I know, I know, you’re thinking that living in Jozi puts us at a bit of a disadvantage when it comes to fresh seafood. I mean, there’s no ocean nearby, so surely the seafood we get is a few days old, right? Wrong. I’ve found 2 spots where you can get the freshest seafood around- like, it could have been caught that morning or the afternoon before, and be in your shopping bag a few hours later. Both spots prioritize the cold chain and sell the best quality seafood at fair prices- no need for you to fork out (I know, I’m hilarious :P) a fortune for prawns at Woolies.
1. La Marina
La Marina Foods has been around since 2003, when it sold only oysters and salmon trout. Today, it houses a huge fridge area, a pantry and deli shop as well as a restaurant, stocking approximately 3000 items, and is the one stop shop for shopping for unique ingredients for everyone from renowned hotel chefs to a home cook wanting to whip up an impressive meal for friends. If you’re looking for something specific that can only be found in a particular country or place, La Marina Foods owner, Kirsten Jooste, will source it for you.
Some of the items on offer in the (gigantic) fridge include Irish scallops, Alaskan crab legs, organic black tiger prawns and every cheese under the sun, while the deli stocks a wide range of pastas, cold meats, preserves and condiments, as well as various kitchen accessories. What’s great is that every item that is available on a large scale to hotels and restaurants, is also available in small quantities to the individual. I went home with a few slabs of Valrhona Chocolate, a 2 litre bottle of Rio Largo olive oil, and a super sharp Wusthof knife for my kitchen.
When you’re done browsing (warning, it could take a while), sit down at the restaurant (which also does outside catering) and take your pick of anything from salmon rolls to veg maki off the tantalising sushi menu. I opted to order off the regular menu, and devoured a platter of 6 black tiger prawns and chips, R110, which came with a delicious lemon butter sauce. The prawns came off the shell in an instant- the most obvious sign of freshness. My husband tried the seared salmon and chips, R128, which he thoroughly enjoyed. The dessert menu is limited to one item, which is completely acceptable because that item is Haagen Dazs ice cream, available in an assortment of flavours.
Don’t be put off by the address like I was (I thought Modderfontein was far, like Eastgate far)- it’s actually 2 offramps away from Rivonia on the N1.
Open Mon- Fri 08:00- 16:30, Sat 08:00- 12:00. Closed Sun. Address: 7 Platinum Drive, Longmeadow North Business Park, Modderfontein. Call: 011 608 3277. Visit www.lamarinafoods.co.za
2. Rio Douro
Since I’ve been on the Tim Noakes diet, I’ve been frequenting this Portuguese fishery almost every week. The fish is dirt cheap and delivered daily from the coast (think R17 for a big piece of hake, R150 for around 30 queen prawns) and I’m always super impressed with the freshness. I usually call in advance and ask for my prawns to be deveined- which is done at no charge. This spot is in Rosettenville, which is quite close to where I work, but I know it’s quite a drive if you’re in the North. In the fridge, you’ll find everything from calamari, to lobster and mussels.
They also have a wide range of cheese, pastas, oils and other deli like items like nuts and dried fruit. Olive oils are imported from Spain, Italy and Portugal. There’s a butchery and a bakery (the round, flat Portuguese bread with garlic butter- buy that separately- is ah-mazing), and all prices are reasonable. It’s a little weird to have a bakery on the same premises as butchery and fishery and while the bread is delish, the sweet baked goods (like Portuguese milk tarts) aren’t great. They are VERY busy- the fishery works on a ticketing system, and you can ask for your fish to be deskinned if you prefer.
Open Mon – Sun. Address: 155 Main Street, Rosettenville. Call 011 683 3617. Visit www.riodouro.co.za
A seafood feast is one of my favourite things to cook at home, add some wine, veggies on the side and (provided I’m not on diet), garlic bread and you have a winner of a meal. Happy munching!