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“Not Worth It! Horrible Service No Management Present.” 1 of 5 stars
Review of Fishmonger's Seafood Market Crab & Oyster House

Fishmonger's Seafood Market Crab & Oyster House
806 W Main St, Durham, NC 27701
(919) 682-0128
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Ranked #168 of 655 Restaurants in Durham
Price range: $0 - $30
Cuisines: American, Seafood
Good for: Families with children, Romance, Bar scene, Large groups
Restaurant details
Good for: Families with children, Romance, Bar scene, Large groups
Durham, North Carolina
1 review
“Not Worth It! Horrible Service No Management Present.”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed June 28, 2013

Not only am I a Durham native but a F&B proffesional by trade. Alaways seeing Fishmongers as a staple of Brightleaf Square I had never ventured into this establishment before now.I will start by saying that when the food finally got to the table it was delicious, fresh tasting, fried shrimp great fries,great fried oysters and cold beer.The service and lack there of is a horible oversight by the management and owner and could use some professional traning.The Kitchen staff took way to long for our order but that was because they were eating crab legs with there family in between orders. Also our waiter was slow un attentive and took about a 10 minute break outside in between taking our order and then coming back inside and thenit took another 15 minutes till our food came out. We were the only order in at this time so i know it doesn't take that long to fry up a shrimpcrabcake platter and a fried oyster platter. Lack of Management and professionalism cannot be understated enough. Will not return as this is obviously the culture that the owner and management allow with the staff. Could be one of Durhams finest but cannot with current staff.

  • Visited June 2013
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gary B, Owner at Fishmonger's Seafood Market Crab & Oyster House, responded to this review, July 2, 2013
Brian thanks for your review the crew has heard about this already. I have owned the business 30 years and that cook has been with me 29 years I believe we both deserve a break. The food is great I miss it when I have been gone awhile and obviously he still enjoys it.Fried food takes a while to cook and does not have too be watched especially when you have an inner clock after 29 years and Bernard has been known to carry out the food if necessary.You are welcome to return when you have not found comparable food and atmosphere. P.S.My waits and cooks share tips and they deserve a break.
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67 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Durham, North Carolina
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
26 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“Good people, good food, relaxed atomsphere”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 20, 2013

If you like the kind of place that has good food and lets people throw peanut shells on the floor, then keep reading. If you have a stick up your patooty, go elsewhere.

I just had a great lunch for $23. Two orders of steamed muscles and a side of fried green tomatoes. Simple but delicious. The muscles are served in their shells which have popped open from the steaming. They are served in a huge mound and have been kissed with the right amount of butter and garlic. All I needed was a dash of heat from Texas Pete and I was a happy customer.

A side of fried green tomatoes appeared moments after the muscles and they were equally as good. The unexpected but pleasant surprise was the side of ranch dressing that had blue cheese crumbles and cilantro...maybe a bit of dill...in the mix. It gave it a fresh and perky taste I appreciated.

The walls are adorned with various signs and knickknacks that every Friday's and Chili's attempts (and fails) to recreate. Also, your seating is a mix of regular tables and picnic tables with large sheets of brown paper for you to pile up those shells. The next time I'm out riding my motorcycle, this will be a place to come...have a decent brand of cold beer and a choice of muscles, oysters, BBQ or filet of fish.

The greeter, server, chef and another bloke having a smoke out back all greeted me in a genuine greeting...not in the dour, obligatory, downtrodden way. Maybe because I am in my mid-40's, divorced and 6'5, not too many people talk to me, so I may be overemphasizing how nice everyone was as they were winding down from the lunch time push.

This is not a Michelin rated dining establishment nor does it try to be. Do not mistake "worn" with "dirty". This place was not dirty. In fact, I remember a Health rating of 96/100 on the wall...an A rating. But the paint is chipped, the furniture doesn't all match, the signs on the wall have a petina of rust here and there. It's what I like to call CHARACTER.

Here's why I am writing this the same day I was there... I had left my phone on the table. An employee ran out the door, through the adjacent parking lot and flagged me down to return my phone. How many places can fill your belly and restore your belief that, by and large, people are good? I recommend and with be making this one of my "regular" places. See you on ThursdaayMention my review and I'll buy you a beer.

