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RESTAURANT

Review: Nice boat, shame about the fish

AN ALTERNATIVE to a Sunday lunch in sleepy, sweaty downtown Bratislava is driving out to the Danube harbour and enjoying the fresh breeze from the water. With the area becoming ever more popular with locals and Austrians on cross-border cruises, three houseboat restaurants and an outdoor pub cater to the increased traffic.
Most of these restaurants offer fish specialities. Without any particular reason or logic, my companions and I opted for the Marina restaurant near the Slovnaft refinery.


LOTS of fish, no shortage of cabbage.
photo: Ján Svrček

Marina restaurant

Where: Lodenica, Vlčie hrdlo (Danube harbour)
Tel: 0903-224 118
Open: Mon 11:00-22:00, Tue-Sun 11:00-23:00
English menu: No
Reservations: Yes
Rating: 6 out of 10

AN ALTERNATIVE to a Sunday lunch in sleepy, sweaty downtown Bratislava is driving out to the Danube harbour and enjoying the fresh breeze from the water. With the area becoming ever more popular with locals and Austrians on cross-border cruises, three houseboat restaurants and an outdoor pub cater to the increased traffic.

Most of these restaurants offer fish specialities. Without any particular reason or logic, my companions and I opted for the Marina restaurant near the Slovnaft refinery.

The menu there is generous and includes not only freshwater fish but also salmon and more exotic delights, such as calamari and frog legs. We started with 'halászlé', the traditional Hungarian fish soup, which was disappointing because instead of spicy it tasted rather sour, a fault that could not be remedied by adding extra chili sauce.

For the main dish we chose local fish - zubáč (zander) in a spicy wine sauce and sumec (sheatfish) with mushrooms and cheese topping. The food was good, but nothing out of the ordinary, and the delicate fish flavour was somewhat overwhelmed by the strong wine sauce and the dominant cheese taste.

Marina also makes mistakes typical of Slovak restaurants. Both the mixed salad and the trimmings consisted mostly of cabbage, the cheapest and perhaps the least exciting vegetable available here. Why do local restaurants not reconsider their vegetable selection at least during the summer season, when tomatoes, paprika and cucumbers are both available and inexpensive?

The other nuisance is the service. Though very friendly and smiling, it is not professional. Our waiter, as usual, didn't take any notes and wound up completely confusing the orders of only three people. God knows how he would manage a larger party, or a more busy shift. The bill was some kind of compensation, added up to only Sk700, or about $5 per person.

Marina spares a thought for non-fish eaters, offering them a selection of meat dishes (pork, chicken or beef) or a vegetarian alternative such as fried cheese, buchty (sweet dumplings) and halušky (gnocchi).

The most attractive part of dining at Marina is floating gently on the river while eating. After lunch you can either take a walk along the water, or rent bicycles and inline skates from a shop beside the restaurant for Sk60 per hour and a deposit of Sk1,500.

Visiting the place, though, calls for both a car and a map. Drive out of the city following Slovnaftská Road, and just before reaching the Slovnaft refinery, turn left and drive along the water. After the railroad crossing, take the second road to the left and look for signs saying either 'lodenica' (shipyard) or Marina.

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