When I think of coastline cities like Daytona Beach I think beaches, heat, and seafood. Generally, no matter where you are in the U.S. if you visit a state touching the ocean, great seafood shouldn’t be hard to find. I asked a few locals what some great restaurants are by the water and Ocean Deck was one of those restaurants. Of course, I checked them out on Google, and the reviews were fairly good so I decided to give it a try. The top dining area was a very tight squeeze, so tight I could have easily touched elbows with the random couple sitting at the table next to us. Set up for success, Ocean Deck is on the water, and in Florida during the late spring-early summer. Unfortunately with everything going for it, Ocean Deck did not deliver an experience you would expect from a coastal city.
The menu looks pretty standard at Ocean Deck. Shrimp, crabs, and fish with some beef dishes mixed in, basically what you would expect from a seafood restaurant. I chose the fish and chips because it had been so long since I’d had fish and chips. My friends ordered random combinations of steamed shrimp, crab legs, and one grilled tilapia, how could you go wrong.
The service unlike the food was fairly nice. The waitress checked in on us often, refilled or drinks regularly, and had an overall friendly demeanor. The only negative experience about the service was when one of the plates had come out wrong, the waitress who brought out our food showed she was very annoyed to bring the plate back. It could have been at our waitress or us but it’s still unprofessional to show your annoyance to a customer.
Let’s jump right into it and say all of our steamed shellfish had no seasoning at all. GarwoodGrub operates out of Virginia Beach, and we have pretty good seafood, much of our steamed shellfish is seasoned with old bay seasoning. At Ocean Deck, everything tasted bland, which may or may not be a Daytona thing, but it was very disappointing. Keep in mind we waited almost fifty minutes to service a table of 5, steamed shellfish. The tilapia was completely overcooked, chewy and again had no flavor. Imagine an overcooked piece of tofu being served in place of a fish with grill marks, that’s what we received.
The sides were no better, with overcooked rice, decent mashed potatoes, and limp steamed broccoli that looked like the florets that come out of the frozen bag at the grocery store. I rarely see a restaurant miss the mark on so many elements of a plate. My frustration just grew because when the shrimp tasted off I knew the crab would save the day, when the crab underwhelmed the fish should have been the star. I was let down at every bite and eventually just threw my hands up.
My fish and chips were a category of their own. I was willing to bet everything I own that the fish & chips from Ocean Deck were frozen and microwaved to serve. If you just look at the picture you can see it actually looks like a kids’ meal. Also, I only ate one piece of the fish (that I spit out after) so the serving you see, is the serving they gave me. I did eat the fries because I was hungry after waiting almost an hour for my “fish & chips”, but I could not eat what could better be described as fish sticks.
The breading had no crunch at all, the fish had (surprise, surprise) no seasoning, and the texture was very chewy. I felt robbed for paying 15 dollars for microwaved or oven reheated fish sticks meant to be passed off as fried fish. At least have the courtesy to fry the frozen fish being served to give a crunch. This was the most disappointing entree of the night and the most underwhelming plate of food I have had in a long time.
If your ever in the Daytona Beach oceanfront area I can’t recommend this restaurant. I won’t say to never visit because the overall consensus is that it’s a pretty decent place to be. Keep in mind the majority of those reviews might be coming from the pub area downstairs that seemed to be more of a have fun and drink experience than a dining one. There are other great restaurants around Daytona (Check out our review of Ponchos Tacos here) so I might try them first before spending your money at Ocean Deck.