Southern Cooking & Seafood Excellence
Fine Dining + Beachy Vibe
14549 Beach Blvd
It’s tucked it right before the bridge I take to get to Atlantic Beach. Beside docks and restaurants and catty corner to Adventure Landing fun, sits this oh-so-sophisticated dining spot. The waterfront dinner getaway might be a little hard to find – but isn’t the best treasure worth journeying over the ocean (or intercoastal) to see?
Calamari, a Very Good Place to Start
My first impression of Marker 32 was both of yacht club elegance and care-free beach spirit. I could feel comfortable, classy and formal all at once. Once you’ve navigated the parking lot and found the right spot between the scattered docks, you will head up an outdoor stairway to arrive at Marker 32.
I wore my Sunday best and my boyfriend was freshly buttoned, collared and boat shoe’d. We arrived a few moments late to meet Donna and Paul. We completed the party of four at a great spot near the corner. From my seat, I could survey the peaceful water with ripples from the breeze. The occasional boat drifted by and I remembered my Dragonboat practice from the year before.
I eagerly anticipated a meal that would match the elegance and creativity of the decor. We sat down and began exploring the zippy cocktail menu for a starting beverage. I chose a lemonade/tea/vodka Sourtherny drink. It was yummy with both sweet and slightly herbal flavors. My boyfriend chose a beer because it had a fun name. The bumbling bee or something. It was tasty.
We slowly nibbled on the scrumptious squid and perused the menu for entrée options
All the appetizers sounded amazing. Seafood options and cheese plates! We chose a group favorite: calamari. Two orders! The way this dish was seasoned and prepared exceeded my expectations. There was a little spice and an extra yummy sauce accompanying the dish. We slowly nibbled on the scrumptious squid and perused the menu for entrée options.
Would You Like the Fish?
There was quite a range of entrees as well as intriguing sides available. I ordered the haddock, as I’d tried that fish recently and really enjoyed it. Everyone else chose the special of the day. Orders for 3 plates of halibut went right to the kitchen.
We enjoyed the pleasant conversation and views of the peaceful water outside. We surveyed the menu for a second beverage. The wine selection was plentiful so I chose a glass that sounded interesting. Our fellow diners stuck with wine and very soon we all had second glasses in hand. Our server was very attentive and checked on us without interrupting our dinner conversations.
The Fish Feast Commenced
It seemed like a lazy Sunday evening outside, but this restaurant was filling up. With a few more parties it might have been noisy, but it was just the right amount of crowd to let you know you were dining at a hip fave spot for many locals. I spotted more than one romper'd, sunkissed gal out with a collared and cleaned-up date. There were also families. I really enjoyed the casual, upscale vibe.
The food arrived. Our plates were delightfully arranged and we all surveyed the display of freshly prepared fish. My fish was cooked perfectly and had a subtle and pleasant flavor. You know a restaurant can prepare fish well when they don’t have to positively douse it in strong sauce.
I had a bite of my boyfriend’s fish and realized I’d won the tasting lottery this round. However, my black-eyed peas were not as tasty as his pasta. Everyone enjoyed their meals and we forced a little room in our bellies for dessert.
A Sweet Finish
We had a crème brulee and fruit dessert at the table. They were both tasty, though the cobbler was yummier. However, I am a little pickier about my brulee and enjoy almost any cobbler. I paired some tea with my dessert to finish the meal with a soothing drink.
Overall, I am torn about which was better. The food or the evening’s conversation. It’s hard to say. Porque No los Dos?
To all future Marker 32 diners, the restaurant changes out the menu often, but if it goes as well as our meal, nothing will disappoint! When I return, I am certain I will be torn between one of the pasta entrees and the fresh catch of the day.
Insider tip: menu fish items may be better than the daily special!