Southside’s Fish Market Is the Real Deal

George Sarris

By Jan Walsh, Photography by Beau Gustafson

Southside’s The Fish Market is more than a restaurant. It is a seafood market. And it is an institution among many locals for its live and fresh seafood from the Gulf Coast and around the world.

The Place

The Fish Market Restaurant is divided into three dining rooms. To the right as you enter is the full-service dining area. Here you pull up a stool to the mosaic bar or a chair to a table. Dining here gives the illusion of dining on a ship at sea. There are two boats among the tables. The bar is encircled with international flags. And the aromas of cooked seafood plates and platters of seafood arriving to adjoining, marble-topped tables anchor this nautical ambience.
Or you can keep going straight from the front door to shop the market for fresh fish, imported Greek foods and seafood-friendly wines. You may also order at the counter and have your food brought to your table in the larger dining room or outside on the shady covered patio.

The Restaurateur

The Fish Market restaurateur, George Sarris, has been in the restaurant business since 1969, when he arrived from Greece. In 1982, he purchased The Fish Market business from his uncle, Jimmy Hontzas. And since that time he has grown the restaurant from a small café around the corner to its expansive current location at 612 22nd St. South.


The Menus

The Fish Market’s menu is as large as the portions, with reasonable prices on each dish. There is a long list of appetizers, soups, salads, Po boys and specialty sandwiches. And the entrée menu has many categories, including fish, shellfish, pasta or rice dishes, take home  and George Sarris specials. And all of this is in addition to the kids’ and catering menus.

Favorite Fare

Today we dine in the full-service area. We pair a bottle of Ceviche Sauvignon Blanc with our lunch of a Boiled Shrimp appetizer, Shrimp Kabob and Athenian Fresh Snapper entrees.  The half pound of peel -and-eat shrimp are sizable, chilled to perfection, firm and succulent. From the George Sarris specials, the Athenian Fresh Snapper is available in two portion sizes. Upon its arrival I realize that I should have ordered the smaller size. Several large, golden-fried filets are topped with grilled onions, marinated Greek olives, diced tomatoes, bites of feta cheese and Greek Spices.

Athenian Fresh Snapper

Sarris has captured a lovely balance of flavors—with the acid of the olives and tomatoes, heat of the onion and creaminess of the feta—all coming together in this Athenian dish. It is offered with grouper rather than snapper. The entree is accompanied by four hush puppies and my usual side of crisp, fried okra—as I have never dined at The Fish Market without a side of George’s okra and hope that I never will. The Shrimp Kabob arrives de-skewered with crisp grilled onions, tasty tomato wedges and spicy bell peppers, surrounding a bed of fluffy white rice—with another side of okra. Desserts, made daily, offer yet another long list of tempting options. To end this “sea cruise,” we share a large wedge of delicious, incredibly moist and earthy carrot cake. •

Shrimp Kabob

 carrot cake

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One Response to “Southside’s Fish Market Is the Real Deal”

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