Founded with the intent of making fresh fish and seafood available to the public at affordable prices, the first John Dorys Fish and Grill opened its doors in Durban in 1996 and quickly mushroomed into a national brand with 26 stores in eight provinces. That sort of growth is pretty impressive in anyone’s books and being eager to discover why John Dory’s have been so successful I decided to have dinner at their Liberty Midlands Mall outlet in Pietermaritzburg recently.
I invited my good friend Mary-Anne and my mom to join me for the evening knowing full well that both of them would be more than willing to provide an honest assessment of their culinary experiences. Upon entering the establishment we received a warm welcome and were promptly shown to our table stopping occasionally to appreciate some of the vibrant décor, which created an almost theatrical ambience throughout the restaurant, along the way.
After ordering our drinks we scanned the menu trying to find that special dish that would make our evening one to remember. Although the John Dorys menu is primarily aimed at providing patrons with a wide selection of seafood dishes, it does offer steaks; chicken, pasta and salad for non seafood lovers while a variety of combo meals are available for those wanting the best of both worlds.
For starters I decided to have a cheese and garlic Maputo roll (R16) which proved to be the perfect appetiser for what was to follow. I opted for the quarter chicken and rib (R85) with a side order of fries (R14) as a main course and was rather impressed with my choice.
The ribs were tasty and meaty, full of flavour and cooked to perfection, the chicken tender and very appetising and the fries crispy and delicious. All in all the meal proved to be great value for money especially since it included an option of fries, vegetables (my choice) or salad.
My mom decided to have the grilled kingklip (R89) with a helping of vegetables for her mains and was similarly impressed with her choice of dish describing the fish as “tender and succulent” and the veggies as “very tasty.” She added that her meal was “well worth the money” and expressed a strong desire to “return as soon as possible,” no doubt in order to relive what was clearly a thoroughly enjoyable experience for her.
Mary-Anne opted for the chicken Alfredo (smoked chicken, mushrooms and spinach tossed in linguine pasta with a garlic and cream sauce) which certainly sounded appetising. She loved the dish and was particularly impressed with the smoked chicken which she described as “awesome.”
To be sure the quality of the food at John Dory’s was simply outstanding and definitely exceeded even my highest expectations. Their service was excellent too and I was particularly impressed with the professionalism displayed by both the manager and our waitress who were very attentive to our needs.
I simply could not fault John Dory’s in any way, shape or form. It’s a superbly well-run restaurant serving great tasting food at competitive prices and certainly lives up to its motto of “wanting visitors to tell their friends about their experiences and to return soon.”
After such an enjoyable experience I definitely will be returning soon, especially since plans to provide outside seating are already underway. This will not only maximise John Dory’s exposure to passing trade but should also give the establishment an even better look making it one of the most attractive eateries in the Liberty Midlands Mall.
Contact details for John Dorys:
Tel: +27 (0)33 342 3738
Physical address: Shop 304, Liberty Midlands Mall, 50 Sanctuary Road, Pietermaritzburg