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Review: Aunt Catfish's on the River in Port Orange


Last week, my friend Shawna and I decided that we would go to lunch the following Friday afternoon. She's on a strict diet and wanted to go to a place that has a good salad bar. I had no idea who has a good salad bar in the area, because I've yet to see one. So I posted the question on the VCM Facebook page, asking people for suggestions of a good salad bar in the Port Orange area. Overwhelmingly, people recommended Aunt Catfish's on the River. 

I was a bit skeptical, because I don't like the smell of fish when I'm dining, but people reassured me that the restaurant doesn't smell like fish. So, we decided to go there for lunch today to try the all-you-can-eat salad bar. I've lived in Port Orange for 12 years and I know it's a popular restaurant, but I've never been there because I don't eat fish. This was a new experience!

We arrived around noon and it was busy. Very busy. We were given a pager and they said it was about a 30-minute wait for a table. We didn't mind. We took a walk on the boardwalk and then sat and chatted in the shade. Before we knew it, our pager went off. We were seated at a table near the window, which overlooks the water. I liked that and all the natural light that was spilling into the restaurant. I looked at the menu and there was literally nothing I would order on it (I'm a vegetarian) if not for the salad bar, or something like a side item (like a sweet potato). Still, we wanted to see this highly recommended salad bar before committing to it, so we both went up to take a look at it before ordering.

Both satisfied with how the salad bar looked, we ordered it and unsweet iced teas. The all-you-can-eat salad bar is $9.99. I ate all vegan, and there was plenty of options for me to choose from. The staff member working the salad bar was helpful in telling me which items had meat in it, such as the baked beans. I made a nice salad with lots of veggies, had some fruit, and also had some black eyed pea type of salad. It was good! My friend also made a big salad that she was happy with and said she liked. The salad bar had a wide variety of items on it, including your traditional salad items, some specialty items, and other types of dishes and salads (like bean salads, cucumber salad, baked beans, corn bread, cinnamon apples, etc.).

I will say that from the moment I walked into the restaurant all I could smell was fish. Just to make sure it wasn't just me being sensitive to it, I asked Shawna if it smelled like fish to her. She's not a vegetarian, and she said indeed that's all she smelled, too. It was to be expected, really. The place was packed with customers, and I think just about every table had plates of fish on it. The smell wasn't overwhelming to the point that I couldn't eat (that's happened in some places), but it is there for those who are sensitive to it and may want to know. 

Overall, we both liked the salad bar. I like how the restaurant is on the river and we were lucky enough to get a table with the water view, and the customer service was good. It's not a place that I would dine at frequently, but it is nice to know I can get a good salad bar there. I would recommend that to anyone looking for a place with a good salad bar in the Port Orange area. 

- Jacqueline Bodnar


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