  • Visited June 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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Greenville, South Carolina
Top Contributor
53 reviews 53 reviews
27 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
“Great Fried Seafood”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 20, 2013

This is just the kind of place I love for fried seafood... Picnic tables, relaxed, well-decorated... nothing fancy. The seafood was very fresh and fried to order. Chase, the manager, was also our server. He cares very much about his customers! They had a lot more on the menu than fried food. I'd go back!

Visited June 2013
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Durham, NC
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
15 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“Fishmonger's Surviving on Reputation, Not Food”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed June 2, 2013

I know that Fishmonger's is an institution in Durham and my most recent visit, two Thursdays ago, was only my second. The prior visit was also disappointing but I wanted to give this restaurant a second chance.

The first bad sign is that nobody came to greet me when I arrived in the restaurant. There were staff about but they didn't even acknowledge me. I almost had to seat myself. I came to eat dinner alone before meeting my spouse to see a movie.

I should mention that when I arrived, I was the only diner in the restaurant but it took a few minutes to present me with a menu, which I should add, is quite extensive. A friend is a big fan of the fish and chips so that's what I ordered.

At the table, covered in a red and white vinyl tablecloth, is a basket of single serving crackers. I guess that's what Fishmonger's wants diners to fill up on while they wait for their food. By the time my food arrives, there's a group of eight at a table and a couple of other tables are occupied by couples.

Bearing in mind this is a seafood restaurant, I expect the execution of cooking the seafood to be good but I'm astonished to be presented with three overfried, large fish sticks. There was under the brown casing small, whole pieces of fish. Whomever did the frying must have left them in the fryer way too long. They didn't look good but I was hungry and in a hurry so I slowly ate the fish. The fries were from arranged on the plate in no presentable manner and there was a tiny cup of coleslaw. When I say tiny, I mean the cup was small and contained maybe two tablespoons of slaw.

Something about the fish had an odd flavor. In fact, it must have been the oil or the batter on the fish. It tasted vaguely meaty, like sausage and that was very strange as I was eating seafood. I an only imagine that the oil had previously been used to fry some kind of meat. The oil wasn't bad.

While I was eating, nobody came to check on how I was enjoying my meal which says a lot about the service here in my opinion.

The cost of the experience of my meal at Fishmonger's on this occasion, including tip, was $14.00. I consider it very bad value as I left hungry and went to Parker and Otis across the street to get more food to eat!

Needless to say, I see no need to return here again.

  • Visited May 2013
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Food
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Gary B, Owner at Fishmonger's Seafood Market Crab & Oyster House, responded to this review, June 4, 2013
Sorry for your perceived experience.First of all we are the next thing above self service. Picnic tables and butcher paper with blue and white table covers. Next to get things going you almost tripped over a stand with menus and a sign that says please take a menu and have a seat. If you have not done this then the waits think that one of them has already taken your order and menu. Secondly your friend recommended the Fish and chips because she likes it. It is a traditional beer batter and you probably tasted the beer, eggs and sweet cod.We have used the same batter and fish for years so yes we live on our reputation and people from Europe who know their fish and chips tell their friends back home if they are ever in the States to eat it here.By the way saltines are on the tables because you never know how many people want them for their seamed oysters, clams, clam chowder and or cocktail sauce which is so good a lot of people want it on their crackers.
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Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Top Contributor
132 reviews 132 reviews
87 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
60 helpful votes 60 helpful votes
“Yuck! Dirty restaurant and frozen fish.”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed May 28, 2013

Should have left as soon as we walked in, but thought we would give Fishmonger's a fair try. My husband ordered a combo platter, fried shrimp, fish and crab cake. He could not even eat the crab cake, it was so greasy. I ordered grilled grouper, lima beans and broccoli. My fish seemed to be something like swordfish. It was a generic fish steak, clearly from the frozen food case. I got rice instead of lima beans, and the broccoli had many yellowed areas that were inedible. I would never recommend this place or go back. Our server was super nice though!

  • Visited May 2013
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gary B, Owner at Fishmonger's Seafood Market Crab & Oyster House, responded to this review, May 31, 2013
Sorry for your experience.We have used the same recipe for our crab cakes since we opened, it came from a famous old Baltimore crab house. We use an expeller pressed oil from North Carolina that is processed like olive oil. It also contains vitamin E and other good omega oils witch are removed from other oils for supplements.It cost a lot more but I pay the price to keep me and my customers healthy.I stick to the facts and wish that the reviewer had there has never been a piece of generic frozen fish in this restaurant and definitely nothing frozen this time of year when their is plenty of fresh fish available.
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