Marie’s has been a fixture on the Sea Isle City restaurant scene for years. The takeout, both prepared and fresh fish, is the most affordable on the island and is always great. I visited the restaurant on several occasions and overall came away pretty happy. There are a few things that could probably be done better, but this is still one of the better restaurants on the island.
The first visit to the restaurant was done over Memorial Day Weekend. The first surprise was that we were able to get a reservation and the second surprise was that it was actually honored. We returned to the restaurant two weeks later and once again were seated just as our reservation time arrived. My last visit was over a busy July 4 weekend. We actually arrived early for this visit and they were still able to accommodate us right away. Normally, this would not be such a big deal for a restaurant, but more often than not on a busy night, my party and I have been kept waiting well past the time of the reservation at other establishments.
Throughout the visits, we sampled a variety of the menu items and had some of the more popular offerings multiple times. One dish that stood out above the rest every time was the Blackened Tuna. The fish was cooked perfectly rare, had the ideal amount of spice, and was noticeably fresh. Plate presentation could have been better, but the argument can be made that this is not “that type” of restaurant.
The Mahi-Mahi dish was also excellent. I read some negative comments on the Internet about this dish being overcooked and some negative comments about the Mango Salsa, but after ordering the dish on three separate occasions, everyone had nothing but good things to say about their meal. The fish itself was fresh, tender, and absolutely delicious. I can understand how the Mango Salsa is not for everyone, as it does have some rather large chunks of mango, but it is made the same way consistently and complements the fish rather well.
Some other dishes that were sampled were the Oysters, Crab Soup, Swordfish, Shrimp, Scallops, and Crab Cakes. Everything was fresh and accompanying sauces accented their respective dishes perfectly. The one criticism regarding the food pertains to one of the side choices that accompanies a dinner. The Potatoes-Au-Gratin were simply awful. They tasted like they were made with a cheap cheese sauce and the salt was very heavy-handed. On the flip side, the corn-on-the-cob was fresh and full-sized. Quite a few places will serve smaller pieces or frozen corn, either way, it is unacceptable when fresh Jersey corn is so readily available. At Marie’s, order the corn and a baked potato as your sides and you cannot go wrong.
Service was good, but not what you would expect at these prices. Discussing the service with different members of my party garnered the same question, “What do you expect for a shore restaurant?” I honestly cannot fault the servers for their lack of knowledge of service techniques. However, I would mention across the board to restaurants on the island that the establishment that takes the time to properly train its servers on service standards would have a line around the corner every night.
For example, table maintenance is non-existent. This is not just a problem at Marie’s, but at virtually every restaurant on the island. Diners should not have to deal with crumbs and scraps on the table between courses, nor should they have to hold onto their fork and knife for multiple courses. Add the fact the silverware is set in a paper napkin rollup instead of a formal setting and it becomes tougher and tougher to justify the price points. I have actually yet to sit down at a restaurant in town and receive anything other than a rollup and a paper napkin.
Having said all that, our servers did their best to keep us happy all night long. They were never invasive, the food was delivered on time, and our drinks were kept full during the meal. Every server had a smile and was more than pleasant at the table. In fact, every staff member in the restaurant greeted us with a smile and upon leaving, asked us how everything was and wished us a good evening. Overall, a very pleasant experience and easy to recommend.
Food- 5 stars
Location: 4304 Park Road, Sea Isle City, NJ, 08243
Phone Number: 609-263-2526
Hours: Open daily through Labor Day Weekend, then limited schedule
Payment Methods: Cash and all major credit cards
Delivery/Pick-up Service: No/Yes
Facebook: n/a, but you can check in on FB
This restaurant is a BYOB establishment, but also offers a small selection of house wines for your enjoyment.