of me to judge a place based on only three dishes. But judging by how sub-par these dishes were, and how much they cost, I feel it is my duty to warn people that Angler's may not be the best choice when dining in the Marina. And, it's apparently not just me who feels this way! Check out the reviews on Citysearch-- they're awful. I strongly believe there was a reason Angler's was empty on Friday night, and the reason is the place sucks! Whatever you do, don't choose Angler's Choice!
13723 Fiji Way (Cross Street: Lincoln Boulevard)
Marina Del Rey, CA 90292
photo by Salomon888 via FlickR